Baby Care Tips

Tummy Time

Tummy time is the perfect complement to back to sleep.

Tummy Time is Important

Tummy Time is Important

If you practice “back to sleep” for your baby’s safety, you’ll want to practice “tummy time” for your baby’s overall health and development.

Back to Sleep

Positioning your baby on his or her back is the current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help reduce the chance of your baby having SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. This simple practice has reduced the incidence of SIDS significantly.

But when your baby is lying down on the back it is not possible for your baby to lift the head. In fact this position that provides total support does not allow movement that challenges the neck and upper back muscles. These are the muscles that will help with head control and body mechanics.

Tummy Time

The AAP also recommends tummy time for your baby. The baby in the picture is a few weeks older than your newborn and is demonstrating tummy time very well. Notice the lifted head, the arm and hand positions, and the leg position.

The tummy position places your baby’s arms and legs next to a firm surface (such as a pallet on the floor), which provides resistance during natural movement. Your baby may be a flurry of activity, pushing, pulling, and lifting up with arms, legs, and head. All of these resistance activities will strengthen your baby’s muscles.

Muscle Development

Placing your baby on the tummy for short periods of time when awake helps your baby to develop muscles necessary for both fine and gross motor skills. Development of these muscles will assist your baby with crawling, rolling over, and sitting up. Lifting the head will strengthen the neck and upper back muscles and will assist with head control. Head control plays an active role in helping your baby with eating, sleeping, and general body mechanics.

Have Fun!

Always stay with your baby, and play with your baby, during tummy time. Whether your baby is on a pallet on the floor, across your lap, or leaning forward into your hand, you can help your baby practice tummy time skills. Interacting with your baby makes it fun for both of you.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Fourth of July Newborn Tips

Happy 4th of July!

Newborn Smiling

Your Happy Newborn

Today is traditionally a time to celebrate with families and friends, with most of us getting together to share food, fun, and fireworks. If you have a newborn, here are some tips for you.

Sharing Your Baby

When you get together with family and friends you can count on everyone wanting to hold your new baby. That’s just the natural response to being in the presence of new life, so tiny and precious. And thank goodness, because babies love to be held. Not only that, but it’s good for them. You’ll find some of the important benefits of holding your baby by clicking this linked post “The Magic of Human Touch.” Sharing your baby, in general, is a good thing for both of you.

Germs

While your baby is still a newborn, that is 28 days old or less, you should make sure that the person who holds your baby washes their hands first. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs.

As you probably learned when your baby was born, hand washing is actually recommended for the first two months of life, not only for the first 28 days. And of course, your baby should not be around anyone who is sick.

Peace of Mind

The medical recommendation for taking your newborn out to be with others has two parts to consider.

One, if you are going to be with family and friends, following the above recommendations should be safe for your baby and should give you the peace of mind you desire.

And two, taking your newborn to a public place such as the movies, or the mall, is not recommended until after your baby is two months old. You are not able to know who might be sick when you are out in the general public, therefore it is not worth the risk.

Happy celebrating!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Simple Tool to Guide Your Baby Care Choices

A Tool to Guide You

What would I want if I were you?

What would I want if I were you?

I’d like to offer a tool to help you when you are trying to choose the best care for your baby. There are so many choices to make throughout your day. The benefit of this particular tool is that it will help you immensely with every choice you need to make. It’s “simple” because you simply have to ask yourself one question.

Baby Version of the Golden Rule …

It’s the same question every time:

“What would I want if I were you?”

Only the Best

When choosing for your baby, and that’s what baby care is, if you stop and ask yourself this question you automatically consider the care and response you would want. Since it’s natural to want only the best for yourself, no matter the situation, you will automatically be choosing the best for your baby too.

Try It

So, for example, the next time your baby is crying, stop and ask yourself “What would I want if I were you?” You will automatically begin to make a mental list of options based on the circumstances at that moment. Having this awareness to mentally stop and ask will help guide your response and your choice for the baby care you provide.

Even When You Know

This tool not only helps you figure out what your baby wants and needs, but it also influences how you choose to provide your baby care. Even when you know, for instance, that the care your baby needs at that moment is a diaper change, being in this Baby-Golden-Rule frame of mind will help you provide the best possible care. Because you would want nothing less for yourself, it may come automatically to you to provide your baby care with an abundance of love, human touch, and attention.

