Have you heard the one about the three-week-old baby’s first growth spurt?

Learn about a frequent hurdle in breastfeeding… your baby’s growth spurts. If you know what to expect it won’t be daunting and you’ll sail right through. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

See if this scenario sounds at all familiar: You’ve delivered your baby and are at home,  and successfully breastfeeding.Though you may have had a bumpy start, some weeks have passed and things are beginning to settle down. You and your baby are both getting the hang of it.

Suddenly, with no warning when your baby is about three weeks old, all holy breastfeeding hell seems to break loose.

Your previously happy, contented baby seems insatiable. He wants to eat constantly, all day and night, for a day or two.  Or every afternoon, all afternoon, for days on end. You are exhausted and worried. And to top things off, now your baby is fussing more. Or she seems so sleepy you can hardly wake her to maintain a routine.  You feed her, she drifts off to sleep and 30 or 20 or even 15 minutes later ….. waaaaaaaaa.

“Well, she can’t be hungry. I just fed her,” you tell your spouse, partner, mother, mother-in-law or friend, who’s anxiously worrying beside you. But lo and behold, you offer the breast and she nurses again for another 20 minutes.

UH OH. What’s going on here?

Your new baby is experiencing his first growth spurt.

If you’re like most concerned new mothers your first thought is likely to be “There must be something wrong with my milk?  “Maybe my milk is dried up? Maybe I’m not making enough milk.” You wonder out loud “Why is he crying when I just fed him. He didn’t do this last week.”

“Maybe I should give him some formula?”

Noooooooo I’m shouting. (Can you hear me from way over here?) Please don’t substitute, or even supplement your baby, with artificial milk. If you do you will be shortcutting your baby’s first growth spurt and an ingrained, biological way to tell your body “Mommy, I need more milk,” and potentially putting your milk supply, and your nursing career, in jeopardy.

Your baby’s frequent nursing is completely normal and has all the marks of her first growth spurt.  In fact, she’ll experience this seemingly insatiable demand several times in her first year –at roughly week 3, again at week 6 and then at 3 months and 6 months. ( Mark a calendar NOW to remind you.)  Without words and very insistently, your baby is telling your body to increase the milk supply to meet the needs of her growing body and brain. Pretty amazing, right?

So, don’t be temped to reach for the formula. Ride out the growth spurt. Accept help from a postpartum doula, family member or friend this week. Limit activities for a few days so you can catch up on sleep when your baby sleeps. And remember that each feeding is helping your baby to grow with the goal of approximately tripling her birth weight by the end of year one.

Now go share this knowledge (and this blog) with another breastfeeding mom. And then take a nap.

Contact Elaine at 973-291-8200. Email Elaine@tendertimesdoula.com. Visit my website here.

 

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5 More Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Your Newborn Baby

Newborns arrive with a strong drive to survive.

This is the continuation of an earlier post by Tender Times Doula.

6. Your baby’s biology says  “DO NOT LEAVE ME ALONE. “Again, this is a baby animal.  With an instinct to survive. What do puppies, kittens, horses and elephant babies do when they are separated from their mothers? Right…they make noise so that mom can find them and keep them safe.

7. He/she will get the hiccups. Sometimes many times in one day. This will naturally subside by about two months of age. There is nothing you can do to stop them or to prevent them. They will likely bother you more than they will bother your baby.

8. Your newborn will sleep a lot. Maybe as much as 16-18 hours a day. Especially if you hold him/her, cosleep (safely) or use a sling or baby carrier.

9. Your baby is guaranteed to HATE a sponge bath. It is not necessary to do this often. If you do, work quickly, turn off the a/c and fans and keep your baby wrapped in a warm towel. The same suggestions apply for tub bathing a newborn once the umbilicus heals. The water should be pleasantly warm, not cold or you will have one wet, upset baby on your hands.

10. Your baby will  yawn.  It’s not only really, really cute, it’s a  really good clue that  likely means he/she is tired. Swaddle your baby and help him or her to fall asleep. Wait 15 minutes or so and put her down nearby to where you will now go to sleep yourself!

Reach me at elaine@TenderTimesDoula.com or 973-291-8200.

Visit my website.

Follow me on Facebook for more great info and tips.

