The secret world of the unborn - how your baby’s senses develop in the womb - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

The secret world of the unborn - how your baby’s senses develop in the womb

The uterus is undisputedly the ultimate environment for the development and nurturing of a fetus. The sensory systems develop throughout pregnancy and affect the brain’s development. Fetal sensory development Your baby begins to develop on a sensory level from the moment of conception. The first sense to develop is the sense of touch, emerging at 3 weeks gestation – before you knew you were pregnant. By the twelfth week, your baby can feel and responds to touch on his entire body, with the exception of the top of his head, which remains insensitive until birth. The auditory system is completely intact by 20 weeks gestation but it is a few weeks before the nerves conducting sound are functional. At 23 weeks your baby can respond to loud noises and may jerk or even begin to hiccup after hearing a loud sound. Taste buds emerge at 8 weeks and by 13-15 weeks your baby has taste buds similar to adults’. Anything you eat can flavour the amniotic fluid. While we are not exactly sure when the baby starts to perceive taste, we do know that a baby born prematurely (33 weeks) sucks harder at sweetened nipples and when saccharine is injected into the amniotic fluid in the third trimester babies suck faster. Smell develops alongside the sense of taste. Since smells are essentially chemicals that are found to be present in amitotic fluid, it stands to reason that your baby can smell in utero as the chemicals pass from the amniotic fluid onto the smell receptors in the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is protected by a plug of tissue until 28 weeks, but thereafter your baby will smell and respond to scents. Your baby’s tiny eyelids open at 26 weeks and at 6 months we know that babies can see light in utero. At 32 weeks gestation your baby can track a bright torchlight shone and moved across your pregnant belly. The sense of movement and gravity from the balance (vestibular) system in the ears develops very early and begins to function at five months gestation. Like the sense of hearing and touch, the sense of movement is relatively advanced at birth. The world of the womb Knowing that the sensory systems perceive the intrauterine world by the second and third trimesters, we may wonder what the womb world is like on a sensory level. The womb world is devoid of light touch - deep pressure touch and the sense of warmth are greatest inputs to the sense of touch. By the third trimester, the elastic uterus provides constant, deep pressure, like an all-day hug or massage. This tight hug keeps your baby curled up, with pressure on his back and his hands towards the midline. In this position, your baby can suck his hands and his immature reflexes, which are starting to emerge in utero are contained so that he feels secure. The temperature in the womb is always perfect, a temperature we call neutral warmth. Threatening touch, such as pain, high or low temperatures and tickle are completely absent during gestation. In the womb, the overwhelming sounds (about 85 decibels) are the background sounds of your body. Your baby hears the gushes of amniotic fluid and blood flowing in the veins and of course your heartbeat and digestion. These background noises contribute to the constant white noise he hears. The consistent sound of the heartbeat is a particularly soothing sound and babies who are played a beat at the pace of the average heartbeat (72 beats per minute) fall asleep easier and cry half a much after birth. Sounds from the outside world are subdued (55 decibels) but the clearest sound he hears is your voice as it is carried not only outside the body but also through your bones in the form of vibrations. Dad’s voice is the second most familiar sound to your baby and it is nice to know that within hours of birth your baby will recognize Dad by his voice. Because all tastes you experiences pass into the amniotic fluid, your baby is prepared for the flavours your family eats even while in utero. The preference for sweet tastes is hardwired and babies prefer sweet flavours, swallowing amniotic more vigorously after you eat something sweet. Even though your baby is interested in and tracks a bright light, the reality is that he is rarely exposed to bright lights and there is very little visual stimulation in utero. In general the womb world is visually muted and often it’s quite dark. There are no bright colours or contrasting shapes in utero on which your baby can hone his developing visual skills. For this reason the visual system is relatively immature at birth. In utero your baby is buoyed by amniotic fluid and whirls freely in a contained liquid bubble. Since water decreases the weight of an object by 50 times, your baby has the wonderful sensation of being 1/50th lighter than on earth. He is lulled by the constant rocking and swaying motion of this gravity-reduced world, gently rocked to sleep. When the lulling movement stops – such as when you rest or lie down, your little one may become wakeful and busy. During the third trimester, your baby’s vestibular system has matured sufficiently to sense gravity and to turn to the appropriate ‘head down’ position in preparation for birth. The fourth trimester By understanding the world of the womb, you can make your little one’s transition to the real world smoother. By Meg Faure References Eliot L. Whats going on in there? How the brain and mind develop in the first five years of life Bantam Books 1999 Faure M The Baby Sense Secret Dorling Kindersley (to be released 2011) Faure M & Richardson A Baby Sense Metz Press 2010 Graven S & Browne J Auditory Development in the Fetus and Infant. Newborn & Infant Nursing Reveiws. Volume 8, Issue 4 2008 Hepper P. Unraveling Our Beginnings: On the Embryonic Science of Fetal Psychology. The Psychologist 18 (8) Aug 2005, published by the British Psychological Society. Hopson J. Fetal Psychology Psychology Today, October 1998 Meisami E. et al Human Olfactory Bulb: Aging of Glomeruli and Mitral Cells and a Search for the Accessory Olfactory Bulb Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1998 Trevathan W. Human birth: An evolutionary perspective. New York: Aldine de Gruyter 1987
Giving birth - the ideal delivery room - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Giving birth - the ideal delivery room

