Expecting at the end of the month, I thought I would hunt around for some of the best advice around the net for newborns, sleep, and breast feedings. Here are 25+ tips that are specific and detailed for moms-to-be.
Try A Warm Compress If Your Breasts Are Have Blocked Ducts. A heating pad or a warm, wet washcloth works. Experts say a flax pillow works even better. You simply heat the pillow up in the microwave, and let it sit against your breast.
If You Want Your Baby To Take The Bottle Sooner, Introduce It Before The 3-Month Mark. Many experts say that the 6 to 8 weeks mark is a good time to introduce a bottle if you wish to go that route sooner. During the first few weeks, while your baby is getting used to breast feeding avoid using the bottle. Using a bottle to feed flows easier than from your breast. Your baby may like the bottle better than your breast, so to not confuse your baby allow them to learn how to draw milk from your breast first within the first few weeks before introducing a bottle.
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps” is the top piece of advice for new moms in almost every article written for expecting moms. Consider taking naps together and go to bed early. A little here and there can really add up. Newborns can sleep as much as 16 hours of sleep a day but only in short bursts, and because of this you will feel more exhausted than you ever thought possible. Feeling tired results can result in headaches, depression, irritability, memory problems and confusion, so get the sleep in in short bursts. This period of little sleep gets significantly better after the first six weeks.
Let Your Husband Bond With The Baby– Even if he works 40- 60 or more hours a week, he can still feel connected to the baby. Allow him to change his diapers, give him or her a sponge bath, or tub bath, dress the baby, rock the baby, take the baby for walks, read and play with him or her. Let him learn and grow with this new child without criticism or judgement. Fathers can connect with their newborns by holding, rocking, caress and massaging the baby. Allowing the baby to fall asleep against his bare chest is another emotional connection. Newborns see best at distances between eight to twelve inches, so when they are alert, husbands should engage them visually. Babies also respond to higher-pitched voices, so don’t let him be afraid of making funny noises to entertain the baby. As the mom, don’t run to the rescue as soon as your baby starts to cry, rather allow Dad opportunities to soothe or entertain the baby to sleep.
Test The Temperature Of Bath Water With Your Elbow– Testing bath water with your elbow will give you a true sense of the temperature compared to your hands.
You Will Have A Really Heavy Period For 2- 3 Weeks After Birth– Whether you have a c-section or natural birth, you will have bleeding that lasts as little as two to three weeks or as long as six weeks after birth. You can’t use tampons during this time, as it can introduce bacteria into your uterus. So be prepared, and stock up of heavy pads.
Play Tunes Which May Soothe A Baby. While many suggest that music and teachings of the sort can make your baby smarter, which may be the case, but it is likely to calm him or her.
Let Your Husband Make Mistakes- Many first-time dads hesitate to step in because they fear they will do something wrong, or be criticized by their wives. Allow your husband to learn and grow along side you. This will allow him to become more confident, and discover for himself what works, and what doesn’t work.
Stash A Spare Set Of Clothes When Going Out- We rarely think of an extra shirt for ourselves, but pack plenty of extra baby clothes in our diaper bags. You don’t want to get stuck walking around with poop all over you.
Know That Breastfeeding Can Be Tough, And It Isn’t A Failure On Your Part– A new mom and a new baby are learning this process for the first time, so challenges can arise. Challenges like a baby not latching, painful breasts, or lack of milk production are common occurrences. Know that isn’t a failure on your part, these things happen.
Lactation Challenges? Mothers Milk, a tea, promotes lactation, and contains organic ingredients, and is a best seller on Amazon.
Difficulty Latching on to the Breast- Your baby wants to breastfeed, but he or she may not know how to grasp your nipple to obtain milk. Calm your baby down, and allow baby to suck on your clean little finger inserted against the roof of their mouth. Another measure is to squeeze a few drops of colostrum onto your nipple, or a little sugar water onto your nipple from a bottle which may entice your baby to feed. You may want to use a breast pump to express some milk which can be given to your baby with a spoon until you work with him or her at the breast again. A pacifier may also be giving the baby the expectation of a long, rigid nipple. Stop using the pacifier until breastfeeding is back on track. Keep pumping your breasts approximately every three hours with an electric pump to keep up your milk supply.
Baby Won’t Suck- It is common for some babies to latch on, and then after a few sucks to come off the breast and start crying. These babies are frustrated at not receiving milk immediately. A SNS device can be used to keep babies interested in breast feeding. Often times, the device is used only for a couple feedings until the baby gets used to nursing.
Nipple Pain- It is very common to hear women complain nipple discomfort for the first minute after latch-on. However, severe nipple pain that lasts throughout the feeding may suggest that the baby is incorrectly attached or sucking improperly. Severe pain means something is wrong, so don’t ignore this important clue. Often times, the problem is that the baby is not opening wide enough and is latching on to the tip of the nipple instead of taking a large mouthful of breast.
Prolonged Feedings, And Baby Isn’t Satisfied- It is natural for a mothers milk to come in on the third day. For larger babies, they can be continually hungry. Consider using supplemental milk, until your milk increases in volume, by SNS, cup, or bottle.
Have One Parent Sleeping While The Other Is Awake– Work with your spouse to create a rhythm that is manageable. When one parent is up, the other one can be sleeping. Consider having one parent sleeping in a separate part of the home with a white noise machine and earplugs.