I invite you to please share the most fascinating/surprising fact about newborns you experienced as a new mom or dad in the comments, below.

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5 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Your Newborn Baby

Newborns arrive with a strong drive to survive.

In my work as a postpartum doula I’ve had many parents who express surprise at some of the characteristics of their newborn baby. Here’s a list of a few of the most common traits of newborn babies. All are considered normal neonate or newborn behavior and are generally not a cause for concern.

1. He/ she does not know the difference between day and night. So be sure to sleep when your baby does, because it’s likely you can not count on a sleep routine just yet. * Yes, if you have read any of my other posts, you know, this is my mantra!

2. He/she is nocturnal until at least about four months of age when he/she develops the same circadian (day/night) rhythms as the rest of us.

3. He/she is a baby animal. (Yes, humans are animals!) with a strong instinct for survival and a number of  behaviors designed to insure that survival. Sucking, crying when put down or left alone, crawling to the breast, preferring the arms of his/her mother, who she/he can identify by SCENT in the first week of life are all examples of this drive to survive.

4. His/her skin will peel profusely during the first month or so of life. Yours would too if you just spent the last nine months or so submerged  in water. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. You do not need to apply lotions or potions.

5.  Babies cry. He/she is not crying to manipulate you, but rather to communicate with you. Your baby does not have the thinking power yet to get his/her fist to her mouth. She/he is incapable of higher thought or reasoning. If your baby is crying, pick her up. She is calling you with the only means of communication she has right now and is trying to convey a need, perhaps for food, warmth, comfort or safety. Anyone who tells you otherwise it spreading mis-information.

Reach me at elaine@TenderTimesDoula.com or 973-291-8200.

Visit my website.

Follow me on Facebook for more great info and tips.

I invite you to please add the most surprising/fascinating fact about newborns you experienced as a new mom or dad in the comments, below.

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Best Newborn Sleep Article Ever

Sleeping baby

If only babies KNEW they were supposed to sleep at night, the lives of new parents would proceed uninterrupted. But guess what? They don’t know they are supposed to sleep all night yet.

I’m posting this for all the parents of newborns who are up late at night searching the internet for advice on how to get their new baby to  sleep.

If only babies KNEW they were supposed to sleep at night, the lives of new parents would proceed uninterrupted. But guess what? Babies don’t know that they are supposed to sleep all night yet.

So check this out: A Newborn Sleep Habit Every Expectant Parent Should Know About | Being Pregnant.

As a postpartum doula with more than a decade of experience working with families and two children and grandchildren of my own,  I can tell you this advice is some of the best I’ve seen. Be sure to follow the links at the bottom of the article.

One more word of solace. This will NOT last forever. I promise.

For ongoing parenting tips and information, join me on facebook at Tender Times Doula

Email  me at Elaine@tendertimesdoula.com

Check out my website: www.tendertimesdoula.com

Know anyone in Northern New Jersey who is expecting? Pass this on.  Reach me at 973-291-8200

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Six Things You Can Do Before Your Baby is Born to Insure Breastfeeding Success

Be proactive and educate yourself about breastfeeding before your baby is born.Image: koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

I want to be clear about breastfeeding…while it is certainly a natural bodily process, it is NOT like breathing. Women are not born knowing how to automatically do it. New mothers need kind, patient, knowledgeable and loving mentors or teachers to show them the ropes. In cultures other than the U.S.,  girls may grow up watching breastfeeding happen around them and so maybe have a few more clues about how the process works. But that’s not the case here in New Jersey.

As a postpartum doula who has spent many hours training to help new moms breastfeed I am constantly amazed and frankly, disappointed  at some of  the confusing and downright incorrect information my  new mom clients seem to be getting about breastfeeding while they are in the hospital. I’m not sure why this happens, nor does it matter. But suffice it to say, that here in Northern New Jersey where I live and work, you can’t count on all the breastfeeding information you receive in the hospital to be the most up-to-date, or even correct.

So, given this discouraging information, how can a new mother insure that she will have success with breastfeeding?

1.  Be proactive.  If you plan to breastfeed, expect to need help with it. It really does take a village to get a new mom and her baby up to speed on how to breastfeed! So get your support lined up BEFORE your baby arrives. Look online, make some phone calls and line up an independent lactation consultant  who is  wiling to pay you a visit in the hospital if you run into problems.  Make initial contact with your local La Leche League group leader. Find out when the meetings are in your area. And plan to attend (yes, even before your baby is  born!)  for free support.

