Category: Newborn

Post Natal Recovery- Top 5

New mumNewbornTop 5 Tips

Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy. Although your tiny baby can be so demanding it is so important to think of your own recovery. Your body has grown a baby for 9 months, it will take some time to adjust to now not growing a baby. You will need to be in full working order to care for your baby so it’s important to remember yourself … You can’t pour from an empty cup.

 

  1. Eat well. Have a diet iron rich to replenish any blood lost through childbirth and the weeks after. Being low in iron can make you feel pants as well as making you more susceptible to infections. Also, eat high fibre and drink plenty of water. It will help with the dreaded first poo. Foods to eat: almonds, apricots, prunes, wholemeals, red meat, spinach, seafood, beans, dark leafy veg.
  2. It’s OK to not be OK. The baby blues can happen at about day 3. It is caused from hormones, sleep deprivation and feeling overwhelmed. You may cry if the toaster burns your toast and your partner forgets to put a sugar in your tea. If these feelings last it could be something more such as post natal depression or anxiety. Now we are lucky to be part of a culture where these issues are spoke about. Speak to a mum friend and more often then not they may be experiencing similar feelings. If they aren’t then speak to someone else about it. You will find someone who will say. Yes I know what you are going through. It will immediately elevate any mum guilt or rubbsihy feelings just to know someone is feeling the same. It is also important to tell your GP, health visitor or midwife how you are feeling. They will not frown upon you or judge you in anyway, they will understand and are there to help you. It is Ok to not be Ok.
  3. You can use tea tree or lavender in your bath to help with healing your stitches. Just a couple of drops. It is also very relaxing. Arnica tablets can be used to help with bruising. The British Homeopathic Association says you can take a a high potency powder/crushed tablet of arnica at the start of labour, one in labour and then for 3 days after. It helps with reducing swelling and bruising from childbirth.
  4. Stock your cupboards with sanitary towels. The ones that resemble adult size nappies or super thick mattresses are the best for your new Bridget Jones style pants. You will be grateful for the padding when you sit down.  Bleeding after childbirth can last for up to 6 weeks. Although it does reduce in the first couple of weeks. You may find that if you go for a walk or have a busier day then your blood loss may be more than a day when you stayed at home.
  5. After pains exist. You will have your baby and then your uterus, that has accommodated a baby in, will need to reduce back to its pre pregnancy size so will continue to contract after your baby has been born. Some mothers don’t notice them, where as some mothers (more commonly when it is baby number 2 or more) will feel as though baby number 2 is on its  way. Have some paracetamol to hand as it may last a couple of days, especially while breastfeeding as this is when it happens most. It is a good sign though as it means your uterus is going back to its pre pregnancy size but it is not something that many mums are aware of. Baby brain also exists so a take a note on timings for pain meds and also baby feeds.

 

Look after yourself and make sure your cup is at least half full.

Safe Sleeping… Top Tips

NewbornTop 5 Tips

They say that many moons ago you would put your baby to sleep in what ever you had available, be that a drawer, an empty cardborad box. Maybe a flower pot..? Maybe not! Now we have recommendations that have been shown to help reduce the risks of cot death in newborns.

 

1. Keep baby in a cot or moses basket in your bedroom for the first six months

The safest place for baby is in your bedroom for the first six months. You may have spent time and money on decorating a nursery, but there will be plenty of time to use it. Any way, you need somewhere to store all of baby’s new clothes and toys! It’s not unusual for babies not to settle in their cots, so don’t panic if it takes time to settle them. They’ve just spent nine months being rocked and soothed in your womb. See our previous blog on how to sooth a crying baby.

 

2. Put your baby on their back

When putting your baby down for a daytime nap or at bedtime, its safest to put them with feet at the bottom of the cot, on their back. Once they are rolling over, you won’t need to keep rolling them back. Well wishing grandparents may tell you otherwise as old recommendations were to put baby on their front, or side. This can actually restrict baby’s ability to move their head around freely from side to side, hence why baby’s back on the bed is best.

