Posts tagged “Newborn Baby Manual

A World of Beautiful People

I believe the future holds a world of beautiful people.

BABIES OF MIXED RACES COLLAGE Keynote jpeg72px

Beauty

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And beauty can mean different things to different people. But for this particular observation about newborn babies let’s go with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition: “the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.”

Observation

As a baby nurse specializing in newborn care I have seen literally thousands of newborn babies. All of them are beautiful in their own way. But, over the years I have made the observation that the newborns of mixed-race parents definitely stand apart in their “qualities … that give pleasure to the senses.” Other baby nurses have shared this same observation, that these babies have something beautiful about them that gets your attention.

The Future

I believe that when we become a world of people without judgement about our differences, that we will become a world full of beautiful people. I believe we will no longer have distinct differences that today keep some of us apart, but rather we will be universally open to the beauty that surrounds us with everyone we meet.

What If

And what if that beauty was not only skin deep. What if the beauty we see on the outside that gives pleasure to our senses, actually goes much deeper and gives pleasure to our mind too. What if the world of the future is full of beautiful people, both inside and out. Imagine the possibilities!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


Golden Hour Benefits

The Golden Hour offers benefits for both of you.

Skin to Skin in the Golden Hour

Skin to Skin in the Golden Hour

What Is the Golden Hour?

As you may remember from the last post, the term Golden Hour is used to refer to the time immediately after your baby is born when being in close contact with you is beneficial for both of you. Holding your baby skin to skin is one of the most important parts of this practice that allows a myriad of benefits to unfold.

Special Opportunity

Because your newborn has a sustained period of wakefulness in a quiet-alert state, this hour or so after birth presents the perfect opportunity for bonding, imprinting on each other, and learning about each other to occur. Although other shorter periods of wakefulness will present themselves later, the high levels of oxytocin present right after birth play an important role in establishing, and maintaining, this special bond between you and your baby. Oxytocin acts to lower stress levels for both of you, setting the perfect stage for short and long-term benefits to unfold. Oxytocin generates changes in brain chemistry that increase your desire for nurturing, and creates the desire for further contact for both you and your baby. Dads who have significant contact with their newborns also experience a rise in oxytocin that creates this desire for further contact too. All of this bonding activity is beneficial for your new family, and provides long-term benefits for your baby’s overall health and development.

Benefits

Skin to skin contact makes it easier for your newborn to transition from the womb to the outside world. Research has shown that your baby will be able to regulate heart rate and rhythm more easily, will breathe more regularly and easily, and will be able to maintain a warm body temperature more easily when held skin to skin. These three things are the important measurements of your newborn’s stability and vitality. Scientists first made these observations about the power of skin-to-skin contact in the early 1980s when the practice of Kangaroo Care (mothers holding their premature babies skin to skin) in Bogotá, Colombia more than doubled the survival rate for these pre-term babies. We now know skin-to-skin holding is beneficial for all newborn babies.

Skin to skin contact also encourages successful breastfeeding, but especially during this first hour after birth. Your body chemistry during this Golden Hour promotes more successful letdown and latching, allowing breastfeeding to occur more easily. The same hormones that help you push your baby out also help to release the flow of milk for your baby (letdown). The readily available milk makes feeding more interesting for your newborn. The smell of the milk, the instant gratification, and the calm-alert state work together to help your newborn “figure out” a proper latch for sustained and successful feeding. And for your benefit mom, the combination of skin contact and breastfeeding releases hormones which cause the uterus to contract and to stop bleeding, both of which are desirable outcomes after delivery.

Overall

The Golden Hour with your newborn held skin to skin offers many wonderful benefits. My hope for you is that you both get to have the intimate and amazing experience of sharing this first hour of life together.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour and Your Newborn

Dad Helped Too

Dad Helped Too

What Is the Golden Hour?

Golden Hour is a term used in photography, labor and delivery wards, and in war … and it refers to that small window of opportunity when the action taken, or not taken, directly affects the outcome of an event. Acting quickly with practiced and proven expertise, defined by the circumstances of photography, birth before 32 weeks gestation, or a traumatic injury, significantly increases the probability of a positive outcome. Leaving this small window of opportunity, usually about an hour, to fall by the wayside leads to a less than optimal outcome.

