Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby early weeks - enjoy talking to your newborn baby

Newborn early weeks: In the first few weeks, you will be learning how to look after your baby. You will start to understand them and will learn what is normal and what may be a sign that something is wrong. But the most important thing to do in the first few weeks is to enjoy your baby. Spending time with them is the best way to help them feel safe and loved.
Enjoying your newborn baby  
Keeping your baby warm, fed and safe may seem to take up all of your time in the first weeks. But they are only a tiny part of what it means to be a parent. Every second that your baby is awake, they are learning from you. Learning about what it feels like to be touched gently, the sound of your voice and your very special smell.
They are learning about what the world is like and, above all, what it feels like to love and be loved. It is important to talk to your baby.
How to talk to your newborn baby  
It is very important to talk to your baby. If you or your family speak another language, use it to speak to your baby. It can help your baby to learn other languages, and enjoy another culture. You can talk to them about anything and everything. Talking to young children, even very young babies helps them become good communicators later in life. It will also help your baby build their early bond with you.
Registering baby’s birth   
Your baby’s birth must be registered within six weeks from when they were born. This will take place at the register office in the district where they were born. The contact details will be in the telephone book under the name of your local authority. If you are married, you or the father can register the birth. If you are not married, you may register together with your baby’s father and his name will appear on the birth certificate.
In most circumstances, children benefit from being acknowledged by both parents and by knowing the identity of both their mother and father. To register jointly, you must either go together to register the birth or one of you can go with an appropriate document. Including the father’s name in the birth register will usually give him parental responsibility. Your local register office will explain this process.
At the moment, if you are not married, you can decide whether you want the father’s name to appear on the birth certificate.
If you do not want his name to appear, you can register the birth by yourself. However, there are plans to change the law so that joint registration, by both mother and father, becomes the normal arrangement for unmarried parents. Your local register office will be able to provide details about these changes when they come into effect.
If you live in a different district from the one where your baby was born, you can go to your nearest register office. The registrar will take details from you and then send them to the district where your baby was born. You will then be sent the birth certificate. You cannot claim benefits, such as Child Benefit, until you have a birth certificate.
All babies born in England and Wales are now given a unique NHS number at birth. Midwives request and receive a newborn baby’s NHS number. They send this NHS number to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages via your local child health department.

What happens in postnatal check up?

Postnatal check up after birth: You should have your postnatal check about six weeks after your baby’s birth to make sure that you feel well and are recovering from the birth. You may be offered an appointment to go back to the hospital or midwifery unit where you gave birth, but otherwise you should see your GP. It’s time to introduce your baby to your GP as the new member of your family! It’s a good opportunity to ask any questions and sort out any problems that are troubling you. You may like to make a list of questions to take along with you so that you don’t forget what you want to ask.
What happens in postnatal check?  
You will be weighed and can get weight loss advice if you need it.
Your urine will be tested to make sure your kidneys are working properly and that there is no infection.
Your blood pressure will be checked.
You may be offered an examination to see if:
- Your stitches (if you had any) have healed
- Your uterus is back to its normal size, and
- All the muscles used during labor and delivery are returning to normal.
Tell the doctor if the examination is uncomfortable.
Your breasts are unlikely to be examined unless you have a particular concern.
A cervical smear test may be discussed if you have not had one in the past three years. This is usually delayed until three months after delivery.
If you are not immune to rubella (German measles) and were not given an immunization before you left hospital, you will be offered one now. You should not become pregnant for one month after this immunization.
You will be asked if you still have any vaginal discharge and whether you have had a period yet.
Tell your doctor if:
- You are having trouble holding in urine or wind, or you are soiling yourself
- You are feeling very tired, low or depressed, or
- You are worried about anything.
You can also ask your doctor about contraception. You may wish to choose a different method to the one you had previously used (especially if your pregnancy was not planned). The doctor or nurse can help you decide which method is right for you now.
Your baby’s check
Your GP’s surgery or health clinic will probably arrange for your baby’s six-week check to be done at your postnatal check. If you go to the hospital, the baby’s check will usually need to be arranged separately.

