Tag Archive | "new baby"

Safely Swaddling Your New Baby

Safely Swaddling Your New Baby

Safely Swaddling Your New Baby

As a brand new parent, it can help if you think of your newborn’s arrival as the final trimester of his or her development. In fact, recreating the environment of the womb is a great way to calm down a fussy newborn and sleep better those first months. Swaddling a baby can give that sense of closeness and security (after all, your newborn has been in a pretty tight space for the last nine months). When you swaddle, you will want to do so in such a way that the baby’s legs can still move up, down, and out a little so as to prevent hip dysplasia. To safely swaddle your baby:

1. Use a thin, stretchy square cloth and set it down like a diamond. Fold down the top corner to create a flat line. You can also use a rectangular blanket with the long side on top.

2. Lay your baby down so that the shoulders are just about at t
he fold/flat line you just created, with the head off the blanket.

3. Tucking the baby’s right arm down to the side, pull the left corner of the blanket across the newborn, tucking it under his or her left side securely.

4. Holding down baby’s left arm straight, bring the bottom corner up and across the left shoulder.

5. Pull the right corner snugly across to baby’s right side, making sure there is room for the legs to move.

6. Flip and tuck the right corner end into the back.

A snug swaddle can mimic the womb and make your baby feel secure and calm, even sleeping longer. In addition to blankets, you can also use swaddling products. Remember to not leave your baby unattended, and to wrap the swaddle snugly, but not too tight.

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Perfect Christmas Presents for Babies and the ones to Avoid

Perfect Christmas Presents for Babies and the ones to Avoid

Perfect Christmas Presents for Babies and the ones to AvoidChristmas is magical – a time of family gatherings, exchanging presents, singing carols, decorating a tree, and of course, shopping. For parents of babies, they can expect to be deluged with gifts that can range from cute and thoughtful to the strange and thoughtless. Here is a guide for shopping for that perfect baby gift and the ones to avoid.

Toys that will keep a baby interested even at a young age are simple toys that have contrasting colors or plays music with the touch of a large button. A rattle or teething toy would also be a welcome gift. If you are looking for toys that the baby will grow into, soft building blocks encourage creativity and development of small motor skills. A soft ball that can be kicked or thrown without causing damage in the house is another great option. Push toys like shopping carts or vacuum cleaners will develop newfound walking skills.

Anything with small parts or magnets is a bad idea. Babies put everything in their mouths. Toys that can be easily swallowed are dangerous. Make sure that the toy is the right age of the baby. Anything too easy or too difficult will not hold their attention. Keep in mind the size of the parents’ house before buying a large toy. Stuffed animals take up space and only a select few become favorites. The rest just collect dust.

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Traveling with a Baby during the Holidays

Traveling with a Baby during the Holidays

Traveling with a Baby during the HolidaysThe holiday season is nearly upon us. Some people love visiting relatives, long day or nights spent traveling, or having meals in different places. There is one specific group of people who dread all of this – new parents. Most would rather stay at home safely ensconced in their cocoon of new baby love than to take their infant out into the hustle and bustle. Traveling with a baby can be a nightmare. The amount of baby paraphernalia parents have to take is cumbersome. Add to that the danger of germs the baby will be exposed to and the disruption of schedules and you realize that holiday traveling can easily become a nightmare.

When traveling, make sure you pack the essentials. Try to have a checklist of all of the products you use every day. Don’t forget to bring a portable crib, blankets, a nightlight, and a favorite cuddle toy. Making any new place feel like home is essential. Pack an extra bottle of disinfecting hand gel and do not be embarrassed to insist that people use it before touching your baby. Try to keep your little one on the same schedule they are at home so there will be minimal disruption. If your baby is getting fussy, you can leave early. People generally understand and will not be offended. Stress free holiday travel is possible; it just takes some planning.

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Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner with a Newborn

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner with a Newborn

 

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner with a Newborn

Parent Planning Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is about so many things: being thankful for our family and friends, savory dinners and sumptuous desserts, and long-standing family traditions. If one of those traditions happens to be that you are the host of Thanksgiving dinner every year, you know what stress is all about. If you are parents of a newb
orn, you are going to know stress on an intimate level. Cooking for a large group of people on just a few scant hours sleep can be a nightmare. It is okay, you can get through it.

