Baby Bliss Blog

A Typical Session with New Parents and their Baby

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This Mum and Dad contacted me after hearing from another Mum in their coffee group who I had recently worked with. They were having similar issues with their 6 week old baby and had seen the turn around in their friends situation so were keen to get the same support and hopefully the same results.

Their baby was very unsettled at times during the day and night and they could not understand what was causing this or what to do to settle their baby as nothing was seemingly working. They were also having a few feeding issues. They were both feeling pretty tired and understandingly frustrated.

So I had a good chat with this Mum over the phone and I really listened to her and were able to very quickly assess what could be going on and what things we could look at putting into place to help improve things for them. We agreed on a time for me to come around and I spent a couple of hours with her and her husband and of course their gorgeous wee baby.

Initially we sat and talked about general patterns of behaviour & then I got to observe their baby’s feed, wake and sleep cycle. With my observations and from the information that I gathered from them over the phone and now in person, it gave me a really clear picture of where things were at. 

Throughout the session I shared with them some valuable information and advice that was pertinent to their concerns. I also taught them some great tools and skills that I felt would be of real value to them such as:

  • How to encourage and establish good sleep habits in their baby
  • What some basic guidelines to having a successful sleeper  were– so gaining a greater understanding of the sleep process (sleep cycles & phases of sleep) and creating positive sleep associations etc
  • Understanding their baby’s tired cues and most importantly how to settle and resettle their baby using a sleep technique that I swear by

This technique will quite literally blow your mind. It is simple and is one of the greatest tools that you can have in your tool bag. It quite often is a real game changer! You may have read about it or heard about it from friends or family but having someone there to teach you, using the technique with your own baby makes it so much more powerful and effective.  

Everything that I do is based on a very gentle, caring and nurturing philosophy. Newborns in particular are very unpredictable and their brain connections still very immature so it is really important to remain flexible and to not have any firm schedules or routines in place at this age. However, saying that there is a rough guideline that you can work with and understanding this is a very key learning principle. 

Over the two hours that I spent with these two new parents, I was able to cover a lot of information. I think we over complicate and over think things some times so I try to keep everything really simple and I teach it in a way that is easy to understand and everything I do is based on good experience and evidence based knowledge. 

This Mum and Dad were left feeling empowered with knowledge and confident with their new skills that they had just learned. It is always such a lovely feeling to walk away from a consultation knowing how valuable it has been for my clients. They are so happy and relaxed and always tell me how much more confident that they feel and this always gives me a real buzz and makes what I do such a pleasure. 

I then complete our session with a follow-up phone call a few days later to ensure that they are still feeling happy and confident with their new skills and to also answer any further questions that may have arisen for them since our session. 

So you can see how one session like this can be so incredibly valuable as it creates such a fantastic foundation for you to work off and sets you up so well from the very start. Every session I do is different because it is based upon what each family needs so it is tailored specifically for you and your baby. 

So if you feel you would value from a visit such as this or are have any concerns that you would like to talk to me about, feel free to give me a call anytime for a chat. 

I offer a Free 15 minute phone consultation to all clients. This gives me the chance to hear what your needs are and to formulate a plan together with you if you require more than just a bit of reassurance from me over the phone. 

I am always very negotiable on my prices so please don’t ever let this stop you from seeking my help if you feel you need it as we can easily work something out. And remember that I also donate 10% of any service that you purchase as a HBC Parent Centre member, straight back to HBC Parent Centre. 

I look forward to meeting you on a more personal level and being a part of your special journey.

Take Care,

Elysia x

Elysia GobbieA Typical Session with New Parents and their Baby
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The Importance of Night Feeds for You and your Baby

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As a Mum, I know how tiring it is to have a newborn and when you are feeling sleep deprived you do not want to always embrace your baby’s night feeds with open arms! But if I share with you some information on how important night feeds are for you and your baby you will have a greater understanding as to why they are so crucial for your baby’s development and this might just help you cope with nights feeds a little bit better. 

Evidence based knowledge shows us clearly that newborns need as many feeds during the night as they do during the day and this is biologically and physiologically normal. It is one of their primal needs for healthy development. 

There is a strong western ideology of getting your baby to ‘sleep through the night’ which gives mothers a warped sense of achievement, but it is an unrealistic expectation and as you will soon learn it is actually to the contrary. 

1. Babies are born with no circadian rhythms so cannot differentiate between night and day. 

  • Newborns have a biological need for frequent feeds over a 24-hour period to thrive. Your baby will naturally develop these rhythms by around 2 months of age. 

2. Babies want to feed at night simply because there is more milk available to them during the night. It plays a very important role in supporting breastfeeding and milk production. 

