Best Babies is a Pregnancy Outreach Program which aims to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies. The program provides nutrition and lifestyle counselling as well as support through food and vitamin supplements. This is a free service offered to help women make healthy choices toward having a healthy baby.
Slightly more than half of all moms today breastfeed their newborn infants. Thats nearly double the number that breastfed 25 years ago. Doctors hope to encourage more and more moms to breastfeed because the more scientists study breastmilk, the more theyre convinced its the perfect food for babies.
Six naturally good reasons to breastfeed your newborn
Experts agree breastmilk is best for babies. Not only is it the most nutritionally complete food your newborn will ever eat, but it also benefits your baby in other wayssome that will last a lifetime.
1) Breastmilk contains the perfect balance of nutrients. During the first few days after you give birth, your breasts will secrete a thick, yellowish, translucent fluid called colostrum, which is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Colostrum gives a newborn a nutritional jump start. Then, on the third or fourth day after your babys birth, breastmilk, the most complete food your baby will ever eat, is produced. Experts agree breastmilk is best because it contains all the right nutrients needed in perfect balance. Dont be deceived by the thin, almost wateryor even bluishappearance of breastmilk. Its loaded with good digestible nutrients, and should be your babys primary source of nutrients for the first year of life.
2) Breastmilk is easy for baby to digest. Unlike some proteins present in cows milk, such as casein, the proteins in breastmilk, which are predominantly whey, are easy to digest. Plus, the iron in your breastmilk is easy for your baby to absorb.
3) Breastmilk contains antibodies that protect your baby. Besides being high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, colostrum and breastmilk contain protective antibodiesantibodies that help baby fight off common childhood diseases and recover from illnesses more quickly. Whats more, breastmilk fosters an infection-fighting environment in your babys digestive system that helps reduce the incidence of ear infections, allergies, and diarrhea. Even if you plan to bottle-feed formula to your baby, consider breastfeeding the first six to eight weeks so your baby can benefit from this nutritious natural food.
4) Breastmilk actually changes to keep up with baby. The miracle of breastmilk is that it changes as your babys nutritional needs change. From the first milk of colostrum, high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, to the easy-to-digest proteins in breastmilk, pediatricians and dietitians agree your breastmilk is best for your baby. Even within one feeding, the content of your breastmilk changes. As your baby begins a feeding, he gets the high-protein milk necessary for growth. The milk that follows has more of the fat he needs for energy and weight gain.
5) Breastfeeding creates an intimate mother-child bond. Snuggle in close. Breastfeeding your baby has both nurturing and nutritional benefits. Your baby gets skin-to-skin touching and close eye contact while consuming natures most perfect food.
6) Breastfeeding helps you get into shape and stay healthy. Your babys
sucking stimulates hormones that make your uterus contract. And studies
suggest breastfeeding burns extra calories, which may help you return
to your former weight more quickly. Experts also believe breastfeeding
decreases the occurrence of premenopausal breast and ovarian cancers.
For baby, eating right:
Reduces the risk of birth defects. One of the most common types of birth defectsneural-tube defectscan be prevented in many pregnancies when the mother consumes the optimum amount of folic acid, a B vitamin found in dark-green leafy vegetables.
Ensures sufficient high-quality protein intake. In a healthful diet, meats, chicken, fish, beans, milk, and eggs supply protein, the number-one building block for muscles, ligaments, hair, fingernails, bones, brain tissue, blood, and other tissues in your growing baby.
Supplies calcium for bones and teeth. By the third trimester, up to 300 mg of calcium is going to your baby each day. Consuming 4 calcium-rich glasses of milk will supply this needed mineral and prevent calcium from being taken from your bones.
Helps ensure a healthy birth weight. Following a nutritious diet and gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy will increase your likelihood of having a healthy, robust baby. Adequate birth weight, in turn, will reduce your babys risk of life-threatening illnesses.
Reduced-fat and fat-free dairy products not only supply calcium, but
also protein, vitamin D, B vitamins, and magnesiumall essential
for babys bones, muscles, and nerves.
If you've chosen to feed your baby with formula, you'll undoubtedly have many questions. There are many brands to choose from.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive iron-fortified formula for the entire first year of life. Studies indicate that low iron-fortified formulas increase the risk of anemia. Unless your baby is allergic to milk, a cow's milk-based formula is best. Enfamil, Similac, Gerber and Carnation Good Start, all of which are iron-fortified, are recommended.
If your baby is allergic to cow's milk, we recommend iron-fortified soy formulas such as Isomil or ProSobee. However, soy formulas are not "hypo allergenic" -- babies also can be allergic to soy.
