Save a Bundle on Your Little Bundle!

How can something so tiny cost so much? New parents have been known to spend $4,500 and upward, for just the basics– a crib, mattress, and baby furniture, clothes, wipes, diapers, formula (if not nursing) and other miscellaneous items.

If you are looking for some ways to save– not skimp– on your baby, here are some tips to try!

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1. Breastfeeding: It’s free, and it will save you $1,200 in formula costs! That’s big, but even more important is the fact that by breastfeeding you will pass along important immunities to fight diseases, as well as DHA/AA, two critically important fatty-acids that aid in mental and heart development. See www.LaLecheLeague.org for more information.

Total annual savings: $1,200

2. Formula: If you must bottle-feed, then by all means use store brand infant formulas – these milk and soy-based formulas made by Wyeth Nutritionals are sold by most major retailers under the store’s own proprietary name.  The FDA tightly regulates all infant formulas, and so all of the standard first year formulas are nutritionally equivalent. The only difference is the price! Store brand formulas sell for up to 40% less than the national brands. See Storebrandformulas.com for more information.

Total annual savings: $500

3. Clothes: Many parents spend $500 or more on their baby’s clothes. But if you wear your baby in a sling, no one will even know what he’s wearing!  Babies don’t care what designer label is in their clothes, but they do care to be worn close to their mother. Dr. Sears encourages all of his patients to wear their babies in specially design slings, which creates a special bond of trust between parent and child that actually enhances the mental development of a child. See www.attachmentparenting.com for more information!

Total annual savings: $250

4. Diapers and Wipes: Diapers and wipes can cost over $1,000 during the first year. Once again, you can save up to 30% by using store brand wipes and diapers.

Total annual savings: $300

5. Baby furniture: Stay out of high-end specialty baby shops that sell the latest crib, mattress set, and changing tables, where you will end up with a big bill and several weeks of waiting for your furniture. The best place to buy baby gear is at mass retailers where they sell a high volume of quality baby furniture that they stock at every store. As such, their margins are lower, saving parents a bundle.

Total potential savings: $500

5. Know what you DON’T need: Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money points out that many things that people buy for their baby are simply unnecessary. A second-hand, waist-high dresser works great in baby’s room, and can double as a changing table if you put a changing pad on top!  A simple willow basket inside the cabinet replaces a diaper stacker. One car seat and a base for each car is great instead of one car seat for each car. And those coordinated crib sets are cute but mostly useless- bumpers, pillows, and fluffy blankets are not recommended for infants!

6. Go with hand-me-downs! Family and friends may be a great source of baby clothes and other gear that’s free and still in near-perfect condition. You can also find clothes, name-brand strollers, toys and other baby gear for a fraction of the new price by shopping at consignment shops, thrift stores, and garage sales. Don’t worry about germs, just about anything can be thrown in the wash or sprayed with disinfecting cleaners.

7. Free entertainment: Parents.com points out that your local library can be a great source of free mommy-and-baby activity.  Some offer mom-and-baby yoga classes and weekly story time for pre-walkers, wooden puzzles and other toys, and, of course, lots of great books.


Is Baby Oil Safe for Your Little One?

I never gave a second thought to the safety of baby oil… after all, if it’s called “baby oil” it must be fine to use on babies… right? Not quite.  Baby oil is generally just straight mineral oil, plus some fragrance. And mineral oil is made from refined petroleum (as in, the stuff you put in your car). Instead of soothing and moisturizing baby’s sensitive skin, it will actually dry out skin and clog pores. And that’s just the beginning of the potential hazards.

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Watch what you put on your skin!

Remember, whatever you put on your skin is absorbed and circulated throughout your body. Infants, whose brains and nervous systems are not fully developed, are particularly vulnerable to substances absorbed by the skin. Dr. Mercola is fond of saying, “Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to…”  When we eat something harmful, at least there are enzymes in our saliva and digestive systems to break it down and flush it out. But when something harmful permeates our skin, there is not much to stop it from entering the bloodstream and accumulating in delicate organs.