 

3. Make sure baby doesn’t over-heat.

It’s tempting to wrap baby up in loads of blankets, particularly as in hospital they keep them well wrapped with a hat on. However, it’s really important to make sure they are not too hot. Never have a hat on when inside, and adjust layers to suit the weather and temperature of the house. A rule of thumb is one more layer than you. The ideal temperature for baby to sleep in is approx 18 degrees.

 

4. Don’t let people smoke around baby.

We know it sounds obvious, but its always best to remind friends and relatives to refrain from smoking around baby. And ask that they wash their hands before picking baby up to avoid nasty smells and toxins transferring onto baby.

 

5. Avoid using cot bumpers and pillows.

Every store you go into has beautiful cots and baskets adorned with lovely bumpers, however, its best to avoid using these in order to keep baby safe. Nothing else should be in your baby’s cot other than her blankets and these should we tucked in well either as a swaddle, under the baby or around the mattress of the cot so there is no loose ends.

Those early days… Top 5 tips

New mumNewbornTop 5 Tips

The first few days for baby…

  1. Baby led feeding. Scrap any type of feeding routine, you can not over feed your baby in these early days. A lot of baby’s will lose up to 10% of their birth weight. This is normal. Anything over this your midwife will advise you accordingly.
  2. Keep your baby warm. As a rule of thumb your baby should have one extra layer of than you. Baby’s also lose a lot of heat through their heads so make sure baby has a hat on when you leave the house, especially in the Winter months.
  3. Night number 2 is typically a restless night. Use our previous Top 5 tips to soothe your baby. Just think where they were and they are now. A womb is dark, muffled and warm, they are now in a bright, noise world so it may take them a couple of days/weeks to adjust.
  4. Dry skin. A lot of baby’s skin is dry, more so if your baby was over due. The best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Not even olive oil or baby moisturiser. A baby’s skin has a certain ph, putting cream/oil on it can disrupt this balance.
  5. Give your baby cuddles. This point is my favourite and also quite an important one. You can’t spoil or over cuddle your newborn, no matter what your relatives might say! A baby doesn’t have ‘wants’ only ‘needs’. Even if that need is a cuddle, your baby is wanting to feel secure in this big scary world and wants to give you as their mum the privilege of doing that with a cuddle. Make your baby feel loved with contact, talking to your baby and lots of snuggles. This will help your baby feel secure now and also later on in life. 

 

 

The first few days mum…

  1. Accept help and support. The transition to parenthood is not always smooth, so take all the help and support on offer! Stay the extra night in hospital if you feel you need some extra help with feeding or just that extra night to recover. If friends and relatives offer to cook a meal, walk the dog or just to hold the baby while you have a bath – say ‘yes please’.
  2. Utilise a mummy support network. If you have attended antenatal classes (or pregnancy yoga, swimming, Pilates etc), make use of your new friends who are probably going through a very similar experience as you. Create a whatsapp, Facebook, text group and get nattering through those night feeds! Book dates in the diary to get you out of the house for a cuppa or buggy walk.
  3. Learn about what happens after the birth. Most of us are so focused on the birth that we forget to ask what happens post birth. Educate yourself on what happens to your body after giving birth, so there’s no surprises.
  4.  Speak up. Be honest with yourself and your partner! The postnatal period can be a very emotional time and we all manage very differently. If you are feeling low or need some extra help, speak with your partner or a friend and make use of your midwife and health visitor, they are there to help.
  5. Take it easy. Most importantly, try not to put pressure on yourself to achieve anything other than spending time with your baby and looking after yourself. It doesn’t matter if you stay in your PJ’s all day.

Enjoy it!

 

 

Milk squirt squirt squirt squirt squirt

NewbornTop 5 Tips

 

Some of the highs and low of breastfeeding…

 

  1. Leaky boobs. A friend once said to me that the first time we met I had a big wet patch on my boob. We are still friends to this day so be sure to know that you can still have/make friends even with leaky boobs.