2. Educate yourself on how to latch your baby. While there is nothing like actually breastfeeding your baby to improve your skills it still pays to watch a few online videos of what a good latch look likes. And learn how to  break the latch by inserting your finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth and breaking the powerful suction. Painful  nipples, which often drive new mothers to quit before they get started breastfeeding, are most often caused by improper latch, not by the fact that your baby eats frequently.

3. Buy at least one good breastfeeding book. Read it before your due date. And pack it in your hospital bag.

4.  Find out  there is a lactation consultant on staff where you will give birth. Specifically ask what hours and on what days she is available. I can’t tell you how many mothers believe that support exists  only to find out that the lactation consultant on staff works  Monday and Thursday  from 10-2. If  you  give birth on a Friday  night or Tuesday morning, you may never get to see her.

5.  Stake out space and time for your bonding and breastfeeding. Set expectations early that you will not be having visitors in the hospital. Your time there will be short enough and you will have lots to learn. Your baby’s needs will come first. Nix all but the grandparents and siblings from visiting.  Use  technology and social media to introduce your baby to waiting friends, family and coworkers.

6. Hire a postpartum doula with experience coaching breastfeeding moms so she can be there with you when you get home to help you stay on track.

Yes, successful breastfeeding does require time, patience and practice. But the rewards for you and your baby are  tremendous.  And with the right support, you can and will  successfully learn to breastfeed. So start now, before your baby arrives.

reach me at

973-291-8200

www.tendertimesdoula.com

elaine@tendertimesdoula.com

or find me on facebook at Tender Times Doula

Posted in babies, breastfeeding, doula, feeding a new baby, infant care, new baby, newborn assistance, postpartum doula, tips for new parents Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When should I start talking to my baby?

In my ten-plus years as a postpartum doula  I’ve had more than one very  intelligent mom or dad ask me — “So…. when should I start talking to the baby?” This usually occurs after Mom or Dad has heard me chattering a mile a minute to their three-day old baby.

My answer? Yesterday. Or maybe even the day before that.

Photo by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Babies are wired to respond to the human voice, so talk to your newborn. Photo by David Castillo Dominici / www.freedigitalphotos.net

Babies are wired to respond to the human voice. Your baby has, in fact, been listening to your voice since about 20 weeks gestation. Did you know that newborn babies recognize and respond to their mother’s (and father’s) voices at birth? (Brothers and sisters too.)

One former postpartum doula client I worked with a few years ago began by putting her fourth baby down to sleep a few rooms away from where his siblings played and did homework. Her thinking was he would sleep better in the quiet, which seemed logical. But on the contrary,  her newborn woke up  every ten minutes when he was separated from his tribe. Once mom moved his bassinet closer to the family hub-bub, he slept longer and more soundly, apparently soothed and comforted by the familiar sounds of his siblings.

So then, what should you and your newborn talk about?

(Yes. That’s another question I have heard more than once.)

My answer: Anything that comes to mind. Your baby doesn’t really care if you read the use-and-care manual for your phone, vacuum or washing machine. Or if you read your emails or a recipe out loud.  He just wants to hear your voice and know you are near, and in the process, attune his ever-developing brain to the rudiments of the language he will work unconsciously to acquire over the next few  years.

So speak up. Sing, dance, read aloud to, laugh with and enjoy your baby.  And pretty soon, she’ll  be responding in kind.

Hire a postpartum doula to help you adjust to life with your new baby.

I can be reached at 973-291-8200. Or visit my website .

Please feel free to share and to comment, below. I LOVE hearing from you all.

Posted in babies, family, infant care, new baby, newborn assistance, parenting, postpartum doula, reading to a baby, tips for new parents Tagged with: , , , , ,

Alert: U.S. maternity care system fails new mothers who want to breastfeed and what to do about it

Did you (or someone you know) try to breastfeed a baby only to meet with failure?

 http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1819

The quality of breastfeeding support in the U.S. sets new moms up to fail. Know the pitfalls before you give birth to help ensure you'll have success.

