Sleep deprivation and stress can wreak havoc on new parents’ immune systems, so who better to ask for wellness tips than the nurses and night nannies who work in close contact with newborns?
Real life Night Nannies and Newborn Care Nurses share their best tips here:
Stay Hydrated: Water, water, water! says BJ Edmunds, a newborn care provider for over 5 years. Keeping properly hydrated allows the body to fight infection, maintain proper digestion and remove unhealthy toxins efficiently. It's unfair but the coffee and sugary drinks we use to keep energy up actually dehydrate the body, so if you enjoy these drinks, be sure to counter the dehydrating effects with –you guessed it- more water.
Saline and Vaseline: Saline solution, which is simply warm water with salt dissolved in it, can be used to flush out nasal passages and fight off colds and flu. There’s a second step though that can be even more effective. Joy Becker, LPN, and infant caregiver for over 15 years says: Use Saline in nose daily, but then apply petroleum jelly at the opening of your nostril. The saline flushes out germs and then the petroleum jelly makes a protective barrier to keep bacteria from going into your nasal passages, which can then help prevent colds or sinus infections.
Sauna: If social distancing allows, going into a sauna for 15 minutes can help ward off sickness. Recent studies show that sauna use does help keep us healthy and as the Mayo Clinic says, is "linked to an array of health benefits". You can actually buy your own sauna on Amazon and install it yourself if you really want to get into it!
Sleep – Sleep when the baby sleeps sounds good in theory but often doesn’t work in practice. Compounding the lack of opportunities for sleep, our constant “alert state” caring for baby can make it very difficult to wind-down and sleep when the opportunity actually does present itself.
Meditation can help cross this bridge from awake to sleepy. One easy method is the “4-7-8” breathing technique popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil. The basics of this technique are below, but we highly encourage watching this video demonstration:
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
Vitamin D and Vitamin C- In looking at over 82 studies, Vitamin D is the one supplement shown to protect against the common cold in all age groups. You can find vitamin d in dairy and cereals but a free way to get Vitamin D is to go out in the sun for 10-30 minutes a day. The trick is to take Vitamins C and D consistently for 3-4 months to make a difference in the severity and length of a cold.
Get Your Flu Shot and COVID vaccine - Receiving the flu vaccine before flu season is a pre-emptive strike against the flu. An added benefit is the protection the flu vaccine gives your infant. According to the CDC, one study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.
COVID vaccines are all our best prevention against coronavirus for adults and therefore offer protection to our babies. There is also no evidence that the vaccine is harmful to pregnant or nursing moms.
As always, continue to hand wash and keep socially distant to keep germs away too!
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 . (This isn't sponsored, we've just seen it work!)
If baby is still fussy, view this comprehensive article about why baby may be crying after feeding, and for more tips on soothing baby please visit Top 10 Ways to Calm Your Baby.