To make mineral oil, crude petroleum is heated in order to remove the gasoline and kerosene. Then hydrocarbons are removed by using sulfuric acid, applying absorbents, and washing with solvents.

It doesn’t sound pretty, but is it really that bad to dab a bit on after the bath?

The problems with Baby Oil (Mineral Oil)

  • Mineral oils can can cause sensitivity reactions over time, in the form of headaches, arthritis and diabetes.
  • Mineral oils interferes with the absorption of nutrients in your body.
  • Mineral oil dissolves the skin’s natural oils, thereby increasing water loss (dehydration) from the skin.
  • Mineral oil may increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.

There was even a segment on Oprah about a baby who died from ingesting baby oil. He inhaled some of it, which became trapped in his lungs, killing him. (Note to caretakers: Even seemingly harmless toiletry items can be dangerous. Keep everything out of children’s reach!)

So what should I use instead?

Safe alternatives to baby oil would be: all natural, edible, unscented, unflavored fruit or vegetable oils that you’d cook or bake with. Some great all-natural moisturizers are pure emu oil, and pure coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil. You can also find many organic skin oils and lotions these days.

Moisturize from the inside out by staying hydrated. Drinking lots of plain old water is a great way to keep your skin soft and supple. Baby’s skin usually doesn’t need that must moisturizing in the first place. If his skin seems dry or irritated, check into the soaps, detergents, creams, and diapers you are using first– he may be having a reaction to something else.

Be careful what YOU use, too!

Many body oils, cosmetics, and moisturizers that adults use are based on mineral oils as well. Be aware of what you put on your breasts, which can pass through your breastmilk to your baby.

Read more here.

Postpartum Depression for Dads

Lots of attention has been given to postpartum depression, which happens to moms soon after birth. But many are surprised to learn that fathers can and do experience postpartum depression as well! A study by the University of  Michigan, published in the March 2011 issue of Pediatrics, found that a significant number of fathers with babies under a year old (about 7%) were clinically depressed. Fathers with infants 3 months to 6 months old were most likely to be depressed; in this category one in four dads was found to be depressed.

The results of this study are aimed at making doctors aware that just as they screen new mothers for depression, fathers should be screened for Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) as well.

Depression in dads is not something new, it has just been swept under the rug. Men’s hormones actually change too when their wife has a baby!  A new father may feel resentment at the arrival of a new baby, or irritated by the many changes in his life as a father. He may be short tempered, snappy, and feel like smacking that little bundle of joy that won’t stop crying.

Yet many men never admit that they are depressed, and never seek the help deserve. They are taught to hide their personal issues and be strong. And the signs of depression in men are different than in women (anger and aggression rather than tears and helplessness), and many never realize that what they are feeling is really depression.

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But like any medical issue, depression is not something to be ignored. Children need a stable, positive father for healthy development and well-being. Women need a supportive husband who can be a partner in raising the kids. And men need to feel inner peace which enable them to live happy, productive, enriching lives.

Symptoms of Men’s Depression:

  • Becoming irritable, angry, or confrontational
  • Feeling stressed and discouraged
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Violent behavior
  • Working or studying obsessively
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Impulsive or risky behavior, such as reckless driving and extramarital affairs
  • Physical ailments: Headaches, digestive problems, pain
  • Lack of concentration, lack of interest in work, hobbies, sex
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who is at risk:

Any man can be at risk for PPND, but there are some factors that make it more likely:

  • Family history of depression
  • Preexisting marital discord
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unemployment significantly ups the incidence of PPND
  • Men who’s wives suffer from postpartum depression are more likely to have it as well.