Did you (or someone you know)  breastfeed for just a few days or weeks only to give up in uncertainty,  pain or frustration?

Did you (or someone you know) successfully initiate breastfeeding  only to be told by a pediatrician to routinely supplement?

Did you (or a friend)  resort to pumping and bottle feeding or using a nipple shield because your baby never latched correctly?

Have you (or a friend or family member)  had one or more of these experiences related to breastfeeding?

Then you need to know that you  (or your friend or family member)  did NOT fail at breastfeeding. Rather,  the U.S. maternity care system FAILED you, as I have noted before.

Interested in knowing how and why,  and more importantly, what to avoid next time? Then click here for an excellent rundown of the state of breastfeeding in the U.S. in 2011 and how to avoid having the system fail you.

BTW: Expectant families who hire a postpartum doula to work with them after their baby is born have better breastfeeding success rates.  Trained postpartum doulas are taught to help initiate breastfeeding and to watch out for signs that a mother might need the help of a lacatation consultant before there is a crises.

Reach me at 973-291-8200 , www.tendertimesdoula.com

photo courtesy of  

[polldaddy poll=5693673]

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Want to know when to begin reading to your new baby?

She's just 4-months old and already enjoys books! Babies learn language, vocabulary, sounds, focus, and eventually, even how to read, from reading regularly with their caregivers.

THIS IS A GUEST POST BY READING SPECIALIST STACEY LOSCALZO

An experienced reading specialist and speech language pathologist, Stacey Loscalzo is today’s go-to authority for parents who wish to instill a lifelong love of reading in children. The mother of two young daughters, Stacey knows that reading aloud with children puts them on the path to long-term educational success.
 

I give books as baby gifts. To the baby. And many times, the well-meaning new parent will tell me how much the older sibling will love the book. Or that they can’t wait until they can read the book to the baby. I am always happy to tell them that I have a second book for the older sibling and that I have good news. They don’t have to wait to start reading to the baby. In fact, they should NOT wait.

As Mem Fox, the talented Australian children’s book author and author of Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children will Change their Lives Forever, says,

“The best time to start reading aloud to a baby is the day it is born.  The lilting rhythm of a simple bedtime book on that first thrilling, exhausting day is soothing for the tremulous parents and the new child and adds to the bonding between them.  It gives them something to “talk about” together.”


Recent research into brain development tells us that a baby’s brain is only 25% developed at birth. It is all the love and stimulation provided by the baby’s family that helps to develop the remaining 75%.

Why then wouldn’t we want to read, read and read some more?

By the age of one, children will have learned all the sounds that make up their native language.  How important then, to establish the language of literature in their brains.  Babies should hear the “Once upon a times” and the structures of writing that they will not hear in everyday talk.

Experts state that children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before they begin to learn to read on their own. While this sounds scary, if you do the math you learn that it’s not. If you read just three stories a day, you will have read a thousand stories before your baby’s first birthday.

So to get you on your way, savor Mem Fox’s Reading Magic for yourself and delight in reading Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes to your little one.  If you do, you’ll soon find that, as Mem Fox says your little one will

snuggle in tight and fall asleep with a head full of thinking, a heart at peace, and a brain on fire with the excitement of books.”

And who doesn’t wish for that?
 

Reading specialist Stacey Loscalzo knows that reading aloud with children puts them on the path to long-term educational success. So please don't wait to begin reading to your new baby.

An experienced reading specialist and speech language pathologist, Stacey Loscalzo is today’s go-to authority for those who wish to instill a lifelong love of reading in their children. The mother of two young daughters, Stacey knows that reading aloud with children puts them on the path to long-term educational success. Working with parents, schools, bookstores and community organizations, Stacey provides a range of consulting services, from reading assessments and customized reading lists based on a child’s particular interests to parent workshops and professional development training for teachers. Stacey is well regarded for her fresh, current and quality children’s literature recommendations.

Contact Stacey at sloscalzo1@gmail.com.

Check out Stacey’s website for more information about her services.  And visit  her blog (and subscribe) for fun and insights about reading and children… and more!

Contact Elaine at 973-291-8200. Email elaine@tendertimesdoula.com. Visit my website here.

Scroll over the “SHARE”  icon, just below, to follow Tender Times Doula on Facebook and recommend this post to a friend.