  • Prolactin, which is the milk-making hormone is at its highest level at night. So breastfeeding your baby during this time will not only provide your baby with the nutrients they need for their physical development but it is essential to building a really good milk supply to which your baby will thrive on.

3. Breastfeeding at night helps babies sleep and also has an important role in your baby’s brain development.

  • Babies are born with an inability to produce a sleep-inducing and regulating hormone called Melatonin.

Breast milk contains a substance called Tryptophan which not only makes melatonin but also produces serotonin which is a vital hormone for brain function and development that not only makes the brain work better and stabilises mood, but it also helps with your baby’s sleep-wake cycles. 

Melatonin and serotonin levels are the highest in your breast milk at night so breastfeeding your baby during this time will play a huge part in developing your baby’s circadian rhythms and ability to settle and sleep for longer periods as they develop.

4. Breastfeeding at night provides a higher level of contraceptive cover when using the Lactational Amenorrhea Method.

  • This provides 98% security of contraception when your baby is under 6 months of age and being fed on demand with no supplemental feeds of formula or solids being given.

5. Babies have a natural instinct to want to be closer to their mothers at night. 

  • This not only plays a part in building a trusting relationship between you and your baby and thus developing their emotional intelligence, it also has a physiological affect with helping to maintain your baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing.

6. Breastfeeding your baby at night protects your baby against SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant). In NZ, 50 babies sadly die every year from SUDI. This is one of the most important reasons as to why newborns need night feeds.

  • Newborns are biologically and physiologically programmed to wake more and to have more active/light sleep cycles. They are just not designed to sleep for extended periods of time. This is a protective mechanism that prevents your baby from entering a deeper sleep state and therefore deeper respiratory state that would put them at a much greater risk of SUDI.

So getting your baby to ‘sleep through the night’ too early in their development, for too long or too deeply would be to the detriment of your baby’s basic survival.

So now you have a good understanding of the importance of breastfeeding your baby at night and how it is a very normal process and is something that your baby is programmed to do. Just remember that this stage does not last forever. Before you know it you will be looking back at these times fondly and will miss the preciousness of what this time gave to you as you held your baby close and shared in the peace and stillness that the night brings. So embrace this time, value the special role that you have taken on and try to fit in a rest or nap when you can to help you to manage during this time.

Feel free to share this blog with any other new mothers that you know so that they too can see what an important job that they are doing and you can all be there to support each other as you share this journey as breastfeeding mothers.

Contact me at any time if you need any further advice or support. Take care and enjoy that precious baby of yours.

Elysia GobbieThe Importance of Night Feeds for You and your Baby
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Understanding the Sleep Process for Babies

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Sleep is an important nutrient that is vital to your baby’s wellbeing. During your baby’s first year of life, their brain doubles in weight due to the incredible amount of complex brain development that takes place, most of it while they are sleeping so understanding the sleep process for babies is really important.

Sleep is a learned behaviour so babies are not born knowing how to sleep

Babies need to learn essential skills so that they can become an independent sleeper, meaning that they are able to settle and resettle themselves to sleep without being dependent upon you or any sleep prop. How you choose to manage this will have a very strong influence on your baby. You can improve the quality and quantity of your baby’s sleep using various ways and making changes when and if required. So whether your baby will sleep well or poorly is very much dependent upon the support that you give to your baby. Saying that, some babies sleep habits will very much reflect their temperament and not your parenting.

Understanding the keys to successful sleep is really important and establishing and encouraging good sleep habits from birth is a great start.

Until babies are 12-16 weeks old they do not have the brain connections in place to self-soothe so they need you to help them to learn this vital skill. That does not mean that you won’t have your challenges because there are many factors that can disrupt sleep patterns such as growth spurts, your baby being unwell and just their normal development as they become more alert, inquisitive and active as they mature. But as long as you have set a good base and you are armed with the right information and skills, it will not take long to get them sleeping well again.

 

Sleep:

  • Sleep is related very closely to feeding.

 If your baby is feeding well, she will sleep well and if she is sleeping well, she will feed well

  • Babies sleep requirements vary enormously with the average being 16 hours in a 24 hour period. This period shortens by approximately 1 hour over the first year with just the pattern of the sleep changing.

 

  • Young babies sleep as much through the day as they do during the night. As they get closer to 6 months old, their night-time sleep gets longer and their day time sleeps become fewer.

 

  • Some babies are very noisy sleepers and this is normal, particularly when they are settling to sleep or transitioning from a light to a deep sleep cycle.

 

  • Lack of sleep is the most common cause of a fussy, unsettled or distressed baby. Sleep, like food is a basic human requirement and lack of sleep is a major source of stress for babies, affecting them both physically and emotionally.

 

  • With each developmental step, your baby can change their sleep pattern. This can also happen when your baby is unwell or in a different environment.

