Liquid Gold: The Wonders of Colostrum - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Liquid Gold: The Wonders of Colostrum

What is colostrum? Colostrum is the milk produced in your breasts from about 16 weeks of pregnancy until around the third day after your baby’s birth. Some moms notice drops leaking from their breasts in the weeks before the birth, others don’t. Rest assured that your breasts are producing colostrum in preparation of baby’s arrival – whether you see it or not.Not leaking certainly does not mean that you won’t have a plentiful milk supply. Your body continually produces colostrum, so don’t worry that leaking will lessen baby’s supply. Colostrum is a thick, sticky fluid. Although it may also be white or even translucent, it is most often a buttery yellow. Regardless of the colour, colostrum is so precious that lactation experts fondly call it “liquid gold”. The perfect first food Colostrum is a superfood, tailor-made for a newborn’s needs. It is highly nutritious yet extremely easy to digest. A newborn’s stomach is only about the size of a marble. It can hold around 5 - 7 milliliters of milk on the first day, and initially it cannot stretch. This is why the low-volume, highly concentrated liquid gold is so perfect. Consider your colostrum baby’s “first immunization”. It is extremely important for your little one’s immature immune system. Some experts estimate that up to 60% of a newborn’s immunity comes from colostrum. It is packed with an antibody known as secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), and every drop teems with white blood cells (leukocytes) that defend your vulnerable baby against viruses and bacteria. For this reason, colostrum is extra important for premature babies. Colostrum is excellent for your baby’s digestive system. A newborn baby is born with what we call a “leaky” or highly permeable gut. There are gaps between the cells lining the mucosa. It is through these gaps that viruses, bacteria and allergens enter baby’s body. Colostrum plugs up these gaps like putty so that no harmful pathogens can pass through. This permeability of the gut explains why exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby nothing but breast milk), is so important for the first six months. If Baby ingests anything else – even a little water – this seal is broken and takes up to 4 weeks to close again. How colostrum helps prevent jaundice Your first milk is a natural pro-biotic and laxative. It will help baby get rid of the tarry black meconium that has built up in his bowels during his time in the womb. Pooing early and often lessens baby’s risk of newborn jaundice, and here’s why. Babies are born with extra red blood cells. These cells are the body’s oxygen carriers. In order to ensure that baby’s brain gets enough life-giving oxygen throughout the birth process, his body produces extra red blood cells right before birth. Call this Mother Nature’s insurance policy. As soon as he is born, though, he no longer needs those extra red blood cells. His liver breaks them down into a waste-product called bilirubin, which is excreted through the stools. If baby breastfeeds early and often after birth, the laxative properties of colostrum will help him flush out the bilirubin. If he doesn’t feed well (for whatever reason), the bilirubin is reabsorbed from the bowels and builds up in his body. This stresses his immature liver. If the bilirubin build ups to higher than normal levels, baby may need photo-therapy (special lights that break down the bilirubin) at home or in hospital. Newborn jaundice is your classic vicious cycle: baby doesn’t feed well and becomes yellow as a canary. The high bilirubin levels make him sleepy and lethargic and even less likely to feed well. So he becomes more jaundiced and feeds even less … See what I mean? Baby really needs adequate volumes of colostrum early on. Prevention is much better than cure. Giving baby the best start It is impossible to overstate the importance of nursing as soon as possible after birth. Babies are primed to feed in the first hour of life and so are your hormones. Early and frequent feeding is the best way to establish a plentiful milk supply, optimise baby’s growth, and prevent jaundice. Text box Around two hours after birth, babies usually fall asleep. Remember that a newborn can feed even when he is asleep or drowsy – in fact, they often feed more efficiently while in a light sleep and before they are too hungry. Help, my baby doesn’t want to nurse! Some babies are especially sleepy, perhaps due to a stressful birth or the pain medication their moms needed during or after labour. Don’t panic, there are ways to coax these sleepyheads to the breast. First of all, spend lots of time with baby lying your body. Relax, lean back, and put baby on your chest. This position usually triggers a newborn’s feeding reflexes. If the two of you can be skin-to-skin, with baby wearing only a nappy, it works even better. He will be nice and toasty, your breasts are your body’s built-in incubators and can warm up or cool down in order to regulate baby’s temperature. Amazing, right? Skin-to-skin contact also keeps his blood sugar more stable, plus it allows him to smell your milk. If this does not work, baby might need more encouragement. Hand express a few drops of colostrum into a clean teaspoon. Ask the nursing staff or your midwife for help.Try putting a warm facecloth on your breast before expressing, this will encourage milk flow. Important: don’t be discouraged if you only get a few drops, this is all baby needs.His tummy is minute and one swallow is made up of a whole 0.6 milliliters! Now spoon feed the colostrum to baby, or give it to him with an eyedropper or syringe. Often the sweet taste and the quick energy boost will be enough to wake him up and get him nursing. If not, consider contacting a lactation consultant in your area for help. What happens next? On the third or fourth day after birth, your breasts will start feeling warmer and fuller. This means that your more mature, more plentiful milk supply has “come in” to meet baby’s changing needs. This mature milk is less concentrated, but it is still Nature’s perfect food that will help your little one reach his full potential: physically, intellectually and emotionally. Marie-Louise Steyn is the author of ‘Breastfeeding your Baby’ (Metz Press).
bathing your newborn baby - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