Since all infant formulas are regulated by the Infant Formula Act, they are all equally nutritious -- regardless of the manufacturer's advertising.
Your babys bed:
The crib: When choosing your babys crib, think safety first. Be sure the slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and check to see that the drop side works easily with just one hand (youll have baby in your other arm). Avoid cribs with corner posts that extend above the rail, too; babys clothing could get hung on them when he becomes mobile.
The mattress: The mattress should fit tightly inside the crib. You want almost no space between the edges of the mattress and the sides of the crib. The babys tiny arms and legs can get trapped in the space if the fit isnt tight. Worse, your baby could suffocate if his head got caught.
The bumper pad: The bumper pad protects your baby from direct contact with the hard crib slats. Its also a fun place to exercise your decorating style. The bumper should have at least six straps to hold it in place. Straps that close with snaps are more secure than those that tie to the crib. The bumper should fit around the entire inside of the crib, leaving no area where the baby could bang his head or wedge it between the bumper and the side of the crib. You can buy a bumper pad or make your own with fabric and firm foam. Use the bumper pad only until baby can reach a standing position. Baby may try to stand on the pad, to crawl out of the crib.
Your babys tub:
A little plastic bathtub will provide a comfortable bath environment for your baby. You can buy one to fit either a single or double sink, or to go on the counter. Some come with reclining seats, and many have compartments to hold supplies or a rinse pitcher. Of course, you also can bathe your newborn right in the sink. Just be sure its absolutely clean and that the faucet is out of the way. Baby will be more comfortable if you line the sink bottom with a soft towel. Wait until your baby can sit on his own (around 4 months) to use a bath ring or a bath seat. Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, not even for a moment!
The changing table:
The table should have a restraining belt to keep the little wriggler in check while you wipe baby and diaper.
It also should have a safety railing around the top.
And most of all, the changing table should be sturdy. Give it a shake test to make sure it doesnt wobble. Remember to keep an eye on your baby at all times when hes on the changing table.
Babies outgrow their clothing very quickly. So if you have easy access to a washing machine, buy only a few of each basic layette item. Remember, too, that youll probably receive baby clothes as gifts. Heres what you really need for your babys first days at home:
Two or three one-piece stretch suits
The all-important car seat/baby seat:
When youre out shopping for baby things, pay special attention to the car seat that will secure your baby during rides together. In a moving automobile, your lap isnt a safe place for your baby. (Besides, all 50 states require car seats.) The safest spot is the center of the rear seat. Remember never to place your baby in a seat in front of an air bag. When choosing your babys car seat, select one that is appropriate for his age, weight, and height. Todays new car seats meet federal safety standards, so you can be assured that the one you buy will securely hold your baby. Older car seats handed down from relatives and friends or bought at garage sales may not meet current guidelines, so be sure your car seat meets the latest standards.
The infant seat: This car seat is designed specifically for babies who weigh less than 20 pounds. It positions the child backward to minimize injury in case of a crash. These seats feature a harness system that adjusts as your baby grows. Easy-to-tote models include a handle; some more expensive models let you leave the base of the seat in the car and just pop out the seat itself. Many fit right into the child seat of a grocery shopping cart. When your baby grows out of this car seat, youll need to buy a seat designed for older babies and toddlers.
The convertible car seat: This seat is appropriate for infants and also adjusts to accommodate toddlers up to about 40 pounds. It faces the rear for infants but adjusts to face the front for toddlers. Some have a removable back support and pillow. All have highly engineered harness systems to secure the baby safely in the seat. Especially with a convertible seat, you will probably want to use rolled receiving blankets around babys head or purchase a special rolled cushion, at the newborn stage.
Successful breastfeeding is a result of patience, practice, and proper positioning. Although breastfeeding is a natural way to nourish your baby, its a way of feeding that you and your baby will learn together. Here are six tips which can make your breastfeeding moments satisfying ones for you and your baby.
1) Establish a routine.
Breastfeeding provides a time for you and your baby to relax together as your baby feeds. Most moms find it helpful to breastfeed their babies in a calm environment. Establish a routine thats comfortable for you. Use a favorite armchair or rocking chair. Gather a few supplies:
A nursing pillow to support your baby in your lap
A nursing stool to elevate your feet and ease the strain on your back
A large glass of water and perhaps a healthful snack
Take the phone off the hook, have a portable phone nearby, or let the answering machine pick up your calls.
2) Find a comfortable position in which to breastfeed.
At first, experiment with each of the following breastfeeding positions until you discover whats most comfortable for both of you.
