The Golden Hour: Those First 60 Minutes After Birth Are in Fact Pure Gold

golden hour birth

The first 60 minutes after your baby is born are remarkably beneficial for bonding and attachment between mama and her new babe. What is the golden hour exactly? How can you maximize attachment and bonding in this hour? How long should skin-to-skin be established before those medical tasks and procedures are performed? These questions all point to this golden hour and its magical luster.

Congratulations! Your baby has been born. You have finally gotten a chance to gaze in their eyes for the first time after feeling all the pregnancy symptoms and baby’s movements. You are on the other side of labor and it feels so incredibly relieving.

That uninterrupted contact between mother and baby during the “golden hour” after birth is critical to the child’s growth and development. In the past, often times, the baby was whisked away from mother to perform all the essential procedures such as weight, bath, vaccinations (if consented by parents), diapering and swaddling. Mom would be waiting to receive her new bundle back once tasks were performed. Health care providers now understand and know that the more skin-to-skin mom can have with baby immediately after the birth, the better chance of bonding the mother will have and also the better overall experience the family will have as they embark on their new parenting journey.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends the following guidelines:

  • Healthy newborns should be placed directly “skin-to-skin” with mom until the first round of breastfeeding is established.
  • The medical caregiver and the nurses can conduct the first round of physical assessments on mother’s chest.
  • Conventional procedures such as weighing, baths, measuring, injections or blood tests should wait until after the first round of breastfeeding.
  • Baby and mother should remain together throughout the recovery period.

So what exactly are the benefits?

  • Giving birth generates changes in the mother’s brain chemistry and increases her desire to nurture. Taking advantage of this window is beneficial to both the mom and the baby.
  • Skin-to-skin contact and the baby’s suckling at the breast releases hormones that help the mother connect to her child and also encourages the uterus to contract and stop bleeding.
  • Nursing in the first hour, research has shown, improves infant survival rates and makes it more likely for the mother to continue breastfeeding

Expectant mothers can talk to their care provider about the standard procedures for this postpartum period. Your birth plan can also include these 60 minutes immediately following birth. Every mother and baby should have a chance to experience their “golden hour.”

 

Summer Pregnancy: Tips to Beat That Heat

Comfort in pregnancy can be hard to come by. Comfort in the summer while pregnant is even more of a challenge. This summer, don’t let that summer heat get you beat. Below you find several tips and tricks to stay cool (& hydrated) during some of the hottest months of the year.

  • Getting fresh air can be vital to your mental and emotional health when pregnant. But does the thought of that make you want to wilt? Try this. Do the outdoor tasks (such as walking or exercise) in the morning or early evening when the sun in lower and the temperatures aren’t as scorching. 
  • Your clothing can contribute to the heat your body feels. Try wearing light-colored clothes that are light and breathable. This alone can make a huge difference. 
  • Remember to stay hydrated. Sports drinks with electrolytes can help replace lost salt and retain fluid. Be mindful of sugar content though!
  • A spray bottle of water can help refresh your face and neck.
  • Quick showers throughout the day can drop your body temperature and help you to stay cool.
  • Take frequent naps, if you’re able. This is the time in life where sleep really is benefiting you and another little human you are nourishing. 
  • Ask for help if you’re too tired to cook or run errands!
  • Put feet up. This helps to alleviate swelling and also forces you to relax a bit. 

Being pregnant in the summer (or delivering your baby) means that you and baby are able to get outside a bit, which could be helpful in the postpartum healing process. Stay cool, mamas! 

Acupuncture and Moxibustion: A Dynamic Duo

moxibustion acupuncture

What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.

Moxa is usually made from the dried leafy material of Chinese mugwort, but it can be made of other substances as well to achieve the same goal.

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the method of treatment based on influencing the body by inserting needles in the specific points of human body, called acupoints. The name originates from Latin and literally means “inserting needles” – Latin “acus” – needle and„ “punctura” – to needle/to stick needles.

Why are these two therapies often used as a pair?
Practitioners often pair the two therapies because it is believed that the two of these together can be more effective when the diagnosis allows for it, such as a breech presentation of baby.

 

How can this double therapy be helpful in pregnancy?
This powerful pair is often used in relation to breech baby presentation which typically appears around 20+ weeks of pregnancy. This happens in about 4% of all pregnancies. Many times, baby turns on his/her own and no further treatment is needed. However, when approaching the end of pregnancy with a breech baby, these two ancient Chinese therapies could find themselves extremely useful! A study in 2009 showed that these two methods were, in fact, effective in changing the presentation of the baby.