A man who’s depressed may experience only a few of the symptoms, or many. How bad they are may vary too, or get worse over time. It is important to remember that admitting you are depressed is a sign of strength and hope, not weakness! Depression is a treatable condition and should not be suffered in silence. Ignoring it will not make it go away, in fact if left untreated it tends to get worse. After all, if you had a broken ankle you wouldn’t just ignore the pain and keep walking around on it! Counseling and regular exercise can be very helpful, and sometimes medications will be prescribed.  Look for a qualified therapist who has experience in treating men with depression.

Every family deserves a happy, loving father, and every man deserves to feel worthy and capable of handling life’s day-to-day ups and downs with confidence. Don’t suffer alone. There are many resources online, or through your doctor. Get help today!

Brachial Plexus Injuries: A Preventable Newborn Injury- Please Read!

Three out of every 1,000 babies born in the USA suffer from injuries that could have been prevented. More children are inflicted with Brachial Plexus injuries at birth than suffer from Down’s Syndrome, or Muscular Dystrophy, or Spina Bifida.  The terrifying reality is that Brachial Plexus injury is a doctor-cause damage, occurring when a baby’s head is tugged or twisted in order to pull him out of the mother, damaging the delicate nerves in a newborn’s neck.

Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. The tragedy is that most of these birth-related injuries are preventable.  Like many of today’s problems, a little bit of education can go a long way.

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The problem is that a baby’s shoulders can become lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bones. Some practitioners panic and start pulling on the babies head. They call it “gentle traction” but it is hardly gentle.  In order to help shift the baby’s position, the mother needs to change positions, and this will help the baby to “slide out like a little fish.”

How? Laying flat on your back during labor is the WORST position for childbirth.  Although it is deemed most convenient for doctors, it narrows the birth canal by up to 30% and makes it much harder to push the baby out. Simply rolling over on your side, standing up, squatting, kneeling, or getting down on all fours will help. But never, never, never let anyone pull on your baby’s head.

C-section babies can also be injured.

Why aren’t more people aware of Brachial Plexus injuries?

The United Brachial Plexus Network explains that the reasons are complicated and include the following:

* Since there is no mandatory reporting or tracking of this injury, the widely stated assumption that the injury is usually transient cannot be validated.
* Misconceptions exist regarding the life-long implications and disabilities associated with this injury.
* Birthing practitioners do not want to take responsibility for enabling these injuries through medicinalized labor protocols.
* Medical providers are resistant to the idea that this injury is often preventable.
* Birthing practitioners have succumb to the belief that brachial plexus injuries are an unpreventable and acceptable risk of vaginal childbirth.
* Patient’s guardians often feel the injury is minimized by hospital personnel and are usually told the injury will go away after a few days or weeks.

Please watch this 5-minute video and visit the United Brachial Plexus Network website for more information. A full-length 25-minute video is available there.

3 Reasons to Avoid Bottles at Bedtime

If your baby is being bottle-fed, it is tempting to give him a bottle of milk, formula, or juice and let him fall asleep while drinking it, but unfortunately, this is far from being a healthy habit! What could possibly be wrong with such an easy and soothing way to fall asleep?

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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

When babies fall asleep sucking on a bottle of milk or juice, the liquid tends to pool in baby’s mouth, as swallowing and saliva production decrease. Then the sugars in the mouth are converted to acids, which wear down tooth enamel.  The process is gradual, but this type of severe tooth decary begins to be noticeable on the front four teeth around 12-18 months. In severe cases, the teeth turn into brown stumps that are totally decayed.

Maybe you’re wondering: Is this so terrible, since these are “just” baby teeth that will be replaced by adult teeth later on? Dr. Green warns that baby bottle decay can distort the spacing of permanent teeth. Furthermore, these baby teeth are the only ones your child will have during the years when much of his personality and self-image are formed. It is far kinder to help your baby find alternate ways to fall asleep, rather than risk tooth decay.

Some dentists caution against night-nursing, saying breastmilk can cause cavities in the same way that other calorie-containing liquids can. However, studies have shown that night-nursers don’t have any more cavities than children who are already weaned. In fact, breast milk prohibits acid and bacterial growth in the mouth. Furthermore, breastmilk does not generally pool in the mouth since it requires active sucking (and swallowing) to draw the milk out. Night-time nursing is vital, especially for small babies, and should be continued as long as possible.

