Bridgett Miller-Dixon, RN, NP is a mother and OBGYN Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in labor and delivery, NICU and women’s health. She now brings all of this expertise to helping newborns and their families as the owner of Let Mommy Sleep of Florida. With the information overload out there for expecting and new parents, Bridgett breaks down her Top 3 pieces of advice here.
1. Invest in an Abdominal Binder
An abdominal binder is a postpartum must-have. They’re easy to find at your local drug store or Amazon and are priced at about $20-$30. In addition to helping with pain -particularly after cesarean birth- a “belly binder” helps with internal and external healing by adding compression to the abdomen while improving blood circulation and oxygen levels. Lastly, a binder will also protect the c-section stitches while you heal.
Some manufacturers of binders may claim that the products help a postpartum tummy go back to its pre-pregnancy shape, but there’s no evidence to support this claim. While an abdominal binder will help support your lower back and keep you comfortable, exercise and diet are the only ways to get stronger abs.
2. Feeding: You’re doing it right!
Your newborn’s stomach is only between the size of a walnut and an apricot in the first week of life. Remembering this info and fighting the urge to worry if baby is eating enough (unless there is an actual cause for medical concern) is crucial for both breast and bottle-feeding parents. Here’s why:
If you’re nursing and it seems like baby is always on the breast, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal! As long as babies are producing wet and soiled diapers, that means they’re getting enough to eat. Remember too that skin-to-skin contact is crucial in establishing milk supply so if it feels like baby is attached to you, that’s is not only healthy, it’s helpful too!
Formula feeding parents: don’t let even the tiniest bottle of pre-made formula fool you! Even the 2 ounce bottles the hospital might give you are usually way too big for at least the first week of your newborn’s life. Babies will continue drinking even if they’re full because like adults, their tummies don’t receive the signal too stop until our stomachs hurt. This is why slow, patient feeding, with lots of time to burp is key. Like babies who are fed from the breast, small and frequent feeds are the norm when bottle feeding.
3. Weight Loss is Normal
Now that we’ve talked about how very small, frequent feeds are the norm for newborns, we should note that even with all that eating it’s actually expected for babies to lose weight in the first few days of life. Babies are born with some extra fluid, so a healthy newborn is expected to lose 7% to 10% of the birth weight.
So if it seems like your baby is eating all the time but losing weight, don’t worry because that weight will come back on within about the first 2 weeks after being born. You can also drop by your pediatrician anytime for a weight check if you want to be sure baby is developing normally.
Read Pediatrician tips here! What else would you add? Let us know on Facebook!
Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)can happen to any parent after baby arrives. Bookmark Postpartum Mental Health: Who to Call in an Emergency so you will be prepared in the event that you or your partner need mental health support. Understanding the resources available before baby arrives can help keep a challenge from turning into a crisis.
It's important to know that postpartum depression can also happen to dads and partners
Sleep Training is such a hot topic among parents and caregivers with strong opinions on both sides. And the reason for this is because both sides are RIGHT! Baby Sleep Training: New Online Class aims to help parents and caregivers with straightforward answers to helping babies sleep through the night.
Yes- it’s correct to allow your baby to find their way to sleeping through the night naturally if your family isn’t negatively impacted. But yes- it’s also correct to help baby sleep long, uninterrupted stretches overnight. In addition to allowing babies to have a predictable schedule, sleep training has proven to show that Maternal mood scales also statistically significantly improved; patients with the lowest baseline depression scores benefited the most.
At Let Mommy Sleep we don’t advocate for any particular safe parenting style and instead promote that there are a lot of right answers when it comes to caring for infants. So we’re not saying anyone should or shouldn’t “sleep train.” But we do want to provide concrete answers about baby sleep to help those who are looking for evidence-based answers.
Our newest online class, Baby Sleep Helping: Sleeping Through the Night helps parents with schedules, step-by-step instructions and answers to the how's and why's of allowing babies to sleep when age appropriate.
Our infant sleep plans were written by Registered Nurses and Night Nannies using the guidance of our Medical Advisory Board. They are not intended to be used as or replace medical advice. Any kind of sleep training or change to babies feeding and sleep habits should only happen with the blessing of the child's primary care physician.
The 4 month well-check at the pediatrician’s office is a great time to discuss your baby’s readiness to sleep through the night. These sleep training plans are meant to take about 10-14 days and are a gradual, gentle transition into sleeping through the night. As always, if parents are concerned about baby’s crying, sleep, eating or overall health, they should contact the child's primary care physician.
If you're a caregiver wishing to learn more about how exactly to help with gentle sleep training and infant schedules please visit us at the Newborn Care Academy on Teachable!
If you're part of a meal-train for new parents or are a postpartum doula helping to "mother the mother," we've got you covered! Below are 7 Easy Dinners for New Parents that are high in protein and nutrition, and low on prep time. You'll also get bonus points because they're toddler-friendly!