The conclusion of the study is as follows: Acupuncture plus moxibustion is more effective than observation in revolving fetuses in breech presentation. Such a method appears to be a valid option for women willing to experience a natural birth.

5 Wonders of the Placenta

placenta facts

Let’s discuss some amazing placenta facts about this mysterious, yet mighty organ.

1. The placenta is the only transient organ. This organ comes and goes after its purpose
has been fulfilled. It brings oxygen, blood and nutrients to the growing fetus inside the
mother’s body. Once the baby has been born, so too will the placenta expel itself.

2. The placenta is one organ yet acts as three. WHAT?! Well, this umbrella-shaped organ
acts as baby’s lungs by carrying oxygen from the mother. It acts as the kidney by filtering
out waste product. It also acts as baby’s immune and gastrointestinal system by
delivering nutrients and antibodies. The placenta allows the fetus to grow a healthy size
before it is born.

3. Mother’s immunity is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. This immunity can
last for six months after baby has been born.

4. In some cultures, the placenta has spiritual significance. In Hawaii, the placenta is
considered part of the baby itself. In Nepal, it is considered a friend to the baby. And in
Malaysia, it is considered an elder sibling.

5. Scientists are able to study the placenta to learn more about cancer. Because pregnancy
progresses in a similar way to a tumor, the placenta is an excellent source for analyzing.
Unlike an organ transplant, the placenta is able to develop in the body without being
attacked by the immune system. By studying this unique organ, researchers can learn
more about how tumors have the ability to grow without intervention from the immune
system.

The 4-1-1 on Breastfeeding with Katy Linda, IBCLC

baltimore breastfeeding

We’ve got the fabulous and incredibly knowledgeable Katy Linda on the blog today asking her all things breastfeeding. With her wealth of knowledge, this is sure to be a treat for all. She is an IBCLC and a mom of 4 amazing kids. She’s the founder of The Breastfeeding Den and has three students working to assist her. The Breastfeeding Den provides personalized 1:1 support in your own home. Katy truly believes that seeing you in your comfortable space will provide the most tailored and supportive care for your individual needs. Katy and her team stay focused on the big picture of breastfeeding and help families work through unique circumstances to create a goal that works well for all.

*What is one piece of advice you would give soon-to-be new moms about their breastfeeding journey?

This is such a hard question, one piece of advice isn’t much! But, I always tell families that many generations ago, lactation consultants didn’t exist because our families were closer together physically, and we had better support systems. If there is one thing a family needs, it’s a quality support system. Find your team who will lift you up and encourage you and embrace that. Support will get you through the hard days of parenting.

*What are effective ways to build milk supply?

The best way to increase supply is to demand more. The more frequently the breasts are emptied the more milk the majority of parents will make. For many families this is through direct breastfeeding. For families whose babies are not efficient at emptying the breast, pumping with a quality (typically hospital grade) pump will likely be necessary.

There are many herbs and foods that may help with milk supply, however which herbs and foods will work for each family is very individual. Having a full health history is an important piece of recommending these galactagogues to families.

*What are ways to reduce milk supply?

There are many reasons families might feel that they should work to decrease supply. My first question would always be WHY. I want to see the parent and baby and be sure that they aren’t misreading signs from their baby. True oversupply is very rare.

If they have to wean quickly for medical reasons, we will want to look at the underlying concerns and make a plan tailor-made to their situation.

For those who are trying to wean because it’s the right time for their family, removing the feeding that the baby is least attached to, and getting into a new normal, and then removing another.

*Can pumping more than needed become a problem?

Absolutely. Pumping more than you need could increase difficulties if the milk supply becomes too much. Some babies struggle with too much milk. Sometimes the pumping parent can experience challenges such as plugged ducts or even mastitis if there is too much milk that isn’t moving through the breasts.

*What pump do you recommend? Why?

There is no right pump for every person, if you will be separated from your baby for extended periods of time, or your baby has health complications, you may need a hospital grade (typically rental) pump, if you are going to be working full time away from your baby, you’ll want a double electric pump, and if you just need to pump occasionally you may be fine with a hand pump. Which brand and features you need are variant upon circumstances. Feel free to reach out, I’m happy to help with pump selection.

*Should foremilk/ hindmilk be a consideration when nursing?

In most circumstances, no. Your baby is smart, and they will typically let you know what they need. We actually just posted this blog on this topic.

*Is timing breastfeeding sessions necessary?