Ask family members to help with the meal this year. You can still open your hearth and home as the family gathering spot, but perhaps this year, you only cook the turkey and let everyone else make the sides. They can also pitch in and clean up the inevitable mess that large gatherings leave behind. Tired? Leave the crowd to entertain themselves and get some rest. New moms need all the sleep they can get. Your guests will understand. Keep the visits short. Having too many people visiting the baby can be overwhelming for both of you and the baby will be exposed to a lot of germs.

If the mere thought of hosting Thanksgiving is causing panic attacks, skip it and order a pizza. Your new little family will be happier in the end.

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What the Childbirth Experts Don’t Tell You

Re-Posted from the HuffintonPost.com

We live in a world where information about having and rearing babies is everywhere.

Go online, and if you can’t find answers there, there’s always your doctor, parenting group, favorite mom friend or well-intentioned-but-meddling-mother-in-law ready to weigh in.

But what about the information that, for one reason or another, people neglect to share? What about the things that happen during and after childbirth that leave mothers wondering, “why didn’t anyone tell me?” The Huffington Post went straight to a team of midwives and doctors, to ask what they might not tell their patients beforehand — because they don’t want them to worry, because they assume prior knowledge, because they run out of time or simply because they forget …

1. You probably won’t be allowed to eat.

no food

Where you give birth matters a lot for this one, because hospitals, birth centers and home-birth midwives all have their own rules. But in many settings, women are not allowed to eat while in labor; they’re limited to clear liquids or ice chips. That policy usually exists because of the possibility of a cesarean section: If you’re under general anesthesia, doctors don’t want you to aspirate, or get food in your airways, explained Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OBGYN with Stamford Hospital. (A recent Cochrane reviewconcluded women should be free to eat and drink during labor).

However, Ghofrany said it’s been her experience that food is often far from women’s minds. “Initially, you might be hungry, or annoyed that your husband is next to you, eating pizza,” she said. “But once you’re in labor, you’re not hungry anymore.”

2. “Natural” means different things to different people.

If natural childbirth is a personal priority, be sure to be 100 percent clear with your care provider or care team about what exactly that means to you, said Marcy Tardio, a certified nurse-midwife who oversees home births in the New York area. She said a potential benefit of home birth is the amount of time midwives are able to spend answering such questions. “It has been said that many [women and couples] spend more time shopping for a car than for how they’re going to birth,” she said.

The key is to understand what “natural” means to your care team, wherever you give birth: No interventions? Minimal interventions? The option to walk, eat and drink? Intermittent fetal monitoring? Just keep in mind, of course, that plans can change.

3. You might push for a loooong time.

childbirth

Some women are surprised to learn that it can take much more than the one or two (or even 15) pushes regularly portrayed on TV and in the movies to give birth — and that’s not necessarily something that doctors and nurse-midwives emphasize ahead of time, said Jessica Anderson, a certified nurse-midwife and the associate service director with The Center for Midwifery, University of Colorado Hospital. “It can be an hour, two hours, three hours … I don’t think women realize that pushing can be lengthy, especially with the first baby, and that’s normal. That’s OK.”

A benefit of taking a comprehensive childbirth education class, Anderson said, is the preparation for that — and the chance to learn coping strategies.

4. Pain relief isn’t a guarantee.

Don’t panic if you’re thinking epidural-or-bust, but there are times when the anesthesia — which is injected using a catheter that goes just outside of the sac of fluid around your spinal cord — doesn’t work. If the dural sac is scarred in some way from a previous surgery or infection, or simply “because of an individual woman’s anatomy,” the medicine may not spread, meaning there are limits to the pain relief she experiences, explained Dr. Eva Pressman, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“Sometimes, [she’ll feel pain] on one side of her body,” she continued. “Other times, there’s a window or a hole where she still feels pain.” In Pressman’s experience, that possibility is not widely discussed until a woman is talking to her anesthesiologist just before receiving the epidural.

5. A lot of people will look between your legs.

childbirth exam

Again, this one really depends on environment: If you’re in a smaller hospital, a birth center or at home, it’s possible, and even likely, that you’ll have only one or two care providers. But in bigger hospitals, you might see one or two nurses (depending on how long your delivery lasts), several medical residents, physicians’ assistants, a midwife and the doctor on call, Ghofrany said, joking that by the time she finished giving birth, she wouldn’t have cared if the cleaning crew stopped in to check on her.