The womb is the ideal environment from every perspective for your developing baby. It is warm and tight, with lulling movement and meets your little one’s every need. It is from this ideal environment that your baby emerges into our busy and much less baby-friendly world. Touch Without question the very best you can do for your baby in terms of touch in the first few days is to hold your baby skin-to-skin. The familiar feeling of your skin against hers will calm your baby. To hold your baby skin-to-skin, remove your shirt and place your baby naked onto your bare chest, with only a nappy or diaper on and a cap to reduce loss of heat through the head. Then place a covering, such as a loose shirt or blanket, over the both of you. When she is not skin-to-skin with you, you should swaddle your baby. In the coming weeks, this is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your baby calm and help her to sleep well in the weeks after birth. The snug sensation of being wrapped mimics the tight world of the womb. Use a 100% cotton wrap that has some stretch, such as a cotton interlock blanket and wrap your baby up tightly. We recommend the award winning Baby Sense Cuddlewrap Wear soft shirts and dress your baby in very soft outfits at these are the first textures your baby must get used to after being naked in the womb. Encourage your baby to suck on your breast or on her hands, a dummy or pacifier to sooth her in the early days. The mouth is full of calming touch sensors and your baby is used to sucking in utero to self-calm too. Hold your baby from the moment she is born, whenever she needs to be calmed. You cannot spoil your little one and she craves your calming touch. However, limit handling by all-and-sundry as this can overwhelm your young baby. Sounds of the delivery room Ask everyone to hush their voices as you connect with your little one. As soon as possible, ask to be left alone. Your baby will be soothed by your familiar voices. Use your voice to calm your baby – it’s a familiar sound, which is comforting for her. Sights of the delivery room Dim the lights right down as soon as your baby is born. Coming from the dark space of the womb, your baby will be understandably blinded by the bright lights around her. The best thing you can do is to make the space as dim as possible so she can focus without crumpling up her eyes. Do not let the nurses put any drops in your baby’s eyes, as this will also blur her vision. The first day is the perfect opportunity for you and your baby to connect visually as she can see in perfect clarity 22cm from her face. Smells of the delivery room The smell of the delivery room, with its sterile solutions and air-conditioning, can be very pungent. The most soothing and familiar smell is you so try to get your baby skin-to-skin, where she can enjoy the soothing smell of mum. Don’t use perfume in the delivery room and for six months after your baby is born as her sense of smell is very acute and even the most subtle smells can overwhelm her. Tastes of the delivery room Don’t wash your baby immediately. At birth, your baby is covered in a white, waxy substance we call vernix. This coating is easily absorbed into your baby’s skin and is beneficial for her skin. Research has shown that babies suck their hands to self-calm earlier if they have not been washed as they are used to the taste of vernix from in-utero. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum – your fist early milk is sweet and a flavor your little one loves. Cherish the first hours and moments in the delivery room. These are precious moments. By Meg Faure
Preparing your toddler for the new baby - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Preparing your toddler for the new baby