Now That You’ve Thought About It

Because your baby is totally dependent on you, your days and nights will be filled with many choices you need to make on behalf of your baby. “What would I want if I were you?” is a tool that is yours … forever. It’s the happy-baby choice. You’ll see!

For you and  yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Your Newborn’s Skin

Your newborn’s skin is interesting.

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Amniotic Fluid

When your baby is in the womb, the skin is in constant contact with amniotic fluid which is mostly composed of water. Mother Nature provides this fluid layer to act as a cushion to protect your growing baby from injury, to help develop your baby’s lungs, and to provide the space and means for your growing baby to move easily. Being able to move is important because movement helps to promote your baby’s muscle and bone development.

Vernix

Mother Nature also provides a protection for your baby’s skin while living in this fluid environment. That protection is a cheesy-like substance known as vernix. You will see various amounts of vernix on your newborn’s skin, from a little to a lot, depending on when your baby is born.

Peeling Skin

As your baby matures over the first few days to weeks you may notice the skin peeling on your baby’s lips, hands, and feet. If your baby is born after your due date, your baby may have peeling skin at birth. The skin after peeling will be soft and smooth. This process is normal as part of the transition from the fluid environment of the womb to the air environment outside the womb. No lotions or creams should be used on your baby during this time as they will interfere with this natural shedding of the top layer of skin. Soon all of the peeling skin will be gone and your newborn’s skin will be soft and smooth.

Lanugo

If your baby is born early you may see a fine downy layer of hair on the ears, the temples, the forehead, and the back. This abundance of hair is known as lanugo. Lanugo begins to fall out while your baby is still in the womb, and it will continue to disappear on its own after your baby is born.

Milia

It is very common for your newborn’s skin to develop little white spots that are known as milia. These tiny spots are usually found on the nose and face. Milia are formed by dead skin cells that do not slough off (due to a still developing oil gland system) and the cells get trapped in tiny pockets in the skin. These tiny white spots are harmless and will go away on their own within a few weeks.

Baby Acne

Baby acne is another possibility for your newborn’s skin experience. Small pink to red spots may appear in patches or alone, usually on your baby’s cheeks, chin, and forehead. This rash is thought to be caused by the hormones your baby is exposed to in the last trimester of your pregnancy. Baby acne may last for a few months. The best treatment is none at all. Just continue your usual face washing routine, using warm water only, and your baby’s skin should clear up on its own.

Picture Perfect

So you see, your newborn’s skin may be very different than picture perfect. All of these skin conditions are normal, and come and go on their own.

With or without vernix, peeling skin, lanugo, milia, or baby acne, your newborn’s skin is perfect. With peace of mind you can embrace all of these events as a natural part of the adventure of being a newborn.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Tips About Your Newborn’s Head

The shape of your newborn’s head may surprise you!

newborn baby in hospital

A Few Hours Old

At Birth

When your baby is first born you may notice the shape of your newborn’s head is not what you expected. In all of the pictures you see, newborn babies have perfectly rounded heads that imitate the natural shape of humans. But when they hand you your newborn for the first time, your baby’s head may have a noticeable ridge along the top of the head, or the head may be markedly oval and not rounded at all. No worries. These unusual appearances are temporary, and not uncommon.

By Design

By perfect design, your baby is born with the bones of the skull separated into primarily five plates that are held together by fibrous membranes. This design accommodates both you and your baby during delivery to allow for safe passage through the birth canal. These separated plates also accommodate the rapid growth of your baby’s brain during the first year of life.

The First Week

Because of these shifting plates, your baby’s head may also assume a variety of unusual shapes during the first week of life. These changing head shapes are caused by the position of your baby’s head at rest, and usually create a noticeably flat area on the side in contact with the sleeping surface. To help return your newborn’s head to a more natural shape, you can gently rotate your sleeping baby’s head so that the pressure of the mattress, or your shoulder, is on the opposite side. Changing the position of the head as needed will help it become more naturally rounded over time. Your back-to-sleep baby may just turn the head back to midline after your attempt to rotate the head to one side or the other, but it’s worth the try.

