Healthy Ideas for the Care Your New Baby

Love Sleep Play delivers ideas and articles for the care and health of you and your new baby

Embarrassing Symptoms of Having a Baby

Morning sickness, weight gain, and exhaustion…expectant moms discuss these symptoms openly. What they don’t always talk about are the more awkward changes to your body: Belching, constipation, smelly discharge, and hair growing in unexpected places are just a few of the joys that come with motherhood . The good news is you are not alone -- even better, there are some simple pregnancy tips that will help lessen even the worst symptoms. Here, top embarrassing pregnancy issues along with their fixes.

Gassy issues

Even the most put-together women typically get gassy during pregnancy. That’s because hormonal surges can slow down your gastrointestinal tract and your changing body means your muscles may not be able to hold it in as they once did, leading to some embarrassing (and smelly) situations.

Your fix: A bit of after-dinner exercise, such as a brisk walk, allows food to digest faster and should prevent excessive flatulence.

Itchy Breasts

Having an uncontrollable urge to scratch at your cleavage? As your breasts and nipples grow in preparation for the new baby, the skin around the area also stretches and becomes more sensitive -- and much more prone to irritation.

Fix: New moms- to-be can sooth their tender skin by moisturizing with cocoa butter after showers.

Luscious (facial) locks

The same hormones growing that full mane of hair can also cause sprout-ups in less desirable locales: Many expectant moms report an increase in hair growth on their faces, breasts, and tummies.  

Fix:  Tweezing and waxing are the safest options for the time being -- leave the more permanent cosmetic procedures until after your new baby has arrived, as laser treatments on the face can cause scarring in pregnant women.

Low libido

With all the embarrassing things happening to your body, it’s little wonder that many pregnant women suffer from a dampened sex drive. And as your tummy swells with the new baby, it’s likely that intimacy will become progressively more uncomfortable.

Fix: Invite your partner to a doctor’s appointment so he can better understand how you’re feeling -- and that this is perfectly normal. You might even get some pregnancy tips for getting in the mood.

Raging Libido

On the flip side, some women report a heightened sex drive. With a 40 to 50 percent increase in blood flow to your nether regions, you may find yourself getting more aroused or experiencing more intense orgasms than you thought possible! 

Fix: Enjoy it! According to experts, if the sex isn’t hurting you, it’s not hurting your new baby.

These body changes are completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but the quick fixes will have you feeling more like your old self in no time. And if they don’t do the job completely, find relief in the fact that your body will start returning to normal post-pregnancy.

Kegel Lessons for Expectant Moms

As a soon-to-be new mom, you know there are many beautiful parts of pregnancy -- and others that you could probably live without. High on that unwanted list is often urinary incontinence, or pelvic floor problems.

Urinary incontinence occurs when a person is no longer able to hold urine in the urethra, causing leaks from time to time. This problem is common among pregnant women and new moms, since unborn babies push down on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles, weakening support and causing leaks. Labor then further complicates the issue by additionally weakening pelvic floor support, and potentially even damaging the nerves that control the bladder.

Luckily, Kegel exercises have been proven to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. (Keep in mind that most bladder or urinary tract issues caused by pregnancy and delivery go away within six months of giving birth. If yours don’t, see your doctor for additional treatment or help.) If you’re ready to start strengthening, follow these tips:

1.    Identify your pelvic muscles. In order to get the most out of the exercises, begin by identifying the correct muscles. To do this, try stopping your urination midstream. The muscles that you use to stop the flow are the same ones you’ll want to work in your Kegel exercises.

2.    Get comfortable. Before starting the exercise, be sure your bladder is empty, and find a comfortable place where you can lie on your back. Then, tighten your pelvic floor muscles, holding the contraction for five seconds. Repeat this tightening and releasing in five-second increments four or five times in a row. For best results, try working up to exercises where you are able to hold the muscles for 10 seconds at a time, and then relax for 10 seconds at a time.

3.    Practice makes perfect. One Kegel exercise session won’t be enough to help. For optimal results, try to perform 10 repetitions at least three times a day.

Don’t worry if it takes a while to get used to the exercises -- that’s perfectly normal. Just don’t give up. If you continue with the exercises on a routine basis, you may see results within just a few months of starting. And one less thing to worry about as a new mom is always welcome when you have a newborn!