For Your Baby Too

Today, as research documents its benefits, it is becoming the norm rather than the exception to capture the Golden Hour following uncomplicated deliveries of healthy newborns. More and more the expectation is that the first hour of your baby’s life will be spent in close contact with you, one of the most important practices of this golden hour concept, so that you and your newborn can enjoy these benefits too. If needed, medical interventions to save or improve your newborn’s life of course are always performed first, and your baby returned to you as quickly as possible.

Communication

If you would like to have this Golden Hour with your newborn you can start the communication process by talking with your OB/GYN. When you check in to the hospital you can talk with the medical personnel who will be taking care of you. Expressing your wishes verbally, using only positive words to describe what you imagine to be the best possible way for this magical hour to unfold, will bring you more success than writing a list of everything you “don’t want” to happen in a Birth Plan. This suggestion has everything to do with Mother Nature, and nothing to do with hospital personnel. Acknowledging and trusting medical expertise, and talking positively about your desire to have this Golden Hour with your baby, will work wonders to help you realize this dream.

Benefits

A lot happens in the first hour of life as your newborn engages in a play of interactions with the new environment. After the initial crying that brings air into the formerly fluid-filled lungs, your baby typically will transition into a calm alert state, a state of being that is proven to be the perfect state for learning to occur. Being skin to skin with you during this quite alert time adds to the benefits your baby receives. The next post will go more deeply into these benefits, but just know that taking advantage of this Golden Hour, if possible, will provide positive, short and long term, benefits for both of you.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


What’s In a Hug?

Hugs are pretty powerful … let’s take a look.

Hugs are Good

Hugs are Good

Definition

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a hug is “to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship.”

Hopefully you have experienced a hug as defined above, and hopefully you’re fortunate enough to get hugged a lot. And if not, perhaps after reading this you may want to exchange hugs more frequently, every opportunity you get.

Benefits of a Hug

For some insight into the benefits of a hug you can turn to that familiar Kaiser Permanente voice, currently on the radio, talking about hugs as part of their continuing efforts to support you in your quest for health. They say that a hug can lower blood pressure, improve memory, and reduce stress. That’s amazing! And besides that, they say that a hug makes you feel good, and is proven to be good for your overall health. There’s a lot happening when you engage in this simple gesture of wrapping your arms around someone, beyond showing love or friendship.

For Your Baby

So, if a  hug is good for you, you can see that a hug is definitely good for your baby too. Perhaps there is no high blood pressure to lower, but hugging your upset or crying baby will definitely reduce some of the stress of the situation, probably for both of you. And sometimes you might, for no reason at all except that you are so filled with love, just give your baby a hug. A gentle little squeeze with your arms that brings your baby even closer and gives your baby an infusion of your love. Who knows? Perhaps hugging does improve your baby’s memory too!

Hugs Are Powerful

Hugs have the power to improve your overall health and make you feel good, I believe, because they offer an infusion of loving energy combined with human touch. Your baby, a little version of you, is capable of receiving this loving energy too, and can experience the benefits of a hug for improved health and happiness.

Hugs, straight from the heart, can only do you … and your baby … good. You’ll see!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN, BSN


Choices that Shape Your Baby’s Future

Research shows how baby care choices shape your baby’s future.

How Will You Choose for Me?

How Will You Choose for Me?

Abundant Research

Perhaps you remember the (linked) post “Intentional Baby Care” that talked about human touch, love, and attention, and the positive, long-term effects of these baby care choices. Here are some other choices you may want to make for your newborn as you think about the person you want your baby to become. In 2013 we have technological advances that make information readily available at the touch of your finger, and we have an abundance of research that only time can make possible. Here is a small sample of what we now know.

