Newborn Baby Care 101
Most new parents look forward to the day they can bring their newborn baby home. They soon realize however that there’s a lot of things they still have to learn. Finding yourself suddenly alone and responsible for a tiny baby can be quite scary.
A newborn baby seems so fragile, how do new parents cope?
Newborn Baby Essentials
Babies are a lot tougher than you may think. However here’s a few tips:-
(We’ve used a baby girl here for our examples, no disrepect to baby boys!)
Always support baby’s head and neck when you are picking her up or putting her down. Newborn babies’ heads are quite large in relation to their bodies.
Your baby won’t need bathing every day, two or three time a week is enough or their skin may become too dry. They should only be sponged until the umbilical cord drops off (between one and four weeks). After that it’s safe to give them a bath, just be sure to support their head at all times. It will feel awkward at first. Don’t worry you’ll soon be an expert!
It’s quite ok to pick your crying baby up and give her a cuddle. Just follow your instincts, it’s impossible to spoil a newborn baby! Give her plenty of love and attention and you will bond with her easily.
Babies love it when you talk to them and even the most untalented singer will always get appreciated! Music playing in the background is always a good idea for a newborn baby. It doesn’t have to be nursery rhymes either.
Don’t feel you have to tiptoe around when your newborn’s asleep. It’s better for them to get used to normal household noises when they’re tiny. You’ll have less sleeping problems as they get older.
Keep your baby out of the sun. Newborn baby skin is very sensitive and will burn very easily. It’s not a good idea to use sunscreen until they’re five or six months old, so just make sure they’re always in the shade when they’re outside.
Make sure you have the recommended vaccinations at the appropriate times. Some parents disagree with vaccinating their children on health or religious grounds. If you’re with the majority that believe in vaccination, write the dates in your diary.
Your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping for the first few weeks. She’ll wake up and need feeding after about three to four hours. If your baby doesn’t follow this pattern, don’t worry too much – they’re all different. However if she’s not sleeping or becomming distressed on a regular basis, have her checked out by your health carer.
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Feeding a newborn baby. This subject is too broad to cover in detail here. As a general guide babies should be fed on demand – meaning pretty well whenever they’re hungry! If your baby is having trouble feeding, this can be a traumatic time. If you’re breast feeding the whole responsibility will fall on you. Don’t feel guilty or inadequate if you can’t continue. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure!
Try to take it easy during the first few weeks and don’t feel guilty about asking for help. Most friend and family are only too delighted to lend a hand and they’ll appreciate you for asking.
While you’re caring for a newborn baby, you probably won’t have too much time for housework or socializing. It doesn’t matter. You and your baby’s wellbeing are far more important than a sparkling clean house. Just get around to it when you have the energy.
The Many Benefits of Breast Feeding
The benefits of breast feeding are well known and this is why it’s recommended by most doctors and maternity hospitals. Breast milk contains the ideal balance of nutrients to ensure your baby the best start in life. It also contains antibodies that protect baby’s delicate immune system against respiratory infections, ear infections and allergies.
There’s benefits for mum too! Breast feeding develops a close bond between a mum and her baby. There’s no more washing and sterilizing bottles or mixing formula. Formula is quite expensive, so you’ll save quite a bit of money over the months.
Health benefits include possible protection against breast cancer in later life, it helps your uterus contract back to normal size faster and it delays the return of your period.
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Disadvantages of Breast Feeding?
It’s not for everyone. If your health is poor or you’re infected with HIV or have had tuberculosis (TB) it would be safer for you and baby to bottle feed.
If you’re having trouble getting baby to take the breast or your milk dries up, again bottle feeding may be the best option. It’s fine to keep trying to offer the breast but if your baby’s not thriving or isn’t gaining weight then switch to the bottle. Bottle feeding is a healthy option with today’s advanced formulas so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t master the art of breast feeding.
Breast feeding does need a fair bit of patience. It also means there are some foods you may not be able to eat as they can upset your baby’s digestion, also taking drugs — even prescription drugs — may not be possible. Smoking and alcohol are definitely out. And if you don’t feel like getting up to feed your baby during the night, well you don’t have a choice. Even the best meaning dads don’t have the necessary equipment!
If you don’t think you could cope with any of the above, bottle feeding will be best for you.
How to Begin Breastfeeding
There are several ways to hold your baby while nursing, you can put your baby’s head in the crook of your arm while supporting his body with your arm and hand. Your baby will be positioned sideways facing the breast — this is called the cradle position.
For small babies, the football position (yes really!) may be a better option. Tuck your baby under your arm while using your forearm to support his body.
You’ll be sitting up in the above two positions. If you’d prefer to lie down, use a pillow to support your head and have baby facing you. It’s important that both you and baby feel comfortable during the process so just do what feels right. Just make sure that your baby can reach your breast easily and doesn’t have to strain his neck.
Breast Feeding With Implants
A lot of women worry that they won’t be able to breastfeed their baby because they have had breast implants. In fact it shouldn’t make any difference. In the days of silicone implants, there was concern that the silicone may leak out of the implant and pose a risk of poisoning. Nowadays saline implants are used which pose no risk at all.
Breast Feeding And Work
The reality is these days that most new mums will have to return to work so the problem becomes how to go on breastfeeding when you may not see your baby for 10 hours at a time during the day.
It’s possible to express breast milk using a breast pump and place this in containers in the fridge so your baby’s carer can use it during the day. While this solution isn’t ideal, it is a way around the problem and you can continue to feed normally in the morning, evenings and weekends. Breast pumps can be manual or electric and are fairly easy to use. They are also useful for maintaining or increasing your milk supply.