 

  1. Your neighbours/ plumber/ postman your cousins cousins will know what your nipple looks like. I once answered the door mid feed to a fundraiser, after a chat about Guide Dogs, I went back to the sofa sat down to continue baby’s feed and there was my nipple there. Peaking out over my vest top.

 

  1. A tip that I have learnt breastfeeding my third is that my eldest 2 children love feeding me chocolate as they think they are providing their baby sister with a chocolate milkshake. All shaken up in Mummy’s boobies.

 

  1. So you do the last feed of the day and get ready to enjoy your evening run/gym session/ night out with friends (if you’re lucky!) but you go with one boob representing a watermelon, and the other a spaniel’s ear.

 

  1. Another tip, (especially for the lazy mams like myself) is asking your partner for a cup of tea as the baby’s “feeding.” When really you’re just enjoying a nice cosy cwtch on the sofa and want a cuppa to watch the end of Eastenders with.

 

  1. You finally feel ready for an evening out. You have been craving a glass of prosecco, a G&T and a glass of red and can’t decide which order to have all 3 in. Until the reality hits that you are breastfeeding and baby would not appreciate a proscco, gin and red wine milkshake.

 

  1. A good old milk squirt. In babys eye, in your own eye, in your mouth. A friend (who shall not be named) once told me she tried feeding her baby at the doctors surgery in the waiting room. She unclipped her bra, popped out her boob ready to feed and squirted milk all of the man sitting next to her.

 

  1. Hearing another baby cry equals leaky boob. That’s right, it doesn’t even have to be your own baby and baaaam a wet patch.

 

  1. Doubt that your baby isn’t getting enough and that doubt happens all the freaking time. Everytime baby cries, even when she has had a good feed. Your head is saying no no she is full, she may have wind, she may just be tired. Your boobs are there screaming, she is still hungry.

 

  1. And lastly, to end on a high. When your baby wakes up in the morning. All warm and snuggly. And you bring her in your bed for a morning sleepy breastfeed and cuddle. You just can’t beat it.

The Magic of the S

NewbornTop 5 Tips

 

No we’re not talking about the S that put baby there in the first place, or the old fashioned ‘Shower, Shit, Shave’ moto. If anyone’s not heard of this and thinks its some kind of backward cleansing routine this was the norm back in the day for what to do before going into labour; Have a shower, an enema (something in your back passage to make you poo) and a bikini line shave, preferably not in that order.

 

We are talking about the magical S’s that comfort babies when all else seems to fail. We’ve been there- considering all sorts of reasons why baby is crying; too hot, too cold, hungry, sore bum, who knows?! Sometimes baby’s just realise they are out of the comforts of their mummy’s tummy and they just don’t like it. It’s what we call the fourth trimester. There is this theory that us baby humans have heads so big that we have to be born before we’re quite ready. Just think most other mammals come out walking… Now imagine pushing out a walking , talking 1 year old… No thanks, I will take the sleepless nights.

 

Skin to skin- I always try this first. It can also help if baby is so upset that he/she doesn’t want to feed. It regulates their breathing, heart rate and temperature. Just don’t forget to keep the nappy on. The only thing that can be worse with a crying baby, is to be covered in wee and baby poo.. holding a crying baby.

 

Sssssshhhh- The sssshh sound creates the sound of being back in the room. If baby is crying really loud you need to Ssssh louder than them and then reduce it as they are quiet. We posted last week about an app that does all your Ssshing for you. I used to try hairdryers and also the vacuum cleaner. This was the only type of cleaning I did with a newborn, hoovering my baby to sleep. My bedroom carpet has never been so clean.

 

Swaddle- If skin to skin isn’t working then go for the swaddle. There are lots of youtube videos on how to swaddle. We can also show you how to swaddle at antenatal class. Thin sheets are always better to swaddle as you don’t want your baby getting too hot. This makes baby feel all cocooned like they did in the womb. Have a look on our Facebook page for more safe swaddling tips.