 

  • Keeping your baby up during the day will not allow her to sleep longer at night. It will cause her to become overtired and an overtired baby is very difficult to settle. Sleep breed’s sleep.

The longer your baby sleeps during the day, the longer she will sleep at night

 

Baby Sleep Cycles:

When it comes to babies, sleep cycles are important to understand.

  • Babies spend 50-60% of their sleep in active/REM (rapid eye movement/active sleep), which is a much lighter and easily disturbed cycle of sleep. This is a really important phase of sleep as the brain is extremely active during this time, processing and storing information. During this phase of sleep, baby’s dream.

 

  • Babies only spend on average 30-45 minutes in a deep sleep cycle. During this phase of sleep, vital hormones are released for growth and development and tissue growth and repair occur. This is a much quieter state of sleep that allows the brain to rest.

 

  • Some babies can have even shorter sleep cycles, waking after only 15-30 minutes. This is usually due to your baby having wind or reflux, being over tired or have been over stimulated. Some babies are very sensitive to any change of sound, movement or a change in their environment and will wake instantly or within a short period of time. eg: when the car stops or your rocking

 

  • Babies stir and sometimes wake fully after a sleep cycle and may cry out, grizzle or groan as they transition through into their next sleep cycle. Some babies will need help to transition though this. If your baby wakes after 40 minutes of being put down to sleep, this is a clear sign that she will need your help to teach her to resettle.

 

  • Most babies will mature into an adult like sleep pattern sometime within the second half of their first year. An adults deep sleep cycle lasts for 90 minutes before moving into a lighter phase of active/REM sleep. The cycles then alternate all night, with an adult spending an average of 6 hours in a deep sleep state and 2 hours in active/REM sleep.

 

  • Most babies and adults need to have wind down time before being able to drift off into their first sleep cycle. Babies go through a cycle of active/REM sleep before entering into a deeper phase of sleep unlike adults who enter a deep sleep cycle immediately.

 

  • Some babies may take longer than the average time of 20 minutes to fall into a deep sleep cycle, so if you have a baby that is like this, be wary when moving them while asleep from your arms or car seat etc. as they are likely to wake up if they have not entered into a deep sleep cycle. Wait for signs that they have entered this cycle first before moving them.

 

  • Babies are biologically and physiologically programmed to have more awakenings and active/REM sleep than adults. This is a protective mechanism that prevents your baby from entering a deeper sleep state that would put your baby at a greater risk of SUDI. Premature babies stay in active/REM sleep even longer, for 90% of their sleep time. This assists them with accelerated brain growth and further reduces their risk of SUDI.

Getting your baby to sleep through the night too early, for too long and too deeply is not encouraged as it will be to the detriment of their basic survival and overall development

 

Lighter Sleep Cycle (REM or active sleep):

Your baby’s breathing is irregular, his hands and limbs are flexed and he may startle or twitch. His eyes rapidly move under his eyelids and he may have facial grimaces.

 Deeper Sleep Cycle (Quiet sleep):

 As your baby moves into a deeper sleep cycle from a lighter sleep cycle, you will notice that his breathing becomes much more regular and his muscles are completely relaxed. His little fists unfold and his limbs are weightless.

 

Sleep Phases:

There are 3 phases of sleep that will help teach your baby to be an independent sleeper:

  • Sleep Window
  • Winding Down
  • Settling Stage

Babies cannot be put straight into bed and expected to fall asleep without first being helped to transition from an activity. On average, this can take around 20 minutes, from seeing their first tired cue to entering their first deep sleep cycle.

The Sleep Window:

This is the time that your baby will show you that they are starting to get tired, using their non-verbal body language. Every baby is different so it is important for you to learn how to read your baby’s tired cues. Missing your baby’s sleep window can make it more of a challenge to settle her, as she will be overtired.

Winding Down:

This is an important stage because you are setting the scene for a good sleep by giving your baby lots of cues that it is time to go to sleep and allowing them time to start switching off. This is achieved by creating a healthy sleep environment, using sleep aids which give your baby positive sleep associations and all done in a predictable and repetitive pattern each time your baby is put down to sleep. This not only helps your baby to learn what to expect but also builds trust between you and your baby.

Sleep rituals are key

If you were to use a scale from 1-10, 1 being active and alert and 10 being in a deep cycle of sleep, try to wait until your baby reaches a 7/8 before you attempt to settle your baby in their bed. It sounds very technical and precise but once you have sussed your baby’s tired cues and been patient during this winding down process, you will reap the rewards with a baby who is an independent sleeper.