Differences between baby blues and postnatal depression

As many as 8 out of 10 mothers get the ‘baby blues’, often about three to five days after the birth. You might feel upset, mildly depressed, or just keep bursting into tears for no apparent reason. It usually only lasts for a few days.
Around 1 in 10 mothers become depressed. This is usually mild but sometimes can be quite severe. You must get help if you are taken over by a feeling of sadness and hopelessness, you feel irritable and anxious, or you have difficulty sleeping and coping with even the smallest task.
Help and support
If you think you are depressed, contact your GP or health visitor and explain how you are feeling. Your partner or a friend could contact them for you if you want. You can also contact the Association for Post-Natal Illness for more advices.
If you have twins or triplets, you are more likely to experience postnatal and longer-term depression. This is mainly because of the additional stress of caring for more than one baby. Just getting out of the house can be difficult when you have more than one baby, and this can make you feel isolated. Tamba can help you make contact with other mothers of multiples via local twins clubs and through their helpline – Tamba Twinline – where you can talk to other mothers of multiples. You may also find it helpful to contact the Multiple Births Foundation.

Short-acting contraception - combined pill vs. progestogen only pill

Short acting contraceptives: Short-acting contraceptive methods rely on you taking them every day.
Combined pill and breastfeeding    
If you are not breastfeeding, you can start taking this pill 21 days after you give birth. If you start it later than the 21st day, it will not be reliable for the first seven days. So for this time you will have to use another contraceptive (like a condom) as well. Don’t take this pill if you are breastfeeding as it reduces milk flow.
• progestogen only pill and breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, you can take a progestogen-only pill, which will not affect your milk supply. This can also be started 21 days after you give birth. It has to be taken at the same time every day. If you start it later than the 21st day, it will not be reliable for two days. So for this time you will have to use some other form of contraceptive (like a condom) as well. There is no evidence to suggest that this pill affects your baby in any way. Even so, some women prefer not to take it while they are breastfeeding and use another form of contraception instead.
• The cap or diaphragm
These can be used six weeks after you give birth. If you had a cap before, it probably will not be the right size any longer. You can have a new one fitted at your postnatal check-up.

Contraception after birth - long acting contraceptives injection and implants

Contraception after pregnancy: If you or your partner have any worries, discuss them with your GP or health visitor.
It is possible to get pregnant even if you have not started your periods again or if you are breastfeeding. It is therefore important to use contraceptives.
Your midwife or doctor should talk to you about contraception before you leave hospital and again when you go for your six-week postnatal check. Alternatively, you could talk to your midwife or health visitor when they visit you at home or go to your GP or community contraceptive clinic (sometimes called family planning or CASH clinic).
The FPA (Family Planning Association) publishes free leaflets about all methods of contraception.
Long acting contraceptive methods
Long-acting contraceptive methods last between three months and ten years. They may be suitable if you think you will forget to take or use a shortacting contraceptive.
The intrauterine device (IUD) and intrauterine system (IUS).
These can be fitted from the fourth week after you give birth. They can be fitted at your postnatal check-up when your uterus is back to its normal size.
Contraceptive injection while breastfeeding
It is recommended that you wait until six weeks after you give birth before you are given this. It can be given earlier in some circumstances. The contraceptive injection will not affect your milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
Contraceptive implant while breastfeeding
This contains a long-lasting progestogen and is effective for three years.
It can be fitted 21 days after you give birth or earlier in some circumstances. If it’s fitted after 21 days, you will have to use another contraceptive for seven days. The contraceptive implant will not affect your milk supply if you are breastfeeding.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Relationships after pregnancy

After you have had a baby, the relationships around you can change. Many women find that they turn to their own mother for help and support. But your mother may not be sure about how much to get involved. You may find that she is trying to take over or that she is so anxious not to interfere that she doesn’t help at all. Try to let her and others know what help and support you want from them.
Your relationship with your partner will also change. It is very easy in those exhausting early weeks just to leave things to sort themselves out. You may wake up six months later to find that you have not spent an hour alone together and have lost the knack of easily talking your problems through. You both need time alone, without the baby, to recharge your own batteries. You also need time together, without the baby, to keep in touch with each other.
Your relationship with your baby may not be easy either, particularly if you are not getting much sleep. Don’t feel guilty if you sometimes feel resentful at the demands your baby makes, or if your feelings are not what you expected them to be. Talk to your midwife or health visitor if you are upset or worried.
But remember, many mothers find their babies difficult at first and come to love them gradually over some weeks.
If you are on your own and don’t have family to support you, ask a friend to help you in the early weeks.