 

Suck- Babies find comfort in sucking so either let your baby stay at the breast for comfort or try a dummy if you’ve chosen to use one.

 

Sway- So this is where you cuddle your baby in your arms and sway, walk, swing, jog lightly on the spot. Create any movement that will make your baby feel like she has the motion of being back in your womb whilst you walk around Mothercare. You know you’ve nailed the sway when its so ingrained into you that you don’t even have to be holding your baby to be swaying. You just stand… talking… swaying.

 

And now mamas do all at the same time… ! You feel a bit crazy but with these little magic S’s you will have your baby settled, soothed and soundly sleeping in no time. Now spread these tips like wildfire, as you never know who you might save from ‘The Witching Hour’.

 

For more ways to prepare for life with a newborn come and join us at our antenatal classes.

Cranial Osteopathy

Complementary TherapiesNewborn

 

So what how does cranial work with children, what is it we actually do? 

 

The cranial bones of the head are designed to be soft and mobile so that the circumference of the skull can be reduced for a safer and ‘easier’ pathway through the birth canal.  During this process these bones can become twisted and compressed causing obstruction to their normal intended growth and development as well as impacting the passage of vital nerves and blood vessels to and from the head to the rest of the body, the gut for example, and above all this can be painful leading to upset and unnecessary crying. Other twists and compressions can happen in the whole of the body particularly the spine and pelvis either from the birth or else in a lot on instances from being cramped upside mummy during pregnancy.

 

It is important to also remember the emotional elements too.  Remember that before the cord is cut (and in my opinion for a long while thereafter), the baby feels what you feel, so stress whilst pregnant and certainly during long and difficult labours can all add to a heightened level of adrenaline and urgency in children, this is also the case in caesarean section babies where the transition from lovely snug, warm, wet and dark environment to bright lights and noise can leave the child startled and distressed – how did you feel when you were last really stressed, did you sleep well, eat well, feel like smiling for the world?

 

So in both cases of physical or emotional traumas, cranial osteopathy looks to restore a balance in the tissues, to gentle support and correct any strain patterns and to inhibit the side of the nervous system that has got caught up in all the stresses mentioned above.  Like a plant that naturally reaches for the light, the inherent health within your children is amazing, they want to be healthy and well, sometimes though they just need a little support and guidance to get there.

 

Cranial Osteopathy, whether treating new born babies or children (adults too) has a lot to offer the natural pursuit of health by treating traumas in a non-traumatic way.

 

BCOP (Baby & Children’s Osteopathy Practice) in Cheltenham provides help for many issues on a daily basis from colic & reflux, fractious and unsettled behaviours, feeding issues, sleep disturbances and achievement of developmental milestones in babies, to glue ear, speech difficulties, growing pains, again behavioural issues, tummy pains and more in older children.

 

Cranial osteopathy had its foundations set in 1902 and our understanding of how the physical traumas of pregnancy, birth and life’s knocks/illnesses, combined with the emotional upset of these events, helps us to help our patients reach and maintain their health.

 

Treatment is extremely light and non-invasive and time is spent to explain how ill health has arrived and how we can stop and prevent it happening again.

 

More information on the free baby sessions can be found here – http://www.thefamilyosteopath.co.uk/treatments/bcop/

 

I’m always happy to help answer any questions or queries so please feel free to contact me, Ben and I’ll help where I can either care@thefamilyosteopath.co.uk or call/text 07894 707745.

 

Baby blues or something more

NewbornPregnancy

I have been mulling over how to tackle the topic of Postnatal depression for weeks, what seemed a straight forward request has raised my awareness to the fact that we seem to know what post natal depression is, but do we really understand it?

I think its fair to say every mother feels low at some point post birth. A minor injury of a stubbed toe prompts woes of discomfort, so surrendering your body to pregnancy to then have a tiny human removed vaginally or surgically, is going to have an impact both physically and emotionally.