Expanding your family is exciting and a great cause of joy, but it won’t be without its ups and downs! Here are some tips to prepare your toddler (and yourself) for the new baby. It is perfectly normal for you to be worried about managing to have enough love for another child, so don’t fall into the trap of over compensating by allowing your toddler to always get his own way. If your toddler is still quite little (under the age of 4) adopt a low key attitude about the forthcoming arrival – she is still too little to understand the concept of pregnancy. A pre-school child is able to have more understanding. About three to four months before baby is due, tell her truthfully and directly about the coming birth (she will most likely be asking questions about the size of your tummy by now), but don’t go overboard with too much detail unless she asks. Assure her that having another baby will not affect how much you love her. If your toddler is in day care, or you can organise a babysitter, avoid taking her along with you when you go for your ante-natal checkups. You may have to wait for a long period of time before seeing the midwife or doctor, and it is unfair to expect your toddler to be happy and entertained in that environment. Use this time to start bonding alone with your unborn baby. Invite your toddler to help you shop for and set up the nursery, it will make her feel special and involved. About two to three weeks before your due date, prepare your toddler for your upcoming absence. If she has never been separated from you, start to leave her with her dad or a sitter for a couple of hours a day, this way she will be used to your absence when the time comes. Dispel any fears and doubts that she may have by discussing the arrangements as clearly as possible ( “Granny is coming to look after you while Mommy is in the hospital”). If you are planning a home birth, invite your midwife to come round with her equipment and spend some time explaining to your toddler what will happen when she arrives to take care of you. Keep her away from the hospital while you are there. You may be anxious about not seeing her for a few days, but it is more traumatic for her to have to say goodbye to you after visiting hours. She may not understand why you can’t come home with her, or why she can’t stay with you. Hospitals are also breeding grounds for all sorts of horrible germs, so don’t expose your toddler to them unnecessarily. Keep her routine and structure at home unchanged. As long as she is happy and content in her home environment, and has adequate emotional support, she should take your absence in her stride. Get organised – precook meals and stock up your pantry. Your toddler and the new baby When you return home with the new baby, present her with a gift from her new sibling. A doll and accessories is always a good idea. • Your toddler will play up and demand your attention just when you can’t give it, so expect her demands to intensify, especially if you have just sat down to feed the baby! To the best of your ability always attend to her needs first – this will make her feel secure. Have a pile of storybooks handy and place one of her little chairs alongside your feeding chair, so that she can sit with you and read a story when you feed the baby. This is a good habit to start, and she will start to look forward to this special time. When visitors arrive to see the new baby, let her show them to the nursery, and allow her to help open the baby’s gift, this way she will feel included. Avoid saying “don’t touch the baby” too much. She will cotton on that touching the baby gets your attention and will continue to do it. If possible ignore (unless she is feeding the baby a niknak, or holding him upside down!) Never leave her alone with the new baby. Use every bit of help offered. Take the phone off the hook when you are resting, or at least invest in a portable phone to keep alongside you. Limit visitors to a specific time of the day, so that you are not inundated all day. Visitors, while having your best interests at heart can kill you with kindness! Stick to your toddlers routine scrupulously – it will make the whole family feel more secure. Expect a regression in your toddler’s behaviour. She may demand a bottle or dummy again, or start wetting her bed. Keep calm, give her what she asks for, and know that it will pass with time. Try to spend some special time alone with your toddler every day, even if it means quiet time in the garden for twenty minutes. Look after your relationship with your partner – remember that you are in this together. Top Tip: When you are still pregnant, put together a little box of age-appropriate wrapped goodies for her (for example a small box of smarties or a toy bottle), and keep this in the baby’s room. When you are busy with the baby and cannot attend to your toddler (such as when you are changing a stinky nappy, or feeding), allow her to go to her ‘special box’ and select a present. The selection and the subsequent unwrapping and exploring will buy you the time you need to finish off your task. This way, she will only associate a positive experience with the fact that you are unable to attend to her immediately. By Meg Faure
Being a great dad - an amazing partner - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>Mom & Dad

