10 Questions with a HypnoBabies instructor

1) What is labor hypnosis?
Hypnosis for birth is a very effective way to prepare for a birth with fewer interventions and greater comfort. Many women report that their births were completely comfortable without any pain medications. Using hypnosis during labor is a great alternative to an epidural. Basically, you will have harnessed to power of your own mind to change how the sensations of labor and birth are perceived. 

2) Why is labor hypnosis a useful tool?

No matter what kind of birth you are planning, hypnosis is going to equip you with tools that will allow you to remain calm and clear headed, even when plans change. This makes it much easier to enjoy the process of giving birth. Hypnosis has been used in the medical field for quite some time, and is a very successful option for those that have severe reactions or life threatening responses to anesthetics. Birth hypnosis by Hypnobabies has been carefully crafted to address the specific needs of this normal bodily function in the modern world.

3) How does labor hypnosis impact initiation of breastfeeding at birth?

When hypnosis is used during birth it prohibits the release of adrenaline. This is a tremendous help in allowing the uterine muscles to work without tension and conflict. When the uterus is functioning optimally during birth it can eliminate the fear, tension, pain syndrome. That elimination means that birth can progress more quickly and more efficiently. Many times there is no need for epidural or narcotic use for pain management. When babies are not exposed to these interventions they are more alert and responsive after birth. This allows us to maximize that ‘Golden Hour’ after birth and early initiation of breastfeeding. Also, the newborns are much less likely to experience side effects such as low respiratory response and therefore are less likely to be separated from their Mom right after birth. 

4) What barriers to breastfeeding does labor hypnosis help reduce or eliminate?

Babies that are not removed immediately from their Mom are able to benefit from immediate skin to skin. This facilitates bonding, regulation and familiarity. The biggest barrier to this aspect of breastfeeding might be the Cesarean section. Using hypnosis for birth can certainly greatly reduce the risk for a Cesarean, mostly by eliminating or reducing the use of interventions that can lead to more interventions that may ultimately lead to a surgical birth.

5) Do these hypnosis techniques come in handy after birth?

The hypnosis tools learned in Hypnobabies certainly will continue to be beneficial well after birth. One technique in particular is an instant cue for comfort and healing. This can be so useful for immediate postpartum discomforts such as perineal repair, uterine involution, and any nipple pain while finding a resolution to whatever issue is causing 

6) What do you think are the 3 biggest factors in a birth that impact breastfeeding?

Interventions such as routine IV administration and epidural/narcotics for pain relief 
Cesarean births, in particular those that could have been prevented
Separation of mother and infant

7) How can moms find a labor hypnosis friendly care provider? 

Ask! I hear so often that a student or client informed their care provider about using Hypnobabies and they were thrilled. Also, many of my students have been told to seek out birth hypnosis if they desire a low intervention birth. 

8) How can moms find a labor hypnosis educator in their area?

Of course you could search online or try www.Hypnobabies.com 
Word of mouth is a great resource, as well. I get a lot of referrals from local mom’s groups.

9) What skills in Hypnobabies apply to long term breastfeeding success?

Hypnobabies focuses on informed consent and we encourage families to continue asking those questions throughout their parenting adventures. Finding support and evidence based guidance is key. Hypnobabies provides that guidance and applicable national and local resources for a successful breastfeeding relationship.

10) What skills in Hypnobabies improve partner support of the breastfeeding relationship? 

Having the partner attend the weekly classes allows the couple to create an even deeper bond with each other and their baby in utero. This bonding helps to foster a union that has impressed me more times than I can count. These partners understand the importance of breastfeeding for both mother and baby and are willing to go the extra mile to help facilitate that. 
Bonus Question! 11) Share your favorite nursing moment?

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite, but it is the most memorable… my son and I weaned from breastfeeding much earlier than I anticipated, unfortunately. About a month later, he got pretty sick with a fever and all the other usual crud that can bring a baby down. He was very snuggly (not his typical nature) and somehow he wound up latched on and nursing for comfort. I was nearly in tears and I relished that short time and knew that it was the last. I don’t know many people that know the exact last nursing session.
Nicole DiBella HCHI, CD
Hypnobabies Instructor, Birth and Postpartum Doula

follow me @NaturalBirthATL

Bonus Question! 11) Share your favorite nursing moment?