To begin I think its useful to give a formal definition for Postnatal depression: depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue.

So what are the baby blues? Do they differ? The Baby Blues tend to start day three post birth with the sudden change in hormones making you feel teary and overwhelmed, it tends to peak at week one with feelings of weariness, fatigue, anxiety and isolation, but then as the hormones settle by week three the high emotions begin to taper and should subside. Does this mean those first few weeks of Baby Blues do not require emotional attention? The baby blues look less blue and more grey to me, a limbo land; not being ok but not being classified as depressed.

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In this picture by Anna Lewis, @sketchymuma gracefully summarises the first week and its hardship, does any parent really know what’s going on? You have a new house guest, who isn’t leaving anytime soon, and you are on a crash course of getting to know each other combined with a rush of hormones, depleted vitamin and mineral reserves and little sleep.

 

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Research shows a lack of sleep can create clinical depression in the healthiest of people, during a study it was discovered that healthy adults when woken continually over a period of a month, without the demands of a baby or birth, were almost all diagnosed with clinical depression. Without pregnancy or a baby?! So who is responsible for the first few weeks being deemed ‘blue’ ? Somewhere around the 1940’s the experiences post birth were coined as baby blues. In his best-selling baby book Expectant Motherhood, 1940, Nicholson J. Eastman wrote:

“Most common among such reactions, perhaps, is what is colloquially called the ‘Baby Blues’.” Does this term now undermine the experience? Thankfully we’ve outgrown Eastman’s other advice on how to reduce baby blues, he helpfully advised women to limit themselves to 10 cigarette daily during pregnancy. Jeez!

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If the term Baby Blues can no longer suffice maybe Dr Oscar Serrallach a family practitioner in Australia has the answer. Dr Serrallach using modern methods identifies the demands on the body describing the process as postnatal depletion, which can develop into more severe forms of depression. To briefly summarise his work, he recognises the scientific demands to grow a baby highlighting the nutritional demands and consequences. He takes into consideration the reprogramming of the mothers brain for parenthood which shrinks by 5% to pass the enormous amounts of fats required to the baby; 7 grams of fat from the placenta travels to the baby daily, Mums zinc, iron, Vitamin B12 Vitamin B9, Iodine, omega 3 fats, and selenium stores are all tapped into (low selenium is linked to depression). Dr Oscar describes further demands beyond pregnancy each impacting how they will emotionally take a toll on the mother.

 

Perhaps this scientific approach educates society to accept EVERY woman will feel quite literally depleted after her birth. Perhaps through a universal responsibility to meet every mother’s needs she is free to meet the needs of her baby. Mothers are also then on the radar should moods escalate and need further attention.

OK so what can you do to help yourself? Because of course the experience of birth is not just the sorry state of affairs I have sold it as in the 600ish words above. What can we do as an expectant parent to maximise the joy it also brings?

 

  • Getting your support system in place is the first vital step! Know who you are going to utilise and make them aware
  • Learn key tools prior to the birth
  • Develop skills in how to protect your relationship
  • Learn to identify the six states of a baby
  • Explore the kind of parent you’ll be

 

Investing emotionally with a professional can help reduce symptoms of PND from 67 percent to 23 percent, explore beyond your traditional birthing classes to expand your emotional intelligence, which can be learnt unlike personality or IQ such an investment will not only prepare you for the realities but help you evolve as a conscious emotionally intelligent parent who exists in the moment making life more manageable and calmer.

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Jerilee is the founder of My Baby Brain. She is a clinical psychotherapist and mother. She has a wonderful outlook on the uniqueness and delicacies of life. Her mindful approach and clarity seeps through in her work. You can find out more about Jerilee and My Baby Brain here or by checking out their facebook or instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t wash your newborn

NewbornTop 5 Tips

 

My first tip in bathing your newborn is DONT. Unless you have a worse than usual poonami situation going on then it’s not necessary in the first week. A good old ‘Top ’n’ Tail’ will do. Here’s why…

 

That icky, cheesey white coating that they are covered with is called ‘vernix’ if I could bottle it up and sell it as a moisturiser I could quit my job as Midwife now. It is a natural moisturiser and forms a barrier on the skin to protect against infection. So as tempting as it is don’t wash it off.