Black Bean Bowl
1 package frozen microwavable rice (trader joes has frozen rice packets, or find it in the freezer aisle in most grocery stores)
1 can black beans
2 T salsa
1 c lettuce
1 tomato, diced
Sour cream (optional)
Warm can of black beans over the stove. At the same time, microwave the rice.
In a bowl put rice and beans on top. Then top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa and optional sour cream.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
2 whole wheat pitas
1 rotissire chicken, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
2 T walnuts, chopped
3 T plain greek yogurt
½ c red grapes, cut in half
Combine all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper. Serve in whole wheat pitas!
1 package whole wheat pasta, or Banza (chickpea pasta)
2 c yellow squash, chopped
1 c zucchini, chopped
1 c tomato, chopped
1 t garlic, chopped
1 t oregano
1 c mozarella cheese
¼ c ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta to directions, set aside. In a med saucepan, saute squash and zucchini together. Add in the tomato, garlic, and oregano. Combine the ricotta and egg in a small bowl. Then in a large bowl combine the pasta, veggies, ricotta mixture, and mozarella. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
One Pan Salmon and Asparagus
2 Salmon fillets
2 t olive oil
1 t minced garlic
½ t onion powder
1 T paprika
2-3 T thyme, parsley, etc (any herb will work)
Combine oil and spice mixture. Rub on Salmon and asparagus. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
Chicken and Roasted Veggies
1 pound of chicken tenderloins
3 T 21 seasoning salute (available at all Trader Joes, or a similar spice blend with minimal salt)
1 c sweet potato, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, cut up
½ red onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400. In a small bowl combine veggies, some olive oil, and 1 T of the seasoning. Roast for 25 min, stirring halfway
While the veggies are roasting, mix together chicken and spices. Saute on each side, 4-5 minutes, until cooked. Serve with the veggies!
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 T old bay seasoning
½ c mango, diced
½ c avocado, diced
Juice of ½ lime
Bag of broccoli cole slaw
Corn tortillas or iceburg lettuce
In a small bowl combine mango, avocado, lime and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan add shrimp, sprinkle with old bay and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Take a tortilla, add 1 T of the broccoli slaw, shrimp, and 1 T of the mango/avocado mixture.
What's you're favorite meal to being to new parents? Let us know and we'll add it to this list!
Trying to conceive is an exciting and scary time for any couple. There is so much information about the right and wrong way to do things; it can be a bit overwhelming. One thing many couples don’t consider is how their oral health might affect their ability to conceive. That’s right- poor oral health can make it more difficult to conceive, and that goes for both partners. In particular gum disease, a common oral issue, has been linked to a multitude of fertility and pregnancy issues by the CDC and other organizations. For advanced cases look for Emergency Dentists USA to find a dentist that can help Gum Disease and Pregnancy.
What Is Gum Disease? Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. At first it symptoms include red and bleeding gums and general discomfort. Left untreated though, and it can lead to serious issues such as tooth loss. It’s most often caused by poor oral hygiene, but that’s not the only cause. Medications, changes in hormones, genetics, and more can also play a role in the disease. That means that even people with good oral habits could potentially develop gum disease depending on the other factors.
While it’s a fairly common infection, it is still important to get treatment as soon as possible if you suspect you or your partner has it. The longer you wait the worse it will become, and the more likely it is to affect your fertility. That’s why time is of the essence for couples looking to conceive.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Fertility?What many couples don’t realize is just how much of an effect gum disease can have on their ability to get pregnant. Keep in mind that this extends to both partners, so it’s important for each one to keep up with their oral health. In cases where couples were suffering from gum disease, it took them up to seven months on average to conceive. This is in contrast to those without this disease that averaged 5 months. This is also true for men, where it was found had a harder time conceiving when suffering from gum disease.
If you’re looking to conceive, it never hurts to pay a visit to your dentist. They can help determine if you have gum disease, and give you the care you need to beat it. Ultimately, this can help you conceive easier and faster.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy: How is Gum Disease Prevented?
Jessica Haupt, RN, IBCLC gives new parents tips on helping to increase breastmilk production.
Helping to Increase Breastmilk Production
One of the things that will really help establish breastfeeding is a rested, non-stressed out breastfeeder! For this reason, designate your partner or other caring adult to mother *you.* This person should make sure you are hydrated, eating nutritiously and resting when you can.
Additionally other adults should learn baby's early hunger cues such as stirring, rooting or mouth opening. This way they can bring baby to you if you're somewhere else or resting so baby can begin feeding before they get into a frustrated state of hunger. Being calm helps latching and let-down happen naturally.
While breast is best, a baby who is screaming from hunger is a baby that needs to eat. If the baby is not making enough wet diapers, losing or not gaining weight, supplementation with formula is needed, and it's a good thing when baby is nourished! Temporary supplementation does not mean that breastfeeding is over. Many, MANY mother baby duos go on to have an exclusive breastfeeding relationship.