Types of exercises and diet plan for losing weight after pregnancy

Postnatal Exercise: Continue with any postnatal exercises you have been shown by your midwife. You can also do this deep stomach exercise when you feel well enough.
1 Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent.
2 Let your tummy relax and breathe in gently.
3 As you breathe out, gently draw in the lower part of your stomach like a corset, narrowing your waistline.
4 Squeeze your pelvic floor.
5 Hold for a count of 10 then gently release.
6 Repeat 10 times.
You should not move your back at any time. After six weeks, progress to the box position.
Besides these exercises, try to fit in a walk with your baby every day. This can help you lose weight and feel better.
Diet to lose weight after delivery    
It’s very important to eat properly. If you want to lose weight, don’t rush it. A varied diet without too many fatty foods will help you lose weight gradually. Try to make time to sit down, relax and enjoy your food so that you digest it properly. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Try food like baked potatoes with baked beans and cheese, salads, pasta, French bread pizza, scrambled eggs or sardines on toast, followed by fruit mixed with yoghurt or fromage frais. A healthy diet is especially important if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can help mothers to lose weight. Some of the fat you put on in pregnancy will be used to help produce milk, but the rest of the nutrients will come from your diet. This means that you may be hungrier than usual. If you do need a snack, try having beans on toast, sandwiches, bowls of cereal or fruit.
Sure Start Children’s Centers give advices about healthy eating plans for mothers, as well as support for breastfeeding. You can find out more about the services offered in Children’s Centers in your area online.

Helping mom after delivery and sleeping when breastfeeding

Helping mother after delivery: You will probably need a lot of practical help, as well as emotional support. You are bound to feel up and down and to get tired easily in the first few weeks. Many women want to have their partner around so that you get to know the baby together and have help with the work. Being together at this time helps you to start to adjust to the changes in your life. If you are on your own, or your partner cannot be with you, ask your mother or a close friend to be there.
Even with help, you will probably feel tired. Here are some things you could try:
Cut down on cleaning – a bit of dust will not hurt.
Keep meals simple but healthy. You need to eat well but this need not involve a great deal of preparation and cooking.
Try to space visitors out and say no to visitors if you feel too tired or need some time with your baby.
Too many visitors in a short time can be very tiring. If visitors do come, don’t feel you have to tidy up or lay on a meal. Let them do things for you, like the washing up, making a meal or bringing some groceries.
If you need extra help, ask. Friends or neighbors will probably be very willing to help you by doing things like shopping.
Looking after yourself after birth   
Although you may feel like your every waking hour is spent caring for your baby, it’s important to look after yourself as well.
Sleeping while breastfeeding    
While you are feeding your baby at night and your body is recovering from childbirth, it is essential to catch up on rest.
It’s tempting to use your baby’s sleep times to catch up on chores, but try to have a sleep or a proper rest at least once during the day.

First weeks at home with baby - husband helping with baby

First few weeks at home with newborn: Your first few weeks at home can be an exciting but anxious time for parents as you get used to caring for your new baby.
If you have been in hospital or a midwifery unit, you may feel apprehensive about being on your own without staff on call to help you. The more you handle your baby, the more your confidence will increase. And your community midwife, health visitor and GP are there to support you if you have any worries or problems. Ask your midwife or health visitor for advice on looking after your child up to the age of five.
How much should husband help with baby  
As the mother’s partner, you can get involved in caring for your baby from day one. In the first weeks, you can:
help your baby’s mother to breastfeed by:
spending time with her while the baby is feeding
bringing your baby to their mother when they need feeding in the night
Helping to wind your baby
getting specialist help and advices on breastfeeding if the mother has any concerns
 provide emotional support and encouragement
make nutritious meals and snacks for your baby’s mother
change your baby’s nappies
bathe and dress your baby
cuddle and play with your baby
clean the house, go shopping and do other household chores.
You may feel quite nervous about handling the baby at first but you will get more confident. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help or encouragement.

