A survival guide for new mums
beautyheaven recently partnered with Bio-Oil® to create a support group for soon-to-be mums looking for a safe and knowledgeable place to ask questions. The ‘Bio Oil® mums-to-be' group is a great destination for women wanting to learn a little more about preparing for motherhood and chat about skincare concerns, body fears and how to best look after themselves on their exciting journey. Since the group began, a few of the members have seen the arrival of their little ones and more and more questions are being asked. We’ve collated some of the best questions from the group, as well as the most common questions from new mums, and asked the baby whisperers at Tresillian to answer them.
1. What’s your best advice for settling a young baby?
In the early weeks, you’re getting to know your baby and learning what they need. We know babies can communicate their needs from a very early age using infant cues or signals. Babies will signal when they are tired, hungry or needing to be held and interacted with. When they’re tired, some babies will turn away and avoid stimulation; others become fussy and irritable, and some become drowsy. The way babies behave when they’re tired is not very different from the way you behave when you’re tired!
Understanding and being aware of your baby’s ‘tired’ cues will help with settling – and this may take some time. Cuddling and playing with your baby when they’re awake will make them feel content, and wrapping them in the early weeks will signal sleep and support them to relax their body. When they’re unsettled, hearing your voice or simply seeing your face can be enough to calm them. You can also try holding them close, rocking gently in a repetitive motion, singing or running a relaxation bath. In terms of how you should settle your baby, hands-on settling or settling in arms are best for babies under three months.
Here are the steps to take for hands-on settling:
-Check your baby’s nappy
-Wrap in a light cotton sheet (be careful not to overheat)
-Talk quietly and cuddle your baby to encourage a state of calm and drowsiness
-Place in cot on their back, awake with sides up
-They may go to sleep now with no further support
-If not, comfort your baby with gentle ‘shhh’ sounds, gentle rhythmic patting, or rocking or stroking. Stay with your baby until they calm or fall asleep.
-If your baby remains distressed, you may need to pick them up for a cuddle until they calm.
2. What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding hormones relax both mother and baby and help to improve the efficiency of sleep. It provides regular skin-to-skin and visual contact and increased bonding opportunities. Breast milk is nutritionally complete and requires no preparation, heating or feeding equipment. It’s also economically and environmentally sustainable.
Its health benefits for mothers include increased emotional wellbeing, reduced incidence of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancers and improved bone density after feeding. It also helps mothers’ bodies heal and return to a healthy body weight.
Its health benefits for babies include the fact that breast milk is nutritionally appropriate for babies. Breastfeeding offers enhanced relaxation and sleep, optimal growth and development, and prevents illnesses such as diabetes, gastrointestinal issues and ear infections. It is also associated with a decrease in some cancers.
3. Where can I find breastfeeding help and support?
If your family and friends are knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding, they may be able to encourage and guide you. However, there are also trained support people such as Australian Breastfeeding Associations’ Breastfeeding Counsellors and health professionals like midwives, child and family health nurses. Tresillian staff are contactable via Tresillian “Live Advice” on www.tresillian.net or “Parent Help Line” on 02 9787-0855 or 1800-637-357.
4. I’m a bit nervous and embarrassed about breastfeeding in public. What can I do to overcome this?
Planning ahead is the key to a smooth experience. Think about the places where you can breastfeed comfortably, with some degree of privacy. Wear loose fitting or easily accessible tops and have a scarf or something similar at hand to wrap around your shoulders if required. If you’re going to a restaurant or cafe, you may want to book ahead or ask to be seated with your back to other tables for added privacy.
5. I’m moving interstate and will be on the road for four days with my two-week-old baby. Can you offer some insights on the ‘absolute essentials’ I need to pack or keep on hand for the baby?
Your baby’s needs are basic at this stage. The main thing you need to do is tune into the cues your baby is giving you for sleep, hunger and interaction and they will be happier and easier to care for. Pack enough of everything you’ll need: nappies (disposable ones are really useful when travelling), baby wipes, plastic bags, hand sanitiser, no-fuss clothing, wraps and blankets. A shawl for privacy while breastfeeding may also come in handy. If your baby is being fed formula, you will need enough formula for the days you are away as well as other equipment to prepare the formula. Using prepacked formula can be a useful alternative. It’s also a good idea to take a portable cot for sleeping (check that it meets the Australian standards) as well as a sling that frees up your hands so you can see your baby’s face and gauge what they need when sightseeing or shopping. It is really important to regularly wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser. Make sure the safety capsule is correctly fitted. If you are visiting relatives, as a safety precaution, ask that they check their immunisations are up-to-date.
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