bathing your newborn baby

Bathing your little one should be an interactive time of love and care and enjoyed by all. Like baby massage, it can be an excellent way to relax your baby, to help prepare him for bedtime. Don’t worry if at first you feel a bit nervous and anxious; it is quite natural. Just remember your baby has lived in water for the past nine months, so water is not a strange experience for him. Instead, it’s almost a familiar experience. how often and when to bath your newborn You don’t really need to bathe your baby everyday – your midwife or healthcare provider may recommend bathing your newborn just two to three times per week, increasing frequency as baby gets older. It’s always best to bathe your baby before a feed. If he is too hungry, try giving your baby half a feed before bathing him. In this way, his hunger will be satisfied and he’ll be able to enjoy his bath. Finish the feed after bathing. Bathing your baby too soon after a feed may make him uncomfortable. If your baby is frequently colicky in the evening, it may be worth bathing him in the morning because the stimulation of an evening bath can be too much for him. three step bedtime routine Bath, quiet time and feed before bedtime can help your baby fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer. bath Make sure the room is warm (24 °C, 75 °F), because babies lose heat from their bodies quickly, and have everything you need ready before starting the bathing process. Before bath time, put on your Baby Sense Apron Towel by simply fastening it around your neck and back. Keep the water shallow and ensure it’s at a comfortable temperature (37 °C, 98.6°F). Test it with your hand or wrist – it should feel warm but not hot. Keep the atmosphere calm and cosy, avoiding active play. Encourage dad to be part of the bath time activities, however alert him that his interactions must be soothing as opposed to exciting (easier said than done!). Use your hand to gently splash water over your baby’s body. Most babies enjoy stretching out their arms and kicking their legs, so take your time. Don’t forget to clean between the folds and take precaution when cleaning the head. When you are done bathing your baby, follow the how to use instructions of the Baby Sense Apron Towel. Wrap him snugly, cuddle and pat him dry and enjoy this bonding time. Remember to check that he is totally dry, particularly in all the creases. quiet time Go directly to your baby’s sleep space (already prepared to be a calming sensory environment with dimmed lights). Do not take your baby out of this sleep space until the next morning. You can help your baby wind down further by reading, singing softly to the Baby Sense Lullabies instrumental music or playing Baby Sense White Noise music. If he enjoys massage and finds it calming, massage him with soothing oil. Dress him in soft night clothes, a good quality night-time nappy and swaddle in a Baby Sense Cuddlewrap. feed Give him his last feed of the evening in the dark room in your arms. After his feed, burp him for no longer than five minutes. If he is not yet drowsy, stand and rock him or sing to him to help him become drowsy. When he is drowsy, but not asleep, put him into his cot. Repeat this routine every night. By keeping your baby’s sleep routine as consistent as possible it will become a very important sleep cue that will really ease him to sleep. references Faure, M & Richardson, A: Baby Sense. Metz Press, South Africa, 2002 Faure, M: The Babysense Secret. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2011 Goh, D; Howd, T; Mindell, J; Sadeh, A; Wiegand, B: Cross-cultural differences in infant and toddler sleep. Sleep Med, 2010 Kurtz, E; Mindell, J; Telofski, L; Wiegand, B: A Nightly Bedtime Routine: Impact on Sleep in Young Children and Maternal Mood. SLEEP, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2009 Mindell, J; Rivera, L; Sadeh, A: My child has a sleep problem: A cross-cultural comparison of parental definitions (pp. 478-482). Sleep Medicine 12, 2011 3103,3040,3016,apron towel" columns="4">
Your baby and handwriting - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Your baby and handwriting

