Saturday, September 25, 2010

If Your Breastmilk Supply Was Low, Would You Give Your Baby Another's Breastmilk?

When your breastmilk supply is low, doctors typically will tell you to supplement with formula. But there is another option that you may not know of--using someone else's breastmilk. Cindi Freeman, a certified lactation consultant addresses this very topic in a wonderful article that she wrote for our GreenPea Baby Blog.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swaddle newborns to reduce startle reflex, promote better sleep

After some gentle rocking and pacing across the floor, your newborn baby seems to be sleeping soundly in your arms, FINALLY. But as you make the move to put her in down in the crib or bassinet, her arms flail out to the side like she’s just been dropped and she startles herself awake.

You’ve just witnessed your baby demonstrating the Moro (or startle) reflex. Excessive information applied to any of the baby’s senses will set off the reflex, such as a bright light, loud noise, sudden touch, or unexpected stimulation of the balance mechanism such as tilting backwards. The reflex wears off by a few months of age, but what can you do to help your baby sleep more soundly in the meantime?

Swaddle her.

Proper swaddling helps babies calm down and go to sleep, and to sleep better, deeper and longer.

To swaddle properly, wrap your baby with her arms comfortably tucked inside to recreate the familiar womb-like sensation. Swaddle with lightweight, breathable fabrics to eliminate concerns of overheating. (Use blankets designed for the job, not any old thing within arms reach!) The swaddle blanket should not touch the baby’s face or chin. Doing so prompts the rooting response, baby’s natural inclination to search for a nipple, which can cause her to wake and cry in frustration.

A swaddled baby should only be laid down in a face-up (supine) position. Clinical research has shown that babies who were on their backs swaddled had a 30% lower risk of SIDS than babies on their backs not swaddled.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swaddling for newborns to 14 weeks of age as a general rule of thumb. After 14 weeks babies will begin learning to roll over on their own from a supine to a prone (face-down) position. SIDS risk increases greatly with prone swaddling, which is why tight swaddling techniques should be discontinued at 14 weeks of age. However, this is the age babies begin gaining the muscle control needed to bring their hands to their mouths to self-sooth, adding to a natural transition away from the need for swaddling.

Babies should only be swaddled during sleep times. It’s tempting to use it more frequently for fussy babies, but your baby needs her hands free to learn about the world during her wakeful times. Instead of swaddling for an awake, unsettled baby, try other calming techniques such as baby-wearing (slings, wraps, etc). More on that another time…

By Pam Diamond, owner of First Daze & Nightzzz (