What are your breastfeeding tips? Let us know in the comments.
Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the pool, you can ensure that swimming is as safe as it is fun by following the tips laid out below. Bonnie Alcid of British Swim School and safekids.org share expertise in Water Safety with Young Children.
Water Safety with Young Children
There Is No Substitute for Active Supervision
Sleep (or lack of) and babies is a major issue for new parents and an incredibly booming business. Any web search will yield hundreds of articles and books offering advice on “sleep training “ and how to help baby sleep better through the night. While there are many opinions and sources out there, it is important to note the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Both Academies give professional recommendations on how parents can help baby develop healthy sleep habits during different stages of infancy. The infographic below also notably excludes the newborn phase because newborn sleep is so erratic. A good rule of thumb is that newborns typically sleep 8 hours during the day and 8 hours at night, but that sleep is staggered in 1 1/2 to 2 hour increments.
Here's a very basic outline of how much babies typically sleep:
Newborn stage: At this stage, baby needs 16-18 hours of sleep and may prefer to be awake during the peaceful nighttime hours rather than the more chaotic daytime ones. According to the AAP, parents can slowly introduce gentle stimulation during the day to increase daytime wakefulness.
Two months: At two months, most babies are staying awake for longer daytime periods but often have difficulty transitioning to sleep. The AAP reports that “these babies are already over stimulated, and that a brief period of under stimulation (swaddling, quiet, dark room) may allow the child to settle to sleep after a little fussing.” Most young babies at this stage still require nighttime feeding, but the AAP recommends learning your child’s cues. There is a difference between a baby that wakes up hungry and a baby that is lightly fussing and may self soothe back to sleep in a few minutes.
Four months: Four months is often the age pediatricians deem healthy babies can start sleeping longer stretches at night, but it is also around the time babies start to develop separation anxiety. The AAP does not recommend feeding children as “an effort to quiet their crying,” and states “if they are fed in an effort to quiet their crying, changes are they will soon come to expect this response whenever they wake up in the night.” The fourth month visit is a vital time for families to discuss sleep concerns with their pediatrician and develop a bedtime rituals for baby, i.e. songs, stories, bath, and transitional objects.
Six Months through Nine Months: Continue to Reinforce wakefulness during the day:
Parents should continue to fortify good sleep behaviors and nighttime rituals, making sure baby is well fed, rested, and stimulated during the day.
Before meeting with a pediatrician, parents with questions about infant sleep should assess their child’s bedtime routine, sleep environment, response to waking, and determine their current sleep cycles. A pediatrician or other professional can work with a family to help establish an age-appropriate, consistent bedtime routine and to encourage baby, when it’s suitable and parents are comfortable with it, to console himself.
Parents need to remember that if the goal is to help baby to sleep independently, the real "work" occurs before bedtime and does not mean a standoff between a parent and child. Baby needs to consistently be fed properly, allowed stimulating activities, and have a calming nighttime routine. In accordance with the AAP, the daily routine is much more important than any “sleep training” method, because when it is time for bed, baby will feel secure and receptive to sleep.
And don't forget about yourself! There are plenty of ways to get more and better sleep from diet changes to having a good mattress for your child. Learn more here.
There are so many excellent evidence-based websites out there for new parents...some may even argue there is too much information! Below we try to battle information overload to describe our top 5 websites and resources for expecting and new parents in Newborn Care, Nursing and Sleep Resources.
Breastfeeding and Medications
A common question when breastfeeding is "Can I take my allergy meds if I'm nursing?" And for parents on anxiety or depression meds, breastfeeding may be a consideration in switching medications. The National Institute for Health’s LactMed Database lists which medications are safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding and which are not. The LactMed Database allows for a quick search and if a medicine is not safe for use while pregnant or nursing, the site offers alternatives.
Breastfeeding How-To Videos
The International Breastfeeding Centre’s Breastfeeding Videos show everything you need to know when nursing. The IBC library contains instructional real-life videos to help nursing mothers with early breastfeeding. Demonstrations of what good drinking looks like, how to distinguish “nibbling” from efficient nursing and how to tube feed are just a few examples.
Video Demonstration of - “The Hold”
Pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton has become world famous using the calming hold he uses on babies in his own practice. This video shows exactly how the Doctor helps babies relax and feel calm, and parents and caregivers can easily implement his technique. While babies cry for lots of reasons, The Hold might help if they are gassy or colicky.
The Only Infant Sleep Book You'll Need - The Good Sleeper .pdf
Dr. Janet Krone Kennedy's book,The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby is described on Amazon as, "written for exhausted parents, giving them immediate access to the information they need." The doctor has made part of the book free and accessible via .pdf download on her website, NYCsleepdoctor.com
Let Mommy Sleep's Parent Resources Page
The Parent Resources Page is continually updated to answer expecting and new parents most frequently asked questions. There are links to primary sources, evidence-based videos, studies and infographics to download.
Do you have another excellent resource to add? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!