Handwriting, pencil grip and fine motor skills are some of the most common reasons for referral to occupational therapy intervention in children preparing for formal school. You can prevent this problem by following simple and easy steps from your child’s baby years. There are two types of motor skills: fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills generally refer to actions performed by the fingers, wrists, hands, lips, tongue and toes. It includes pencil grip, cutting, manipulating small objects, buttoning, tasting, grasping. Children may have difficulty with these because of a specific problem such as sensory processing disorder or a naturally slower progression of development. Most of the skills mentioned, are expected of an older pre-school child, so why be concerned about it while your child is a baby? You can have a look at the Hierarchy provided below. The fine motor skills develop in a predictable pattern as from baby years. The young baby, of 2 – 3 months old, bats at objects, then progresses to grasp, to release, to transfer and to manipulate objects. Of course the mouth is included in most of these explorations which is important for the development of lip and tongue movements. You can ensure that the foundational skills are well-developed in your baby. The easiest way to encourage effective eye movements, head control (strong neck muscles), shoulder control and hip and trunk stability is to use tummy time as often as possible. Tummy time encourages the child to use the important neck muscles to lift the head. As the baby wants to see more of the environment the baby uses the arms to push the head to a higher position. This encourages weight bearing on the hands which encourages strong shoulder muscles to support the arms and the development of a mature pencil grip. When the baby reaches to objects and toys in this position, rotation of the trunk is encouraged which strengthens the trunk muscles and prepare the baby for rolling, sitting and eventually for an effective, upright posture. An upright posture is essential to support the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers when writing. Once babies can sit independently they are using the hands to reach for objects, to manipulate objects, to mouth objects, to grasp, to release, to throw, and to transfer objects form one hand to the other. By reaching for objects they also start to cross the midline of the body. All of these actions prepare the baby for the complex tasks of fine motor skills, and to use the two hands in a coordinated way. Activities such as cutting, using a knife and fork, buttoning, and many more rely on the ability to use the two hands in a coordinated way. You might watch your baby on the floor, trying to keep the head up, trying to move, trying to reach for objects and you might experience a strong feeling to help. However, reconsider and provide the opportunity for a little “work out” before you step in to “help”! Keep the important skills which are developing in mind and enjoy the journey of growing and developing more skills with your child as if the baby is an athlete in training. Of course, sitting in a stroller or car chair will not develop many of the above mentioned skills. The pre-crawl stage can be very challenging as the baby wants to move and is frustrated. At this stage they are often not interested in manipulating objects for long periods of time as their body is getting ready to move. This urge is strong and necessary for motivation to get going and to crawl. To put baby in a walker doesn’t encourage crawling. Crawling is important as the left and right side of the body have to move in coordination, laying the foundation of many other skills, including the development of a dominant side. You can put your baby on the tummy on a blanket on the floor in your house and pull him through the house on all the uncarpeted floors. The baby has to hold on, strengthening hand, arm and shoulder muscles. This will give the baby the enjoyment of movement for a short period of time and will strengthen the muscles needed for crawling. To encourage the development of a mature pencil grip, the baby has to develop other grips. These are: Before the baby holds a pencil or crayon, the palmar grip is the favourite. The baby grasps an object with the hand and all the fingers, as you would do when you hold a tennis ball in your hand, closing all your fingers around the ball. The cylinder or fisted grip is usually the first one used to hold a pen or crayon. The thumb is on one side of the pencil and the other four fingers around the pencil from the other side. At about 2 – 3 years these two grips develops into different grips which will not be discussed in this article – all are one or other variation of a clumsy mature grip. The important thing to remember when you want to encourage the development of your baby’s hand writing skills in later years is tummy time and the opportunity to manipulate many different objects. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marga Grey is the author of Sensible Stimulation. She is an occupational therapist who practised in South Africa for almost 30 years, working mainly with children and their families. She presented many workshops to parents, teachers and therapists and through her work realised the importance of the first three years as a foundation for development. This was also her field of study for a Master’s Degree from Wits University. She currently lives in Queensland, Australia where she works in a multi-disciplinary private practice, providing therapy to many children from 0 – 18 years. She is also the developer of CoordiKids, online programs to encourage the optimal development of children. For more information from marga Grey go to her website or email her at
Understanding the Sensory World of the Newborn - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Understanding the Sensory World of the Newborn