Allow Your Baby To Determine How Much They Want To Eat- Newborns nurse every two hours or even more. When they are two months old, they slow down to about once every four hours. Switch breasts within 5 or 10 minutes and continue to feed him or her until they stop showing interest in sucking on the second breast. Release them from your breast by gently slipping a finger into the corner of his mouth, which breaks the suction. Plan on changing six or more diapers a day. If you are changing fewer, it may be that you are not producing enough milk, or the child isn’t eating enough.
Don’t Compare One Baby To Another, Or Another Mom’s Experience With Your Own– Resist the urge to “compare ” when it comes to your baby and anyone else’s. Don’t worry about what other moms are doing, and stop comparing yourself. Remind yourself that there are different mothers and different babies, and who is to say which way is better. When you see another mother doing something differently than you, that is ok too. What works for you, may not work for another mother, vice versa.
Tire Them Out Before Bed- Babies have a certain amount of energy that they have to expend before settling down for nighttime sleep. When you approach the evening fussy time, take them on a stroll or exercise with them, which will prime them for longer periods of sleep.
Baby Cannot Stop Crying, Run The Water- Running the faucet on low and droning noises reminds your baby of hearing your heartbeat in utero, according to Dr. Altmann.
Create a Toddler Cocoon When Tantrums Occur- “When toddlers throw tantrums, they often need to block out stimulation in order to calm down,” says Corinne G. Catalano, school psychologist at Montclair State University. She says, instead of picking up your toddler, make a small space by throwing a blanket over a small table and allowing him or her to climb under it. This will allow them to self-sooth, and the space to regroup themselves.
Let A Loved One Take The 2 a.m. Shift For You. Every week or two, consider handing off the 2 or 3 a.m. shift to your mother or a dear friend. Consider pumping and giving someone else a turn to feed. Giving your husband a bottle of milk that you expressed with a breast pump will allow him to take the feeding, will allow him some extra bonding time with the baby. Getting six hours of uninterrupted sleep can give you the energy for the next week ahead. It has been noted by six weeks of age or ten pounds of weight, many infants will sleep up to six hours at night, while others will still only sleep from three to five hours.
Learn How To Nurse While Lying Down– The sooner you master this, the sooner you’ll learn to drift off while your baby feeds. You can feed either lying down or propped up with pillows. No harm will be done if you doze off while nursing. Do not nurse laying down in waterbeds. Studies have shown in recent years that babies are not supposed to sleep on their tummies. Tummy down sleeping position and “sudden infant death syndrome”. It is strongly recommend that babies be put to sleep on their backs or on their sides for sleeping.
Don’t Go Overboard Buying Too Much For A Newborn– They outgrow most of it within weeks, so focus on the staples that are needed, such as a playpen, a rocker, an entertaining swing and a crib which will be the essential buys.
Put Off The Extra Projects And Responsibilities In The First Couple Of Months– Let your body adapt to new demands. A lack of sleep will take everything out of you, so don’t expect too much when it comes to projects or extra responsibilities.
Babies Naturally Cry During Sleep, So You Don’t Always Have To Rush To Coddle Them– Babies cry a lot. They may be hungry, need a nap, or is colicky. As time passes you will be able to read your baby to determine to let them cry or pick them up. Follow your instincts.
Get Yourself Into The Mood For Sleeping- Darker rooms encourage sleep, so invest in darkening blinds, and experiment with earplugs, an eye mask, or a white noise machine. When you do get to nap, avoid the television, and looking at your clock. A cool, dark environment will give you the best chance at getting that much needed nap.
Don’t Read Into Other People’s Comments Too Seriously- Constant remarks on a baby’s size and repeated questions about whether they are sitting up, crawling, walking, or talking can be wearing on a mom’s self esteem. It can make you feel as if you are ahead or behind. It is natural for people to make comments, and give suggestions, so when they do, try to let these conversations roll off your back, knowing your child is going to be just fine how fast or slow (according to others) how they progress.
Be Strictly Business Through Night Feedings– During night feedings, keep things scheduled to ensure you are able to go back to bed without fussing. Consider using dim lighting, and don’t play with your baby. Tickle feet to keep sleepy newborns awake while nursing.
How To Relieve A Gassy Baby- Babies eat around the clock, so their bowels move around the clock, producing endless gas. Baby may be uncomfortable when they have gas that needs to come out, but it is rare that they would have discomfort due to gas. To coax the gas to come out, place your baby, belly down, and lift him or her up slightly on her stomach and gently massage the belly. Or place baby on their back and try moving her legs or pumping her legs around as if they were riding a bike.
Bottle-fed babies will ingest a lot of bubbles. Consider buying bottles which tilt at an angle, otherwise your baby will suck in air. Make sure their head is higher than her stomach to prevent excess gas. Powdered formulas need to settle first before giving it to your baby. Shaking can cause the milk to be piled with bubbles which can create gas.
Breast Milk Storage Tips- Learn how to safely and properly store, refrigerate and freeze breast milk to give to your baby, according to the AAP. This video also gives you guidelines for thawing and warming frozen or refrigerated the milk.
Establish A Night Routine – Get your baby on a bedtime routine as soon as you can, which will make your life easier as they enter into young school-age children. Having a bath, and doing additional rituals before they are laid down, will also allow them to acknowledge that they are going to be sleeping.
When To Introduce Solids, How Long To Breast Feed, What Vegetables, Juice, Protein And Cereals Can Be Given At What Age- It’s not always easy to know what to feed a growing infant. Here are some guidelines to help you month by month. Familyeducation.com
Additional Great Reads-
Happily After Giving Birth – 10 Things They Don’t Tell You –pregnantchicken.com
10 Things I Would Do Differently as a New Mom – Momtastic.com