Cradle hold: Sitting upright, place babys body on his side across your lap, facing you. Support his head in the crook of your elbow and his back and bottom with your forearm. Move his face in front of your breast, holding your breast with thumb on top and fingers below. Brush your babys mouth or cheek with your nipple and he may instinctively seek the nipple and begin to suck.
Cross-cradle hold: Babys position is similar to the cradle hold. Use your opposite arm to hold him, supporting his head with your open hand. This makes it easy for you to move him to your breast and into a comfortable position as he latches on to suck.
Football hold: Picture how a football player tucks a ball under his arm. Tuck your baby under your arm, holding his head and neck in your hand, feet extending toward your back. Support your arm with a pillow at your side. You may prefer this hold if youve had a cesarean delivery or have large breasts. This position is also helpful if your baby tends not to take enough of your nipple and areola into his mouth in the other positions. It also enables moms with twins to breastfeed two babies at once.
Side-laying: This is a snack-and-snooze position. It helps get your baby correctly latched onto your breast in your early days of breastfeeding, and is another option if youre recovering from a cesarean delivery. Lie on your side with your baby on his side, facing you. Use the hand underneath you to help position your babys head at your lower breast as you pull him closer to you with the other hand. When hes attached to your breast, use your lower hand to support your head.
3) Lightly touch babys lower lip with your nipple.
This may be enough to stimulate his rooting reflex, and hell turn his head to your nipple, mouth wide open. The rooting reflex is babys natural instinct to turn his head toward something that touches his cheek or face. It helps him find your breast.
4) Make sure your baby takes enough of your nipple and areola to create a good seal.
Your baby should take approximately one inch from the tip of your nipple into his mouth. This is called "latching on," and it enables your baby to bring the nipple towards the rear of his mouth rather than letting it rest on his gum line, which causes nipple soreness. As baby sucks, make sure he can easily breathe through his nose. If he cant, use your finger to press down lightly on your breast to create an air pocket.
5) Learn how to release your baby from the breast.
To break the suction and move your baby to the other breast, gently place your index finger between his lower and upper gums to open his mouth. (Keep your fingernails trimmed to avoid scratching babys mouth.)
6) Alternate nursing positions.
If you are experiencing nipple soreness or small, hard lumps in your breast caused by the ducts being plugged with breastmilk, try different positions when breastfeeding your baby. Changing positions helps the milk ducts to drain and prevents your baby from sucking on the same sore area of your nipple.
Breastmilk is natures most perfect food for your baby. Thats why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of more than 53,000 physicians who specialize in caring for children, recommends breastmilk as the primary source of nutrition for babys first year of life. Here are seven breastfeeding highlights:
1) Doctors agree breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for your baby because it's easy to digest, helps baby avoid food allergies and gives him protective antibodies to help fight off illness.
2) Begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. Make sure your health-care provider knows that you plan to breastfeed your baby. When youre admitted to the hospital, ask the labor and delivery room nurse to notify the nursery that you will be breastfeeding. Nurse your baby as soon after delivery as possible, preferably within the first hour after birth. Your baby benefits right away from the easy-to-digest proteins, vitamins, and mineralsas well as from protective antibodiesin colostrum, the yellowish, translucent fluid that your breasts secrete for the first two to three days. In addition to helping both of you adjust to breastfeeding, frequent and early nursing also helps increase your milk production and helps your baby have his first bowel movement.
3) A newborn should be nursed whenever he shows signs of hunger, approximately 8 to 12 times per day. Have your baby with you as much as possible following his birth. If youre with baby, youll know when he shows signs of hunger, such as increased alertness or activity, rooting, searching for your breast, or sucking his fist. Dont wait until baby cries because crying is a late indication of hunger. Encourage your baby to completely empty each breast at every feeding. If your baby is less demanding, rouse him at least every four hours for a feeding.
4) Dont use supplements such as water or formula unless your doctor tells you theres a medical reason to do so. If your baby is in the nursery at the hospital, insist that he not receive any water, formula, or sugar (glucose) water, but be brought instead to breastfeed. This ensures babys primary source of nutrition is breastmilk. And hold off on using pacifiers until after your milk supply is well established. (This may take 2 to 4 weeks.) Your milk supply increases to match the level of your babys sucking, so make sure all the sucking is done at your breast.
5) If you are discharged before 48 hours after delivery, you and your baby should see a doctor or other health-care provider whos knowledgeable about breastfeeding when your baby is 2 to 4 days old. If you have been in the hospital for at least 48 hours, its a good idea for you or your doctor to request that a lactation consultant visit you at home within the first several days to watch you nurse your baby and to answer questions you may have about breastfeeding. All infants should be seen by a health-care provider within the first month, usually at around 2 weeks.