Example:  

After you take your baby into her room you:

  • Turn her white noise music on.
  • Swaddle her (preferably not in her bed) before picking her up and giving her a cuddle and last chance to bring up any wind.
  • Keep your tone low and calming and give her some verbal reassurance with your chosen phrase eg: “ Its time to go to sleep princess”.
  • You then go over to the window and reduce the light in her room by closing the blinds slightly.
  • Continue to comfort her in your arms for a few minutes, saying good night to all her toys, until you see her starting to settle. Ensure that you place her into her bed when she is drowsy but still awake.

(Newborns are very sleepy and are ready to sleep very quickly after their short wake time so this winding down time is more relevant as your baby matures).

Settling Stage:

  • Tuck her firmly into bed and give her some more verbal reassurance.
  • Give her a kiss and leave the room to allow her to settle on her own. (Remember that grizzling can be a tired sign).

By allowing this to happen, you are teaching her to learn to self-soothe

  • Only return to her room if she starts to consistently cry as she is telling you that she needs your help to settle.

If she is not calming, try to settle her in her bed by using the steady and rhythmic shushing and patting technique while placing a hand on her shoulder or chest, giving her comfort and security.

If the patting and shushing is not working then feel free to pick her up and place her over your shoulder, continuing to shush and pat her there. As soon as she shows any signs that she is calming, place her back into bed and continue shushing and patting her there.

Avoid any movements that you cannot replicate in her bed such as rocking, jiggling or swaying

Repeat the cycle if required, slowing the rhythm of your patting and shushing as she calms until you eventually stop. Wait a few minutes by her bed, to see her move into a deep sleep cycle if she has taken a while to settle. If you leave too early, you may have to start the whole process all over again, so it is worth being patient.

 

Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you feel you need more support or advice regarding settling or resettling your baby.

 

Elysia Gobbie
Baby Advisor
Dip HSc (Midwifery) BHSC (Nursing)
www.babybliss.kiwi.nz

Elysia GobbieUnderstanding the Sleep Process for Babies
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Basic Guidelines for Teaching your Baby to Become an Independent Sleeper

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Sleep issues can be very challenging at times to manage. Whether it is that you are struggling to settle or resettle your baby, or that they are cat-napping, waking early or habitually waking can create much stress and frustration for parents. Although there is not always a quick fix to sleep issues, there are easy ways to teach your baby the skills of settling and resettling so that they can become an independent sleeper. Though a newborn does not have the ability to self-soothe until at least 12-16 weeks, you can start to gently teach them these skills from birth by establishing good sleep habits and making going to sleep an ‘enjoyable thing’.

Here are some basic guidelines for you to follow to help you to achieve this:

Understand the Sleep Process. Sleep is a learned behaviour and is vital to your baby’s well being. Learning about sleep cycles, the 3 phases of sleep and establishing and encouraging good sleep habits from birth is a great way to start.

Recognise your Baby’s Tired Signs. Every baby is different, so your baby will have his own way of showing you that he is tired and ready for sleep. Once you see a sign, start the settling process so that you don’t end up with a baby who is over tired.

Respond to your Baby’s needs Promptly and Establish a Strong Bond of Trust. Observe your baby ‘s body language and listen to his different cries and react accordingly. This will build a trusting relationship between you and your baby and he will feel safe and secure knowing that his needs will be met. Trust is a very important part of building emotional intelligence and is the foundation on which loving relationships are built.Don’t leave your newborn baby to cry for longer than 1 minute. Crying is his only form of communication. Be consistent with any sleep patterns or techniques that you choose so you create a clear expectation for your baby without confusing him.

Create an Environment that is Conducive to Sleep without bright light or brightly coloured walls. Provide a comfortable and warm bed in a room that has a temperature between 18-22C.

Create Positive Sleep Associations: Play white noise and use sleep aids such as a swaddle for your newborn or a safe-T-sleep, sleeping bag or both when your baby is around 4 months of age. Comforters are also an excellent tool to introduce at this age. These all provide great cues to your baby that it is time to sleep.

Create a Structured Routine right from the start. A routine will give you a rough guideline of when your baby needs to feed and sleep. This can help build a healthy biological rhythm within your baby and will also help you, within reason, plan your day. Though newborns are very unpredictable, by the time your baby gets closer to 8 weeks you will have a much clearer pattern. Remember that it is only a guideline so you need to remain flexible, reacting to her cues and responding accordingly.

Provide Consistent, Predictable Patterns and Rituals as they are a Vital Key to Success. This is achieved by establishing a pre-sleep routine, daytime and night time patterns, including a bedtime ritual where you do the same thing each time in the same order. This gives your baby clear cues as to what is expected of them, how and when their needs will be met and what is going to happen next.

Avoid letting your Baby get Overtired or Over Stimulated. Focus on what is happening with your baby, observing their body language whilst working in conjunction with the clock. Baby’s that are overtired will struggle to settle and fall asleep. Try to manage your baby’s environment as best as you can so you can prevent your baby from becoming over stimulated. Newborn babies neurological systems are very immature so they do not have the ability to ‘switch off’ from too much stimulation until around 3 months of age. Instead their nervous system becomes overloaded, which results in them becoming stressed and difficult to settle.