Being a great dad - an amazing partner

When a new baby arrives it is not just the baby that is born. A new mother and a new father are “born” too. Dads – your role as a father begins not just at the birth but during the pregnancy too. Here are a few tips of things you should do – and shouldn’t do – to support your partner during her pregnancy. Do listen to friends and relatives who have been there before. Other dads will tell it like it is and won’t sugar coat things for you. Do understand hormones – your partner is going through major hormonal changes. If she asks you to bring a roast beef sandwich home and then refuses to eat it, just smile and be patient. By no means does this mean you can eat the sandwich though! Be patient and tolerant of mood swings and your partners’ unusual needs. Do be at the birth. It is an unforgettable day and most dads rise to the occasion. Do remember the little things. Little treats go a long way. Do get involved with the buying, but don’t be tempted to “pick stuff up” on a whim. Your partner probably has a set idea of what she wants the nursery to look like and the type of pushchair/stroller she will need. Do do your research. Do go to all scans, appointments and classes where possible. Do understand your role at the birth. Do touch the bump but don’t encourage others to, unless your wife is comfortable with all and sundry touching it. Don’t focus only on the practical things. While planning the route to the hospital and completing any DIY tasks are important, make sure you are emotionally available to your partner too. Remember you are in this together so keep talking to each other about how you are feeling. Don’t forget to look after yourself. Keep fit, happy, well prepared and healthy. That is the best way to be able to support your partner. Being a brilliant dad and supportive partner means you may need to make some small changes. Once your baby is born: Do put mum and baby’s interests first. Your partner is bound to be emotional and exhausted. Do do the chores. Help out where you can. The early days can be a blur of feeding, crying and nappy changes. Household chores can be difficult to get to. Do make time to play. Do spend your spare time with your baby. The thing your child wants most from you, from birth right up to adulthood, is your time. Do read to your baby. Do demonstrate and instil good self-esteem. Do protect your family. Most importantly, enjoy fatherhood and be there as part of the parenting team! By Meg Faure
Dads… how to handle the sleepless nights - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>Mom & Dad

Dads… how to handle the sleepless nights

Tips to make it through the tough days and nights of no sleep... I'm tired too...... Okay, so I didn't give birth or spend any of the 9 months carrying a water melon sized belly around with me but I'm still shattered. I have fetched and carried, tied shoe laces and cut toe nails for a beautiful woman who is going to give me a great why can I not be tired too. I have been told that until I breast feed 5 times during the night I am not to say the word tired!!!! Well, I say I not the guy who worries and carries the heavy cases and gets the 2 year old bathed, dressed and to bed every evening and wakes for his snotty nose at 3 or 4 in the morning whilst also being woken when the baby cries at 10........ 12 ......... 2........... 4............. and again at 6. I am even nudged at 2am to “please change the baby..........” So what tips can I pass on to you: the unsuspecting Dad? This is my way to make it through the tough days and nights of no sleep....... Headache tablets.....keep them handy. You will have headaches due to lack of sleep. Get nappies, bum cream, wet wipes/cotton wool, water, baby grow and all other essentials near to you for night wakings, so that you do not have to turn the lights on and burn your retina and more importantly can get back to sleep before you are too fully awake. Keep the light low and don't talk to anything or anyone............You will pay the price if you do. Keep warm (on the wintery nights) the cold seems to wake you up. Cat naps....even of 5 minutes on the toilet.....lock the door no one can get to you!!!!!!! Go to bed early..... don't be a hero......... Give her a helping hand......... offer drinks or a snack, it could help you to get more sleep. Alternate duties on a Saturday so you can sleep in. Relax and enjoy.........This will not last forever...............just take it one step at a time. Good night and sleep well! By Meg Faure
Sensory tips to ensure a comforting nursery - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sensory tips to ensure a comforting nursery

