The Importance of Skin to Skin after Birth


Many studies have found babies benefit from skin to skin contact with their mothers and fathers after giving birth.  Skin to skin, often called kangaroo care, is when babies are held naked against their mother’s skin for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours after birth. Midwives would argue skin to skin contact is beneficial several hours a day for a least 2 weeks. There are many reasons to implement kangaroo care. Immediate skin to skin after birth eases baby’s transition from uterine life ensuring temperature, breathing, and heart rate stabilization. While mothers benefit from this practice by keeping the uterus firm which can decrease bleeding. Skin to skin also increases breastfeeding success and decreases postpartum depression. Studies suggest that benefits for babies can persist for years. Skin to skin improves maternal attachment behavior, reduced maternal anxiety, enhances child cognitive development and increases successful breastfeeding. Babies tend to cry less, leading to less parental stress and anxiety. When the baby passes through the birth canal, the baby’s gut is colonized with bacteria from the mother’s vaginal. Skin to skin continues to expose the baby to the mother’s bacteria and microbes. This early exposure helps babies develop their own healthy bacteria. Exposure to microbes is associated with protection inflammatory bowel disease and asthma. Once this time is over you can’t get it back, so stay in bed, snuggle up and love your babe. Diapers are okay, and a blanket can be used for warmth.

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The Important of Skin to Skin after Birth


There is significant evidence that newborns who receive skin to skin contact with their mothers immediately after birth have an easier transition. They have great respiratory, temperature and glucose stability in addition to decreased stress.  Skin to skin transfers biomes from mother to baby.  These biomes protect the baby for life. After the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating and been cut, Dads can provide skin to skin contact until the mother is ready to breastfeed. Once breastfeeding babies lay naked or diapered between the mother’s breast. Initially, babies may play with the breast until ready to latch. Ideally, newborns breastfeed within the first hour after birth. Breast milk is made by your body specifically for your baby. Along with nutrition, breastmilk contains antibodies that protect your baby from illness.

Placenta encapsulation – Placenta perfectly made for you, by you!


Pregnancy and childbirth are unbelievably demanding on a woman’s system and scientific research has shown that the placenta is rich in the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to recover.  The placenta has been used by women after birth throughout history and around the world. The purpose of placenta encapsulation is to reintroduce the beneficial vitamins, minerals, hormones, proteins and other nutrients back into your body following labor and birth.

Placenta encapsulation is a vital part of postpartum recovery.  Encapsulation ensures preservation, allowing the placenta to be utilized while mom’s postpartum hormones gradually regulate themselves. It is the most non-invasive form of placenta consumption, so it’s usually the most accepted as it comes in easy to take capsulesEncapsulation involves dehydrating the raw placenta. The dried placenta is then ground into a powder and filled into capsules. Each placenta makes 100 to 250 capsules depending on the size. Capsules can be stored in the freezer and what you don’t use during postpartum can be used when you start menopause.

The benefits of placenta encapsulation are listed below:

Increase in energy

Enhanced breast milk supply

Balance in hormones

Lessen the “baby blues”

Decrease in postpartum depression

Combats fatigue

Shortens postpartum bleeding

Assists the return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state

Replenish depleted iron

 

It’s important to remember that, taking placenta capsules is never a replacement for rest and nutrition. You just had a baby; your body needs time to rest. Current research suggests women need a year to recover from childbirth.  Eating, sleeping, and nursing should be your routine!  If you have any questions, contact Raquel at Raquel@BlissfulMidwifery.com.

 

Happiest Baby on the Block


Crying babies and exhaustion can trigger feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and depression in parents. Learning how to quickly calm a crying baby may help parents get more rest, feel competent and decrease the risk of postpartum depression. Crying babies can trigger feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety. People used to have more family support, but today, often time’s parents live farther from their families. If you need help please ask a friend or neighbor.  If this can’t be done, place your baby in a safe place and leave until you are calm.

Many birth professionals call the time from birth to 3 months the fourth trimester which is an incredible period of discovery for you and your baby. Read more to find out how you can bond and soothe your baby during the first three months.

The Happiest Baby on the Block was a system developed by Harvey Karp to calm and soothe an upset baby. These strategies elicited the calming reflexes – nature’s automatic shut off switch for a crying baby. There are five easy steps.

The first step is swaddling, which is the cornerstone of calming down.  The easiest way to learn to swaddle is to watch this short informational video or look at the pictures below. The next step is sidelying.  While the baby below is not swaddled, you can see side laying position in the arms.  This position is the baby’s “feel good” position. The third step is the baby’s sound of love and safety, the SHHHHHHH sound.  While in utero, your baby heard the endless “whooshing” sound in your body. Once born, these rhythmic sounds will continue to soothe. There are many ways to reproduce these sounds.  The dishwasher,  washing machine or a white noise machine are all sounds you can try.  Singing to your infant or playing music softly can also help calm her/him. Even talking to her/him softly can do the trick – your calm voice may reassure her/him and make her/him feel safe. The third step, swinging, comforts your baby because they were used to moving around with you when they were in the womb. These gentle, rhythmic movements may help soothe. Try taking your baby for a walk in a stroller/carrier, or use an infant swing, or rocking. The last step is sucking, which Dr. Karp considers the icing on the cake of soothing. After breastfeeding is established, Dr. Karp suggests introducing a pacifier for the first four months of your infant’s life to help calm her/him when she/he is upset.

It is important to note that swaddling will not stop your baby from crying if he/she is hungry or wet. However, if you miss the initial hunger cues, swaddling will calm your baby, enough for you to nurse.  For more information check out http://www.happiestbaby.com or The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp.

Delayed Cord Clamping


There are several ways to  define delayed cord clamping.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), delayed cord clamping is cutting the cord 1-3 minutes after birth, a practice the WHO recommends for all births.  Home birth midwives practice delayed cord clamping where the umbilical cord is not clamped and cut until the cord has stopped pulsing or until after the placenta is delivered.  Delayed cord clamping is known to improve maternal and infant outcomes.

Before birth, the fetus and placenta share a blood supply separate from the mother’s. The placenta and umbilical cord provides the baby with oxygen, nutrients plus clears waste. During fetal life, the placenta performs the role of lungs, kidneys, gut and liver for the fetus. This is why a significant portion of the baby’s total blood volume is in the placenta at any given time. The blood circulating in the placenta is not ‘extra’ blood or waste it belongs to the baby.

Immediately after birth, the placenta continues to provide essential oxygen and nutrients, as the placenta pulsates, placenta transfusion, a vital part of the birth process, transfers blood back to the baby. Placental transfusion provides red blood cells, plus stem and immune cells, in addition to, blood volume. Delayed cord clamping allows time for the placental transfusion, ensuring adequate oxygen levels and blood volume in the baby.

The benefits of delayed cord clamping for the baby include a healthy blood volume for the transition to life outside the womb, plus a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells. Newborns with delayed cord clamping have higher hemoglobin levels 24 to 48 post partum and less likely to be iron deficient three to six months after birth.  For the mother, delayed clamping can prevent complications with delivering the placenta and prevent postpartum hemorrhage.  Contact Raquel at http://www.BlissfulMidwifery.com.