Things needed for breastfeeding and bottle feeding - list of clothes for new baby

Things needed for breastfeeding: If you are going to breastfeed, you will probably want:
Nursing bras that open at the front and have adjustable straps. Cotton is best because it allows air to circulate. If you try on bras at about 36–38 weeks, they should fit when you need them
Breast pads. You put these into your bra to prevent milk from leaking onto your clothes.
What do you need for formula feeding?
If you are going to formula feed, you will need:
Six bottles with teats and caps
sterilizing equipment
A bottle brush
Infant formula milk. Avoid buying this too far in advance, as instant formula milk has a ‘use by date’ printed on the package.
How many clothes for new baby   
Babies grow very quickly. All you need for the first few weeks are enough clothes to make sure that your baby will be warm and clean. You will probably need:
Six stretch suits for both day and night or four stretch suits and two nighties for the night.
Use socks or bootees with the nightie if it’s cold
Two cardigans. They should be wool or cotton rather than nylon, and light rather than heavy. Several light layers of clothing are best for keeping your baby warm
Four vests
A shawl or blanket to wrap your baby in
A wool or cotton hat, mittens and socks or bootees for going out if the weather is cold.
It’s better to choose close-knitted patterns for safety
A sun hat for going out if the weather is hot or the sun is bright.
Washing baby clothes tips    
If you use a washing machine, don’t use washing powders with enzymes (bio powders) or fabric conditioner, as they may irritate your baby’s skin. Always rinse clothes very thoroughly.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to use baby car seat

If you have a car, you must have a car seat. This is also called a safety restraint. Your baby must always go in their seat, including when you bring them home from the hospital. It’s very dangerous – and illegal – to carry your baby in your arms. The best way for your baby to travel is in a rear-facing infant car seat, on either the front or back seat. This is held in place by the adult safety belt.
If you have a car with air bags in the front, your baby should not travel in the front seat, even if they are facing backwards, because of the danger of suffocation if the bag inflates.
To keep your baby as safe as possible:
Make sure the car seat is fitted correctly.
Do not place a rear-facing infant car seat in the front passenger seat if your car is fitted with an air bag.
Don’t buy a second-hand car seat as it may have been damaged in an accident.
Look for United Nations ECE Regulation number R44.03, or a later version of this standard, when you buy a car seat. This is the standard for new seats. However, if you have car seats that conform to a British Standard or to an earlier version of R44, you can continue to use them.

Things to carry baby in - baby prams, pushchairs and carrycot on wheels

Things to carry baby in: Spend some time looking at what is available for getting around with your baby. Think about what will suit you best. You could always ask other mothers what they have found useful.
Baby carriers    
(Also called slings) carry your baby in front of you. Most babies like being carried like this because they are close to you and warm. The back part of the carrier must be high enough to support your baby’s head. Check that the buckles and straps that attach the carrier to you are secure. Older babies who can hold up their heads and whose backs are stronger (at about four months) can be carried in backpacks.
Baby pushchairs
Baby pushchairs are only suitable for young babies if they have fully reclining seats that let your baby lie flat. Wait until your baby can sit up before using any other type of pushchair. You should also consider the weight of the pushchair if you use public transport as you might have to lift it onto trains or buses.
Baby prams  
Give your baby a lot of space to sit and lie comfortably, although they take up a lot of space and are hard to use on public transport.
If you have a car, look for a pram that can be dismantled easily.
Buy a pram harness at the same time, as you will soon need it.
Pushchair and prams specifications   
Before buying a pushchair or pram, check that:
The brakes are in good working order
The handles are at the right height for pushing, and
The frame is strong enough.
Carrycot on wheels   
Your baby can sleep in the carrycot for the first few months and the cot can be attached to the frame to go out. It can also be taken in a car with appropriate restraints.
Three-in-one pram pushchair  
This is a carrycot and transporter (set of wheels) that can be converted into a pushchair when your baby outgrows the carrycot.
Shopping trays   
That fit under the pushchair or pram can be very useful when you are out.