Babywearing Helps

Holding your baby or having your newborn in a soft cloth carrier will help to keep your baby’s head more rounded too. Because your baby’s head will not be pushing against a plastic carrier, or against a firm mattress for sleep on some occasions, wearing your baby will help to maintain a nicely rounded head.

The Future

Just for fun, notice the adults you encounter in life and the shapes of their heads. It will be easy to appreciate a nicely shaped head for your baby. And, your grown-up baby will be very grateful for a nicely shaped head that can sport any hairstyle, even the currently popular shaved look for men or the partially shaved styles for young women.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Talking to Your Newborn Increases IQ!

Talk to your newborn and raise your baby’s IQ

Talking to Your Newborn

Your Voice and Your Attention Are Powerful

Perhaps it comes naturally for you to talk to your newborn baby about most anything that crosses your mind. Or, perhaps you have never really thought about talking to a person who cannot yet hold a conversation with you. You might be surprised to learn how important it is to simply talk to your baby … a lot!

Reading versus Talking

You are already aware that reading to your baby helps your baby differentiate the sounds of words and the intonation of your language, making it easier for your baby to imitate language when needed. But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), not only is reading to your baby highly beneficial, but the less formal times of sharing everyday “conversations” with your baby are very important too. You can enhance your baby’s brain development and have a smarter baby just by talking to your baby. That’s amazing. Learn more about the AAP’s findings in their article

“The Secret to a Smarter Baby”

There’s More

Recently a friend shared another interesting article that documents the research supporting the importance of talking to your newborn. Apparently the continuous monologue that you can have with your baby … What shall we wear today? Do you like the yellow one or the red one? Ok, the red one it is! … is extremely important and has the power to increase your baby’s IQ. According to Tina Rosenberg in this new article

“The Power of Talking to Your Baby”

(based on the research of Hart and Risley, University of Kansas, 1995) “the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.” Simple, direct, and remarkable.

More is More

So in this new article, it is emphasized that the more words your baby hears, the greater the increase in your baby’s IQ. This seems like such a simple thing to do … yet it has such a profound impact. Now you (and everyone you share this information with) can intentionally help your baby have a more positive outcome in life. Being smart has its advantages … for a lifetime.

Your Attention

The last line of Rosenberg’s comment is valuable because hearing your words, not those of any TV program, are the language and sounds that make a difference. I believe this significant difference is influenced by the attention that goes along with the words you share with your baby. Paying attention to your newborn while sharing the events of the day in a streamed monologue is a very easy way to give your baby the best start in life. Your words and attention are very powerful.

Give your newborn a brighter future by talking to your baby as often as you can.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


First Time Holding Your Newborn

Holding your newborn baby is both exciting and scary.

Holding Your Newborn

Holding Your Newborn

The First Time

When you are handed your newborn baby for the first time your heart races as you tentatively reach out to encompass the tiniest person you have ever seen! It is so exciting! Immediately you are cautioning yourself to be very careful, to support the head, and to somehow manage all of those floppy parts in unison to make holding more comfortable for both of you. You are grateful when the nurse swaddles your baby in a blanket. With everything contained you can now relax and enjoy your new baby.

Perhaps This Will Help

There is an easy and delightful trick that will help you learn to hold your newborn with confidence. Try holding your baby without a blanket!

To make this time together more enjoyable for your baby, make sure your hands are warm, and the room is warm too. For your peace of mind, make sure you are seated in the middle of a bed so there’s no chance of dropping your baby.

Start by unwrapping your newborn, placing your baby in a sitting position in your lap, then using both hands to support your baby’s body, neck, and head. As your baby uses arms and legs to try to maintain balance, your gentle support will help your baby gain control. You will learn together during this symphony of checks and balances.

Start Slowly

Although you will find it delightful to discover your newborn this way, try it for just a few minutes at a time because your baby, like you, will be working hard to gain control and coordination. Learning to manage all of those newborn baby parts is work … for both of you

I hope you enjoy these special, tender moments learning about your newborn.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN

Video: If you would like to see how this little trick actually works, and build your confidence before you start, you’ll see how 3 week old Vanessa responds to being held this way in “Holding Your Newborn” in Newborn Baby Manual. I think you will like it.