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite, but it is the most memorable… my son and I weaned from breastfeeding much earlier than I anticipated, unfortunately. About a month later, he got pretty sick with a fever and all the other usual crud that can bring a baby down. He was very snuggly (not his typical nature) and somehow he wound up latched on and nursing for comfort. I was nearly in tears and I relished that short time and knew that it was the last. I don’t know many people that know the exact last nursing session.

10 Questions with a Child Passenger Safety Technician

1) What is a CPST? Doesn’t the fire department check car seats?

CPST stands for Child Passenger Safety Technician. We educate parents and caregivers on the proper installation and use of car seats, boosters. and seat belts. SOME fire fighters are CPSTs as are some law enforcement officers, but not all. It is important to check for current certifications before letting anyone check your seats. 

2) Does the hospital check my car seat at discharge? What are they looking for?
Not usually. They need to know that you HAVE a seat, but most nurses are not allowed to touch it. Some hospitals do have a CPST on staff that can help prior to discharge. 


3) How do I know my seat is a good one? Is price an indicator? 

Every seat currently on the market is safe if used properly. They all pass extremely stringent testing before being sold to the public. Price is not an indicator of safety. A properly used $40 seat is safer than an improperly used $300 seat. The more expensive seats have more bells and whistles and comfort and ease of use features, but as far as safety is concerned – using ANY current, in date, seat properly is the best way to ensure your child is safe. 

4) Can I sit in the back with my baby and nurse him/her if I keep us both buckled?

As tempting as that sounds, it’s a very dangerous idea. If a crash were to occur while you’re leaning over your baby, your body weight would crush him. It’s much better to stop and nurse or pump a bottle for the road. 
5) How do I handle spit up on my car seat? Blow out diapers? Can I put a blanket or pad under my baby?

Always refer to the manual for cleaning instructions. Straps should never be machine washed, submerged or cleaned with anything harsher than a baby wipe or mild soap. This can compromise the strength of the straps by stretching them and/or weakening the fibers and cause them to perform poorly in a crash. Putting a bib on baby OVER the harness after buckling securely can help keep spit up off the seat. A chux pad or puppy potty training pad can be placed in the seat under baby to protect against diaper related messes. These are extremely thin, and as long as they aren’t placed in such a way that interferes with the harness, shouldn’t pose a safety risk. Some manufacturers make specific pads that can be used with their seats. When in doubt, a quick call or email to your seat’s manufacturer can be helpful in figuring out what is best to use.

6) I got a bunch of car seat covers and strap protectors as shower gifts. Can those be used with any seat or are some seats better designed for them?

I always say “if it didn’t come in the box with the seat, then don’t use it in the seat”. These items can claim to be “crash tested” but since there are no federal regulations for such aftermarket products that doesn’t mean anything, Manufacturers test their padding, harness covers, inserts, etc with their seats so they know they pass safely with them. The non-regulated products are not tested in this way. It’s always best to leave the testing to the crash dummies and not take a chance with our own children. 
Those products DO often work beautifully in strollers, though!

7) Why does everyone tell me to rear-face my seat so long? I worry that I can’t see my baby. 

EVERYONE would be safer rear-facing. But it’s kind of hard to drive that way. ;-) From age 12-24 months, children are 5Xs (532% to be exact) safer rear facing than forward facing. A young child’s vertebrae are in several pieces and don’t begin to fuse together until after the 2nd birthday and doesn’t finish until between 4 and 6 years of age. Rear facing provides maximum protection of this delicate spine by allowing the seat to cradle the child’s entire body keeping the head, neck, and spine aligned and fully supported and transferring the crash forces over a much larger area. In a forward facing seat, all that force is on the child’s head and neck since the only body parts supported are the hips and shoulders while the head and limbs are thrown violently toward the point of impact. The goal should be to keep a child rear facing to as close to their 4th birthday as possible with the absolute minimum being age 2 to turn forward.
8) My baby has reflux. Can I prop my seat or add a positioner?
Every seat has a recline indicator on it somewhere. If allowed (based on age and/or weight) by the car seat, the angle can be decreased as long as baby can support his head. Sometimes convertible seats can help babies with reflux because they tend to be more “L” shaped inside the seat as opposed to their “C” shaped rear-facing only (infant carrier) counterparts. As far as positioners go, as I stated above, if it didn’t come with the seat, then no, they should not be used*.
*A few manufacturers DO make accessories for use with THEIR seats that have been tested. Always check your manual.

9) We take long car trips often. Any tips for helping my baby stay relaxed in the car seat? I don’t want to have a car screamer.
Car screamers are the worst. I’m on my second one. Here is a list of some things to try to make traveling more pleasant (and quieter).