Sleep requirements for baby - baby cot safety specifications to avoid cot death

Things needed for baby room: For the first few months, you will need a crib, a carry cot or a Moses basket (a light, portable bassinet).Your baby needs somewhere to sleep that is safe and warm and not too far away from you. If you are borrowing a crib or cot, or if you have one that has been used by another of your children, you will need a new mattress.
You will also need:
A firm mattress that fits the cot snugly without leaving spaces round the edges so that your baby cannot trap their head and suffocate
Sheets to cover the mattress. You need at least four because they need to be changed often. Fitted sheets make life easy but they are quite expensive. You could use pieces of old sheet
Light blankets for warmth.
Pillows and duvets are not safe for babies less than a year old because of the risk of suffocation. Duvets can also make the baby too hot.
Baby nests and quilted sleeping bags are not suitable for your baby to sleep in when you are not there because of the danger of suffocation.
Baby Cot safety standards  
Your baby will spend many hours alone in a cot, so make sure it’s safe.
The mattress must fit snugly with no space for your baby’s head to get stuck.
The bars must be smooth and securely fixed, and the distance between each bar should be not less than 1 inch (25mm) and not more than 2 ½ inches (60mm) so that your baby’s head cannot become trapped.
The cot should be sturdy.
The moving parts should work smoothly so that fingers or clothing cannot get trapped.
Cot bumpers are not recommended as babies can overheat or become entangled in the fastenings.
Never leave anything with ties – for example, bibs or clothes – in the cot in case they get caught around your baby’s neck.
If you are buying a new cot, look for the British Standard mark BS 1753.
The baby always should sleep in the ‘feet to foot’ position. This means that the baby’s feet are right at the end of the cot to prevent the baby wriggling under the covers and overheating.
How to avoid cot death   
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSiD) has developed important key messages for parents to help to reduce the risk of cot death.
Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in a room with you.
Do not share a bed with your baby if you take medicines.
Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
Do not let your baby get too hot – keep your baby’s head uncovered – and place your baby in the ‘feet to foot’ position.

Things you need to bathe and to change a baby - disposable nappy vs. cloth nappy

What you need for newborn baby: It can be easy to get confused about what you really need for your baby. You can always ask your midwife or health visitor for advice on what to buy, and you may be given a list of essentials at your antenatal classes or by your maternity service. There are some essentials that every new mother needs, as well as extras that you might want to think about. You may be able to borrow some items, and then pass them on later to another mother or keep them for a second child.
Nappies types  
Disposable nappies: Disposable nappies are convenient to use and are available from supermarkets and other retail outlets.
Cloth nappies   
Washable cloth nappies are cheaper than disposable nappies, even when you take into account the cost of washing them at home or getting them washed by a laundry service. They are more environmentally friendly and are easily laundered in a 60؛C wash. You can get shaped cloth nappies with Velcro or popper fastenings and waterproof wraps.
For cloth nappies, you will need:
Nappy pins for nappies without Velcro or fasteners
Nappy liners – either disposable or cloth, which you can wash and use again
A bucket with a lid and nappy sterilizing powder or liquid for sterilizing nappies, and
About four pairs of plastic pants that are either tie-on or elasticated. Tie-on ones will fit small babies better. Some cloth nappies have the waterproof wraps attached.
Nappy laundry services
Nappy laundry services deliver freshly laundered nappies to your home and take away the soiled ones to wash each week.
They supply everything you need – wraps, liners and storage bins.
Nappy changing bags    
To change nappies, you will need:
Cotton wool. Always choose white. Rolls are usually cheaper than balls
A changing mat
Baby lotion or wipes
Baby barrier cream to help prevent nappy rash, and
A bag to carry all the nappy-changing equipment when you go out. A carrier bag will do but you can get special bags that include a changing mat.
Things you need to bathe a baby   
It is a personal choice how frequently you bathe your baby; a wash will often be enough to keep your baby clean and ensure they are comfortable. A warm bath may help your baby to sleep.
You will need:
A baby bath or any large, clean bowl, such as a sink, as long as it’s not metal.
Remember to wrap a towel round the taps for safety
Two towels, the softer the better. Keep them only for your baby’s use. There is no need for special baby towels, unless you want them
unperfumed soap – although washing your baby with just water is fine.
The safest place to change a nappy is on a mat on the floor. If you use a higher surface, keep your hand on your baby at all times to stop them rolling off.