“The Primacy of Human Touch”

http://www.benbenjamin.net/pdfs/Issue2.pdf

Ben E. Benjamin, PhD begins by talking about unwanted babies of a hundred years ago in orphanages who died, not from lack of food or lack of clean surroundings, but from lack of touch. When given touch in an outside environment, the babies from these institutions thrived. He goes on to mention that today’s cuddlers (volunteers who hold babies in the hospital) not only help those babies improve physiologically so that they grow and heal faster, but the cuddlers themselves experience “lower anxiety levels, fewer symptoms of depression, and improved self-esteem.” He asks the important question worth exploring:  “And what is the connection between physical human contact and virtually every aspect of health and well being?” And after some discussion he makes this observation about newborn babies: “But it does make sense that during this most vulnerable time of our lives we would form patterns and expectations about how the world works, specifically, about how safe and valued we are in the world, through our skin.” Human touch is a powerful force, easy to give to your newborn, that will help shape the person your baby will become.

“Crying Babies: Answering the Call of Infant Cries”

http://www.childcarequarterly.com/fall10_story2a.html

Melodi Faris cites in her article the research of many investigators as she gives us ample documentation to support responding immediately to the call of a baby crying. “Ideally, a caregiver would evaluate the infant’s cries, choose a method of care to ease the infant’s distress, and respond quickly. This process, if consistent, should instill security and trust in the infant.” Security and trust provide the foundation for development of the long-term benefits of “a more balanced self-concept, better language skills, better problem-solving skills, greater conscience development, and more mature and positive interactions,” skills that may influence greater success in life. Many more research findings are presented that will help you explore this choice for your own baby care.

“Books and Babies and Brains! Oh My!”

https://multcolib.org/parents/early-literacy/brain-development

We learn from the “Brain Development” section of the Multnomah County Library that your baby’s brain development is influenced by “simple acts – singing silly songs, talking about colors and textures…., holding and reading….daily” that cause connections in the brain to form. The article goes on to say that “Babies and young children learn best through warm, responsive caregiving. Clear evidence has emerged that suggests that activity, experience, attachment, and stimulation determine the structure of the brain.” This research documents that “warm, responsive caregiving is essential to healthy brain development.”

“Rocking Chair Therapy Research”

http://www.rockingchairtherapy.org/research.html

Champ Land’s article cites many sources of research demonstrating the positive benefits of rocking, not just for babies, but for people of all ages. Rocking is proven to be good for the mind, body, and spirit. Studies in the elderly population have demonstrated that rocking benefits include a decreased need for medication, improved balance, and more happiness for patients and their families. They also noted in these studies that it’s possible to “rock away anxiety and depression.” Other studies found that post-operative and C-section patients recover more quickly with rocking. Perhaps if you have a Cesarean delivery you would also like to know that “rocking mothers had less gas pain, walked faster, and left the hospital one day sooner than non-rocking mothers.”

It’s commonly known that “rocking soothes fussy babies and relaxes mothers.” But did you also know that rocking “stimulates the balance mechanism of the inner ear. It assists an infant’s biological development and ability to be alert and attentive.” Rocking is also proven to enhance the bonding process for mother and baby. And, it has been discovered that, beginning the 10th week of pregnancy, “rocking promotes the development of the fetal nervous system.” It seems that no matter the age or condition, rocking is truly a simple, relaxing, and fun way to enhance the human body.

Your Baby’s Future

Perhaps you have learned, or been reminded of, some things that may influence your baby care choices. You do have the power, as a parent to this little person who came to live with you, to influence your newborn’s overall healthy development as you make choices that will shape your baby’s future.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


A Valuable Tip for the Early Days of Breastfeeding

Here is a tip that may help you in the early days of breastfeeding.

Yawning Baby

Yawning Baby

Story

As you may remember from one of the stories in the book my son happened to be born in a hospital without rooming in and without any offer of breastfeeding support. When the nurses would bring my baby to me for feeding, they’d leave him in the crib and disappear very quickly. As a first-time mother, prior to my nursing career, I would look at the empty doorway, and look at my baby, and wonder what I was supposed to do. Without any offer to help me I concluded that I should, as a mother now, know how to breastfeed.

