Archive | Postnatal & Breastfeeding

How many layers? Midwife Michelle shares her advice

How many layers? Midwife Michelle shares her advice

Posted on 08 June 2017 by Kristrun

MichelleRescoNew parents are often unsure about room temperature and what to dress a baby in at night.

Current guidelines for room temperature recommend a temperature between 18-22 degrees. This might seem a bit cool but overheating is known to be a risk factor when it comes to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

A comfortable body temperature for a baby is around 36.5-37.5°C. The easiest way (especially in the middle of the night) to assess if your baby is too hot or cold is by placing your hand on the back of their neck, just at the top of their shoulders. Baby’s skin temperature should feel just right/warm to the touch. If too hot or clammy then remove a layer, too cool – add a layer. Hands and feet commonly feel cool and as such should not be used as a measure for checking baby’s temperature.

Don’t put a hat on your baby at night as any excess heat is released though their head. When babies get too hot they also tend to place their arms up above their head to let heat escape, hence swaddling the arms down inside a wrap if the room is too warm can cause them to overheat. If your baby needs a swaddle to help them settle, try gradually swaddling to a lower point on their body so that eventually just the torso is swaddled leaving the arms free.

For clothing, add one extra layer of clothing than you would be comfortable wearing in bed. Remember if you have the air conditioner on you will likely have a duvet or blankets to keep off the chill, so your baby will need a cover too. Make sure to sleep baby on their back at the bottom of the cot (babies feet to the bottom) and if using a cover tuck it in securely at the edges of the cot so that it is just up to the level under their armpits. Tucking the sheet like this will prevent it from rising up over your baby’s face.

As a general guide:

In room temperature of 18°C your baby will need a sheet and two blankets,

In room temperature of 20-22°C your baby will need a sheet and one blanket.

If you’re struggling to keep the room temperature below 23°C your baby will likely need a sheet only.

 

Happy sleeping

Michelle Resco, Annerley Midwife

If you would like more advise from our midwives, you can book a private consultation or pop along to our Baby & Breastfeeding clinic on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

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Emotional Support for New Mamas; Hulda shares her advice on Sassy Mama

Emotional Support for New Mamas; Hulda shares her advice on Sassy Mama

Posted on 13 March 2017 by Kristrun

sassyLastNEWS

“She had a little bit of (what most of us have unfortunately)… a good girl syndrome. She felt as though she should be grateful, even if the support she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers and not the receiver. Comments like, “He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest.” or “You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here, let’s go for lunch.” and “A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them.”

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is not supportive when it is given in this format. It is actually not helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was actually just in a very normal situation, baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him. But what has got to be remembered is that our parents grew up in a different environment to us. They received different instructions and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, their comments may not be what we need. So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself, if they will actually be helpful. For example, are they happy to just hang with you on your terms and expectations for the baby.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely: “My husband is so happy with how everything is going but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding.””

Hulda -

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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What is Is Delayed cord clamping and is it available in Hong Kong?

What is Is Delayed cord clamping and is it available in Hong Kong?

Posted on 11 January 2017 by Kristrun

delayed cord clamping

Delayed cord clamping – DCC

Delayed cord clamping (DCC)  is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord that supplies blood and nutrients to the baby, intact for several minutes following birth. The umbilical cord pulsates for some time after the birth and continues to propel blood into the infant. DCC has several benefits, including improving neonatal blood pressure and cerebral oxygen perfusion, as well as lowering the risk of necrotising enterocolitis.

The biological importance of DCC

The blood volume of the baby, the umbilical cord and placenta combined is around 450 mls. 300 mls is in the baby and 150 mls in the cord and placenta. This 450mls of blood does a circuit around the baby and placenta delivering oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the baby and taking carbon dioxide rich blood away from the baby and back to the placenta.

DCC increases neonatal blood volume by up to 30% for children born at term and by 50% for preterm infants (compared with immediate cord clamping). DCC is associated with a wide range of neonatal benefits, including: improved neurodevelopment,  improved blood pressure; improved cerebral oxygen perfusion, and reduced need for blood transfusions due to decreased anaemia, increased level of stem cells and improved outcomes for premature babies.  WHO recommends DCC, not earlier than 1 minute after birth, “for improved maternal and infant health and nutrition outcomes”. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recommends between 1 and 5 minutes.