In the early days it can be helpful to make sure feedings are lasting at least 5 minutes, and to make sure they aren’t lasting 45+minutes on a regular basis. If there are concerns around your baby’s feedings it can be helpful to keep track of things until all is going well. Most babies need to eat 8 – 12 times a day, and typically feedings last 10 – 30 minutes. A few feedings outside of the normal range is reasonable, if every feeding is lasting a long time, it would be wise to seek the support of an IBCLC to assess the situation.

*For new moms, what is the greatest mental/emotional challenge to overcome when it comes to breastfeeding?

Everyone has different challenges. For many moms, one of the big challenges of breastfeeding is the fact that most human breasts don’t contain ounce markers, and many families find it challenging to trust that their baby is getting enough to eat. Story after story talks about those who struggled to make enough milk, and it can induce a lot of fear into new parents who just want to ensure that their baby is doing well. Rest assured, the vast majority of women make enough milk for their baby. A baby who is well fed will be content after feedings, pooping regularly, and growing as expected. If your baby is doing all of those things, you are just fine.

*For new moms, what is the greatest physical challenge to overcome when it comes to breastfeeding?

For many new parents, being needed as much as babies need their parents can be challenging. Babies are pretty helpless creatures and they depend on their adults for everything that they need. They also need to eat frequently to stay alive, which means new parents aren’t getting big chunks of sleep. Being needed 24/7, and not getting the sleep you are used to can be exhausting. But, parenting is also an amazing experience, so it is all worth it in the end!

Spring into Baltimore!

The long awaited winter has come to an end and Baltimore is gleaming in all its
beauty. This spring, make sure you take part in all that Charm City (and the
surrounding area) has to offer. Below you will find several outdoor, kid-friendly
events that are bound to entertain the entire family.

April 26 & 27: Charm City Bluegrass Festival

Charm City Bluegrass Festival, winner of the 2016 International Bluegrass
Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Event of the Year and 2018
Best Festival by Baltimore Magazine, invites music lovers and foodies to
gather in Druid Hill Park on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 for the
seventh annual celebration of bluegrass, folk and Americana with three
stages, 20 bands and two days of family-friendly festivities including local
food, a limited release beer from Union Brewery, artists, a kids activity area
featuring animals from Irvine Nature Center, spontaneous jam sessions and
more.

General Admission varies but kids under 10 are FREE! Parking is free with
cost of admission.

April 27-30: Day with Thomas the Train at B&O Railroad Museum

Day Out With Thomas is a fun-filled event that provides children of all ages
the opportunity to climb aboard and take a ride with Thomas as well as
participate in Thomas & Friends™ themed activities. The tour, now in its 24th
year, will make 37 stops across the U.S. and Canada, and is expected to
welcome nearly one million passengers in 2019. For two back-to-back
weekends at the B&O Railroad Museum little engineers and their families are
invited to take a 25-minute train ride with their favorite engine, Thomas the
Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway and enjoy a
day of Thomas & Friends fun with crafts, photo ops, and more.
Tickets are $22-$26 for ages 2 & up. Parking is free and available on site.

April 27: Dia Del Nino/ Kid’s Day

Back for its ninth year on Pagoda Hill (Patterson Park), Día del Niño is a free
day of fun celebrating our community youth! Get excited for the many
activities, including piñatas, Folkloric dance performances, face painting,
sports and games, paper rockets, arts and crafts, giveaways, nature activities
and much more. Most activities are geared towards children 2 – 12 years old.
Bringing over 2,000 people to the park, all activities, performances, and food
are free and nothing is bought or sold during the event so that families can
enjoy all it has to offer without having to think about price! Rain date: April
28th.

May 8: Bug’s Life Playgroup

We’re going BUGGY! Join (cool) progeny for a Cool Tot Time that’s all about
bugs at Brown Memorial Preschool. Dress to be outside as we search for
bugs, enjoy a story, make a bug craft, and have a snack. Tot times are
designed for children ages 1-5 and their caregiver. Babies under 12 months
of age are free!

May 11: Annual African American Book Fair

Enjoy a fun-filled day focused on kids’ literature about African Americans and
people of other ethnicities. Enjoy author readings, illustration workshops,
live performances, and art activities. Purchase hard-to-find titles in Book
Village. 7th year. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland

May 19: Baltimore Birth Festival

Join vendors, care providers, local businesses, birth workers, and more for a
day of family fun and information on pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting
supports available in the Baltimore area. The event includes face painting,
food trucks, Kona Ice, a kid-friendly DJ, and over $4,000 in giveaways. Event
is held at Patterson Park and is free for the community.

**These are only a few of the many events held this spring in the Baltimore area. For
more events, visit www.baltimoreschild.com.**

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