Night nurses, doulas and newborn care providers are a little different than daytime nannies since we concentrate on caring for families in the postpartum phase.
Our team made a list of items that you may find helpful to have in your overnight care bag. The full list of recommended items is on Amazon and includes:
To see the full list, please visit our verified shop on Amazon, and if there's anything you would like to see included let us know below!
Adapted guest post by Jeanne Faulkner, Registered Nurse and author of the book "Common Sense Pregnancy"
I just launched my new book, Common Sense Pregnancy (Random House/Ten Speed Press, June 2015) about pregnancy and parenthood. Common Sense Pregnancy is part medical guide (I’m a registered nurse with decades of maternal health experience), part advice column (I write Fit Pregnancy’s Ask The Labor Nurse blog and I’m Senior Writer for EveryMotherCounts.org), and part memoir (I’m the mother of four and lived to write about it).
Most of my book is about pregnancy, prenatal care, labor and birth, but I also discuss sleep deprivation. I write about it in Chapter 15 and I’ll share an excerpt here:
You’re in for a bit of a shock. Babies rule the night. They’re totally clueless about circadian rhythms and not the least bit concerned about waking you up at all hours to make you do things for them. This goes on for months and months – sometimes even years. Everyone will tell you: Sleep when the baby sleeps. That’s excellent advice the first week or so but not so great after that, because few of us have the privilege of putting everything in life on hold while we take a nap.
We each react differently to interrupted and reduced sleep. Some can suck it up and function fairly well: others fall apart completely. They can’t think, can’t deal and can’t function at all. These parents have to create coping strategies to keep from losing their minds.
First, consider this: while it may seem like you’re never getting to sleep, the reality is you’re almost certainly getting some. Even if your baby is an every-two-hour feeder, that gorgeous hour and a half between feedings might drop you into the deepest sleep of your life. The body is amazing in its ability to grab what it needs, and once you get into a nighttime groove, you’ll find the experience of having bizarre wake-sleep cycles less jolting.
If the fatigue is too extreme, then you and your partner need to make some changes – like alternating nights where one of you gets to sleep all night in a room away from the baby while the other handles night duties. If you’re breastfeeding, this could involve your partner giving the baby a bottle of pumped milk or having dad bring baby in for a quick nighttime feeding, then scooping her back up and away while you go back to sleep.
For some women, sleep deprivation leads to serious changes in mental health – aka postpartum depression and even psychosis. This is serious business and must be addressed by professionals – your doctor or midwife plus a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional with experience dealing with postpartum mothers.
Support Resources for New Parents:
Mental Health resources: Postpartum Support International or their primary care physician, New parent groups such
New Parent Support Groups: MomsClub.org, Parents of Multiples
In-Home Postpartum Care: LetMommySleep.com
According to SafeKids.org 3 our of 4 carseats are used incorrectly. Following the manufacturers' specific directions for usage is vital, but understanding correct carseat usage in general can help keep your child safe.
For children age 0-2 years old this means:
Automobile accidents continue to be a danger to all of us but by following the car seat manufacturers' installation directions and by remembering these tips, you can keep baby safe as best you can.
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, Awareness of postpartum issues is relevant to female partners as well.
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..