Long-term outcomes

DCC is associated with up to a 60% increase in red blood cells, higher haemoglobin levels at 24 to 48 hours of age, and increased serum ferritin levels at 4 to 6 months. DCC helps protect very low birth weight male infants against motor disability at a corrected age of 7 months. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which seem to be critical in normal development of the central nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, haematological, immunological and endocrine systems.

Is delayed cord clamping harmful?

None of the randomised controlled trials published since 1980 support a link between DCC and symptomatic polycythaemia or hyperbilirubinemia.

Nevertheless,the proportion of infants that require phototherapy for jaundice is increased with DCC compared to immediate cord clamping. Therefore phototherapy should be available.

NICE recommendations

NICE recommends that healthcare professionals do not clamp the cord earlier than 1 minute from the birth unless there is a concern, such as about cord integrity or the baby’s heartbeat is below 60 beats per minute and is not increasing.

The cord should be clamped between 1 and 5 minutes after birth followed by controlled cord traction, which should not normally be attempted until there are signs of separation of the placenta if an oxytocic has been administered.

Umbilical cord milking

During umbilical cord milking, a healthcare professional grasps the unclamped umbilical cord and pushes the blood several times toward the infant over, for example, about 20 seconds.

Umbilical cord milking may improve blood volume more effectively than DCC in premature infants who are delivered by caesarean section. Further studies are needed to identify fully the place of umbilical cord milking in practice.

Impact on Breastfeeding

DCC seems to facilitate breastfeeding, partly by countering the cognitive and physiological consequences of hypovolaemia. Placing the baby immediately on the mother’s abdomen during the delay to cord clamping promotes skin-to-skin contact, which enhances mother-baby bonding, helps regulate neonatal temperature and heart rate, and encourages breast feeding.

Is DCC available in Hong Kong?

Yes! In the public sector DCC is becoming more widely available and in some hospitals is heading toward standard practice. In the private sector availability is dependent on your doctor’s preference. This is something that should be discussed beforehand and expressed in your birth plan.

Cord milking is a somewhat new concept to Hong Kong, but with the childbearing community increasingly demanding this practice, it is likely to gain popularity and therefore benefit future generations.

The Annerley team

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

References

Hutchon DJR. Immediate or early cord clamping vs delayed clamping. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2012;32:724-9.

World Health Organisation. Guideline: Delayed umbilical cord clamping for improved maternal and infant health and nutrition outcomes. Geneva: World

Health Organization; 2014.

Leslie MS. Perspectives on Implementing Delayed Cord Clamping. Nursing for Women’s Health 2015;19:164-76.

NICE. Intrapartum care: care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth December 2014

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG190/chapter/1-Recommendations#third-stage-of-labour Accessed July 2015.

Katheria AC, Truong G, Cousins L, et al. Umbilical Cord Milking Versus Delayed Cord Clamping in Preterm Infants. Pediatrics 2015;136:61-9.

Amitay EL, Keinan-Boker L. Breastfeeding and childhood leukemia incidence: A meta-analysis and systematic review. JAMA Pediatrics 2015;169:e151025.

McDonald SJ, Middleton P, Dowswell T, et al. Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes. Cochrane

Database of Systematic Reviews 2013;7:CD004074.

Weeks AD, Watt P, Yoxall CW, et al. Innovation in immediate neonatal care: development of the Bedside Assessment, Stabilisation and Initial

Cardiorespiratory Support (BASICS) trolley. BMJ Innovations 2015;1:53-8.

Uwins C, Hutchon D. Delayed umbilical cord clamping after childbirth: potential benefi ts to baby’s health. Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics

2014;5:161-71.

Pelaez-Nogueras M, Gewirtz J, Field T, et al. Infants’ preference for touch stimulation in face-to-face interactions. Journal of Applied Developmental

Psychology 1996;17:199–213.

