Caring for a Premature Baby

Caring for a Premature BabyIt’s an extremely joyous thing to have another life growing inside you. It’s even more exciting knowing you’re about to be a mother, but when your baby arrives earlier than expected, those feelings of joy and excitement can be washed away completely, and be replaced with fear and anxiety. For a baby to be considered premature they have to be born before thirty-seven complete weeks of pregnancy. Their bodies are not fully developed and this is why many have difficulties with breathing, feeding, keeping their body temperature regulated, or jaundice, which is quite common for premature babies.

Today we are going to discuss a few issues that are most common for premature babies and how you can keep the love and excitement flourishing through this difficult time:

After you’ve given birth to your new little one, they will more than likely have to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit for few weeks, or even months in order for your doctors and nurses to monitor their breathing, heart rate, and organ development. While it will be hard to see your tiny bundle of joy hooked up to a ventilator, it’s important to understand your doctor and their team is doing everything they can to provide the best care for your baby. To calm your anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask questions and do a little research. It’s okay to be a concerned parent! Knowing what exactly is going on with your baby will keep you connected to them and ease the tension you may have with the whole situation.

When your baby is ready to come home, and your doctor believes their health is strong enough to be taken out of neonatal care, you may be feeling another rush of anxiety and might think how are you going to give them the proper care they need outside of the hospital? Preemies need a lot of attention to maintain a stable temperature, especially during night time and bath time. Monitored sleep is a big issue for premature babies because cot death can occur. Cot death is an unexplained occurrence when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly. This can occur for a preemie because their body temperature can change in a range of seconds. Because you can’t possible watch your baby every minute of the day, you must be aware of their body temp and know the precautions of cot death. Talk to your doctor about a bed time routine and how to check your baby’s body temperature. If they are feeling slightly cold layering is an option. However, you want to be careful not to layer them too much because then they could over heat. Other ways to prevent cot death are to always lie your baby on their back to sleep, don’t fall asleep with your baby while you’re sitting or lying on the sofa, don’t let them sleep with a pillow, and make sure their head isn’t covered with bedding.

Bath time is another way your baby could be losing heat. How often you wash your baby depends on how premature he or she is. At first you should only be using water and never use soap without being told otherwise. Depending on their skin they may be sensitive and you don’t want to cause any infections. When their skin becomes wet they can become cold quickly. Once you’re done with their bath try cuddling them to your skin. This will create more heat and help regulate their body temperature. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor if you can watch the nurses wash your baby while they are still in the hospital. Watching professionals is good practice for at home.

Just like any baby, sleeping and feeding are huge factors for a preemies’ health. You might not think they will eat as much as a normal baby, but they actually need to eat more. They need to be feed more often so they can grow up strong and healthy. If you can, start breastfeeding right away once you leave the hospital. You can store milk and be ready for when your baby comes home. Talk to your doctor about a breastfeeding schedule and how often you need to feed. Breastmilk is one of the best things you can give to your baby because it is packed with key vitamins and minerals needed for your preemie to fully develop their organs. Sleeping is also something you should ask your doctor about because your preemie is going to have a harder time falling asleep than most babies. Ask your doctor about a proper sleep schedule where you can monitor your baby.

One of the best things you can do with your preemie is to spend time with them. The first couple months are going to be quiet ones because you’re not going to want to disturb your baby with lots of company or take them places because they are more prone to infections due to their underdeveloped bodies. While they are in the hospital try to visit as much as you can. Watch the nurses and doctors as they care for them, ask to be a part of bath time, and hold them as much as possible. Creating a mother and baby bond is very important, and getting yourself prepared before you bring them home will help immensely with your anxiety and stress.

 

 

Benefits of Cabbage for Sore Breasts

Benefits of Cabbage for Sore BreastsCabbage is an extraordinary thing. Not only can you make delicious recipes from its leaves, but they can give you amazing health benefits. Cabbage has been used for years to treat a number of things including constipation, stomach ulcers, eczema, arthritis, and scurvy, a Vitamin C deficiency disease that many professionals recommend cabbage for because it contains more Vitamin C than oranges. Including cabbage into your everyday diet is one of the best things you can do for your body. It has been known to increase recovery from wounds and damaged tissues, regulate your nervous and digestive systems, and can even help you sustain a healthy weight. Cabbage is also an excellent remedy for women during their maternity to help with discomfort.

