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

Cord Blood Questions

If you’ve been following pregnancy news lately, you probably know that there are discussions surrounding cord blood and its use for new babies. To keep you updated, and help you figure out if storing your own new baby’s cord blood is right for your family, here are some answers to your most pressing questions.

What exactly is cord blood?
Simply put, cord blood is the actual blood that’s stored in your new baby’s umbilical cord and placenta when you give birth. In most cases, the blood is disposed of and not used for any medical purposes.

Why is everyone talking about cord blood?
New information has recently surfaced about the potentially life-saving stem cells that can be extracted from cord blood. These stem cells have been used to help treat diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia.

Who saves and stores cord blood?
Cord blood is either saved privately, for potential personal use within families, or publicly, where it’s donated for others to use. When parents decide to save and store their new baby’s cord blood, it’s collected quickly and safely by their health care provider. If the blood is meant for public use, there is usually no cost to the donor. Private cord blood banks -- which reserve the blood for use by the new baby or family members -- tend to be quite costly, however, with donors paying for all costs related to collection, transport, testing, and storage. Generally, health insurance does not cover the cost of the storage.

Deciding whether or not to store your new baby’s cord blood is a personal decision you’ll need to make with your family. Most experts don’t recommend private cord blood storage, as the chance a family member needing a transplant is slim and the public cord blood pool is always available to dip into. But if you have any questions, talk to your doctor about what is right for your family.

Countdown to Your New Baby

The outlets have been covered, baby clothes bought, car seat installed -- what’s left to do? In the final weeks before delivery, you may find yourself becoming restless. Instead of counting down the minutes, why not make the most of your time with these suggestions.

Rest up. Ask some new moms what they wish they had done more of before their baby arrived, and without a doubt, sleeping would be at the top of their list. Though ultimately rewarding, labor and delivery are exhausting, and you’ll need energy ad stamina to get through the process. Sneak in as many naps and morning sleep-ins as you can during the last few weeks of your pregnancy, or make an effort to head to bed at an earlier time.

Bond with your partner. Before your new baby makes his debut, and your time is consumed by feedings, naps, and diaper changes, take time to relish your last few weeks alone with your partner. Try taking a long weekend away together or find a nearby bed and breakfast or local hotel so you can play tourist in your own hometown. Make sure to check with your doctor before making any late pregnancy travel arrangements, in case your practitioner isn’t comfortable with you being far from home.

Finish baby prep. You might think you only have a few things left to finish up before your little one arrives, but now is the time to do it. While a new baby really doesn’t need much in her first few weeks, check to make sure everything is set up and ready to go. Don’t forget to sterilize bottles, put sheets on the crib, assemble the stroller, wash the baby clothes, and complete other tasks that you won’t want to deal with while juggling a brand-new baby. Once she arrives you’ll want to give her as much undivided attention as you can!

There’s a lot to do before your new baby arrives, but there’s no need to worry if you don't get to it all. The most important task in your last few weeks is take care of yourself so you can be a healthy new mom when your little one does arrive.

Smart Pregnancy Snacks for New Moms

Eating a wholesome, balanced diet is an important part of preparing for a new baby. And nutritious, delicious snacks should be a staple throughout the day. Experts say that eating small amounts of healthy foods can help prevent common complaints like queasiness and heartburn . Plus, reaching for the right kinds of snacks helps ensure that your new baby is getting enough of the nutrients for proper development. Consuming enough calcium, protein, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals should be a priority for both your meals and snacks. Here are some good snack choices for new moms-to-be:

Snack pick #1: Yogurt

Calcium is essential for the development of your little one’s bones and teeth. Try sprinkling plain low-fat yogurt with some fresh fruit for a sweet but healthy snack. If you can’t do dairy, you can get the calcium you need from calcium-fortified soy yogurt. These snacks will also boost your protein intake for the day, which helps to keep you sated until your next mommy mini-meal.

Snack pick #2: Peanut butter

Although moms-to-be need lots of protein throughout pregnancy, this nutrient is especially crucial in expectant moms’ diets during the second and third trimesters. The amino acids that make up protein are essential for building new cells in your babyduring this time of peak growth. Peanut butter is a tasty, convenient choice, whether you spread it on a slice of whole wheat bread, a rice cracker, a celery stick, or apple slices. Other good protein-rich snacks include leftover roast chicken, soy nuts, and black bean dip on tortilla chips.

Snack pick #3: Oranges

Having a baby is a major accomplishment, and you need to make sure your body stays strong throughout your pregnancy. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, staving off anemia, keeping your energy up, and ensuring a healthy birth weight for your new baby. Citrus fruit is a great source of vitamin C , but other star snacks include yellow bell pepper slices, kiwi, kale chips, dried papaya, and strawberries.

Planning ahead and stocking up on healthy snack foods helps ensure that a nutritious choice is always within arm’s reach. Think of your snacks as mini-meals; they should be just as nutrient-rich as your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s okay to indulge an unhealthy craving once in a while, but remember that the good choices you make now can help your new baby grow and thrive.

Belly Bonding Tips for First Time Dads

I confess: sometimes, I’m still blown away that we have a kid. I watch our son toddle around the room, and I’m amazed that he exists. I’m a parent!

I felt this way during pregnancy, too. As a soon-to-be first time dad, I had a hard time processing that my wife’s bump was hiding an actual human being. Although I was excited about our future, I also couldn’t believe it was happening. Between the nausea, the kicks, and constant hunger, my wife was constantly reminded that she was pregnant. I was busy with work and settling my family into a new house.

I imagine that a lot of new dads feel this way, too, but don’t want to admit it. But if it wasn’t for Caitlin’s giant belly, there were days that I might’ve completely forgotten I was a dad-to-be!

It was very important to me that I take time from my busy schedule to bond with my baby-on-the-way. Pregnancy goes by so quickly, and I wanted to stop and savor the moment with my wife and future son. It was in these quiet moments that I could truly process and appreciate what was happening to our family.

Here are four ways that I connected with Henry before he was born:

1) Massage: I’d rub lotion or oil into my hands and lightly massage my wife’s belly. She said it felt great, and I could feel Henry underneath my fingers. Sometimes, I’d even be able to identify body parts, like an arm or little butt! Henry liked the massage as much as his mom did; he’d often press up against my fingers.

2) Photo Diary: Caitlin and I took photos of her growing baby bump every week beginning at Week 10. We loved looking back through the images as we approached her due date.

 

3) Music: After I read that the baby could hear sounds while in utero, I began to play him music. When my wife was relaxing on the couch, I’d pull up my favorite songs on YouTube and put the speakers close to the bump.

4) Birth Classes: Caitlin wanted a drug-free childbirth, so we took 12 weeks of Bradley Method classes together. The weekly meetings were educational and great conversation starters. My wife and I had many talks on the drive home from class about our beliefs about parenting. The classes also made me more understanding of what Caitlin was going through with pregnancy, and I knew exactly how she wanted me to support her during delivery. It’s great to be as involved as possible during the pregnancy; it helped me feel connected to my little boy before he even arrived!