Lagercrantz H, Changeux J-P. The emergence of human consciousness: From fetal to neonatal life. Pediatric Research 2009;65:255–60.

Hood B. The Domesticated Brain Pelican. 2014.

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Lactation consultants

Lactation consultants

Posted on 16 December 2016 by Kristrun

sue1One of the biggest learning curves for me to be in Hong Kong is the knowledge and understanding I have gained through the years about other peoples traditions, systems, languages, homes etc. I had never heard of swaddling, sleep training, breastfeeding by the clock or lactation consultants – and I could not imagine could it would be offered by anyone else but midwives. Because where I come from all the postnatal care is taken care of by midwives where they have years and years of helping women to breastfeed – and they have done a magnificent job as in Iceland everybody will breastfeed. They will breastfeed on the go, in public, at a friends house and anywhere a baby gets hungry.

Now I know that in some countries there are no midwives, and in some countries the midwives are only working in hospitals and not in the communities. So lactation consultants are available for breastfeeding help and for advocating for breastfeeding and offering help on-site.

Today is a big day at Annerley, we have three midwives – all of them have spent countless hours on supporting and hands on helping with breastfeeding out in the community – but today midwife number two became registered as a lactation consultant. Well done Sue Pollard! May we keep helping women of Hong Kong to breastfeed their babies as long as they like.

Keep breastfeeding!

Kristrun Xx

More information about our breastfeeding support at home  and in our clinic.

 

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Make Hong Kong your village

Make Hong Kong your village

Posted on 22 November 2016 by hulda

When I had my first two kids, I lived in a village.  Most mornings I walked to the bakery and bought fresh breads and had coffee while I watched the fellow villagers pass by and my baby slept in the pram.  Then it was the swimming pool where it was perfect to go for a soak where the older one could sit by himself and the other one was attached to me. Friends would gather there with their kids at the same time each morning usually. Sometimes it was quite hard work when there were two of them (14 months apart), pushing the pram in the 20 cm high snow.  I managed to get a seat to attach on top of the pram, so that one could sit there while the other one slept.  For lunch, luckily, the village was so small that my husband could come home and we all had lunch together and then one of the kids neatly would vomit on his jacket before he set off again for work at 1pm.

 

New mum

It takes a village

We usually slept in if the kids allowed it.  Everyone woke a little when my husband went to work but then we all continued to sleep a little longer because we had after all woken twice to feed in the middle of the night so we were tired.  It was not like there was anything particular that needed to be done, aside from the housework, which I have no memory of enjoying, but somehow mostly managed to do. I think my father in law found my lack of housewife skills slightly alarming, but probably also understood that when people are tired, doing the dishes is not priority.

 

Sure, it was sometimes tough.  Breastfeeding was not easy.  Guilt.  Going to the gym?  Tell me another joke.  The first time I went to the volleyball exercise that I had wanted to do for so long my 18 month old son ate 20 contraception pills that I of course was taking (as not wanting to have three kids in 3 years), pills that I thought I kept well stored in the bathroom cabinet.  But he had no problem climbing up there.  The doctor, when I called him, told me “well he might develop boobs”.

 

What was so good about the village then? 

Well, people somehow look after you.  They notice when you don’t show up in the pool many days in a row, or in the mummy mornings on Wednesdays.  They pop in unannounced and have a short coffee.  Your family and friends sometimes babysit.  People care.  Distance is short, so time spent on traveling is short. You meet your family for lunch.  And so it goes. Even when it snows, you still go out with the kids, just for the fresh air or change of scene.

 

I meet many mums who are semi-happy in Hong Kong.  They find life here difficult.  The taxis are not fitted for car seats.  The heat. The rain.  The steps.  The people on the streets.  The urban setting.  Long workdays are not family friendly.  “Well you know, it is Hong Kong” – they say.  This is why it is important to find the village side of Hong Kong.  It is true that many things here are not easy.  Maternity leave here is short and paternity leave hardly exists.  Plus, no matter where you live, life can be pretty tough with a newborn.  But there are things to do that can make our big city a village too, and somehow we seem to forget it at times.

