Getting to know your baby

 Bringing home your first baby can be a bit frightening especially if you are on your own and have no extended family to help. Jacqui Tomlinson-Smith is a Doula trained in the Lamaze system, which promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting and her confident natural approach has probably calmed a lot of new mothers’ fears.
   As a Doula she is a huge advocate of breast feeding because it is good for the baby and mother.
   Apart from being convenient, breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system and has been shown to reduce the risks of certain cancers in women.
   Tomlinson-Smith answered some of the more common questions raised by new mothers.
Getting a routine
   Tomlinson-Smith says if you are breast feeding there is no routine as the baby feeds on demand. Women should understand that when a baby has growth spurts it could even be feeding every hour.
   She says “a baby should not really leave the breast until it falls asleep which means it has had enough.”
   “In the first two weeks you should have help and support,” she says. “If fathers cannot have the time off to help, get a maid to come in. Sleep when the baby sleeps – this is not a time to do work or you get tired.”
   She would like to see fathers granted at least one week paternity leave so the mother gets some help and they can both enjoy that first week together as a family.
   One of her other concerns is that businesses should have rooms where women can express milk. When most women go back to work they have to do it in a toilet which is not at all hygienic.
   She is not one for military type regimes and certainly does not believe you should leave a baby to cry itself to sleep.
   “A baby that does not get attention when it cries will grow up angry and demanding. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating. If a baby is not hot, not hungry and not wet, it is usually a colic which leaves them at around six weeks.”
   No one really knows what causes colic. .It has been disproved that certain foods cause it though some foods like cabbage broccoli and beans tend to be gaseous. Just because you are breast feeding does not mean you need to stop eating certain foods. She suggests if you are eating foods that are gaseous take beano, a natural enzyme which prevents bloating and gas.
   Coping with a baby that is fretting can be tiring but she says they usually respond to the four S’s: shoogling, swaddling, swinging it (gently of course) and shushing it. Babies hear noises in the womb and are used to it.
   She advises that you don’t have to have constant quiet around babies to make them sleep. If you do then they will get used to that and wake up at the slightest sound.
   If you are breast feeding you should do it solely for six months, according to Tomlinson-Smith.
   “That means no pacifier and no water,” she says.
   For both breast fed and bottle-fed babies, wean using one food at a time and then build up adding one a week.
Nappy rash
   If you are changing a baby often it should not get nappy rash.
   Sometimes babies will develop nappy rash when they are teething as they swallow saliva which makes urine more acidic.
   Tomlinson-Smith suggests leaving them to air dry after changing and use corn starch on the rash if necessary. If you can, use a natural nappy or line a disposable with cloth as it allows more air to get to the bottom.
   A baby is thriving if it produces six to eight wet diapers a day, is gaining weight and feeding at least six to eight times in 24 hours.
   You should seek advice if it sleeps too long, is getting yellow or is unresponsive.
   You should always watch that a fever does not go over 100 as babies can have fits if a fever gets too high.
   To bring down a fever Tomlinson-Smith says “wash arm pits and groin with tepid water, not cold.” And keep the room cool.
   A big fear for parents is if a baby chokes or stops breathing. Tomlinson-Smith recommends all parents and carers learn infant CPR. She teaches classes on how to do CPR and will be holding one in March.

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