“Are you expecting a new baby and wondering how to decorate the nursery. Michelle Shaw gives us some great practical sensory tips on what you can do to ensure a comforting nursery.” Creating a breathtaking nursery is something most moms-to-be dream of. And it’s often the cause of much stress as eager and exhausted parents frantically rush to finish everything before their baby is born. Which is rather ironic considering that a baby’s needs in the first few weeks of life are very simple – and from a sensory perspective, glitz, glamour and the very latest nursery trends are the last thing a newborn needs. Your aim in the first few weeks is to create a calming sensory environment. Think of the womb. It’s the environment your baby knows best and your goal is to try and create a similar environment in terms of what your baby sees, feels, hears, tastes and smells. Colour: In the first few weeks think muted. You may have fallen in love with a bright primary colour scheme – but put it on hold for now. There’s a good reason why soft pinks, blues, greens and yellows are such traditional baby favourites -- they’re very calming to a baby. In terms of patterns, steer clear of colourful gingham and other brightly patterned fabrics – at least initially. There’ll be plenty of time later to indulge your creativity. Sleeping arrangements: Most babies start off in a crib or a cot. This is a place that your baby must learn to associate with sleep so don’t put a mobile over the cot and/or fill the cot with loads of toys (from a safety and a sensory perspective). You want your baby to sleep, not slip into play mode! Rather place the mobile over the changing table when your baby will be awake and ready to be entertained. Opt for linen that is above all soft. Remove scratchy tags and avoid blankets and pillowslips with rough appliquéd pictures – even if they are family heirlooms. Your baby’s comfort is more important. Other good ideas: Invest in a light with a dimmer switch. You’ll thank yourself when you’re trying to feed your baby at night. The last thing you want is to have your little one raring to go in the wee hours of the morning because you’ve switched on a bright light. And trying to fumble your way through the feed with the help of the nearby passage or bathroom light can be extremely exasperating. Curtains with block out lining are wonderful. They darken the room for daytime naps (think womb-like) and may even help to persuade your baby to sleep longer in the morning or persuade him to go to sleep at night if it’s not yet dark. If you’re using a heater, air conditioner or fan, don’t go overboard. The ideal temperature is about 20° C. By Meg Faure
What is bonding and why is it important? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

What is bonding and why is it important?