Stopping Breast Feeding
This is best done gradually as stopping all at once may cause emotional trauma for your baby. Sometimes your baby may wean himself off the breast, however it’s more common for a baby to want to continue breast feeding.
What to Eat while Breast Feeding
You don’t need to eat for two but ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of calcium for baby’s bones and teeth. Calcium is found in most dairy foods and also in broccoli, kale, sardines, tofu, and sesame seeds.
If you can maintain breast feeding for at least six months, you will be giving your baby a great start in life.
What Are the Advantages of Natural Childbirth?
Congratulations! If you’re reading this you’re either expecting a “bundle of joy” or have already received one!
The many advantages of natural childbirth
Natural methods of childbirth empower you! You are in control of your body throughout the birth process.
The feeling of accomplishment after the birth of your baby will remain with you long after the pain and discomfort have been forgotten. In fact many mums opt for natural methods of childbirth for their second and even third babies.
If you’re partner has decided that they want to be a part in the birth process, you can both be involved in the process which will create a stronger bond between you.
You’ll be alert and able to witness your baby’s arrival in the world without being in a drug induced haze. You’ll also be able to co-operate fully with your doctor or midwife when they instruct you in your breathing and when to push during delivery.
One of the most important advantages of natural childbirth is you’ll be totally drug free. Some medications used during the birth process for example opioids may cause side effects like vomiting while epidurals may cause an extended labour and may also produce a need for intervention during delivery.
However, do find out about these options before time as you may change your mind and require pain relief (many mums do). This is important especially if the labour is a prolonged one. Knowing about birth medications in advance will simplify your choice and give you peace of mind.
Epidural vs natural childbirth
Now natural childbirth may not suit everyone. If you have a low pain threshold or you feel you won’t be able to cope in any way, don’t feel guilty about opting for an epidural. There won’t be any advantages of natural childbirth if you’re struggling with the pain, not prepared properly, or if you’re doing it because you feel it’s expected of you. It’s your body and only you can decide which method of childbirth you want to experience.
There may also be medical reasons why natural methods of childbirth are not suitable for you. Always listen to your doctor.
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Natural childbirth breathing techniques
Probably the most important of all, natural childbirth breathing techniques need to be learned and practiced long before your baby is due. Make them second nature and you’ll be able to perform them almost without thinking. These wonderful relaxation tools will also come in handy after your baby is born, to cope with any post partum discomfort and any stress you’ll be sure to encounter after your baby arrives 😉
Abdominal breathing – This breathing exercise concentrates on using the diaphragm muscle instead of the chest muscles to increase the size of the lung cavity thus providing more oxygen with each breath. It’s best practiced slowly while sitting on a reclining chair or propped up with pillows. Breathe deeply and slowly, placing your hands on your abdomen so you can feel it rise and fall. Relax all your muscles and concentrate on only the abdominal muscle to control your breath.
There is another relatively new pain management method called ‘HypnoBirthingT’ which is wonderful for relaxation.
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Natural childbirth classes
Natural childbirth classes are a great idea so find a class in your area and start attending. You’ll learn invaluable tips for natural childbirth as well as meeting mums like yourself. Who knows? You could make a few friends in the process! Childbirth classes are available in hospitals which can teach you pain management techniques or you may prefer to learn about the Lamaze or Bradley method, both of which stress the advantages of natural childbirth.
For those mums unable to access a class, there are online childbirth classes available too.
Is natural childbirth easier with the second baby?
Happily the answer is “yes it is” This is because you know exactly what to expect and can prepare better. Also your body has already experienced this once and will be physically able deal with it better the second time around.
Unassisted natural childbirth
It’s much better to have a labour coach or labour partner helping you. If any complications occur, they will be able to summon medical aid quickly. If you’re giving birth in a hospital you may call on a ‘doula’ who will help you through the process by supporting you through relaxation and breathing techniques. Doulas don’t intervene in the actual birth process, but can be very supportive.
There are many advantages to natural childbirth but make sure you have a plan and medical assistance nearby in case the process becomes too arduous. If your finding the pain getting out of control, it’s not too late to change your mind.
person that takes your own and your baby’s health seriously. Natural methods of childbirth allow you to experience more fully the miracle of birth, a wonderful choice many more mothers are making today. By taking care of yourself during this time, you’ll be giving your baby the best start in life.
Have you ever tried to access information on childbirth on a medical site, only to find yourself struggling with some of the words, not to mention the way it’s written which makes it hard for you to concentrate?
This site aims to inform you about all aspects of natural childbirth and baby care without the jargon making it fun and easy to read! And if the thought of natural childbirth terrifies you, stay with us because you’ll learn about natural ways to look after yourself and baby which will help you long after the birth is over.
Tips For a Natural Childbirth
When you’re pregnant, no matter which trimester you’re in, eating the right foods is so important. A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, skinless chicken and some fresh fish are good choices. You need to be careful of some fish as today many species are high in mercury, which is a toxic metal. Depending on the country in which you live, find out which types of fish are likely to be contaminated.
Avoid too much salt which is usually found in processed or “junk foods” and drink plenty of fresh water. Go easy on sweet foods as too much sugar can cause swings in blood glucose levels and lead to gestational diabetes.
It’s perfectly safe to exercise right up until the birth unless you’re in to extreme sports! Activities like ice skating are not advisable either due to the risk of falling. Basically avoid too much vigorous exercise, walking and swimming are great.
There are many decisions you’ll be making during your pregnancy. Diet and exercise are the two things you can control and are probably the two most important things to concentrate on in order to have a safe and stress free delivery, one you can look back on as a wonderful experience.