6) Breastfeeding is ideal nutrition for your babys first year. The AAP recommends you continue breastfeeding even as you introduce iron-enriched solid foods during the second half of that first year. If you do wean your baby before age 1, do not wean him to cows milk, but to iron-fortified infant formula. Thats because the balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in cows milk is far from ideal for your baby. The protein in cows milk is too concentrated for baby and may be difficult for your babys digestive system to handle. Cows milk also has excessive amounts of some vitamins and minerals (especially sodium) and insufficient amounts of iron for your babys developing brain.
Breastfeeding advice: who can you call?
If you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding, ask your doctor, a lactation consultant, a nurse at the hospital, or a friend or family member who has successfully breastfed her baby for guidance and assurance.
Three excellent toys for a newborn:
You probably wont be able to resist teddy bears and clever noisemakers as you prepare babys room. Buying toys may help you grasp the reality of the child youre carrying. But remember, baby wont be able to enjoy most toys for several months. Three items, however, have immediate play value:
1) A mobile: Babies love to watch mobiles swing and turn above their cribs. Mobiles come in all price ranges and are great for quieting a fussing baby. Black and white or primary colors are most interesting to young babies.
2) A music box, tape player, or CD player: What better way to help a baby make the transition from intense wakefulness to needed rest? Either a wind-up toy music box or a sturdy tape or CD player (thats out of babys reach) will serve him well. Dont forget to buy a CD or two of lullabys or soothing childrens music. A lovely lullaby will soon become a familiar signal that a good-night kiss is on the way.
3) A plastic crib mirror: Babies love to look at faces more than anything else. They especially love to look at their own babbling, thumb-sucking, adorable selves. Choose a mirror specially designed for crib use to ensure babys safety.
With changing pads available you can protect your baby from falls off the changing table. Purchase a foam pad that is wet-resistant and non-allergenic and has a soft rise on each side that impedes rolling, keeping baby safely and comfortably in place during a diaper change.
A rocker is an invaluable addition to a nursery.
Its ideal for soothing baby to sleep after those middle-of-the-night
feedings. Be sure to sit in the rocker and imagine feeding a baby or rocking
with baby on your shoulder before buying it. Back construction, arm height,
and the distance the chair rocks back are critical to your comfort.
Whos gaining what? The normal recommended amount to gain is 25 to 35 pounds. This weight is mostly due to the development of: Fetus 6-8.5 lbs, Breast tissue 1-2 lbs, Blood volume 4 lbs, and fluid retention 4 lbs.
Eating for 2 involves eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods. If your diet was not balanced before pregnancy eating double portions may cause excess weight gain and still not provide the balance of nutrients needed for the growth of your baby.
It is important to take a prenatal vitamin as prescribed by your physician. Taking extra vitamin tablets does not make up for a poor diet. Make sure you discuss any over-the-counter medications with your physician before use. That includes those that you take by mouth or those that are put on your skin. Even something as simple as a yeast infection cream can be dangerous if used during your first trimester. Let your OB physician know if you are on any prescriptions from another physician.
There are 12 major nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy. The sources for these nutrients and their importance:
Calories: Your body uses them to produce energy and for the growth of your baby. You need 300-500 extra calories a day during pregnancy.
Protein: Used to build your babys body. Sources are eggs, meat, dairy, nuts and beans.
Carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates are sugars, quick energy but needed in small amounts. Complex carbohydrates are starches, found in whole grains, rice, potatoes and corn. These are longer lasting energy.
Fats: Needed in small amounts to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, A,D,E, and K. Fats that are liquid at room temperature are the healthiest.
Calcium: Needed to build babies bones and teeth. Found in milk products, dark green vegetables, canned salmon, sardines and berries. If you are having leg cramps let your doctor know. Sometimes, it is a lack of calcium.
Iron: Needed to make blood components for you and your baby. Found in your prenatal vitamins, dried fruit, berries, meat, whole grains, dry beans and dark green vegetables. Malt-O-meal is also high in iron content.
Vitamin C: Needed to make bones, cartilage and muscles. It also helps prevent disease. Found in fresh fruits, citrus fruit, tomatoes, green peppers, and cabbage.
Folic Acid: It is a B vitamin that produces extra blood for your body and prevents Spinal Bifida in your baby. Found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, lean meat, organ meat and nuts.
Vitamin A: Helps to form babys skin and internal organs. Found in milk, organ meat, oranges, green vegetables, deep yellow and orange vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin D: Helps baby develop bones and tissue. Found in milk,
eggs, sardines, salmon and produced by your skin when exposed to the sun.
Another reason it is important to get out and take walks as often as you
Information compliments of verybestbaby.com