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Are You Reading to Your Baby?

COMING  SOON …  a GUEST POST and advice about reading to your new baby by reading specialist Stacey Loscalzo

Reading specialist Stacey Loscalzo knows that reading to your baby fosters a lifelong love of books and learning and puts them on the path to long-term educational success.

An experienced reading specialist and speech language pathologist, Stacey Loscalzo is today’s go-to authority for those who wish to instill a lifelong love of reading in their children. The mother of two young daughters, Stacey knows that reading aloud with children puts them on the path to long-term educational success. Working with parents, schools, bookstores and community organizations, Stacey provides a range of consulting services, from reading assessments and customized reading lists based on a child’s particular interests to parent workshops and professional development training for teachers. Stacey is well regarded for her fresh, current and quality children’s literature recommendations.

Contact Stacey at sloscalzo1@gmail.com.

Check out Stacey’s website for more information about her services.  And visit  her blog (and subscribe) for fun and insights about reading and children… and more!

Contact Elaine at 973-291-8200. Email elaine@tendertimesdoula.com. Visit my website here.

Scroll over the “SHARE”  icon, just below, to follow Tender Times Doula on Facebook and recommend this post to a friend.

Have Tender Times blog posts delivered to your inbox. Click on “Sign me up” at the top of the right column.

Posted in babies, family, infant care, new baby, parenting, reading, reading to a baby

Five quick meal ideas for hungry new mothers

Elaine Petrowski PCD, is a certified postpartum doula and a member of Doulas of North America.

The new moms I work with are often hard-pressed for time to eat. They marvel at how amazing it is that this new little person can take up so much time… including their own time to plan and eat a decent meal!  After sleeping, food needs to be at the top of the “must-have” list for new mothers (and fathers).

One idea: If you haven’t delivered your baby yet, plan a cooking party with some close family or friends and fill your freezer with individual portions of your personal favorites like meatballs, chili, lasagna (meatless or not).  Clients tell me this is like finding gold in the freezer after baby arrives! Or hire a doula, who, if you ask, will gladly cook up a pot of soup or chili that you can eat several times. My motto when I cook for clients: cook once, eat at least twice!

Here are some ideas for quick and nutritious meals for those first few weeks or months of life with a new baby.

1. Eggs. If you like eggs, hard boil a half dozen and have them at the ready to eat out-of- hand or turn into egg salad. If you have just a few more minutes or a helper to chop, make  a huge frittata with lots of sauteed veggies.

A frittata, with lots of sauteed fresh veggies added, can make a fast, nutritious meal for new moms (and dads), according to postpartum doula Elaine Petrowski.

Frittata  will keep well in the fridge, so tonight’s leftovers will be lunch tomorrow

2.  A protein shake. Look for non-soy based protein powder, available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe etc. Add water, a handful of frozen organic strawberries, 1/2 frozen ripe banana, or some mango, peaches or blueberries. Enrich with  a splash of milk, almond milk or apple juice. Whir in blender, pour into a glass, insert straw and drink. Five minutes to create a meal-in a-glass and consume a serving or two of fruit.

3. Nut butters on whole-grain toast or apple or banana slices. Think variety here — almond, cashew and sunflower seed butters can be a great change from peanut butter.

4.  Soup.  Ask your partner, mother, friend, sister or doula to make up a batch of your favorite soup. Something with protein to keep up your energy is important – chicken soup, albondingas, pea or lentil all come to mind. Freeze individual portions and heat for lunch or dinner with a piece of fruit, a nibble of cheese, and some whole-grain bread or crackers.

5. Quesadillas.  Keep flour or corn tortillas in the freezer. Spread with canned, seasoned refried or black beans and/ or cooked chicken, sliced olives, shredded cheese. Brown in a non-stick fry pan and enjoy with a store-bought salsa.

Do you have a favorite healthy quick meal to share with other new moms? Please post in the comments section.

Contact Elaine at 973-291-8200. Email elaine@tendertimesdoula.com. Visit my website here.

Scroll over the “SHARE”  icon, just below, to follow Tender Times Doula on Facebook and recommend this post to a friend.

Have Tender Times blog posts delivered to your inbox. Click on “Sign me up” at the top of the right column.

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