While you breastfeed you may experience a time where you will feel uncomfortable, or in pain, from your swollen, engorged breasts. This is a common factor in women who are breastfeeding. It can happen any time during your maternity, but it’s most common during the first few days or weeks and during the following days or weeks after you stop breastfeeding. Engorged breasts can be very painful. Once you have given birth your body begins to produce breast milk to feed your baby. For the first few days trailing your delivery, you will more than likely have difficulty breastfeeding, especially if it’s your first baby. Your baby may have trouble latching and you could go a few days without being able to feed with your breasts. Until you begin a normal breastfeeding schedule you may feel discomfort in your breasts as they fill with unused milk. This discomfort will only last as short while, usually one to two days. Breast pumping can help too.

Cabbage is a great solution for your sore breasts. The leaves have been used for hundreds of years to soothe and cool sore or sprained muscles. Many people use it for sprained ankles or as a substitute for prescribed drugs when they get their wisdom teeth taken out. Many specialists and herbalists believe cabbage is rich in antibiotics and has anti-irritant possessions. Cabbage, just like broccoli and brussel sprouts, contains sinigrin, a glucosinolate which is a natural component in many pungent plants such as mustard and horseradish. When a plant’s leaves or tissues are broken it releases the antioxidants including sinigrin and in return they can heal the problem area naturally and quicker.

For the best use to heal your sore breasts from engorgement purchase a head of green cabbage from your grocery store. Once you get home gently tear off the leaves, wash them, and place in your refrigerator so that they can cool. You don’t necessarily need to put them in the fridge, but cool objects do help with swelling. After they are cool enough you will want to take a rolling pin or some kind of device where you can crush the veins on the leaves. Once you’re done doing this to several leaves place them evenly around each breast so they are covered completely. For the best results leave your breasts covered for twenty to thirty minutes and repeat every four to six hours or until your breasts feel less engorged.

 

Although cabbage leaves have worked for most women to release their pain from their engorged breasts, it’s always important you speak to your lactation consultant or doctor before using anything you’re unsure about because it may be harmful to you if you are allergic. Cabbage, along with many other foods, always need to be washed and cleaned before they can be eaten or put on your body to prevent attaining Listeria.

 

 

 

Breastfeeding Adopted Baby

Breastfeeding is a beautiful way a mother can provide beneficial nutrients to her baby. A special bond is created through the precious moments of skin on skin contact. By supplying your baby with food from your body, some mother’s believe it’s the greatest experience they can have in their lives. But what about mothers who have chosen to adopt? Many women might not be aware, but breastfeeding your adopted baby can be done. Even if you’ve never given birth or breastfeed before, your body is still capable of producing breast milk. Today we are going to discuss how breastfeeding your adopted baby is beneficial to their health and the bonding experience, along with ways to prepare your body before they come home.

Breastfeeding Adopted BabyPreparing yourself for breastfeeding your new baby can be difficult. Although it’s not an easy task, and it takes a lot of time and real dedication, it can be done and the benefits you will gain are well worth it. Creating that mother/baby bond is the most important thing you need to focus on because most infants who are adopted are known to experience and feel loss and abandonment after delivery. Babies can recognize their mothers right after they are born once they are placed on their mother’s chest. They can identify them through smell and touch. If they are not placed directly in their adoptive mother’s arms they could develop a fear of separation and begin performing a distress call/cry. By supplying your baby with your natural milk you are not only giving them the best nutrients possible, but you are also enhancing the bond and creating an even stronger relationship with your child that they need to feel loved and secure.