Wouldn’t caring for your baby be so much easier if you understood how your tiny bundle experiences the world? Well, by looking at a baby’s sensory world, we can much better understand and cater for our young baby’s sensory needs. It makes sense that caring for your baby with concern about how he experiences the world will help him both be content and develop optimally. In the same way that your baby is dependent on you for milk (nutrition) and love (nurturing), he needs you to help him cope with and make sense of the sensory environment. In the early days most babies have some difficulty dealing with all the new sights, sounds, smells and feels of the world outside the womb. Many babies become over stimulated with just an average day’s stimulation, resulting in prolonged crying (or colic). Your baby needs you to watch for signs of overstimulation and fussing and to calm his environment if need be. Responding appropriately when your baby is over stimulated and fussing will save you both distress and feelings of desperation that every mother when her baby cries for an extended period. How to respond: Hold your baby quietly and firmly Calm his environment to ensure he does not become further over stimulated Tuck his arms in or swaddle him in a blanket Play some calming music for your baby Put him in a baby sling close to you Give him something to suck such as a pacifier or his hands to help him calm The early days of fussing soon pass and your baby soon becomes more alert and is awake for longer periods but don’t be fooled, babies need an inordinate amount of sleep. The young baby is prone to overstimulation after just an hour and a half of awake time. After six months of age, your baby will manage to happily interact for two and a half to three hours as he approaches his first birthday. Your baby’s growing brain needs stimulation to develop optimally and you can stimulate him via the sense of sight, sound, touch, movement and taste. Give your baby opportunities to explore his world and have a variety of bought and home made toys available for interactions. Talk to your baby lots and use massage to help your baby learn through his sense of touch. Just remember that in the case of stimulation more is not always better. Time stimulation for when your baby can most benefit from the interaction, not when he is tired and irritable. By understanding your baby’s sensory world, you will nurture a baby who is more content but who also learns optimally from his world. Fussing signals Irritability Looking away from you Squirming Arching his back or neck Frantic movements Frowning Hiccups and colour changes around the mouth may be signs of distress Gagging Crying By Sr Ann Richardson Sr Ann Richardson is the author of Toddler Sense and also co-authored Baby Sense and Sleep Sense. She is a qualified nurse and midwife and has worked in the midwifery and paediatric fields for 30 years. For more information from Sr Ann Richardson go to or email her at
First 24 hours - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

First 24 hours

Your newborn’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Your newborn’s sleep