“Every hospital is different,” echoed Dr. Lauren Streicher, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “What happens at a big teaching hospital may be very different from what happens at a small community hospital.”

6. The baby’s heart rate might drop.

During labor and delivery, it’s not uncommon for the umbilical cord to get stretched or compressed, which can lead to brief drops in fetal heart rate. If you’re hooked up to a continuous, electric fetal monitor, the machine will alert your medical team to the change, and suddenly it will feel like “50 people run into the room,” Ghofrany said. It can be a scary moment, and one Ghofrany tries to tell patients about in advance.

Though it can be indicative of something more serious, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists emphasizes that so-called “abnormal fetal heart rate patterns” do not necessarily mean there’s a problem.

7. You really will probably poop.

“I would never voluntarily tell patients that ahead of time,” Ghofrany said. “The only time I bring up pooping, ever, is when women start to push. And I say, ‘you need to push as if you’re pooping!'” Though there are no hard and fast numbers on this one, Ghofrany said it’s highly common for women to go to the bathroom during labor (“I tell them, ‘if you poop, you’re doing the right thing!'” she said), and stressed that it doesn’t unnerve doctors or nurses in the slightest. Often, women don’t notice, Ghofrany said, and if they do, they’re surprised by how little they care.

8. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a marathon.

“Sometimes I think we don’t prepare people for how tired they’re going to be,” said Anderson. Often times, in the final weeks of pregnancy, women get very little sleep, especially because they may find themselves getting up to urinate every few hours as the baby puts pressure on the bladder. After that, women (and their partners) lose sleep during the actual labor, which can stretch over several days, before they’re thrust into the exhausting job of caring for a new, tiny baby.

9. … But you’re stronger than you know.

childbirth 3

Tardio said she regularly witnesses the sense of awe women and their partners feel after birth: “They say, ‘I can’t believe I did this! I feel like I can do anything. And the partners will say, ‘she was more powerful and beautiful than I thought before.'” Birth, Tardio said, can be incredibly challenging, and after going through it, many women have a new understanding of just how strong and capable they truly are.

10. You might be puffy all over.

As WhatToExpect reports, in some hospitals, it’s common to give all women an IV during labor as a precaution against dehydration (although it’s less routine than it once was). “The day after, [some women] are very swollen … they have a big swollen face, or ankles, and sometimes, it’s just because they got a lot of IV fluids,” Streicher explained. Your body also produces and retains more fluid during pregnancy, which contributes to potential puffiness — many women sweat or urinate more after giving birth as that fluid leaves their system.

11. If you have a C-section, the catheter will stay put for a bit.

When you have a C-section, planned or otherwise, doctors generally put a catheter in your bladder, so that it stays empty and clear of the surgical area where doctors are doing their work. It’s also there so doctors can measure your urine output, and so that you don’t have to get up and go to the bathroom the first night after surgery, which can be very painful, she said. In other words, don’t be caught off guard if you’re catheterized through the first night after the surgery. “In cases where we’re worried about how much urine she is making, or where there might have been scarring, we might leave it in longer,” Pressman said. “But usually, it’s just that first night.

12. Breastfeeding can hurt!

breastfeeding

That doesn’t mean it will — some women have easy, blissful nursing experiences from start to finish — but plenty of women find it painful, and Anderson fears that some childbirth experts neglect to prepare women for that. “There’s sort of this cultural expectation that it’s natural, and it shouldn’t be hard,” she said. “But it’s a journey you go on together. Both parties are learning, and a lot of times it’s painful and challenging.”

13. There will be a “new normal” down there.

“Once you give birth vaginally, the structure of your perineum and vagina change,” Anderson said. “Typically, they go back to normal, but it’s a ‘new normal’.”

In other words, don’t be surprised if things don’t look exactly the same. Incontinence is another potential issue that’s seldom discussed, and it’s not at all uncommon in the weeks or months after a woman delivers, Streicher said (if it’s been six months or more, she recommends getting help). Another surprise? Vaginal dryness, particularly among women who are breastfeeding. It can catch a lot of women — particularly those in their 20s or 30s — off guard when they first have sex, Streicher said, and care providers often fail to prepare them.