– Good air flow. No one likes to be too hot or too cold in the car.
– White noise. Sounds such as beach waves, thunderstorms, and rain forest noises can help calm baby. Even just an out of range, staticky radio station or open windows can be enough.
– Soft, lightweight toys that are special and only for the car. Steer clear of anything hard, heavy, large, or battery operated as these can be dangerous projectiles in a crash. 
– A lightweight, plastic mirror can help rear facers feel closer to mama and daddy in the front seat. These do also pose a projectile risk, so be sure to find one that is soft, fits your car’s head restraints well, and attaches firmly if you choose to use one.
– A backseat buddy can help entertain baby. Having the non-driving parent in the back can make it a little more fun back there!
– A backseat buddy can help entertain baby. Having the non-driving parent in the back can make it a little more fun back there!
– Frequent stops so baby can eat, get a clean diaper, and stretch his legs are very important (for mama and daddy, too!). Usually, every 2-3 hours is the longest you’ll want everyone to remain strapped down. Let them run off that extra energy that they siphon from us. ;-)
– Traveling at night or leaving at nap time can sometimes make things easier, too. A sleeping baby, is a quiet baby. Unless they snore.  

10) Can I pump and bottle feed my baby on car trips right in the seat? Can I prop the seat to help him/her not choke?
Keeping in mind the projectile risk the bottle poses, as long as baby remains properly strapped into a properly installed seat, feeding a bottle while driving could be a good last resort. The best idea would be to stop and feed at a rest area, though.


Bonus Question 11) Share your favorite breastfeeding memory!

When my girls first glance their eyes up at me while nursing and give me that milky smile is always my favorite. It’s kind of like a little “thank you” for the gift I’m giving them and the hard work it can sometimes be to do it. <3
Rori Holisky is a mother of two little girls, ages 4.5 years and 5.5 months and the wife of a law enforcement officer. She became a Child Passenger Safety Technician in 2013 and started Birth to Booster about a year later. Her hobbies include playing with car seats, watching Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and sewing. :-)

10 Questions with a Doula

1) What is a doula?
         A doula, also known as a birth companion, is a nonmedical person who is trained to assist women before, during, and/or after childbirth as well as her spouse and/or family, by   providing physical assistance and emotional support.
2) Why hire a doula?
        There have been numerous studies that show the benefits of hiring a doula include a decrease in the chance of C-section, decrease in the amount of time a woman spends in labor, decrease in the use of interventions like forceps and vacuum, decrease in the use of epidurals or need for pain medication, decrease the chance of postpartum depression, and increase the satisfaction a woman feels about her birth experience.
3) How does having a doula impact initiation of breastfeeding at birth?
        All doulas should be equipped to assist moms with the initiation of breastfeeding after birth. Often times in a hospital setting, nurses might have to leave to attend to another patient leaving the new mom to figure it out on her own. Some hospitals do not have on-site lactation consultants on call around the clock. Having a doula ensures that a knowledgeable person will be there to help if/when needed. 
4) What barriers to breastfeeding does a doula help reduce or eliminate?
    1. Educational barriers: misinformation about breastfeeding, milk production/supply
        2. Emotional barriers: lack of confidence in ability to breastfeed, embarrassment of feeding in public. A doula provides support if the mom is lacking support from family/friends.
        3. Physical barriers: learning how to prepare for breastfeeding, postioning mom and baby for comfortable and sufficient nursing/bonding time.
        4. Medical barriers: Breastfeeding while recovering from c-section, helping to identify potential medical issues such as tongue ties and lip ties and refer to specialists
5) Does a doula come in handy after birth?
        Yes. Doulas routinely remain in close proximity to moms immediately after the birth of their baby. This is to help facilitate the mother’s wishes for skin-to-skin care, breastfeeding initiation as soon as possible, and to answer any questions about newborn care and postpartum care. Many moms also benefit from the services of postpartum doulas. Postpartum doulas contract with the mother and her family for a specified amount of time (hours/weeks) once the family is settled at home after the birth. Postpartum doulas assist with baby care, sibling care, light household chores, and meal prep to help parents acclimate to having a new baby in the home. It can be a great help to have someone onsite those first days/weeks after birth to help with breastfeeding issues among other things, when needed.
6) What do you think are the 3 biggest factors in a birth that impact breastfeeding?
        1. Medications administered during labor and their effects on the mother and the newborn.
        2. Type of birth. If mom has interventions such as forceps, vacuum, or caesarean and baby has a medical issue due to this and they must be separated for an extended amount of time after birth.
        3. The length of the birth. A mom who has a lengthy labor may be extremely fatigued and unable to breastfeed right away.
7) How can moms find a doula friendly care provider?
        1. Moms can ask their care providers how they feel about having a doula in attendance at the birth. Most providers will have a definite opinion one way or the other.
        2. ICAN of Atlanta has a provider review section on their website. Anyone can join ICAN. You do not have to have experienced a c-section. The forums provide excellent information for all expectant moms.
        3. Word of mouth. Ask your friends,  who have used a doula, who their provider was and what the experience was like. If you have already hired a doula, most can tell you of the more popular doula-friendly practices in the area.
8) How can moms find a doula in their area?
        Resources for finding a doula in your area include www.doulamatch.net, www.gabirthnetwork.com, (or local birth networks) asking your provider if they have a list of doulas that they work with, websites of doula certifying organizations such as DONA, CAPPA, and ProDoula, and again referrals from friends/family/mom’s group members who have used a doula’s services before.
9) What skills does a doula have to help with long term breastfeeding success?
       Many doulas have taken breastfeeding classes to assist their clients in the early stages of breastfeeding. For long term breastfeeding success, doulas assist moms through emotional support and encouragement. Many moms give up just because they do not have the support needed to continue. Doulas provide practical information and solutions to assist with challenges associated with breastfeeding. We are knowledgeable about common problems like engorgement, symptoms of clogged milk ducts, mastitis and can refer you back to your care provider or a lactation consultant for added assistance.
10) Do moms need a doula for birth center or home births?
         I believe all moms could benefit from the support of a doula no matter where they choose to give birth. Birth is a very beautiful, but physically and emotionally draining experience. Having a person who has walked the journey before can make it easier by helping to reduce or eliminate the obstacles of fear, anxiety, lack of information, and more because they are a trusted, trained and experienced individual who is there just for the mom.
Bonus Question! 11) Share your favorite nursing moment?