Bottle Feeding and Ear Infections

Bottles should not be giving to a baby who is lying down flat on his back, as he would be at bedtime. When bottle-feeding in the lying-down position, formula may travel from the back of the baby’s throat up through the eustachian tube into the middle ear, causing ear infections (Dr. Sears). Hold your baby in a partially upright position during bottle-feeding. This helps prevent formula from dripping into the eustachian tubes (March of Dimes).

Furthermore, the vacuum created inside the bottle as the baby sucks can also cause problems in the ear. According to Dr. Brown: Negative pressure generated in the mouth is transmitted up the tube and into the middle ear where, as a result, fluid can build up. The increased fluid can cause hearing difficulties and infections. Interestingly, none of this occurs with breast feeding, which does not create any kind of vacuum and which actually creates positive pressure within the ear. Breastmilk also contains antibodies that help protect a baby from many infections, including those that can cause ear infections.

Bottle-Feeding and Obesity

In a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers analyzed thousands of children, identifying those that were still using a bottle at age 2 as their primary drink container, and/or were put to bed with a bottle with a calorie-containing beverage (milk, formula, juice, etc).

The results show that infants who were bottled fed with calorie-containing beverages until the age of 2 showed a greater propensity toward obesity as they got older. About 23% of prolonged bottle users were obese by age 5.

This may be because bottle-feeding encourages the child to consume too many calories. “A 24-month-old girl of average weight and height who is put to bed with an 8-ounce bottle of whole milk would receive approximately 12% of her daily caloric needs from that bottle,” Rachel Gooze explains.

The authors suggest that pediatricians and other health professionals work with parents to find acceptable solutions for stopping bottle use at the child’s first birthday. Beginning by cutting out night-time bottles is an important first step. (Journal of Pediatrics)

Tips to Stop Night-time Bottle Feeding

  • One idea is to reduce the amount of milk, formula, or juice your baby is consuming at bedtime. You want to get to the point where she can fall asleep without drinking a bottle at all. Gradually reduce  the amount of milk or formula by 30ml per night until there are no more feeds. Depending on baby’s age, you can replace bottle feedings with some other comforting ritual, such as rocking, patting, singing, or reading stories.
  • Another way to reduce the amount of milk/juice your baby is drinking at night is to gradually dilute the feeds with water until your baby is just drinking water. And this may be so boring that he’ stop asking for it altogether!

The Breastfeeding-Cosleeping-Postpartum Depression Connection

These days, it’s rare to find anyone who’s gonna argue with you that breastfeeding is best for baby, whenever possible.  What they don’t realize is that breastfeeding is best for MOM, too.  And there are still plenty of people with their fists up, ready to knock down any mention of co-sleeping, despite all the benefits that co-sleeping moms and babies report (that is, I’m sure the babies would report, if they could speak!)!

So I was intrigued to read Nancy Mohrbacher‘s blog entry, Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk, which explains a number of reasons that breasfeeding and cosleeping are best for mom as well as baby.

Many moms are mistakenly informed that if they bottle feed and let someone else help with night feedings, they will sleep better and longer. Some people also believe that if mom sleeps separate from her baby, she will sleep better, undisturbed.  They conclude that a well-rested mother will be better equipped to hand the stresses of the post-partum period, thus relieving symptoms of postpartum depression.

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Not so, says a new study!

This study, which will appear in the June issue of the journal Clinical Lactation, surveyed 6410 mothers during the first year after birth.  Although all new mothers experience fatigue, it found that exclusively breastfeeding mothers not only slept significantly more hours during the night than other mothers but also reported significantly more energy during the day, a better mood, better overall health, and a greater sense of well-being.  Another surprising finding was that there was no statistically significant difference in any of these areas between the mixed-feed and the exclusively formula-feeding groups. (From Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk)

So while we all want to make sure new mothers, especially those at-risk for PPD, are happy and well-rested, strategies that separate and supplement newborns are misguided.  Instead of making mom’s life easier, they actually put her at greater risk of poor sleeping, poor health, and depression.