Getting your body ready to breastfeed isn’t a tricky process, but it can take a while before you are able to produce enough breast milk to fully feed your baby. Adoption can be an unpredictable course. Some women have no time at all to prepare while others might be given several weeks or even months. If you don’t have time you will still be able to produce milk for your baby, and don’t get turned off if it’s a very small amount at first. What’s amazing about a woman’s body is we can produce breast milk once a baby begins breastfeeding. The suckling sensation triggers our bodies to think we have just given birth! Women who have more time before their child is brought home can have the chance to teach their body how to produce enough milk. You can practice by gently massaging your breasts a few times a day. It’s also recommended and encouraged to try breast pumping to stimulate your breasts even more. The more your breasts are stimulated, and the more milk you pump, the more breast milk your body will produce.

Many women who have trouble producing, or want to make more milk, can be prescribed hormones from their doctors to influence their bodies even more. This can work for several women. Other options include formula or you can try a donor’s breast milk. Whatever you chose just remember it’s all about the bonding experience you share with your little one. And always talk to your doctor or lactation consultant about what’s right for your body and baby if you have any questions or concerns when it comes to breastfeeding.

Benefits of Infant Massage

Benefits of Infant MassageDid you know that the sense of touch is your baby’s most developed sensation at birth? Touch gives babies and their loved ones the ability to connect. During the first year, or at least before they are able to speak, touch is their primary way of communication between you and your baby. When your baby begins to cry you usually pick them up and bring them to your shoulder, sometimes gently caressing their back as you soothe them. When they are hungry you bring them to your breast creating skin on skin contact as you breastfeed. Both of these are important communication situations where touch is used to make your baby feel both calm and secure. As they begin to grow they use their sense of touch to learn by feeling and observing objects, and their environment. This is where parents use phrases like “hot” or “cold” to describe certain things that could be harmful.

Touch is more than a comfort and a learning process; it can also help with your baby’s developmental progression by strengthening their body and their mind. Infant massages have amazing developmental benefits that can help your baby in many ways. Many professionals encourage mothers and care givers to practice infant massage with their baby almost every day to help boost and support their bodies. Here are just a few things infant massage can do for your little one:

 

Emotional Health Benefits

Infant massages are great for a baby’s overall health. Studies have proven that a daily massage has impacted an infant’s emotional health in such a positive way. Because touch is a baby’s first sense, massages can help them relax, and when a baby is comfortable and relaxed their body releases the “happy” hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin in turn lowers stress levels, decreases the feeling of fear and fussiness, and it enhances the feelings of love and security. When a baby or toddler feels safe they are able to feel more comfortable in their surroundings, which helps their ability to fall asleep faster and for longer periods of time. Infant massages also give the baby and their caregiver the chance to spend precious moments together they can both look forward to at the end of the day.

 

Developmental Health Benefits

Touch is the only way a baby is able to learn about their body and help themselves become developmentally strong. When a baby begins to recognize their legs and feet they will start trying to use them more and more, and soon learn how to control their muscle coordination. As you massage your infant you will play with their legs and feet stimulating their brain’s knowledge of their lower bodies and promoting their want to crawl and walk quicker. Infant massages also have huge benefits for babies who were born premature or those who are mentally fragile. Massage can help them become more alert and active, and for premature babies it can help them gain weight by strengthening their digestive, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems.

 

Immune System Benefits

As your baby grows one of the things you will worry about is whether or not they have a healthy immune system. As stated above, infant massage can increase your baby’s overall health by strengthening their digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems. It can increase an infant’s resistance to infections and enhance their body’s ability to get nourishment to important areas. Massage improves relaxation and decreases stress levels while their bodies produce more of the oxytocin hormone. It can also ease pain and increase a baby’s pain tolerance once they begin teething, or if they become injured or ill. Facial massages, just like adults, can help with sinus and head tension as well.

 

Mother and Baby Bonding Benefits

Bonding with your baby is very important. It increases a parent’s self-esteem and makes them feel they are really doing their best to love and provide for their little one. Through infant massage parents will be able to give their baby more attention they need to feel secure and loved. Many parents have found infant massage has made them more aware of their baby’s wants and needs and are able to tell certain cues apart and be more attentive of how to comfort them and ease their fussiness. Infant massage isn’t just time for mommy and baby but also a great way for dads, partners, and other loved ones to spend precious moments with their baby and strengthen their bond as well.