Pre-birth Bonding With Your New Baby

The bond between a new mom and her baby is, without a doubt, something that’s incredibly special and unbreakable. When you envision developing that bond with your own baby, you probably imagine reading stories, going for walks, or cuddling in a rocking chair together. While these are all sweet ways to grow closer to your new baby, the bond building doesn’t have to wait until your baby is born. Here are some great ways to start the bonding process while your baby’s still in utero.

Turn Up the Tunes
Studies have shown that growing babies respond positively to music. But before you turn up the rock music, know that by the second trimester babies seem to prefer classical music, or music that mimics your own heart rate of 60 beats per minute. It’s soothing for them, and it’s something you’ll probably enjoy, as well. Remember, if you’re relaxed, your baby probably will be, too.

Write It Down
Take some time at the end of each day to write down your thoughts and daily activities in a journal you purchase specifically for your new baby. You could describe how you reacted the first time you felt your baby kick, for example, or how excited you are for her to be born. Then, when your new baby is older, you can read the entries to her (or she can read them herself!). The journal will make a nice keepsake for your child to cherish in later years.

Have a Conversation
Talking to your baby is a nice way to start the bonding process early. Say “goodnight” and “good morning,” sing songs, talk to her while you rub your belly, and explain to your little one what your movements are throughout the day. She may not understand what the words mean, but the sounds will be soothing.

Get an Ultrasound
The most exciting bonding experience with your new baby may be when you get to actually see how she’s growing. Your ultrasound will give you a very realistic look at your little one. Having a real-life, tangible photo to hold on to will definitely help make the experience feel more real (if the morning sickness and growing stomach haven’t already!).

Sure, you may feel silly talking to your new baby while she’s still in your belly, but keep in mind that starting these bonding rituals now will make them seem like second nature by the time your little one is born.

Your Preemie: The First Twelve Months

The first year with your preemie often involves juggling many check-ups and appointments. Because our babies’ brains and bodies are so plastic, early intervention is a critical tool for supporting preemies. Premature babies are always evaluated based on their ‘adjusted’ age rather than their actual age. This means that if your baby was born at 32 weeks, when they are two months old (8 weeks) they are evaluated as a newborn.

Dr. Yasmin Lyons is a pediatrician who has worked extensively with preemies. She emphasizes that: “Often the baby is doing what is completely normal for their corrected age, and it’s important for parents not to compare the progress with that made by other babies.” You’ll quickly decide who to talk to about your baby being a preemie. Margie, a mother of a preemie born at twenty weeks, told me: “I just always gave the adjusted age of my preemie because I just didn’t want to have to have the whole conversation with strangers."

As parents of preemies, we start feeling more confident when we see our baby eating and reaching textbook milestones. This can vary dramatically depending on how premature our baby is. In other words, a “30-weeker” will have a very different roadmap in the first year then a “34-weeker.” Hospital preemie clinics can be a good resource for reassurance. Premature baby clinics in addition to a pediatric neurologist often include an occupational therapist and a physical therapist, allowing a more thorough evaluation of the premature infant. Susan, a mother of a 33 week preemie, told me: “I was worried because Isabel wasn’t holding her bottle. The neurologist at the preemie clinic told me, ‘Oh she can totally do it, she is just choosing not to!’ I was so relieved that she was on track and making her own decisions!”

The most important thing to understand is that your preemie will always be evaluated at their ‘adjusted’ age, allowing an equal playing field in the evaluation. Based on adjusted age, your doctor will be looking for the following things:

At three months: Gross motor skills: open hands, some holding/grasping, some neck control, visual tracking (i.e., following an object or person with their eyes), cooing vowel sounds, smiling.

 

At six months: Gross motor: rolling over, head control, pushing with their legs while you are holding them, spinning on their stomach, holding toys and shaking, bringing toys to their mouth, lots of prolonged eye contact, engaged with those around them.

9-12 months: Gross motor skills: “the army crawl” (pulling themselves forward on their tummy), sitting up on their own, holding and shaking toys, pulling upright. Language progresses to consonants and vowel sounds strung together, with a few words identified. Smiling and laughter is a regular part of your life.

As a general rule, pediatricians give premature babies a wide margin to be reaching targets based on how premature they were. Variations within a twelve week range can be normal, yet with good intervention concerning physical, occupational, and speech therapy, almost all premature babies are deemed “done” with being “premature” by 24 months!