Be aware of ‘Accidental Parenting’. This is when parents provide a quick fix solution that develops into a habit and your baby associates it with settling to sleep and becomes dependent upon it. These can be subtle things that you do that can then create sleep issues for you later on. Accidental parenting issues can all be solved but it becomes more of a challenge as your baby gets older.

Try to avoid using Sleep Props and creating prop dependency. Sleep props are something that your baby associates with falling to sleep. These are generally the eventual cause of sleep issues. Examples of sleep props are using a pacifier (although they can be very effective for newborns, it can very quickly become a sleep prop as your baby gets older), being rocked or held to sleep or being fed to sleep.

Don’t’ Rush in. As baby’s transition through sleep cycles they can be quite noisy, with a loud cry out or grizzle, which may make you think that he has woken. Instead of rushing in, just wait and see first to give him a chance to resettle himself back to sleep independently. Rushing in could also inadvertently disturb and wake him early from his sleep. It’s a balance of listening long enough to see if he will resettle on his own but not too long that he gets himself so upset that you miss those resettling or feeding cues if he is hungry.

Have Realistic Expectations for the age and stage of your Baby. Know what normal feeding, sleeping and activity behaviours are for your baby’s stage so that you have realistic expectations. Every baby is different so tune into your baby and he will guide you with his cues.

Be Flexible and adapt to Changes.The only constant with babies is change itself! Your baby will have regular growth spurts and their patterns will change constantly due to the phenomenal amount of physical and emotional growth and development that will take place over their first year. This can be really frustrating as you just get a grasp of the new phase only for it to change again.

Choose a Sleep Technique that you feel comfortable with and is Appropriate for the age of your Baby.This is really important when you are trying to teach your baby the skills of settling/resettling or are trying to change a sleep habit, be it cat-napping, weaning your baby off a sleep prop, early waking or habitual waking etc. Be prepared that most changes will be met with some resistance, especially from an older baby and you will most likely have a step backwards before you get a breakthrough. There is no quick fix so you will need to have a consistent approach, remain committed and very patient and remember that every baby is different so some babies may take longer than others.

Don’t make any changes at Nightwhen you are likely to be feeling tired and frustrated. Leave it until the following day and then make a clear plan. (Interestingly, most sleep issues at night are resolved by changes being made to your baby’s daytime routine).

When Settling your Baby, settle them in their room and place your baby down drowsy but awake. Always allow your baby a chance to settle on their own first but help your baby to settle or resettle if required until they learn these sleep skills. Avoid using movements to settle your baby that you cannot replicate in your baby’s bed, such as rocking, jiggling and swaying.

Last of all my 80:20 Rule. 80% of the time try to be as consistent as you can. Allow 20% room for some flexibility. This flexibility is important for those times when things are not quite going to plan or you are out and about and so routines are more challenging to follow or you are desperate to get some sleep so have chosen to use a sleep prop to settle your baby and for those times where you just want to enjoy a precious moment holding your baby to sleep in your arms etc. As long as you aim to be consistent for the majority of the time, breaking the rules every now and again is okay.

All the best with your little one and feel free to contact me at any time if you need any further advice or support.

Elysia x

 

 

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Elysia GobbieBasic Guidelines for Teaching your Baby to Become an Independent Sleeper
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Newborn Crying

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eNTvQ-To8E9YPcCIsA6HhVj4wARekdxo-Sr7cCsffq8Hearing your baby cry can be very stressful and can cause some confusion sometimes. No parent likes to see their baby distressed but crying is the only way for your baby to communicate and is totally normal behaviour. It is their means of expressing their emotional or physical discomfort and is also a way that they release anxiety and tension. They are helpless and dependent and sometimes they may sense the world around them to be a scary place so can be startled by unfamiliar sounds. They are asking for your help to comfort and reassure them.

A newborn baby will cry an average of 1½-3 hours every day. Some may cry less and some may cry more. It will peak around 6-8 weeks of age.

The most important thing to do when caring for your newborn is to respond to your baby’s crying and their cues as promptly as you can. This stage is a critical time for building trust. Your prompt, consistent responses will be rewarded with a healthy, happy secure and trusting baby and this will reinforce your confidence as parents making it a much more enjoyable experience. Research has shown that by doing this, it will result in less crying overall and your baby will become a confident and secure child.

Trying to figure out why your baby is crying can be overwhelming at first but within a very short period of time you will start to recognize the different cries your baby makes depending on their needs. For example, the incessant cry your baby will give when they are hungry will be very different from the grizzly cry when they just need some comfort.

