Newborns feel, remember and are influenced by their experiences. During the first few weeks of life, they need mother’s milk (if possible), warmth and sleep. When travelling, mothers before us have worn a sling to carry baby around in which rocks the newborn to sleep. Sleeping with their mothers helps newborn babies to regulate their breathing. I have practiced sleeping together with my children from the time they were born.
Most mothers observed that full term and healthy babies have less colic problems especially when they are breastfed and massaged before or after each bath. Nelson Textbook on Pediatrics stated that crying from intestinal discomfort and intestinal obstruction or peritoneal infection may mimic an attack of colic and the following preventive measures can be sought: improving feeding techniques, including burping, providing a stable environment, identifying possible allergenic foods and avoiding underfeeding or overfeeding.
A study on the abilities of newborns tells us that:
- After about an hour and a half, infants began to make crawling movements toward their mother’s breast.
- At an average of fifty minutes after birth most were sucking correctly (they open their mouth wide, with the tongue under the areola, and express milk from the breast with deep sucks). This happens in a setting where the room is darkened, loud noises are avoided and people speak in low voices.
- Infants separated from their mothers at twenty minutes generally cried out loudly in protest.
- The first hour of contact of the mother with her baby skin-to-skin on her abdomen provides time to know each other.
- Mother tends to fall in love with the baby sooner when the baby is kept with her immediately after birth.
- They can recognize their own infants from others by merely touching the backs of the babies’ hands or by smelling their clothing.
- The mother can feel herself into the infant’s place.
- There are still many things that we don’t know about newborns including the essential nutrients that they derive from mother’s milk. That is why we continually modify the formulation in the so called Baby Formula.
- Touch, love, constant care and happy parents are what newborn wants….
- The midwife catches the baby and promotes a calm birth experience for the baby. Experiences inside the womb and at birth influence the shaping of human personality. Impact of roots of violence can take hold in prenatal life.
- Infant trauma inside the womb can influence the future of the newborn.
When the new baby needs to be seen by a doctor
The American College of Nurse Midwives has the following instructions to parents of new babies about when to call their caregiver (midwife or doctor). Parents are the first to observe their babies and should call their midwife or doctor when they see any of the danger signals below:
1. Dehydration – fewer and fewer wet diapers, dry inside of mouth (put little finger in baby’s mouth and let it suck – should feel wet and slippery, not dry and sticky). Be especially alert if the weather is hot, the baby has diarrhea, is not nursing well or acts sick.
2. Won’t eat – disinterested in nursing, too weak or sleepy to suck, few wet diapers, several days without stool. Seek out breastfeeding advice.
3. Abnormal skin color/Jaundice – if the baby becomes increasingly yellow/orange (especially the hands and feet), becomes too sleepy to nurse, wets few diapers (3 or less a day), has no stools. Cyanosis (bluish color) or very pale skin color. Both are very dangerous signs, often accompanied by respiratory distress (working hard to breathe). Go immediately to a hospital, a doctor or call 911.
4. Change in consciousness – very fussy, high-pitched-cry, a weak cry, or acts like he or she has a stiff neck, has poor color (very pale or bluish), is hard to wake up or has a fever. However, little babies can be very sick and still not have an elevated temperature. These serious problems may be caused by a dangerous infection, bleeding in the brain, or heart and lung problems that keep the baby from getting enough oxygen.
5. Bleeding, bruising, blood-filled lumps under the skin, bloody diarrhea or urine; except for a few drops of watery-blood from the umbilical stump when it is failing off or in the baby’s diaper, babies shouldn’t bleed or bruise. Be especially concerned if the baby is exclusively breast-fed or did not receive Vitamin K at birth. Seek medical help and be sure to tell the doctor if the baby did not receive Vitamin K. Expect a blood test (PPT) to help diagnose a deficiency in blood clotting factors.
written by Connie Dello Buono
author of Birthing Ways Healing Ways
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