 

Practicing infant massages with your baby is a very smart and fun thing to do. However, if you are thinking about trying it out and are unsure where to begin, or what’s safe for your baby, make sure you search for trained professionals in your area that teach infant massage. Babies are delicate and the best way to care for them is to be 100% sure you know what you are doing, especially when it comes to massage.

 

 

Home Birth

Home BirthWhile not many individuals take the time to consider it, childbirth has not always been the safe and clean experience it has become. Throughout history, women have gone through strange, painful, and alarming procedures to safely deliver their children. These processes have greatly changed over the course of time and, in reality, it was not until the 1900s that the majority of women chose to birth their children in clinics.

This tradition continues today, where most expecting mothers choose a safe, sanitized hospital with an experienced staff to assist them. To many, this seems the only appropriate option. Why? Because it can be reassuring to know that a practiced, qualified medial team is there if you need them.

But despite this relatively new and popular custom, it is important to remember that as the years progress, our knowledge progresses with them. Our understanding of childbirth and the anatomy of the pregnant woman have only expanded, giving an increasing number of women another new option: a safe, well-planned home birth.

Exactly how it sounds , a home birth is the decision to go through labor and childbirth at home rather than the hospital. There are many risks and benefits associated with this option and we have gathered the following information to help you see if it might be right for you.

Benefits of a Home Birth

First and foremost, a home birth gives you the option of including those you love in the process. By surrounding yourself with family and friends, you will have numerous helpers, a familiar and comfortable environment, and constant support and encouragement. In addition, you will be able to wear your own comfy clothes, eat and drink, shower, walk around, watch television, read, etc. Basically: your house your rules!

Dissimilar from a hospital birth, a home birth will immediately provide you bonding through breastfeeding. This is an important necessity as it will not only help a new mother stop bleeding, but will transfer necessary disease-fighting antibodies from mother to baby.

Furthermore, although this is not always a first thought, a home birth can cost about 60% less than a hospital birth. This extra money can help you purchase all those diapers, baby clothes, baby books, and everything else you’ll need!

Risks of a Home Birth

No matter how carefully screened, planned, and prepared you are, anything can go wrong during childbirth; and while the risk of infant death has dropped dramatically over the years, it is still double the risk to give birth at home rather than at a hospital.

Potential problems can arise that require medical attention and both mother and child could be rushed from home to the hospital. Some of these problems are: labor is not progressing, placental abruption takes place, the umbilical cord prolapses, there is vaginal bleeding besides a bloody show, the placenta is not delivered, your baby is having trouble breathing, your baby shows abnormal signs of distress.

With such serious risks, the importance of an experienced midwife or doctor to assist you is more than a desire – it’s a necessity.

Home Birth Suggestions    

If you have decided that a home birth is right for you, there are a few steps to consider taking!

  1. Interview and choose experienced, qualified healthcare professionals to assist you through the process of your home birth. The midwives, nurse-midwives, or doctors that you speak with should all be certified and share the same philosophy on birth as your own.
  2. Consider hiring a doula (a trained labor assistant) for the big day!
  3. Create a birth plan in order to solve the following questions: where will you experience labor and delivery, will you use anything to cope with the pain, will you partake in a water birth, do you intend to breastfeed your baby immediately following delivery, what non-healthcare individuals will be assisting, and so on and so on. Discuss your plan with your chosen healthcare providers and make sure to ask what supplies you will need to have on hand. This could include anything from towels to a protective floor covering.
  4. It is essential to choose a pediatrician to examine your baby within 24 hours of their birth.
  5. Write out a backup plan just in case a transfer to the hospital becomes necessary.

With careful screening, preparation and execution, a home birth can be an amazing experience for an expecting mother. It is important to note, however, that home births are only ideal for those who have low-risk pregnancies that include the helpful involvement of a qualified midwife or doctor to assist them. Life-threatening issues can occur and, when that happens, the delay in medical care could put lives at serious risk. Properly understanding the benefits and risks of a home birth can help you decide if it truly is the right choice for you.