You will also learn to recognise your baby’s different body rhythms so you will know when your baby is tired or hungry or over stimulated. A structured routine also enables you to be able to have a much better idea as to what potentially is causing your baby to cry. (A structured routine is not a rigid routine, it is just a rough idea of when your baby may feed or sleep next). Use your observational skills, what does your baby’s cry sound like and what do they look like when they are crying.

Here are some important points to know about newborns and their cries that will help you understand what they may be communicating to you.

Hungry:

This is the first and most obvious reason. When did your baby last feed? Having a rough schedule or concept of a schedule can help with this confusion. This is not rigid, it is just a rough idea of when their next feed or sleep may be due.

A hungry baby’s cry sounds rhythmic and builds into a desperate and intense cry that tends to stay at a medium pitch.

Observing your baby for feeding cues is really important such as; rooting reflex, sucking on their hands or fingers, opening and closing their mouth, wriggling and fidgety body movements, cooing and vocalisations.

Follow the general rule that ‘when in doubt, assume that your baby is hungry and feed them’.

Tired:

It is important to be able to learn and observe your baby for tired signs so that when you see these signs you can start the winding down process and put them into their bed before they get overtired. Baby’s who are overtired are very difficult to settle.

Yawning, eyes looking glazed. rubbing their eyes, jerky movements, facial grimacing and arching their backs are some of the signs that you may see.

A tired cry usually starts off as a grizzle and builds slowly and if their tired signs have been missed they will exhibit quite a distressed cry that sounds like they are in pain.

Over stimulated:

Newborns can only manage a certain amount of stimulation. They are very sensitive to the sounds, smells, touch and sights that surround them so it is really important to manage their environment to prevent them from becoming over stimulated. Newborn babies neurological systems are very immature so they do not have the ability to ‘switch off from too much stimulation until they are around 3 months old. Instead their nervous system becomes overloaded, which results in them becoming stressed and difficult to settle.

Babies will start to turn their head and body away from the stimulation before then starting to cry a fussy sounding cry which gradually increases and becomes what sounds like a distressed cry, as if they are in pain.

Wind/Discomfort:

A windy cry tends to come on quite suddenly and is high pitched, rhythmic and intense. Babies can become quite panicked and breathless.

Your baby may arch their back, bring their knees up to their chest or start grabbing at their faces and ears. A soothing cuddle or offering a clean finger or pacifier for them to suck while holding them upright is all that is required.

I am Bored:

It is really important to give your baby the right amount of wake time and stimulation that is appropriate for their age.

A bored cry sounds like a very whiny, frustrated grizzle rather than a distressed cry and a change of scenery is all that is required.

General Discomfort:

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature so if your baby is too cold, they will tend to cry in discomfort. If they are feeling too hot they will whine and look red and blotchy. They may even pant instead of breathing and be hot to touch. Remember babies only need one more extra layer than us so consider that when you are also wrapping them and putting a blanket over them to sleep.

Some babies will suffer from reflux which can cause them some discomfort as the acid from the stomach burns the oesophagus on it’s way up. It is very common for babies to have a small degree of reflux but some will suffer more than others with it. Feeding and holding your baby in a more upright position and offering smaller and more frequent feeds can work well.

Check that your baby’s nappy is dry. Most baby’s will not be disturbed by a wet nappy, however some babies will not like the discomfort of a dirty nappy so ensure you check their nappy as part of your check list as to why your baby is crying.

Inconsolable/Fussy crying:

Is the most common cause of crying and is a completely normal physiological process that can occur anytime during the day or night. On average it lasts for 30-60 minutes.

It is thought to be due to your newborn’s neurological development and the effect on your baby’s mood when certain brain connections are being made. This results in a natural release of anxiety or tension.

It peaks at 6-8 weeks and diminishes by 10-12 weeks.

It is a low level incessant grizzly cry.

Once all your basic crying checks have been done ie: feeding or changing etc, start to recreate the environment of the womb as this is all that is needed to soothe your baby and will give your baby the security and reassurance they need. Trust your instincts and respond to your baby’s needs. Swaddle, cuddle and help your baby to settle if they need your help.

Elysia GobbieNewborn Crying
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Skin-to-Skin Contact with your Baby: Why is it so Important?

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Skin-to-skin contact is one of the most natural and beautiful experiences that you or your partner can share with your baby. It plays an important role in the bonding process, is an integral part of successful breastfeeding and assists your baby in their transition to their new life, both physiologically and emotionally.

The first chance for skin-to skin contact is as soon as you have delivered your baby. Have your baby placed on your bare chest with a blanket placed over the top of you for warmth. This time is often referred to as the ‘Magical Hour’ and is such a precious and important time for the early stages of the bonding process to occur. The touch of your baby releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’. This enhances the bonding and attachment between you and your beautiful new baby.