My favorite nursing moment was probably the first time my daughter latched properly. I was unable to successfully breastfeed my older son due to lack of education and support. I became engorged and had painful, cracked, and bleeding nipples. After 3 days of crying (both of us) I gave up. After I had my daughter, I was able to get help from the buses at the hospital. They explained what a good latch looked like and should feel like. They gave me tips for sore nipples, too. So once at home, when she latched with little help from me and with no pain to me, I was very excited. I went on to breastfeed her for 14 months.

Elysia Douglas is a wife, mother of 4, and a professional, certified birth doula in the Metro Atlanta area. In her first 3 years as a doula, she has assisted over 50 families as they prepared for and welcomed their little ones into the world.  She offers attentive, nurturing, and compassionate support during pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond. Elysia is passionate about equipping, encouraging, and empowering women to achieve their birth goals by providing unbiased, evidence-based information, emotional, and physical support throughout their pregnancy journey. She fully believes in your right to know your options and make decisions that are best for you and your baby. When Elysia is not at prenatal visits, facilitating a childbirth education class, or attending a birth, she enjoys sewing, painting, volunteering in children’s ministry at her church, and spending time with her family and friends.


What is a Normal Feeding Routine? How Does it Change with Age?

The one thing that is certain with babies is they change every day. Knowing what the range of normal is for infant feeding can help parents make better decisions about the family rhythm.

Exclusive Breastfeeding and Human Milk Feeding

0-6 weeks: This is the time when babies nurse constantly. Their tiny tummies want a constant and steady fuel supply, just like they were accustomed to in utero. The placenta nourished the baby so well, hunger is something completely new after being born. It’s easiest to feed babies before they show signs of agitation. Nursing in clusters is common. Nursing every 1-3 hours day and night is normal. Nursing sessions may last 5-35 minutes at a time. Babies frequently fall asleep at the breast and nurse in their sleep. Expect 10-15 nursing sessions per 24 hours. Babies should be fed on cue or on demand. No medical organization endorses scheduled feeds for breastfeeding infants.

6-12 weeks: This period is usually full of what most people call growth spurts. Babies this age are still nursing around the clock. Remember, human milk is digested in about 90 minutes. The tummy is still small, maybe as little as 2 or as many as 5 ounces. Some babies will have a “witching hour” in the early evening where they feed in a cluster of sessions. Babies who have been separated from mom during the day may be particularly interested in a marathon evening nursing session. Nursing and bottle feeding human milk should continue on cue or on demand.