 

  1. Take it easy.  A confinement period is not so silly to do.  You may want to adjust it to your needs, but Hello Magazine offers a very unrealistic picture of the new mother, all perfect and busy straight after birth.
  2. Sleep in. Wake up if you want if you have a partner that is going to work, but then try and get a few more minutes in bed if you are tired.  After all, there may be help with the housework.
  3. Once you feel ready, go out every day, at least once.  Is there a swimming pool in your building or district?  Around 4 weeks after birth you can go and at least enjoy the outdoors, and soon enough dip in.
  4. Too hot by the pool, even if you are in it?  Why not find a windier place.  The circle around the Peak for example, or the promenade in central or Pok Fu Lam, – or any promenade for that matter. Babies tend to sleep very well in prams.
  5. If you live close to one, beaches tend to have wind too.
  6. After the first weeks, meet your partner for lunch.  Every day.  Or every other day. He/she too, needs to eat.
  7. Have an afternoon nap.
  8. Meet a friend regularly, within slightly flexible timeslots though.  Someone who also has a baby and is understanding of how long it may take to get out of the house.  Great it if it someone that you can walk to meet.
  9. But on that, have a bag ready by the door with all the things needed for an outing with a baby and just leave, when you want to.  No “what if he needs to feed”.  Just go.
  10. Give yourself time to be not-so-perfect.  Take one day at a time and do little things that please you.
  11. Taxis do fit car seats.  It just takes you one extra minute to fit them in than it would in Melbourne.
  12. And yes the baby gets hot in a carrier. But that does not mean you cannot go out, just do short walks at a time.
  13. It is also perfectly acceptable, if you like it, do do nothing for days, except just enjoy your baby at home.
  14. Dinner is often more enjoyable if the appetizer is given, then baby is fed, then the meal is had.  Otherwise you may spend the whole dinner trying to settle a half hungry, half tired baby.
  15. The baby needs very little stimulation from classes and hangouts.  It just really needs you.  So pick your activities based on what you enjoy doing. A happy parent usually makes a happy baby.

 

The truth is that sometimes you have to create the life you want to live.  Find ways to be balanced and happy as a person, mother, in your family.  Pregnancy, birth and the period after often throws unexpected challenges at us and it can be easy to not see simple solutions that will make life more enjoyable.  Latest research shows us that the infant years have very strong effects on our lives later on.  It is hugely important to be alerted and alarmed, equipped and supported so that postnatal depression will not develop, or if it does, to be able to seek help and assistance as easily as possible.

For some the strongest prevention is ordinary life, in a village, with kind people in it.  That village may have to be created by you.  But it is worth it.

Hulda Thorey – midwife

November 2016

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Breastfeeding was hard for me too

Breastfeeding was hard for me too

Posted on 09 January 2016 by hulda

Sometimes I think back about why I managed to breastfeed my babies, despite the fact that I had nipple pain for weeks with each one of them, little milk overall and always went to work reasonably early after giving birth.  I have come to the conclusion that it was because of a few things that I was lucky to have – mainly the environment that I was in and the mindset of the people around me.

Everyone just does it, in Iceland.  In my home country, 79% of women still breastfeed at 5 months, although this number is today even higher, 35% of them exclusively do so.  Two thirds of women exclusively breastfeed for the first two months and pretty much everywhere you go, it would not be considered inappropriate to breastfeed. In hospitals, no-one ever asks you if you are going to breastfeed, it is just assumed that you will.

 

Breastfeeding in Iceland 2004 to 2008

 

It is done reasonably discretely, boobs are not just visible to everyone, but even in a meeting or a coffee break at work, a breastfeeding mother would not be inappropriate, as long as she otherwise is doing her job.  Pumping milk is not that common, women just breastfeed.  When they want to go somewhere, the milk travels with them, so planning is not all that important.  “The baby should not feed for at least another hour” – is not a sentence you would hear often in Iceland.  You just feed when the baby needs feeding.  Who wants a baby to cry when it is easy to stop it?  It is true that the maternity leave is longer there, so it is easier for that reason.  But the great emphasis on “is the baby getting enough?” is definitely not as common in Scandinavia as it is in Hong Kong.