 

Birth Plan

Most expecting moms will have heard about the necessity of a birth plan, but may not know what it’s actually for. In fact, it is much more than a simple delivery strategy for you and your spouse. A birth plan is an actual printed document that explains your birthing preferences, such as labor pain, to your assigned medical team.

The majority of birthing centers and hospitals will provide you with a printed worksheet that explains your hospital’s philosophy, policies and procedures. In addition to this, it will describe the potential labor and delivery options you may face when giving birth. This information can help when facing difficult choices along the way by assisting you through a discussion with your healthcare provider about your preferences prior to labor; later, this conversation can be the foundation for your birth plan.

birth planA printed birth plan will also help your healthcare provider when you’re in active labor by reminding your labor-and-delivery nurses of your wishes. The majority of templates will include numerous situations regarding to labor pains, cesarean birth, vaginal birth, potential circumcision, placenta removal, and much more. 

 

Keep in mind that the unexpected can always happen and you won’t be able to control every aspect of your labor and delivery. Because of this, you will need to remain flexible. Your assigned birthing team may have to depart from your original plan in order to do what is best for both you and your baby.

As a side note, remember to provide copies of your plan for the hospital nurses!

Mother’s Day: What Gifts SpokesMom Danah Bordner Gives to her Daughters

Danah's daughter Taylor is excited to be a big sisterLoving Moments by Leading Lady SpokesMom Danah Bordner loves being a part of the LPGA tour and makes every effort to travel with her family to tournaments if possible. For Mother’s Day, Bordner shares which parts of Motherhood make the biggest impressions on her daughter Taylor, and what steps Bordner can take to ensure that both of her daughters are raised with the best values. We hope you get a chance to relax this Mother’s Day Danah, you’ve definitely earned it!

Being a mom is hard work, and being a working mom is even harder. It is truly a juggling act balancing my tour commitment with parenting, but I have to remind myself that nothing is ever more important than the love and wisdom I can give my child.

We are excited to be expecting another daughter in August. I know Taylor is going to be a great big sister. But, before I give birth, it’s important now to teach Taylor respect and kindness because pretty soon she will have to share the stage with her baby sister. I’m sure our patience will be tested, but it’s how you deal with those particular situations as parents that truly teach your child how to deal with growing up. After all, they learn by watching you!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I’m thankful for my mother who taught me many valuable lessons in life that I can now share with my daughters.

Happy Mother’s Day to Danah and all of our Loving Moments moms!

Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too

Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too Becoming a new parent (especially for the first time) can be a period of rough transition for some moms and there are important signs to watch for if you think you or a loved one is affected by postpartum depression. New fathers are also prone to feeling symptoms of depression too, a new study shows, and can display features of postpartum depression that linger up to five years after the birth of their child.

While raising a baby is a time of immense joy and excitement, it also presents new schedules, responsibilities, and the pressure of learning how to parent on the fly. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Northwest University and appears in Pediatrics magazine, also notes that younger men (around 25 at the time of their child’s birth) experience symptoms of postpartum depression that have a 68% chance of increasing over the next five years. This statistic applies to men who live at home with their partner and child; interestingly, men in the same category who live separately from their partner and child but still parent are less likely to experience depression with the same intensity or longevity.

A new baby changes the environment a couple once knew and coping with those changes, along with parenting expectations, is one way to help combat postpartum depression. Flexible schedules, freedom to go out on a whim, a full night’s sleep—all of those lifestyle features are put on hold when raising a newborn, and this perceived loss of control can be hard for a dad to accept. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner open and honest as a way to save both of your sanity; admitting that he needs time to himself does not make any dad a lackluster father, so being appreciative of each other’s feelings and congratulate each other on the little things that make you great parents.

If you’re worried about your partner or another new dad you know, seek advice from a doctor or counselor that can recommend what steps you should take to help. Knowing that other new parents feel the same as you or your partner do can help, but sometimes it takes a licensed professional to administer the proper care to help combat postpartum depression.