3-6 months: The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that babies continue to receive only human milk at this time. Babies in this age range have a variety of sleep patterns and growth patterns. Teething may begin during this stage which may disrupt feeding or increase night wakings. All of this is normal. The stomach size is 3-5 ounces. Babies in this age range may increase their nursing or cluster feed just as newborns do. On cue feeding should continue at this age.

Breastfeeding with Complimentary Solids

6-9 months: Most babies will have a first tooth appear at this point. Babies who have a tooth, can sit well unsupported, and have lost the tongue thrust reflex are ready to begin solids in compliment to human milk. Human milk is still recommended as a primary source of nutrition. Ideally, the baby is nursed first then solids are offered as “dessert.” You may have heard “food before 1 is just for fun.” Small amounts of complimentary solids are important for iron and other minerals as stores from birth are utilized by this age. Human milk should be offered on cue. Solid foods can be offered at scheduled meal times.

9-12 months: Most babies are interested in self-feeding. They have mastered the pincer grasp and can put bits of food into their own mouths. Human milk is still the bulk of their nutrition. Some babies may not have had a tooth erupt yet. Nursing through the night is very common.

Nursing a Toddler

12- 15 months: The American Academy of Pediatrics feels this is a safe time to replace human milk with other foods including the milks of other mammals. Many mothers continue to nurse their toddlers for nutrition. Toddlers at this age are busy and may have nutritional gaps because they are out exploring the world instead of eating. Their stomachs may only be a few ounces bigger than they were a year ago. Continuing to breastfeed at this age can help a growing toddler meet nutritional needs during a “picky” phase.

15-18 months: Children who are still nursing may continue to do so at night as well. Mothers commonly explore night weaning around this age. Other mothers are glad to nurse through the night to help with the pain and wakings associated with eruption of molars.

18-24 months: By this age, most children are well established on solids interested in eating with the family at more regular times. Self feeding has been mastered. Many children can drink out of a small cup unassisted. Toddlers who are nursing may nurse frequently or only once a day. The range of normal is very wide.

Full Term Nursing

2 years and beyond: The World Health Organization recommends that children breastfeed for a minimum of 2 years with nursing continuing if both mother and child so desire. Children often self-wean some time after the second birthday. Pregnancy or extended separation may motivate a child to wean faster from nursing.

Breastfeeding is MORE than Milk

 Breastfeeding provides perfect nutrition for infants, but it also does much more! Direct nursing at the breast has a whole host of benefits that are easily overlooked in a culture so focused on the milk. Nutrition is only one aspect of infant feeding that leads to growth and development.

Muscle Mechanics:

  The muscle mechanics involved with nursing facilitate optimal cranial-facial development. You’ve probably heard about importance of “tummy time” for the development of head control. Nursing your baby in a laid back position is tummy time made easy! Breastfeeding also coordinated the right and left hemispheres of the brain because the baby is moved from left to right on the mother’s body. This brain development is critical to other developmental milestones like crawling, walking, and later reading. The developing infant palate, mouth, and skull are shaped by feeding. Feeding at the breast helps the baby achieve normal oral motor function and growth.

Skin to Skin:

    Breastfeeding inherently provides the skin to skin contact newborns need for early neurological development, body temperature regulation, and blood sugar regulation. The mother-baby bonding that occurs while a baby is at the breast is unparalleled. Studies show held babies have lower stress hormones.

Increased Maternal Rest:

    Exclusively breastfed infants who sleep in close proximity to their mother replicate their mother’s REM cycles.  Since their sleep is in sync, the baby is more likely to wake for nursing when the mother is not in a deep sleep state.  Maternal sleep is a crucial part of postpartum recovery. Studies show that breastfeeding moms actually sleep about 45 minutes more per night than formula feeding moms.

Better Maternal and Infant Mood:

    Breastfeeding facilitates the release of the “feel good” hormone oxytocin in the mother during “let down” or milk ejection reflex. Mothers of breastfed babies experience less postpartum depression.  Breastmilk contains multiple hormones that promote happiness and relaxation in infants. Breastfed babies also are less likely to have colic.

Infant Sleep/Wake Cycle Regulation:

    When babies are first born they do not make their own sleep hormones. The newborn receives the sleep hormone melatonin directly from breastmilk. The act of suckling at the breast releases a hormone in the baby called CCK, which makes him or her feel full and sleepy. Nursing to sleep is good for babies!

Protection from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome:

    Frequent night wakings to nurse are a large part of normal infant sleep, and serve as nature’s protection against SIDS. Bottle feeding human milk through the night has not shown to be as protective in preventing SIDS as direct nursing at the breast.