When I started to work in Hong Kong after having my 3rd and 4th babies, I had so little breastmilk, i.e. there was exactly as much milk as they needed but not really a drop more, I could have easily have been totally discouraged by it.  I never was able to pump more than 60 ml of milk when I was trying to store milk for them in advance of working.  But I just decided to try it out.  It turned out that they adjusted to it just fine.  And then came solid food and on weekends there was catching up that was lovely for us all.  But the health clinics were certainly not very helpful in supporting this system, I must say.

The other thing that helped me, was the fact that I did in fact have very good knowledge and some skills in breastfeeding, through my work.  In Iceland, the midwives’ training includes academic study and then weeks of breastfeeding assistance on the postnatal wards and during homevisits, to be able to sit your midwife exams.  This has of course greatly contributed to the support that the mothers in Iceland are getting and the statistics reflect that.  However, it is of course different when it is your own body and baby, and we all need some form of support.  So I was lucky, that I had this, offered by the government.

Yet another part was the general mindset of not bothering with the details.

When you read about that you must cover the whole areola and that you must fully empty a breast, feed for certain amount of time etc.  -  although all of these are valid advise, you can easily get a bit hooked on this and worry that you are not doing it right.  Especially if the baby is unhappy and crying, other family members have other opinions or generally the feeling when feeding, is not good.  Areolas are greatly different between women and some women have a fast letdown reflex and plenty of milk, so their feeds take a very short time, whereas others take much longer to drain breasts to the baby’s needs.

So when you can -  take the advice and educate yourself, but then use it appropriately. For example in my case, I really had to swap between the breasts often to keep one of my babies happy.  Otherwise she would simply fall asleep and then be hungry shortly after.  But when I swapped, she was much happier.  I made sure to try and empty one of the breast at least, each time, but this again, is sometimes hard to evaluate, when you are a first time mother.  ‘Empty’ to me, was a rather difficult concept – are the breasts ever empty?  My other kids would feed more “typically” i.e. all of the standard breastfeeding advice was very appropriate and useful. But flexibility was needed.

The same goes for foremilk and hindmilk - often it seemed hard to know when it was long enough a feed to be considered to be giving hindmilk.  But when I stopped agonizing over these details, and rather focus on the baby and how she responded, gained weight and slept – then it was all a bit easier.  The information was useful, but I needed to step away from it and be able to just try and test what worked.

And one last thing – the position to feed from.  Basically, especially when I once almost had mastitis after being with another woman in labour for 20 hours, what really did the trick was to feed the baby in ALL sorts of positions.  I mean, almost nothing short of a headstand.  In the bathtub, on the sofa, in a chair, leaning over her completely, upside down on the bed – the whole lot, many times over.

Being able to extend the night by feeding lying down in bed with the baby – what a glorious thing! If someone had come and told me off for co-sleeping, I am not sure what I would have done.  But luckily, no one would have even dared to so so!

A good midwife or a lactation consultant will tell you all of this.  You can read about it too.

To actually do it, though, and release the ‘strictness’ and let go of how you ‘should’ do things, is something you must do yourself.

This is just my story, I hope it helps you.  Let’s try and make Hong Kong more like Iceland and Scandinavia, where breastfeeding is just simply no big deal, women can do it their own way, whenever and wherever they want to, based on the baby’s needs.

Hulda x

 

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Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Bonding with Your Baby during the 4th Trimester: Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 23 December 2015 by Kristrun

fourthTrimester“In the fourth trimester – the first weeks after the baby is born and is at home with you – there are many things you can do to make the transition easier and less stressful for both you and the baby and the family as a whole. Always keep in mind that the baby is adjusting and learning and finding its own feet and for the time being, the parents are its link to being able to do so. The baby relies on you 100 percent and tries to message you in the best way it possibly can. If you ignore or rush too much through those signals, or perhaps follow advice from others who are maybe not in the same situation, it may well result in a stressful situation, more cries from the baby and a delayed bonding between the two of you.”