Skin-to-skin contact helps to fulfil the need that your baby has instinctively for human contact and gives your baby the security and reassurance that they need, giving them a lovely calm and gentle entry into the outside world. Studies have shown that babies who are held skin-to-skin regularly and who are cuddled and kept close to their mothers in their first few days/months of their life show clearly that they are more settled and cry less than those separated from their mother.

Having your baby skin-to-skin has a powerful effect on your baby’s physical state. It regulates their temperature (babies are born with an immature thermoregulation system so if a baby is struggling with keeping warm in their first few days, skin –to-skin contact has been shown to be more effective at warming a baby than any artificial warmer) it also regulates their breathing, heart rate and it even keeps their blood sugar levels stable. It also strengthens your baby’s immune system because your baby becomes colonized to the bacteria that is on your skin. Your breast milk then produces antibodies in response and makes your milk specifically protective against that bacteria. Pretty clever aye.

Skin-to-skin also plays an important role in successful breastfeeding. At birth, both you and your baby have extremely powerful pheromones that attract you to each other. It also instinctively attracts your baby to your nipple. Babies are born with senses and reflexes that help them to smell, crawl, lick and latch onto the breast to feed…nature is truly amazing when we don’t interfere with it. There is a beautiful video put out by UNICEF that shows exactly this…well worth a watch. Research has even shown that when skin-to-skin contact is used regularly throughout those early weeks, it helps to encourage a very good milk supply.

Skin-to-skin can be practiced not only just after your baby is born but also throughout your baby’s first few months of life. It works very effectively to calm an unsettled baby as it replicates the security they felt from being in the womb. Other lovely ways of giving your baby skin-to-skin is by giving your baby a massage, having a bath with your baby or even wearing your baby using a front pack or sling etc.

Skin-to skin is such a lovely experience to share with your baby and lets not forget the Dad’s too, they can be very much a part of this experience.

I hope all is going well for you and your baby but please feel free to contact me at anytime if you feel you need some further support or advice.

Elysia GobbieSkin-to-Skin Contact with your Baby: Why is it so Important?
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The 4th Trimester – A Time for Nurturing.

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Take a minute and try to think about the world through your baby’s eyes. One moment your baby is snuggled up in a warm, dark and cramped space being soothed by all of your movements and sounds and every possible need they had was being met. Suddenly they are thrust into a new world where they are surrounded by bright lights, stimulating shapes and objects and have the ability to move their limbs freely. Their physical connection to you has been broken and now they must learn to signal for all of their basic needs; food, sleep and comfort. Some babies will make this transition much more easily, however others may find it more difficult to adapt and will need more comfort, support and nurturing during their first few months. To begin to understand this 4thTrimester lets learn a bit more about the transition that a baby has to make so that you can support your baby the best way you can during this time.

Human babies are born premature in respect to all other mammals, possibly 3-4 months earlier than they should be. As primitive women evolved to stand up on two legs, the shape of the female pelvis narrowed resulting in babies being born earlier to enable a safe passage of the head through the pelvis. So babies are not physiologically setup for independent life which makes them much more vulnerable in their early months compared to other mammals, who are born equipped with survival instincts.  Your baby will depend on you for their basic survival and will feel the safest and the most secure when they are near you. They will need time to adjust to this new world and to give their immature systems a chance to mature.

Life in the womb was constant with the same muted sounds; dim-lit environment, continual rocking/lulling movements and your baby never knew hunger. Furled up in a secure position in a warm fluid filled environment with the familiar sounds of not only your voice but also from your heart beating, your blood flow whooshing around them and your bowel and bladder filling and emptying. Your baby had the familiar smells and taste of you from their drinking and swallowing of their amniotic fluid and all of these things gave your baby constant reassurance and comfort.

In contrast, life outside the womb is extremely stimulating. The environment is always changing with bright lights, sharp or sudden noises and unfamiliar sounds. It is a visually stimulating place for your baby with different peoples faces, toys and objects surrounding them. They are no longer in a cramped space and unless they are swaddled their ‘Startle reflex’ can wake and unsettle them. At times this new world will be too overwhelming for your baby and they will want to return to their former home and the stability that this environment gave to them.

The key to this 4thTrimester is to manage your baby as if they are still in the womb and the best way to achieve this is by replicating the environment of the womb itself. This will:

  • Help your baby to adapt from the secure environment that the womb provided to life outside the womb
  • Give your baby reassurance and security from the familiar sights, sounds, touch and smell of you
  • Trigger your baby’s ‘Calming Reflex’, a primitive response which kept them calm and relaxed while in utero

How to Replicate the Environment of the Womb:

Physical comfort and Touch: Hold your baby close to your chest with their ear against your heart, pat them and use shushing sounds e.g.: ‘whoosh whoosh’ to imitate the sounds of the womb. Babies also love to hear the soothing tone of your voice and are comforted by the familiarity of your smell. ‘Wearing your baby’ in a sling or front pack is also a very effective way to calm your baby as it closely resembles their womb like environment.