These benefits are in addition to many others! Breast milk builds your baby’s immune system, improves his brain function and raises IQ, reduces mom’s risk of cancers and other health conditions, helps her loose her pregnancy weight faster, and provides emotional comfort and bonding for both mothers and babies… among others!

Read more on the benefits of breastfeeding at nancymohrbacher.com.

Fun DIY Birth Announcements!

Congratulations on your new baby! We know you are itching to share the good news with just about everyone you know! One popular way of welcoming the sweet, new addition is to send out a card with the details of your little angel: Name, date of birth, and any other information you’d like to share. Although you’ve got plenty of things to do, making your own birth announcements might be a fun and relaxing break from the never-ending feeding, burping, diapering, and rocking!

To get started, pay a visit to your local craft store and get some cute paper, envelopes, and embellishments such as ribbon, stamps, glitter, etc. When you get home, play around on the computer with regular printer paper until you have the text, fonts, and centering exactly as you like it. Print one on your special paper to make sure it looks right, and then print the rest! To include a picture, make color copies or have a photo shop print out wallet size pictures for you. Here’s one cute DIY announcement, compliments of do it yourself invitations.com:

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If you like a theme, you can check out Parents.com to see what some real parents came up with, including a baseball card theme, nature theme, and vintage theme!

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Martha Stewart has some cute ideas, of course, with instructions and templates to help you out! I love the idea of just including one photo and letting it do all the talking!

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If you kind of want to DIY, Shutterfly.com has a lovely selection of over 50 birth announcement cards at affordable prices. You upload your own photos, and choose your own layout and design.

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Rubber stamps are just great for DIY projects!  Here are some absolutely adorable ideas from Impress Rubber Stamps:

Baby Blocks baby ideas

Stork Ribbon Card baby ideas

Just Arrived baby ideas

Baby Train baby ideas

Postpartum Danger Signs to Watch For

The weeks after your baby is born are full of wonder and worry. You may feel all sorts of conflicting emotions and uncomfortable physical sensations. Most of these physical and mental states are all within normal range, but sometimes there are complications. Call your health care provider right away if you experience any of these warning signs:

  • Depression: You feel extreme sadness or despair,  have delusions or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  • Bleeding: Your bleeding isn’t tapering off, continues to be bright red after the first four days, resumes after slowing down, contains clots bigger than a quarter, or has a foul odor.
  • Fever: You develop a fever, even a slight one. A low-grade fever may be something benign, but it can also be a sign of a serious infection, so play it safe and call.
  • Stomach pain: You have severe or persistent pain anywhere in your abdomen or pelvis, or  afterpains that get worse instead of better.
  • C-section pain: You have worsening pain or soreness that persists beyond the first few weeks, or redness, swelling, or discharge at the site of your c-section incision.
  • Vaginal pain: You have severe or worsening pain in your vagina or perineum, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or swelling or discharge from the site of an episiotomy or a tear.
  • Breast pain: You have pain or tenderness in one area of the breast that’s not relieved by warm soaks and nursing. Or you have swelling or redness in one area, possibly accompanied by flu-like symptoms or fever.
  • Abnormal urination: You have pain or burning when urinating; you have the urge to pee frequently but not a lot comes out; your urine is dark and scanty or bloody; or you have any combination of these symptoms. (Stinging after the urine comes out and hits a bruised or torn area normal.)
  • Leg pain: You have severe or persistent pain or tenderness and warmth in one area of your leg, or one leg is more swollen than the other.
  • Headaches: You have severe or persistent headaches.
  • Vision problems: You have double vision, blurring or dimming of vision, or flashing spots or lights.
  • Vomiting: You have severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Tenderness from IV: The site of your IV insertion becomes painful, tender, or inflamed.

