Reflux is a backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus that causes heartburn. It's one of the most common conditions newborns face and is often caused by the esophageal sphincter valve not being fully developed. This causes milk to come back up the esophagus through the throat and causes baby to spit up and vomit. When the contents of the stomach come back up, it is usually mixed with some stomach acid, which creates a burning sensation.
Over the counter medicines may be prescribed by baby's pediatrician but it's important to remember that while they may help soothe the burning sensation, they do not "cure" reflux and are not always recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Here are 5 Tips to Help Your Reflux Baby:
1. Keep baby elevated while feeding. Gravity helps hold contents in the belly, and reduces the amount of spit up. Do not place baby where he/she can easily slide down or be in a "scrunched up" position.. This puts pressure on the belly and force contents up.
2. Burp frequently during feeding. This helps keep air out of the belly. Air bubbles can force milk back up the esophagus, causing pain and discomfort. After each ounce of feeding or even more often can be considered frequent.
3. Have smaller and more frequent feedings. When baby is too full, it can put pressure on the sphincter valve forcing the baby to spit up. This can cause pain and also lead to choking.
4. Fill the bottle nipple with fluid. If baby is bottle-fed, make sure the entire nipple on the bottle is filled with fluid to avoid swallowing excess air.
5. Try Coleif drops. Some babies have reflux not only due to immature sphincter valves, but because they have trouble digesting lactose in milk. This can lead to bloating, gas, discomfort, and a lot of crying. . Coleif is a natural lactase enzyme that helps to break down lactose in an infant’s breast milk or milk-based formula . (To find out more about Coleif, see www.coleif.com)
For more helpful tips on soothing baby, visit Top 10 Ways to Calm Your Baby.
Baby is fed, his diaper is changed, but s/he’s still crying! While it's important to remember that sometimes babies cry because that's what babies do, there are soothing methods we can try. Here are our Top 10:
1) White noise: Make some noise…white noise that is! The rhythmic monotonous whooshing sound reminds baby of what she heard in the womb- it can lull her into sleep and even help her stay asleep. You don't have to spring for a machine, try a white noise app on your smartphone. Even the sound of a fan or a humidifier will work. Due to recent studies, make sure the noise is not too loud. See this great article in Science News for more information.
2) Exercise ball: Hold baby in either a cradle hold or up on your chest, sit on an exercise ball and gently bounce. Rhythmic motion is soothing to baby.
3) Baby-wearing: Babies, especially newborns love to be held constantly. However, many parents worry that they won’t ever be able to use their hands again! Try a baby carrier or sling- to keep baby close while leaving your hands free. We promise you won't spoil baby - spoiling a baby is impossible, you're just following baby's natural need to be close to another human when you wear baby.
4) Swaddling: Babies like to be tightly swaddled because it reminds them of being snug inside the womb. If you want to learn to swaddle like a pro, watch our step-by-step demonstration YouTube.
5) Skin to skin contact: In the NICU this technique called “Kangaroo care” and is employed not only calm babies, but to help them grow and develop. Get your baby down to her diaper, open your own shirt and snuggle in close and get as much “skin to skin” contact as possible. It calms, reassures, and is great for bonding.
6) Take a bath with baby.Taking a bath with baby can be a relaxing experience for both baby and mom. First, test the temperature of the water to be sure it's not too hot. Then get in the tub and have baby lay chest to chest with you. Gently hold him and relax. This is also a wonderful opportunity for mothers to breastfeed, if baby would like to.
7) Try the “colic hold.” The “colic hold” has been known to soothe many fussy babies. Lay baby face down on your forearm and gently rock him back and forth. Pressure on baby’s tummy is soothing and may help relieve gas.
8) Massage. Massage can be a useful tool in calming your baby. Lay your little one on her back on a changing table or other flat surface. Gently massage the top and sides of her head, the face and jaw muscles, then the arms, tummy and legs.
9) Calm your heart rate. As nerve-wracking as the crying can be, try to take some slow deep breaths with baby up against you. Focus on slowing your heart rate. Often, baby will follow suit.
10) Turn down stimuli. Too much stimuli is frequently stressful for babies. It’s easy for parents to overlook the daily barrage of lights and sounds we’re all accustomed to. Your newborn baby was in darkness for nine months; his nervous system is still immature and all these new stimuli can be overwhelming. Trying turning off the TV and dimming the lights. Sometimes, bringing baby to his dark, quiet nursery will also help him relax.
It's important to remember that sometimes babies just cry. They just do no matter what you try. If baby is not hungry and not injured or in need of medical attention and you feel like you might be reaching a breaking point while baby is crying, it is okay to place baby in a safe place like the crib and walk away for a few minutes. Are there other soothing techniques we missed here? Let us know here!
Many parents report that their baby is gassy or uncomfortable after feeding, or just plain fussy. While this is normal, one of the most common reasons we see babies exhibit fussy behavior is not enough burping happening during feeding.