Nothing can prepare us for the exhaustion that sets in soon after our baby’s birth. The first week, we tolerate and cope with the lack of sleep, but ten nights of broken sleep down the line, most parents are feeling exhausted and the focus becomes on the big question: “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Sr Ann Richardson’s, co-author of Baby Sense and Sleep Sense, gives advice on establishing good sleep habits from the beginning. What to expect In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies. This gradually reduces and within a few weeks (usually at around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to stretch for one long stretch of five or more hours at night. This is usually the late evening feed (around 10 pm). Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up to feed at this time in the hope that it will do away with the 2 am feed, it won’t work! By the time your baby is around 3 months of age, she should be able to go for up to 8 hours at night without needing a feed. In time your baby will drop most night feeds but many babies only start sleeping through the night when they are on a full solids diet. So for three to six months one night feed may well be the reality - this feed is usually at around 2 or 3 am. Day-Night reversal There are many other issues that may concern us with our newborn’s sleep. One common concern with newborns is whether they have their day and night muddled up. In the dark world of the womb, little differentiates day from night, with the exception of how much mom is moving. And since movement is lulling, babies may in fact sleep more during the day and be more wakeful when mom goes to bed. Once they are born it is important that babies begin to differentiate day and night. Since newborns sleep almost constantly between feeds they will not be wakeful either day or night in the early days, however we want to encourage our babies to feed more frequently during the day and begin to stretch feeds at night. The way to do this is to feed on demand in the early days, but if she is tending to sleep her days away, and wakes frequently in the night for feeds, wake her to feed three to four hourly during the day. If your baby is gaining weight and is a healthy baby without concerns for her growth, leave her to wake you at night. By doing this, within a few weeks your baby should be waking frequently for feeds during the day and sleeping for at least one longer stretch at night. Too sleepy to feed well Another cause for concern in the early days is the baby who is too sleepy to feed well. If your baby is not waking himself for feeds at all during the day or night and sleeps through feeds, you may want to have your clinic sister check him for jaundice or lethargy due to low sugar levels (especially in the first few weeks). It is however very common for a normal, healthy baby to be sleepy for feeds in the early days. To deal with this, wake your baby fully from sleep by changing his nappy before the feed. Then don’t swaddle your baby for the feed, leave him uncovered and even leave his feet out of the babygro to keep him slightly cool and less comfortable. Another trick is to wet a piece of cotton wool and stroke his cheek or feet intermittently to remind him to keep sucking well. Difficulty falling asleep Your baby may develop a problem falling asleep between week two and three. Your previously sleepy baby is now more wakeful and getting him to sleep becomes an issue. This results in an overtired baby, which is one of the most common causes of crying in the first twelve weeks and can contribute to bad sleep habits later on. To help your baby fall asleep, watch how long he is awake. An overtired baby will fight sleep. The young baby under 6 weeks can only cope with an hour of awake time. So watch your clock and get your baby back to bed within an hour of waking. This generally only gives time for a feed and nappy change before your baby goes back down. Preventing habits from developing If your baby starts crying after being put down and you have fed him and know he is comfortable, do not assume winds are the cause of this disruption. It is more likely that he is fighting sleep. In this case picking him up will probably lead to more crying in the end. By fiddling with your baby and burping him, carrying him and fussing over him you could well end up with ‘colic’-like irritability. Instead, when your baby cries, listen to him for 2 - 5 minutes to see if he can settle himself. If he continues to cry, then sit next to your baby’s cot and hold his hands still and ‘shsh’ him with firm, deep pressure on his back. Your baby’s little hands are often flying around and irritating or scratching him. Swaddle him, offer him his hands or a dummy to suck and sit still, holding your baby’s hands until he is settled and falls asleep. In this way without over stimulating your baby, you will calm him and help him fall asleep without setting up habits that will be hard to break, such as rocking your baby to sleep. Night feeds for good sleep habits Finally, to set the stage for good sleep habits and improve your baby’s sleep from one week to the next, keep night feeds strictly business affairs. This means not interacting with your baby at night other than feeding. Don’t wake your baby for feeds – take his lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles. (your clinic sister will tell you whether this is OK depending on his weight) Don’t smile or talk to your baby at night – keep these happy interactions for day light hours Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer or a passage light instead of the bright bedroom light Don’t change your baby’s nappy – buy the best nappy you can afford for night time and leave it on all night unless it is clearly dirty with poo or leaking. The new generation gel nappies are fine to leave on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), do not ‘dummy’ your baby in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Rather feed him when he wakes for feeds at night, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed. Once he is over 6 weeks old, and is healthy and thriving, you can try stretching him with a dummy or some cooled, boiled water should he be requiring frequent night feeding (less than 2 ½ hourly). Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of exhaustion and desperation as sleep deprivation sets in; just know these early nights of frequent wakings are short lived. Enjoy and rejoice in your little one during his awake hours, and cherish every little bit of sleep you can grab! By Ann Richardson
Your baby’s secret language - Babysense
Breast Feeding