The different roles our senses play in bonding with your baby and how bonding influences your baby’s emotional development, which in turn is the basis for all future relationships. What is bonding? Bonding has been defined as “The emotional and physical attachment occurring between a parent or parent figure, especially a mother, and offspring, that usually begins at birth and is the basis for further emotional affiliation.”1 Bonding plays a critical role in your baby’s emotional development, which in turn is the basis for all future relationships. One cannot underestimate the importance of attachment and bonding, but what many people don’t know is what contributes to bonding, how you can enhance it and when it occurs. Bonding is more than a warm fuzzy feeling – it is a critical, deep emotional involvement with and trust in another person. It is a misconception that bonding is an event or occurs at a given moment such as birth. Bonding is in fact a journey, a process of getting to know, trust and rely on another person. The importance of bonding Your baby’s relationship with you is her first experience of people and shapes the way she responds to relationships for the rest of her life. From you she will learn about trust, how to read other people’s emotions and that love and care is a positive part of life. We know that the way a woman responds to her own baby is strongly influenced by her relationship with her own mother. If your mother was consistent in her care giving and was emotionally available, you would have had a positive bonding experience and will in turn pass that on to your baby. So bonding is not just important for your relationship with your baby but for the long line of mothers and daughters that will come after you. Bonding also creates expectations about people and what they are capable of. This will have a direct bearing on your child in his or her marriage and other key relationships as they will tolerate and expect things from another person based on their understanding of what love is. A child with a secure bond has the self esteem and confidence to explore the world from a secure base. A wonderful manifestation of this is seen as an eighteen month old plays. In a novel environment, she will start off very close to her mum and slowly move off to explore this new world. After venturing a few steps away, she will return to her mum who will reassure her with a tiny touch or glance. With this security, she will venture a little further afield. Eventually she will not even need to come back whilst playing, it will be enough to visually reference her mum and continue playing. The sanctuary of a bond allows children to securely explore their world and push boundaries, which is vital for growth and development. The different roles our senses play in 'falling in love' with our baby There are two aspects to bonding. The first is the emotional tone that you set with your baby by responding to her cries consistently, meeting her basic needs and reading her signals but there is also a sensory aspect to bonding. In order to enjoy interactions with another human being, we need to be able to tolerate and experience pleasure through the senses. The sense of touch is a powerful sense that is key to soothing and nurturing your baby. Baby massage, cuddling and simply feeding your baby all target the sense of touch. If your baby is hypersensitive to touch, she will have difficulty tolerating you in her personal space. This will result in you feeling ineffective as a mother and unloved. If your baby becomes fractious when touched, over sensitive to touch or is premature, begin with still, deep touch. Still touch is less threatening than light touch or stroking. Place your hand on your baby’s tummy, head or other area of her body and leave it there, containing her. When she begins to tolerate and enjoy this type of touch, you can begin to use deep massage strokes, always avoiding light, tickling touch. Smell is a fascinating sense, as it is the only sense that has direct neurological links to the emotion center of the brain (the Limbic system). All other sensory information is relayed through the mid brain and therefore is interpreted before a response is elicited. With smell, an emotional response is created before you even register the smell. Just think of how you can feel all warm and fuzzy just by smelling comfort food that your mum used to make for you. Likewise, we use our sense of smell to connect with our partners and feel amorous just smelling their pheromones. You will know that a central part of falling in love with your baby is drinking in that newborn baby smell. To assist your baby to connect with you, don’t wear perfume in the early days – let your natural smells be the one that your baby smells. Movement is the sense you will use to calm your baby. Soothing and calming your fractious little one is also an important part of being in a relationship with your baby. Other senses, such as sight and hearing play an important part in bonding as they assist with recognition and memory. Memory is important because it allows your baby to develop expectations of her relationship with you. The cycle of love There is a misconception that bonding occurs like ‘love at first sight’. The reality is that it is a process that develops over time. Bonding may begin in pregnancy or even before conception; it may occur like a flash at birth or may in fact take months to develop. Falling in love in pregnancy – Some parents have waited a long time for their little one and being pregnant brings wonderful feelings of joy. For many pregnant mums, the hormones and expectancy lead her into a love relationship right from the start. In this case, you may begin dreaming of your baby and as you rub your tummy feel the swell of love for your baby. This process has been fast tracked by technology – we know we are pregnant way before women in the past years did. By 17 weeks, most parents have seen their little one at least once. We share early photos of our baby in the womb and so begin to bond early. When your baby beings to move and wriggle you may feel love for this little person. In fact many mums mourn the end of those fluttery feelings after her baby is born. For others however, pregnancy may be difficult, unwanted or scary. Antenatal depression is being recognized more and more and we now know that it is not uncommon for a woman to feel very ambivalent towards her baby. Likewise, Dad’s may experience depression and anxiety in pregnancy and this will influence their bond with their baby at that time. The good news is that this is not reason to predict a poor or inadequate bond at a later stage. Most parents will go on to bond well with their little one later. Falling in love in the delivery room – The moment we meet our babies we expect to feel overwhelming love. For some parents, this is the experience, as they look at this tiny, beautiful, helpless being, they are flooded with feelings of love. Natural delivery of your baby will facilitate this emotional response as all the hormones released by birth create a flood of endorphins that give you a high. If the delivery is difficult or very long or either mum or baby is in danger, the feelings may be very different. Exhaustion and despair if things don’t turn out well can negatively impact on those love juices. Your feeling may be of gloom and being overwhelmed and this will mean you do not feel like you are bonding. On the other hand some mums have a wonderful birth experience, meet their perfect baby, and yet feel no love or great fascination with their baby. Once again, the good news is that this immediate emotional response does not predict your relationship with your baby and love and bonding may come later for you. Falling in love after a period of months – For other parents, love is a long slow journey. There are no A-Ha moments, just a gradual development of a love relationship. If this love develops within the context of a caring, consistent relationship, it is no problem at all for your baby. It is vital that mums know that not everyone is overwhelmed with love at the sight of their baby. If however, you never feel love towards your baby and your mothering role is a process of acting out the motions and you are overcome with depression or anxiety, you do need to get help for Post Natal Depression as this condition may impact on your baby emotionally. 1 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. By Meg Faure
Pregnancy expectations and preparations influence breastfeeding - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Pregnancy expectations and preparations influence breastfeeding