Skin-to-skin Contact: This is heaven for your baby and is such a lovely experience for you too! Being so close to you will relax and calm your baby as they hear those familiar sounds and are comforted by your smell.

Swaddling: This will give your baby the security and comfort that they remember from their time in the womb and can instantly calm them. It also reduces the chance of their ‘Startle reflex’ from being triggered by a sudden movement or sound.

Sucking: When babies are unsettled they instinctively want to suck. Sucking has a deep effect within the nervous system triggering your baby’s ‘calming reflex’ by releasing opiate like chemicals that saturate their brain and naturally reduces their stress levels. Offering the breast, a pacifier (only once your milk supply is well established) or even a clean little finger can work like magic.

Movement: The womb was a constantly moving space. Every time you moved, your baby was moved and this movement reassured and comforted them. So swaying, rocking and jiggling your baby works very effectively to calm babies when they are unsettled.

Rhythmic NoisesBabies love sound so contrary to common belief, babies sleep better with noise as they are simply not used to a quiet environment. For the past 9 months they have been hearing loud sounds in the womb with studies confirming that a baby is exposed to up to 90db of noise – that’s louder than a vacuum cleaner or a bulldozer idling! So playing white noise while your baby is settling and sleeping is very effective as it not only blocks out any sudden background noise but it also provides a positive sleep association for your baby. Research has shown that babies settle more quickly and sleep more deeply when they are exposed to white noise.

Create a Calm Dim-lit Environment: Calming or settling your baby to sleep in a dim-lit room has been shown to be more effective for most babies. Managing your baby’s environment is also very important to prevent your baby from becoming over tired or over stimulated.

 

The best advice that I can give you during this 4thTrimester is ‘If your baby is unsettled and you have ruled out hunger, then assume that your baby is missing the womb and place them back into their womb like environment. By providing your baby with the security that the womb offered, you will not only be giving your baby reassurance, comfort and security but you will also be creating a confident, secure and trusting individual.

 

I hope all is going well for you and your baby but please feel free to contact me at anytime if you feel you need some further support or advice.

Elysia x

 

 

Elysia GobbieThe 4th Trimester – A Time for Nurturing.
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Advice for Mums…Knowledge, Instincts, Keeping things Simple, Common Sense and Trial and Error

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310710137Having a baby and becoming a parent is such an exciting time in your life, full of precious moments that you will treasure forever. It is life changing and probably one of the toughest things that you will ever do though undoubtedly it will be the most rewarding.

You will learn so much about yourself during this journey. You will have a new respect for your own body and what it is capable of. You will experience exhaustion like you’ve never known and will discover an inner strength that you never realised you had. Motherhood is a beautiful and powerful experience but it can be really tough at times and it may not come naturally or easily to some women. Some women have never had anything to do with babies before they have their own, while others have been surrounded by babies all their life. However it does not make you immune to the challenges that some babies bring the more babies you have had either as every baby is different.

At times you are going to feel stressed, exhausted, anxious and confused by this little person and all their needs. The constant changes that you will face can be challenging. You just get a grasp of one stage only for it to change. This can be tough for a first time Mum, as probably up until now you have had quite a bit of control over your own life. Suddenly you have this little person who is totally dependent upon you and this can sometimes feel really overwhelming.

You will be offered a lot of well-intentioned advice from people around you, which can sometimes cause you even more confusion and bewilderment. Listen to people whom you trust and that you know their advice is based on good experience and evidence-based knowledge. Knowledge is power and will not only help you to make informed decisions but it will give you a good understanding of what to expect, setting you up with a healthy mind set and allowing you to relax and really enjoy this precious time. By understanding your baby’s needs, you will feel so much more confident and be prepared for the challenges that you will face along the way.

Babies are much more resilient than you think so are very forgiving with the many mistakes that we make as parents. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, just easier ways and more difficult ways and there is no such thing as a perfect mother and accepting that you can’t be perfect is really important. Every baby is so different so keep things simple, trust your instincts and common sense and with a bit of trial and error you will start to work out what will be best for ‘you and your’ baby. This time will go by so quickly, so look after yourself, love and nurture your baby and try to enjoy this special time in your life.

I hope all is going well for you and your baby but please feel free to contact me at anytime if you have any concerns.

Elysia x

Elysia GobbieAdvice for Mums…Knowledge, Instincts, Keeping things Simple, Common Sense and Trial and Error
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