Your baby’s secret language

Wouldn’t it be great if your baby came with a manual! One of the hardest tasks of the early days is to understand your new baby’s language. While each baby is unique most babies shared a common unspoken language in the early days. Reflective function or the ability to read and understand your baby and respond appropriately is the most important skill of early mothering. By reading your baby well you will know what he is feeling and thus how to respond. Your baby will feel secure in the knowledge that he is understood and bonding is enhanced. If your baby is feeling happy and ready for interaction, he will make eye contact, coo and smile (if he is old enough). When your baby shows these signals, you know that stimulation and interaction will be well received. In this state, the calm alert state, your baby will be making connections in his brain and learning will occur optimally. Your baby is happy and calm. On the other end of the continuum is the crying state. This signal is obvious and no explanation of what crying sounds like is needed. Your response to the cry will determine how long your baby will cry for. When your baby cries, first respond by asking why: Is he hungry? – feed if three to four hours have passed. Younger babies or those not gaining weight may need more frequent feeds. Is he comfortable? – look at the temperature of the room and whether your baby is appropriately dressed. Is he ill? - if your baby has been the a cheerful fellow and the crying is excessive or out of character, take him to your doctor to rule out illness Is he tired? – babies need to sleep very frequently. Be sure to watch his awake times and put your baby to sleep frequently before he becomes overtired. Reference Baby Sense for how long your baby can be awake between sleeps for his age. Is he over stimulated? – this is the most common cause of crying and requires you to remove him from the stimulating environment and give him down time with calming activities. Long before your baby starts to cry due to over stimulation he will give warning signals that he has had enough. A new born will descend to crying and a toddler to chaos if you miss these signals. By watching for your baby’s signals you can respond before he begins to cry: Sucking hands Looking away and loosing interest in toys Holding hands together in the midline Grizzling or moaning Arching his back Pushing you or a toy away These warning signals are important forms of communication that help your baby keep himself calm and well regulated. When you see these signals, help your baby calm himself by letting him suck on his hands, giving him a dummy or removing him from the busy environment that is stressing him. You baby may also be tired and need to be put down for a sleep. Watch for your baby’s precious signals and respond appropriately, giving him the security that you respond to his needs. By Meg Faure
Why is my baby crying? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Why is my baby crying?

