Pregnancy & Birth
- Natural Pregnancy
- Natural Childbirth Basics
- Preparing for Natural Birth
- Home Birth
- Birth Stories
- Pregnancy Complications?
After a healthy pregnancy and a great birth you're excited and ready to give your baby the best.
Even if there are unexpected separations between you and your baby you're still able to give the newest member of your family a great start.
Be with your newborn as soon as possible after birth. Skin to skin immediately is the best - though not required.
Human beings do not have the same vital "imprint period" that other animals do. You can be assured of the truth of this by the loving, attached adoptive families all over.
It doesn't matter where you decide to give birth - if there are no complications, insist that your baby be allowed to go straight up onto your chest.
If you're giving birth in a hospital request that all newborn procedures be delayed until after your baby's first nursing. You are the parent and you are the consumer - you have the right to demand your child be given to you!
If your baby is adopted, request that you be able to be there as soon as possible after birth. Arrange to spend plenty of time bonding with your baby if he or she is older.
Remember that a baby who is being adopted or who has had a traumatic birth experience may take some time to "warm up" to you. Be assured that you will be able to bond with your baby and don't stop trying.
Holding a resistant baby fully swaddled or clothed and gradually moving towards more skin-to-skin contact may be helpful as he adjusts to a new life.
Allow your baby time to rest if she seems tired or over-stimulated, but try to encourage your baby to make eye contact with you. Swaddling helps many babies feel secure, not just babies who arch or fuss about being held.
Your baby doesn't need to be taken from you immediately to have tests and procedures done. If fact, even your baby's weight check can be delayed.
Your doctor or midwife will probably do an APGAR score of your baby, which tests your baby at 1 and 5 minutes after birth.
APGAR stands for Activity (muscle tone), Pulse, Grimace (reflexes), Appearance (skin color), and Respiration. It's an assessment that your care provider can make while your baby is with you. There is no need to take the baby away.
Keep your baby warm with skin-to-skin contact. Put your baby on your chest and cover both of you with warmed blankets. The routine practice of isolating a new baby bundled up in a warmer is not necessary.
Place a soft cloth or small disposable pad ("chux pad") under your baby's bottom if you're worried about meconium getting on you. (Meconium is the sticky substance that makes baby's first bowel movements, more on that later in this article!)
Cutting the cord as soon as your baby emerges is not required. In cases where your baby's cord is wrapped tightly around his neck it may be cut immediately. But otherwise make it clear you want your baby's cord to stay intact until it has stopped pulsing.
Your baby gets a lot of oxygen-rich blood in those last few minutes the cord is attached. It's so significant that your baby gets almost a month's supply of iron from that blood!!!
Your baby may be covered in vernix, which is a creamy white substance. In the womb vernix protects your baby's skin. Once your baby is born you can rub any vernix into her skin. Think of it like rich body butter made just for your baby.
Rubbing can help your baby if she is "slow to start," but a vigorous rub down to clean the vernix off of your baby isn't necessary. A full term baby may not have much vernix!
Eye treatment is given to babies to help prevent infections that the baby may have picked up on their trip through the birth canal.
In some states in the United States it is a law that babies have this treatment. It's irritating to babies' eyes and causes blurry vision.
If your state requires it request that it be delayed for an hour or so. If you have the option to opt out of it you may want to do so.
Vitamin K is another routine treatment given to babies. It's believed to help newborn blood to clot (because newborn blood is low in vitamin K for the first several days after birth.)
Vitamin K can be given as an injection or orally. It's a foreign substance introduced into your baby's body. Newborns begin Vitamin K production around the eighth day of life. If you decide to get Vitamin K for your baby I recommend you insist on it being given orally.
If you're in the hospital the issue of vaccinations will come up. The Hepatitis B vaccine is often given to newborns. Research the Hep. B vaccine, and all vaccines, very carefully. For a balanced view from a mostly pro-vaccine doctor (this is a well-written book!) read The Vaccine Book. For a resons to consider not vaccinating read Healing Our Children (Check out my review of Healing Our Children)
Getting a balanced view is a good idea. Do Not let anyone force you into getting your child vaccinated if you choose to delay or forego vaccination.
One of the most emotionally charged newborn care choices today is that of circumcision. Your baby doesn't need to be circumcised. Remember that circumcision is a surgery and your newborn does feel pain. It's important to understand that there are no proven health benefits to newborn circumcision.
If you do decide to have a circumcision performed on your baby waiting until your newborn's own vitamin K production has begun around the eighth day of life is a wise choice.
This age is traditional in cultures that circumcise for religious or cultural reasons. Consider requesting that a specialist perform the surgery on your baby and insist on pain relief for your child. Again, circumcision is a surgery to remove part of your son and it's not medically necessary. Weigh the choice carefully.
Your baby's first meal should be colostrum from your breasts. Some hospitals will try and take your baby away to give a drink of formula or sugar water ("glucose" water.) Don't allow this.
Getting your breastfeeding relationship off to the best start means nursing as soon as possible after birth. Within the first thirty minutes is ideal. You don't want your baby to be given any supplements that may make it harder for your breastfeeding relationship to get off to an excellent start.
Your baby will instinctively search for your breast. Observers have noticed that newborns placed on their mother's chests will actually "creep" towards her breasts to latch on!
Your baby's immediate nursing is also wonderful for you. The nursing stimulates your uterus to contract, which lessens your blood loss and helps expel your baby's placenta.
These early minutes and hours with your baby are a priceless time. Take the time that you need to bond with your baby, or just to be with your baby. In most cases, everything else can wait!
I highly recommend you also pamper yourself and your baby by enjoying a lying in period.
You should spend time researching newborn procedures in depth so you are completely sure of what you want for your baby. The most complete information I've found on newborn procedures is in Birth Outside the Box - be sure to check it out.
Pregnancy & Birth