When to call 911 (or local emergency number) instead:

  • You have shortness of breath or chest pain, or are coughing up blood.
  • You’re bleeding profusely.
  • You’re showing signs of shock, including light-headedness, weakness, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, rapid or shallow breathing, clammy skin, restlessness or confusion.

For more Postpartum information, visit Baby Center

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10 Tips to Help Baby Sleep at Night

As any new parent will agree, getting enough sleep is top priority. Meaning, getting baby to sleep better is top priority. But first, it’s important to remember that babies have different sleep cycles and different sleep needs than adults. Night-waking is inevitable for many months, and even has developmental benefits. But there are ways to make sleep more attractive for your baby, so that gradually he’ll start sleeping longer stretches.

1. Cool it down

Cooling your room down a bit, to around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, may help baby sleep better. If you can’t adjust the temperature, just open the window or turn on the fan. If you want to shorten daytime naps, use this trick in reverse– just keep the room a little warmer. (But never put baby in an overheated room!)

2. Adjust the lights

Babies don’t know they should sleep through the night. Train your child’s internal body clock by dimming the lights towards bedtime, even if he’s not yet ready to sleep. This sends the signal that it’s time to slow down and prepare for sleep. Using the same principle, bring your baby out into the bright sunshine when she wakes up in the morning, and keep your baby’s room brightly lit in the daytime, even during naptime.

3. Use white noise

Is utter silence the only thing that keep baby asleep? Must you speak in whisper, turn off phone ringers, and tiptoe around once baby’s asleep? Actually, the sounds a baby is used to are womb sounds– the swoosh of fluids, digestive sounds, and even your voice, so a silent house can be disturbing. Instead, try playing soothing sounds, such as a nature music CD, a fan, or a TV turned to static. The bonus is, that if there are any sudden loud noises, your baby is less likely to be jolted awake!

4. Fill that tummy

Many babies naturally tend to cluster-feed toward the end of the day. This means that they want to eat more often. For example, if he tends to ask for milk every three hours, start feeding him every two hours after 5 p.m. Just don’t rush your baby to begin solids, thinking that this will fill his tummy better and cause him to sleep longer at night. The “stuffing baby at bedtime” syndrome does not work, and may backfire.

5. Try a massage

It would work for me, so why not baby? Studies show that babies fall asleep faster after a gentle massage. Just pour a little organic, baby-safe oil into your hands, rub palms together to warm it up, and slowly stroke his chest, limbs and back. Use moderate pressure, and try to maintain eye contact—not only is this a great sleep trick, it’s a wonderful way to build your parent-child bond.

6. Swaddle

Have you ever seen a newborn suddenly fling his arms and legs out,  startling himself awake?  Swaddling your baby makes him feel safe and snug, and helps him sleep better.

7. Resist the urge to play

Do pick up your baby when he starts to cry in the middle of the night. It’s a crucial stage for building his sense of safety and trust, knowing that when he calls for help, his needs are met. But here’s the secret: don’t make eye contact. Baby gets excited when he sees his mother’s face- his blood pressure and his heart rate increases. So comfort him but resist his efforts to play.

8. Avoid unnecessary wakings

Newborns will wake up at night to fill their tiny tummies. But well-meaning parents often wake them up unnecessarily. For example, it’s okay to skip diaper changes at night as long as your child is just wet and doesn’t have a rash. If it makes you feel better, use extra-absorbent diapers and a protective layer of cream. There’s also no great need to burp baby after feedings, since babies tend to drink more slowly and peacefully at night, thereby ingesting less air.

9. Get a swing

Babies love movement, and it does help to lull them back to sleep. But instead of rocking your baby to and fro all night long, get a baby swing to do the work for you. Many baby swings also have a “vibrate” function that is calming for colicky babies.