Crying is a primitive and piercing sound that is bound to get any mom or dad’s attention. When our baby cries, we naturally react to stop the crying. However it is important to understand why our baby is crying as well as responding to stop the crying. When searching for the reason, eliminate basic needs first: hunger tiredness discomfort caused by a dirty nappy, cramps, bloating, reflux, constipation, etc medical conditions When you have ruled out all these possible causes but the crying doesn’t stop, it is understandable that you may begin to feel desperate and at a loss for what to do for your baby. It is important to know you are not alone. In the first 12 weeks of life many babies spend some hours each day fussing and crying. This unexplained crying in the early days has been commonly known as ‘colic’. For many years it was thought that the crying was caused by abdominal discomfort or cramps but recent research shows that it is more a factor of the young brain’s inability to deal with stimulation. Your baby’s ability to filter out stimulation in the world develops over time. In the first two weeks, we hypothesize that your baby’s brain protects him from excess sensory info. During this time your baby is probably an angel, crying very little and sleeping a lot. But at around ten to fourteen days, this protection dissolves and your baby’s brain must start to filter out sensory stimulation on its own. Of course, being immature, it can’t and so your baby reacts to the world with sensory overload. From being that angel who slept all the time, he suddenly is more alert and fusses. He may cry for an hour every evening or as much as three hours day or night. This daily crying usually peaks at around 6 weeks and by 12 weeks the fussy period is over. The best way to prevent excessive crying in the first three months is to limit stimulation and keep your baby’s world calm. So how do you calm your baby who is already crying and unplayable due to overstimulation? Swaddle your baby – the deep pressure and containment provided by a swaddle is the best calming measure. Your overtired baby will then no longer be bothered by his flailing arms and will feel calmer when swaddled Decrease stimulation – do not over stimulate your baby when he is already fractious. Take him to a dim room with quiet lullabies instead of swinging him through the air to make him laugh. Hold your baby and carry him – do not worry about spoiling your newborn, as babies up to four months old do not form habits. However, they do have sensory needs and movement such as that provided in a sling is a great way to calm colicky newborn or fractious toddler alike. Lie with your baby on your chest – when the wheels are falling off, and mum and baby are falling apart, Dad can be a great support. Take your little baby and lay quietly with him on your chest and sooth him with your calmness and gentle touch. White noise – white noise provided by water, a radio tuned to static or a white noise CD/MP3 are wonderful sounds for calming babies. If possible play white noise at the volume of your baby’s cry and he will calm down. By Meg Faure
What the first 24 hours hold with your newborn - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

What the first 24 hours hold with your newborn

Your baby’s state – The last few weeks in utero are spent in a very tight space with contained pressure from the womb walls. In addition your baby moves down a very narrow canal during birth. All this deep pressure touch is very regulating for your baby. During the birth process, your baby’s wonderful brain releases stress hormones that are important for him. The combination of the stress hormones and the deep pressure put your baby in to a very alert state for the first few hours after birth. In this alert state, your baby will make eye contact with you, look at your face intently and even mimic your mouth movements! This precious state provides a wonderful time to meet and engage with your baby. Turn down the lights so he can focus on your face Hold your baby 20cm from your face so he can focus Spend time just looking and touching and bonding with him Feeding – Within a very short time from birth your baby must be offered a feed and latch on the breast. Although you will not have milk yet, your breasts are producing a wonderful substance called colostrum. Colostrum is made during the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first week after child birth. It has three times more protein but less sugar, and less fat than mature milk. In addition this magic early milk is full of antibodies which provide your baby with immunity to fight germs and bacteria. Babies naturally latch and if left on their mother’s chest have been filmed ‘crawling’ up to the breast to latch on their own. Feeding on demand or at least four hourly (if your baby is very sleepy you may have to wake him), is vital while establishing breast milk supply. Touch - Coming from the soothing sensory space of the womb, your baby will crave your touch. Skin to skin care, which involves placing your naked baby (with only a nappy) on your naked chest, and covering you both with a blanket is a wonderful way to ease your baby from womb to world. Full term and prem babies do well with skin to skin care and your chest will act as a natural incubator to warm your baby up. Even babies delivered by caesarian section can be nurtured on mum’s chest unless they are in severe distress. Sleep – After a period of calm alert state, you and your baby will be overcome with exhaustion. You will both do well to drop off to sleep. Your baby can sleep on you or in a crib right next to your bed. Research has shown that babies who room in with their mums in the first three days, breastfeed for a longer time in the first year of life. If you are exhausted and have had a tough time and need to sleep without your baby in the same room, request he is brought to you to feed as soon as he cries. Your feelings – Your emotions are overwhelming on the first day and may vary from elation, awe and love to disinterest, feeling detached and exhaustion. All these emotions are completely healthy and normal. Do not worry if that ‘bonding’ moment does not happen for you. Many mums take weeks to connect with their babies and fall in love. Enjoy meeting your baby for the first time, cherish that newborn smell and have confidence in your ability to care for your baby. By Meg Faure

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