Inexperienced

I was so excited to hold my baby and so in awe of him, this tiny person who came to live with me, that I would end up just visiting with him as I got lost in the wonder of it all. He slept (so it seemed to me) on my chest as I explored fingers and toes and got to know him. My inexperienced eye judged him as sleepy rather than hungry. I never managed to feed him while in the hospital even though milk ran down both sides of my body in response to holding him. When the nurse would return to check on me I would say “He’s not really hungry” … and they would let me! They’d whisk him away back to the nursery and, thankfully, feed him a bottle of formula. I was discharged 24 hours after birth, and it never occurred to me that breastfeeding might have some challenges.

From Home to ED

After breastfeeding my baby by connecting baby and breast as best I knew how, my baby developed projectile vomiting. I took him to the Emergency Department to rule out stomach problems. After examining him and viewing the X-ray the doctor was surprised to report that my baby was “90% air!” A few questions about feeding revealed that I needed help with breastfeeding. The ED nurse watched what I was doing and then gave me this valuable tip that I want to share with you.

Valuable Tip

She realized that with my lack of experience I was not waiting for my baby to open his mouth wide enough before trying to latch him for feeding. Consequently he had a poor latch and took in a lot of air with feeding. The nurse suggested I take a good look at how wide his mouth opened when he was crying. I was so surprised at the shape of his mouth! She told me to wait until I saw his mouth open about that wide before trying to connect him for feeding. She guided me to the perfect latch and let me feed him for awhile before leaving. Breastfeeding suddenly became very easy and very rewarding … for both of us. I was able to breastfeed for 14 months, and even today I am so grateful for the help.

Success

Perhaps this little tip will help you when you are first learning about breastfeeding your newborn. A good latch involves a wide-open mouth, and your baby will define “wide open” during crying or yawning. Now we know!

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN


When Your Baby Needs a Break

Sometimes even your newborn may need to take a break.

So Far, So Good

So Far, So Good

Activity

Like adults, babies sometimes get overly tired and need a change from the current engaging activity. Perhaps there are a lot of people visiting, or perhaps there is more noise than usual in your new location outside your home, or perhaps brothers and sisters want to keep playing with their new baby but your newborn has already tired of the interactions. These are just some of the times your baby may need a break, but it gives you an idea of things to consider.

Baby Cues

We have addressed some of your baby’s cues in this linked post “Your Baby’s Language,” but I believe this set of baby cues are worth mentioning too because they may be very subtle and easily missed. There are a few ways your newborn will let you know it’s time for a break.

The more subtle cues include turning away from the interaction and breaking eye contact. Looking away may be accompanied by frowning or by having a glazed look. Other need-a-break cues take the form of a raised hand with splayed fingers and palms out … almost like holding up a stop sign, falling asleep, or arching back away from you. If any of these baby cues are missed your newborn may resort to crying to get your attention to let you know something needs to be changed.

You see how these cues may be easily misinterpreted as part of a wide range of behavior. But now that you are aware you might consider the possibility that your baby has grown tired and wants to have a change when you see these cues.

What to Do

When you recognize these baby cues you may honor your baby’s needs by changing the situation. Using the examples above, if there are lots of people visiting, perhaps letting them know your newborn will be disappearing for a nap may give your baby the calm environment needed at that time. If it is unusually noisy where you are, perhaps finding a more quiet place to hang out if possible would be a good change. And if siblings are enthusiastically playing with your newborn, perhaps giving them a new activity that doesn’t include your baby would be a welcome change for awhile. These are simple suggestions that perhaps you would want for yourself if you were overly tired and unable to enjoy the current activities anymore.

In the Beginning

When your newborn is learning to feed, to hold up his or her head, to coordinate movement of arms and legs, and to interact with the environment and with the people in his or her life, it is all work. Inside the womb things like feeding and moving come relatively easy and without effort in a warm, relatively quiet, and comfortable environment. All of that changes very abruptly when your baby is born. So, until muscles develop more, and experiences become more commonplace, your newborn may tire easily.

Knowing

Now that you are aware of these subtle cues your baby may give you when rest, quiet, or a change of activity or environment are needed, you can help your baby more easily. Responding to your baby’s needs is proven to help your newborn develop trust and an optimistic outlook, qualities that will help give your baby the best start in life. Truly life is good when someone cares.

For you and yours,

D. Fravert, RN