This video shows several effective burping techniques. View more like this at youtube,com/letmommysleepusa
On WJLA-TV, Registered Nurse Liz Hawkes and mom Julie Stanbridge share how to know the difference between typical hormonal shifts after giving birth called "baby blues" and postpartum depression.
By knowing the signs of PPD in new mothers, partners, friends and caregivers take the first step to help.
Did you know postpartum mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy? Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Anxiety in mothers is finally getting talked about, but postpartum depression in men* called Paternal PostNatal Depression, or PPND, is just as common.
What is PPND?
Depression in mothers happens because of the biological and hormonal changes experienced after childbirth. According to studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and National Institute of Health however, depression can affect up to 25% of new fathers -especially if their partner is experiencing depression. The condition is called PPND, or Paternal PostNatal Depression, and with the amount of depression reported in men as a whole typically about 5%, PPND is very real. Hormonal and emotional changes happen in men too.
*We’re using male pronouns here because the study data is for male partners. There have not yet been significant studies on same sex partners and postpartum mental health, but the information is still useful.
Who is at risk?
PPND can happen to any father but there are also risk factors to know about before baby arrives:
For more information, watch RN Rachel Wolf on CBS South Florida..
Video: How to Swaddle Baby
Let Mommy Sleep Registered Nurses & Newborn Care Experts demonstrate swaddling using common swaddle blankets.
New Directions Counseling Group
150 S Washington St Suite 303 Falls Church, VA 22046
Expectant moms can easily get caught up in the baby buying, the reading, developing the perfect birth plans, and taking hospital classes on the birth process and taking care of baby protocols. Sometimes expecting moms enjoy baby preparations without considering their own psychological health during the prenatal and postpartum period.
"A happy mom, means a happy baby" as they say, and yet, hospitals fail to emphasize the expecting mom in developing a mental health postpartum plan. Christina Schultz, former Postpartum Support Virginia volunteer and current Counselor at New Directions Counseling Group, has developed a seminar to support expectant moms to create a mental health postpartum plan and build resilience.
More info here!
Families with newborns have unique and special needs that no other families have. After researching references and background checks, here are 5 questions you may also want to ask.
1. Do you have your flu shot?
Babies cannot receive a flu shot before 6 months of age so they are especially vulnerable to influenza. Parents should know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls the "mandatory immunization of all health care personnel an 'ethical, just, and necessary' means to improve patient safety.”
2. Are you up to date on all other vaccinations?
Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough) should all be current and documented in your child’s caregiver. According to the Centers for Disease Control, TDaP "is especially important for...anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months...Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis.” Even if an adult has had the TDaP vaccine as a child, whooping cough booster shots are recommended for adults.
3. How will you support my feeding decisions?
While your doula or newborn caregiver may be experienced, you are the parent and decide what's best for your family. Asking how your feeding decisions will be supported is a great conversation to have before baby arrives to be sure you are comfortable. If breastfeeding is a priority for example, you may want someone who is comfortable troubleshooting potential challenges. If formula is an option, you may want someone who’s also comfortable giving formula.
4. What kind of Experience, relevant Certifcates or Continuing Education do you have?
We try to stay away from saying what parents and caregivers should or shouldn’t do, but the one exception to this is in safety. For babies 0-1 year old, caregivers should demonstrate thorough knowledge of basic safety, carseat safety and reducing the risk of SIDS. If you'd like to be sure your caregiver understands how to reduce the risk of SIDS, the AAP offers a comprehensive, free online course, which issues a certificate after completion.
First Aid and CPR Certification should also be a given for every caregiver. Other continuing education and safety courses offered by regulated agencies show a caregiver's commitment to their profession and an understanding that recommendations for baby care can change over time. Experience is another excellent indicator of commitment though, and there are many wonderful night nannies and newborn care providers without certificates and formal training. Just because someone has taken a newborn care training class doesn’t mean they have ever held a real baby.
On the same note, it may be important to you to know that your doula or night nurse is accountable to a state or other governing body.
It's important to note that only professionals who have completed Registered Nursing, Certified Nurse Midwife or other higher level Licensed Nursing degrees should be called "nurse" or "baby nurse." Without these licensures, is actually illegal to use the term "baby nurse" in many states.
5. What is your philosophy on care and how will you soothe my baby?
Caregivers who understanding how to support philosophies and goals such as attachment parenting, sleep training, a baby-led approach and other early care intentions create a partnership between families and caregivers, not just a "babysitter" relationship.
On this note, you may wish to ask your night nurse or doula how s/he typically soothes baby. Someone who can explain many safe ways to comfort babies is not only demonstrating experience, but also that they understand that each little child has different needs.
As you search for the perfect caregiver, we hope these questions will help.
This article was written by the staff at Let Mommy Sleep, the Industry Leaders in Newborn Care.