In South Africa less than 10% of babies are exclusively breastfeeding by 3 months of age (SOUTH AFRICA DEMOGRAPHIC AND HEALTH SURVEY 1998). The rest of the western world is not far from these stats, even though the benefits of breast milk are well known. One of the ways to change feeding practices is to begin in pregnancy with education and support around breastfeeding. A study published in Journal of Advanced Nursing (Vol 22, 5) revealed that a specific factors and attitudes in pregnancy have a significant impact on whether a woman is exclusively breastfeeding her baby at three months of age. The factors that appeared to be key were: a higher level of education, early decision to breastfeed in pregnancy intending to breastfeed longer Baby Sense encourage moms who are pregnant to start making informed choices and preparing mentally for their feeding (breast, bottle and solids) journey early. A great source of information is Feeding Sense, written by paediatric dietician Kath Megaw, Dr Simon Strachan and Meg Faure. Reference: Breastfeeding duration: prenatal intentions and postnatal practices Lawson K & Tulloch M.
Deciding on your birth options - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Deciding on your birth options

Hospital Birth This birth takes place in a hospital setting. The mother delivers her baby vaginally, with or without medication or intervention. The trend for babies to be born in a hospital is relatively recent. In the 1960s and 1970s many women opted for home births. While vaginal births can be done at home, an expected complicated birth or a caesarean birth will always be done in hospital. Although labour and delivery are normal physiological events, they are not without potential hazards. One of the advantages to delivering in a hospital is that there are facilities available for any emergency. Hospitals today are making great efforts to change the environment from clinical to more homely. Caesarean Birth Birth by caesarean section means a baby is delivered from the mother’s uterus through an incision in her abdomen. Sometimes it may occur after a long labour, or may be done on request from the mother, which is known as an elective caesarean. In cases where there is a multiple or breech pregnancy, caesarean is the delivery of choice for most obstetricians. Emergency caesarean section is performed when the safety of the mother or baby is questioned before or during labour. It can be performed under general anesthetic, epidural or spinal anesthetic. It is important to remember that a caesarean involves major abdominal surgery and finding out all about how it is done is vital in dealing with your fears. Home Birth Women who have had previous uncomplicated deliveries may opt for a birth in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. They also may wish to have their other child or children at the birth. Some may have had a bad hospital experience with previous babies, while others want to be in control of their birthing situation. The mother will usually be assisted by a midwife, with the back-up of a doctor. The mother will have to make sure that all she needs is available and on hand when she goes into labour. Bear in mind that over 90% of healthy pregnant women receiving good antenatal care will give birth spontaneously. However if things don’t run smoothly, you might need to be transferred to hospital. Water Birth The baby is born, through the birth canal, directly into water. It may be in a hospital setting or at home, in a special bath or a normal bath. Remember that water birth is not a method of delivering, but rather a tool to assist in the natural process of birth. Water has long been recognised for its therapeutic and soothing properties. The use of water during labour has been used for many years as a means to managing the pain of labour without drugs. Many women have commented on the soothing feelings and sounds of water. Water holds and supports you; it envelops and protects you – which is what you need when you are in labour. Active Birth This means you are actively involved in what is happening to your body during labour and delivery. It involves freedom of movement as you use your body in any way that makes labour tolerable for you. There is a strong mind and body connection, because your state of mind influences the state of body and vice versa. Positioning plays a big part in active labour. Left to her own devices, a woman will instinctively know which position to adopt as she listens to her body and picks up her body’s cues. By Tina Otte

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