Hulda -

To read the full article on Sassy Mama - click here

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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About support

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About support

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Kristrun

hthorey

Most of us have many loving family members and friends that surround us when we have a  baby. Even if we are living away from home, often our nearest and dearest will come to visit to offer their help and support and of course many others want to feel involved and offer advice. I remember it being so nice when the extended family offered to help and even just spend some time at home with us and the new baby, once some time had passed and we were getting used to this new reality. Luckily for most new parents, the support is genuine and needed.

Last month, I was seeing a woman at home to help her with breastfeeding.  She was having a hard time adjusting her sleep to the baby and breastfeeding was more tiresome than she had expected.  I guess we have all been there at some stage.  What caught my attention was that she kept repeating to me how supportive her family was and that she really should be grateful.

She had a little bit of – again what most of us have unfortunately – the ‘good girl’ syndrome.

She felt she should be grateful, even though actually the support that she was getting was entirely on the terms of the givers – not the receiver. The kind of things she was hearing, I have heard many times before….

“He is just hungry, I really think we should give him some formula, you have had no rest“

“If you want us to help, we need to be able to soothe him, and obviously we cannot breastfeed him.“

“You really should go out more, it will do you good, plus we have not seen any of Hong Kong during our stay here…. let’s go for lunch.“

“A baby should self settle, crying does no harm to them“

The thing is, all of the above can be said and may sometimes be appropriate, but it is NON-SUPPORT when it is given in this format.  It is not actually helpful, especially in a case like this, where the mum was just in a very normal situation – baby was sleeping well but waking up reasonably often, gaining loads of weight and nothing wrong with him.  But what has got to be remembered is that our parents’ generation grew up in a different environment to us.  They received very different instructions and advice from those in the know and sometimes, despite their best intentions to support, they just don’t actually know how to.  Hence the comments that don’t help.  So it is important, before inviting them, to ask yourself if they will actually be helpful, i.e. are they happy to just hang around you on yours and your baby’s terms.

Another comment I had from a lady not so long ago threw me completely.

“My husband is so happy how everything is going well but he really thinks that I should stop breastfeeding now“.

The couple had a two months old baby that was happily breastfeeding, no problems at all.  The opinion expressed, was because the husband was uncomfortable with his wife breastfeeding right from the start – happy to tolerate it for a certain amount of time – but was of the opinion that it was inappropriate and unnecessary. He was formula-fed himself, as his mother had reminded him, and he really did not see the need for it.

A part of me wanted to scream.  Sorry – but I really feel that that this is simply not even something that anyone, but the mum, can even have an opinion about, let alone express it to the mum. How dare anyone suggest that she should not feed her infant when everything about it is going very well?

A part of me remembered that this is actually, all about how people are raised, what information they are given and so on.  Of course this dad really must not know any better.

So parents, we really do need to educate our kids well.  Raise them up in an environment where this is not even a debate.  That they understand that breastfeeding is normal for babies for as long as mum and baby want it and nobody should question that.  Equally, that when someone bottlefeeds their baby, they are not entitled, as kids or adults, to judge that.

And when we grow old ourselves, let’s try and remember, when our kids have children, that we can support them a lot.  But it is not our role to tell them how to do things.

“Surely this kid needs to socialize“ – I was once told about a 3 week old.
Seriously!

Hulda x

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First weeks of parenthood

First weeks of parenthood

Posted on 16 July 2015 by Kristrun

parenthoodWhen you have just given birth, a new and exciting, but also quite demanding period is ahead of you. Parents are getting used to a new role and a new person. In the middle of this it is important for the parents to remember that their relationship needs to be nourished too, and they need time on their own as well as with the baby.

The baby is the centre of attention but remember not to ignore everything else. Perhaps it is a good advice to give to parents that they should try to keep the same routines in their pre-parenthood that they found especially important. This can be things like going to the movies, taking a bath together or playing scrabble. This is not only a really valuable time together, but also an important part of living a normal family life as a couple. It is normal that the baby completely takes your breath away but it is equally important to make sure you don’t throw away everything else that you have or had.