10. Keep baby close

Even if you use a baby monitor, having your little one sleeping down the hall creates difficulties in quick soothing. It’s best to have baby as close as possible, so that the moment he starts to fuss you can calm him down and everyone can get back to sleep. A bassinet by your bed, co-sleeper, or even having baby in bed with you are great for nighttime parenting. For the nursing mother, baby can easily latch on and everyone drifts off back to sleep, barely even waking at all!

reference 10 secrets to get baby to sleep through the night

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Postpartum: Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster

You’ve just given birth! This is a huge moment in your life, one of the most memorable things you will ever experience.  You may find it hard to sleep… or you may find it hard to stay awake! You may feel blissfully  happy… or tense and irritable. You may feel madly in love with this new little creature… or overwhelmed by your new responsibilities.

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It’s all OK. It’s all normal. Here are some of the emotions you may be feeling right after your baby’s birth:

Thrilled. You are on a natural high. It’s hard think or talk of anything but your baby. You  may feel compelled to tell your birth story to anyone who will listen, followed by a detailed account of every yawn, diaper change, and feeding.

Overwhelmed. Taking care of a baby is a 24-hour-a-day job, and it’s all yours now. You may be worn out from labor and birth, but there’s not time for a vacation now! The first few months are the hardest, but soon you’ll be out of the postpartum fog and back on a bit more normal schedule!

Let down. After the emotional highs come the emotional lows. Feeding and caring for your baby may not be as easy as you hoped it would be. You may feel a twinge of sadness about no longer being pregnant. And it may be difficult to share the baby with your partner, family, and friends.

Weepy. They call them the “baby blues” and it’s totally normal. All the sudden changes in your life and in your hormones may cause you to feel anxious and worried about your ability to care for your baby, which may be followed by guilt. Be sure that you are being well cared for and have lots of support.

Beat up. Nearly every muscle, joint, and organ of your body was worked overtime to push the baby out. No wonder you feel battered from head to toe. You can expect your body to feel the effects of delivery for at least a few weeks, longer if you’ve had a c-section. You may have popped some blood vessels in your eyes or face from the intense pushing, which will disappear in a few weeks. You may look and feel washed out, pale, and exhausted. This too shall pass.

Feeling faint. The end of pregnancy brings a sudden shift in blood volume and total body fluid; it takes a while for your cardiovascular system to adapt and compensate for changes in position. So you may feel lightheaded and dizzy after delivery, especially when changing position from lying to sitting, sitting to standing. Until this woozy stage subsides (usually after a day), you may need to seek assistance when getting out of bed or walking.

Shivers and shakes. Immediately after delivery, many women experience chills and whole-body shakes, probably due to a resetting of the body’s temperature regulating system after a long bout of hard work. Rest and a warm blanket will help these chills subside within a few hours after delivery.

Bleeding and vaginal discharge. After birth, the uterus continues to discharge leftover blood and tissue, called lochia. In the first few days the discharge is comparable to a heavy menstrual period, and it may contain a few clots. After a week it becomes reddish- brown and thinner, then changes from pinkish to yellowish-white. Any activity that stimulates the emptying of the uterus, such as standing, walking, or breastfeeding, will also increase the amount of discharge.

To get yourself back on track, it’s important to get a lot of rest. Try to accept any help that’s offered to you. Relax and relieve sore muscles by soaking in a warm bath or getting a massage.  Replenish your energy by eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water. To get your mind off your aches and pains, focus on the miracle of your new baby and the new joys in your life.

For more of Dr. Sears’ postpartum information and advice, click on any of the links below.

Emotional Changes You May Feel
Postpartum Depression
Common Postpartum Changes
Easy Ways to Relieve Postpartum Stress
When to Call Your Doctor About Postpartum Bleeding
What to Do If Bleeding is Heavy
Afterpains: Normal or Not?
8 Ways to Get Your Urinary System Working Again
8 Tips to Relieve Nipple Soreness
4 Ways to End Postpartum Constipation
5 Ways to Reclaim Your Pre-pregnancy Weight

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