The American Association of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding with complementary solids until at least age 1. Continued support is a huge factor in long term EBF success. A prenatal visit with a lactation consultant or lactation counselor is the first step. An LC can answer your questions and assist you with formulating a breastfeeding friendly birth plan.  If you have already had your baby, schedule a home visit or clinic visit with your LC for an in depth consult that can help your family realize all the benefits of breastfeeding.

Bringing Your Newborn Home

Bringing your infant home can be both exciting and scary. You may wonder what your family’s new normal will look like. Many refer to this period of time as the “fourth trimester,” or the period of time when mom and baby both adjust to their new physically separate states. This adjustment takes place over the course of several months. When your baby is first born he or she has no experience with the world beyond the womb. Certain things can facilitate the ease of this transition from the womb to your arms. Bonding is the name of the game during the first days home. “Eat, bond, sleep, repeat” becomes the new mother’s mantra.

    The natural habitat of the human infant is mother’s breast. Your baby will likely spend most of his or her time there for the first few months. Since newborn nutrition is such a large part of life with a new baby, taking a prenatal breastfeeding class is essential. You may wish to speak to an LC one on one to discuss your questions or concerns specific to your family prior to your baby’s arrival.  A prenatal breastfeeding consult is a helpful tool for preparing you with information about establishing the nursing relationship. Most of the time in Atlanta area hospitals, you will have the opportunity to receive a quick consult from a hospital lactation consultant prior to your discharge. This consult is generally brief. Many families still have questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding after returning home. Many new moms prefer to schedule home visits with their LC to stay in the comfort of  home during the recovery period.

 Breastmilk is digested in 90 minutes. Expect to nurse your baby 10-15 times per 24 hours. Many first time mothers worry that their baby nursing frequently is a sign that they do not make enough milk. This is usually not the case. Colostrum, or newborn milk, is present in your breasts starting early in the third trimester. It is nutritionally rich and very little is required to fill a new baby’s tiny stomach. If your baby experiences the common condition “jaundice” also called hyperbilirubinemia, colostrum is a powerful laxative that will help resolve it. Within the first few days your milk will transition to “mature milk.” Each time your baby nurses, it signals your body to make more milk. Frequent on-cue nursing during the newborn period generally equates to a robust milk supply in the long term. Exclusive breastfeeding or “EBF” and avoiding formula are common goals for many mothers. This goal is attainable with access to breastfeeding education and breastfeeding help if necessary.

    The best indicator of adequate intake is output. Normal diaper count is 6-10 wet or dirty diapers daily. In the first week, counting diapers can give you reassurance that your baby is indeed eating enough. Your baby should have at least one stool per each day of life. Day one- 1 poop, Day two- 2 poops, Day three- three poops, and so on. “Cluster feeding” or blocks of frequent nursing are common. Although nursing is frequent, it should never feel painful. Your baby will likely love to be held on your chest close to your breasts even when he or she is not nursing.

    Skin to skin contact is crucial for your newborn.  Skin to skin regulates the infant’s body temperature and blood sugar. It also facilitates important early neurological development. The simple act of holding your baby skin to skin stimulates production of hormones in both the mother and baby that keep everyone feeling relaxed and calm.  Your partner can help you with this important bonding process by doing things like screening phone calls, entertaining visitors, bringing you food and drinks, changing diapers, and caring for older children. Your partner should encourage you to rest as much as possible while your baby sleeps.

Newborn sleep gets a lot of publicity. When babies are born, they do not make their own sleep hormones. They receive their sleep hormones from their mother via breastmilk and suckling. This is why many babies nurse to sleep. Nursing to sleep is biologically normal and natural. Many people refer to babies “having their days and nights confused.” This is not the case. Babies are not born with a light/dark cycle. One will eventually develop with time, but during the newborn period frequent night wakings are to be expected.  Frequent waking to nurse is part of nature’s protection against SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a form of co-sleeping that is referred to as “rooming in” for the first six months of life as a measure of SIDS risk reduction. Sleeping in close proximity to your baby also allows to have a heightened awareness of your baby’s hunger cues throughout the night.

Your new baby’s first days at home will likely seem like more of a whirlwind than pregnancy.  Prenatal breastfeeding education and accurate expectations of the newborn period can make this transition much more manageable for families. However, there will be times that you don’t know what to do. When in doubt just do less, nurse more, and call your LC!

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