14. You’ll bleed for a while.

“I don’t think all providers necessarily prepare women for bleeding afterwards,” Anderson said. “It’s normal to have bleeding up to four to six weeks after giving birth.” How heavy the initial bleeding can be is surprising to some women. “Although any vaginal bleeding can seem like too much after an entire pregnancy without a period, postpartum bleeding can be downright shocking,” according to a 2010 blog on the Mayo Clinic’s website. In many cases, it’s perfectly normal, but if you’re concerned about it any way, contact your health care provider.

15. Childbirth’s the easy part.

messy toddler

Though some women and their partners endure incredibly difficult births, for most new parents labor and birth are the easy parts, Anderson said.

“We, as obstetrical providers, put so much focus on labor and birth, and many families have really well thought out birth plans,” she said.

It’s all the work that comes next that is the real challenge.

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Items for your baby’s first month

There is no feeling quite like preparing for the birth of a child, especially for those who are having their first. Because of this, many expecting couples tend to make several trips to the nearest baby retail or specialty store to stock up on items bought on impulse rather than need. The feeling that you may have overlooked an important item can be incredibly intense. It makes it more difficult to determine which are necessities rather than just luxury items. When considering what to purchase, you have to stop and really think about what things you cannot do without.

One of the most important baby items to purchase is an infant rear-facing car seat. If the birth takes place at any location other than the parents’ home, the baby will need a safe seat in which to be transported home. Most nurses will not let you drive away with your baby if you do not have a correctly installed seat in your car. If needed, they will gladly help you install the car seat before you take your baby home from the hospital. That way you will be able to safely bring your baby to his doctor appointments as well as any family visits in the coming weeks.

Another item of business to take care of before your baby comes home is how he will be fed – bottle or breast? Your answer will impact many of your other baby purchases. Let’s take bottle-feeding. The number of bottles needed depends on how often you, the parents, plan on washing them. A newborn needs to be fed every two to four hours and will eat less than four ounces of formula in the beginning. It’s much easier to buy four-ounce bottles. But beware of buying too many. Your baby will grow rapidly and may outgrow your four-ounce bottles within just a few months. You know what that means – it’s time to buy eight-ounce bottles to go with your baby’s increasing appetite. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations of caring for your bottles will ensure that they last until they are no longer needed and can then be replaced by the well-known “sippy cup.”

If you opt for breast-feeding your baby, your costs drop drastically. Deleting the cost of formula alone will be staggering. Add in not having to purchase bottles, bottle liners and other assorted accessories, and you will surprise yourself with how much money you save. Breast-feeding is natural and, some say, the best way of providing your baby with nourishment vital for his health and well-being. Regardless, breast-feeding has the tangible benefit of saving you money.

Clothes and diapers are two necessities for a newborn baby. However, the amount spent on them may vary drastically between households depending on your personal preference. A newborn baby will most likely have its diaper changed with each feeding. You could wind up changing 10 to 12 diapers in a 24-hour period. Rather than always using expensive, brand name diapers, I opted for a generic brand of disposable diapers to use at home. I did, however, keep a package of the expensive brand name diapers on hand. These I used for trips to relatives’ homes where an accident of “spillage” would not be appreciated. This method helped cut down on diaper costs and many potentially embarrassing moments.

This same method can be used to cut costs on infant clothes as well. It’s extremely difficult to walk by a display of infant clothing and not want to purchase many outfits “just in case” they could be used. Don’t deny yourself completely. Splurge a little. Your child is only an infant once. You can use those special outfits for family outings or photos. Stylish attire can still be bought from discount or consignment stores as well as clothes more appropriate for simply lounging around at home.

Infant entertainment can send parents’ budgets spiraling out of control. From floor toys and crib mobiles, educational DVDs and the hundreds of different versions of rocking, swinging and bouncing furniture, it’s all there waiting patiently for you to purchase. However, I have noticed, as have many of my mommy friends, children tend to ignore the expensive toys in favor of something as simple as a blanket. I suggest waiting until after your baby is born before purchasing these items. That way, you can justify the need for the items. For example, if a baby struggles to nap during the day in its crib, an infant swing may be just the right transitional item to lull the baby to sleep while allowing the parent have their hands free. However, a baby who would rather sleep in its crib would have little need to be in a swing. During a baby’s first month, parents often get a handle on what captivates their child’s attention. It is easier to wait on some of the more expensive entertainment items than it is to repeatedly pack things up to return to the store. Though if it is necessary to return things, make sure you keep the receipt.

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