 

Newborns struggle to regulate their body temperature. Have you ever seen a baby with goose pimples when they are cold? When a baby is cold they use their (brown) fat stores to heat themselves. Some baby’s have less brown fat than others, especially if your baby was born early or was a low birthweight. Exposing a newborn to water will cause heat to evaporate off their body making them cold.

 

Due to the way babies are still in the fetal position in the early days, it makes it harder to dry a baby properly. This can cause infection in hard to reach places such as their armpits, and their umbilical cord.

 

But…

 

After the first week or for those who have their new Shnuggle bath and just can’t wait to use it here are my top tips on bathing a newborn…

 

 

Definitely leave bathing for at least 24 hours to give the vernix the chance to be absorbed.

 

Fill the bath to its max level with cool boiled water. Check temp with your elbow, it shouldn’t feel too hot or too cold.

 

Preparation is key to success. Get everything ready, cotton wool, towels, clothes and nappy.

 

Hold off the products for the first few weeks. Yes they smell yummy but anything other than water upsets the pH balance on their skin.

 

Face first. We are a cotton wool companies dream as we say say one piece per wipe. So wipe the eye from inner eye to outer, then get another piece whether you are doing a different eye or the same. One wool for one wipe. Prevents against infection. Then dry baby’s face.

 

Put them in the bath for a short amount of time, a couple of minutes is plenty.

 

Make sure baby is dry paying particular attention to any crevices; under the neck, armpits, groin and the umbilical cord. Bacteria likes wet, dark places.

 

Get them dressed, swaddle in a towel then if needed, cradle them over the bath supporting their head and neck to wash their hair. This way they are not losing so much heat from both their head and body being exposed at the same time. Towel dry their head/hair, again to avoid losing heat.

 

Then give your baby a big shnuggle as they probably cried a lot!

Get your partner or hubby to take some snaps as you enjoy the precious first time bath and tag us with #bathtimeshnuggle for your chance to win a Shnuggle bath and more for your baby. For more details on the competition or to see that gallery then click here.

 

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The Bump to Baby Chapter

Winner of 🌟The Best Pregnancy Support Service in Gloucestershire 2017🌟, The Bump to Baby Chapter has something for everyone. 🌟For expectant couple wanting to know all you need to know about labour, baby and those early days we have midwife led antenatal courses. 🌟For a second or third time mother wanting to birth without fear after a negative birth experience. There’s hypnobirthing one day classes for the busy Mum. 🌟Free blogs with tips on birth and baby for all 🌟Buggy walks in Cheltenham for new mothers to bring the sisterhood in motherhood. So whatever stage of pregnancy and whatever number baby have a look at the page, website and get involved 🌟
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The Bump to Baby Chapter
Hospital Bag Items.

Here is a few of my faves ....

💡Lip balm- Gas and air can make your lips really dry. So can hospitals with their dry air.
💡 Earplugs/Eye mask- This one is useful if you need to spend any time on the antenatal maternity ward eg. induction of labour. Ear plugs are definitely not for after you’ve had the baby!!
💡Flannel/water spray/mini fan - You can get HOT in labour. Also hospitals 🥵
💡Socks- if you have an epidural or spinal. When it wears off your feet can feel cold!

💡 Always pack an extra bag to keep at home for a relative to bring in if you unexpectedly need to stay in for longer

💡 Dads/Partners- Pack yourself a bag too. Think change of clothes, food, toothbrush, food, drinks, food. Paracetamol is also a good one for you to have, hospitals can’t dish out the drugs to Dads and lack of sleep and hospital air can mean headaches.

What were your most used items in labour/birth? Midwife buddy’s - what’s your tips?? Or any pregnant mothers have any hospital bag Qs...

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