To leave the house

It is really easy and good fun to take a newborn baby everywhere you go, as long as you have the right attitude. At the same time it is sometimes good for the. parents just to go alone sometimes, and then it is of course important to have someone to take care of the baby that you can really trust. Make sure that if you leave your baby with someone else they know good baby care techniques, understand your way of taking care of the baby and have basic CPR knowledge. Also make sure they knows how you want feeding to be done, and whether they are supposed to call you when baby is hungry.

Being together

If parents have been trying to spend time together but somehow have not had the time, now is a good period to spend some family time together, especially if some paternity leave has been given. This could be things like starting a new sport, taking walks, learning how to dance and so on. If you only spend very few hours a week like this, you might feel that you are enjoying an important quality time together as individuals but not as parents. We are not talking about many hours, but just something like 2-3 hours each week for you. Remember that each week has 168 hours, so 2-3 are perhaps not so many after all.

Being apart

As important as it may be to be together, it is also important to be able to be alone, to regain energy and just to be by yourselves. For the mother this .especially important to try to decrease risk of postnatal isolation and depression. The mother can use the time to go out to the gym, do shopping, meet friends or just be alone. The risk of isolation for the father is usually much less, since most of the time he will be working with other people and therefore gets different kind of communication from there.

Accept support

Most likely you will be offered a lot of help probably from your family or friends, or your helper, if you have one. It might be a good idea to accept this help to the extent that you feel ready. Even through the baby might be breastfeeding, the mother can perhaps try to express milk and leave behind, or simply be back in time for the baby to feed again.

One part of enjoying a baby is to also be able enjoy yourself without it, and there is no need to feel guilty about wanting time on your own. Couples need to feel that they are still a couple and sometime this can be easily forgotten in the turmoil of joy. Find a way that suits you all and try to enjoy all aspects of parenthood and partnership.

Best of luck

The Annerley team

Do you need more support? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

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Tips on sleep during the fourth trimester

Tips on sleep during the fourth trimester

Posted on 01 July 2015 by Kristrun

newbornUnderstanding your baby from your baby’s perspective.

Newborn babies have just left a very dark, safe place, where they were never hungry, never cold or tired. They are one of the most vulnerable and slowest developing creatures in the world. Compared to other mammals, it could be said that they are born too early.

Try to think of (at least) the first three months of your baby’s life as the fourth trimester. Give him at least this one third of his total lifetime to get used to outside life. That is, if you possibly can. Some mothers will need to leave their newborns very soon to return to work and then they have no choice but to train them very early to get used to the new world without mom, but with someone else.

You can use a few ways to gradually introduce sleep habits to your newborn. Some say that by making the difference between night and day very clear, the newborn will pick this up sooner. This may take time to make sense to a newborn – don’t forget that one day in a newborn’s life is a very long time. One day is a very small proportion of our lifetime, but a large one for a small baby.

Try to understand your baby’s different cries during the first trimester and use all the resources available to minimize the crying. Most of the time the breast, a snuggle, a snooze, a walk – will fix it all. Recognizing the cry of a tired baby helps with sleep. Try not to put a hungry baby to sleep or a baby that is not tired.

Feed on demand and learn over time what works for your baby. Some will sleep more than others, some will nap very little during the day – others a lot! A good sleep will not rule out another good nap or a good night’s sleep. Try to understand what type of sleeper your baby is during this fourth trimester.

Make sure you understand your baby on your and your baby’s terms, and not because other people think you should be doing this or that. There are so many ways to enjoy your brand new baby. Your baby is your number one job now – try to add as little as possible to that job (if possible).

Even if you don’t do anything to implement any kind of sleep routine, your baby will gradually build one up. They will over time learn from their environment. It’s very important to remember that 50% of children will have night wakings up until the age of 5, and that this is normal.

During the first weeks and months, try to sleep when baby sleeps. Nap with your baby – even on the bed – or in a cot close to your bed so you can touch her and she can feel that you are within a safe distance. Build up confidence for better sleep in the future.

 Best of luck

The midwives

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