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Prenatal Yoga for Pregnancy & Birth

Prenatal Yoga for Pregnancy & Birth

Did you know the curve of the spine actually changes shape to make space for a growing fetus? Your organs are actually pushed up and out when you’re pregnant. This is why belly binding is used during postpartum to prevent and treat diastis recti. Low back pain is super common in pregnancy, and most who are pregnant for the first time don’t feel it in the first or second trimester.

But putting off exercise during even those first two trimesters in pregnancy can lead to an uphill battle in the 3rd trimester. This is because the abdominal muscles that support the spine play an important role in the health of the back. During pregnancy, these muscles stretch and weaken. Pregnancy hormones can contribute to back pain as well. To prepare for the passage of the baby through the birth canal, a hormone relaxes the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis to make them more flexible. 

Starting as early as possible in your pregnancy (and ideally before becoming pregnant), it’s vital to exercise while following safe guidelines:

Pregnant or postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, such as brisk walking, during and after their pregnancy. It is best to spread this activity throughout the week.

CDC

According to ACOG, an aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include brisk walking and general gardening (raking, weeding, or digging). You can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day.

Prenatal exercise guidelines state if you are new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day. Add 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for 30 minutes a day.

Women who habitually engaged in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or who were physically active before pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and the postpartum period. If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. So if you were very active before pregnancy, you can keep doing the same workouts with your obstetrician’s approval. However, if you start to lose weight, you may need to increase the number of calories that you eat.

Experts agree these are the safest exercises for pregnant women:

  • Walking—Brisk walking gives a total body workout and is easy on the joints and muscles.
  • Swimming and water workouts—Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain.
  • Stationary bicycling—Because your growing belly can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls, riding a standard bicycle during pregnancy can be risky. Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice.
  • Modified yoga and modified Pilates—Yoga reduces stress, improves flexibility, and encourages stretching and focused breathing. There are prenatal yoga and Pilates classes designed for pregnant women. These classes often teach modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance. You also should avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
  • Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath
  • Better alignment = easier and faster birth

Not all prenatal yoga is the same! You’ll want to look for highly trained teachers in both birth and therapeutic alignment.

For example, Ma Yoga Living offers alignment-based yoga for pregnancy and postpartum, to prevent and heal abdominal splitting, pelvic instability, and other conditions common to the 18 months around birth. They have amazing yoga teachers with doula training as well as many years of experience. Ma Yoga offers live online as well as video classes for those that like to pause and resume at your convenience.

Online yoga studios offering virtual classes:

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Bottles for Breastfed Babies

Bottles for Breastfed Babies

No Flow Bottle Nipples

“No flow” also known as “breast flow bottles” allow babies to completely control the flow of milk, unlike a “flow” nipple that drips when the bottle is held upside-down. The concept behind the “no flow” nipple is very innovative and conducive for mimicking breastfeeding while preventing nipple preferencing.

Second to breastfeeding, “no flow” nipples increase development of baby’s speech, oral muscles, and facial muscles and prevent babies from being instantly satisfied from milk dripping down their throats, which is what happens even with “preemie”, “slow flow”, or any other flow-type of bottle nipple.

No flow nipples also prevent suckling through bottle feedings as well as sleeping through bottle feedings, so babies are more likely to get in a whole feeding session in an appropriate amount of time. This also increases their chance of having a deeper sleep during their next sleep period. Why?

1) Babies are less likely to wake due to spit up, hiccups, or tummy trouble due to the improved digestion factor with the no flow nipple.

2) Babies are less likely to be waking due to hunger from not getting that whole feed in with a regular flow nipple because they didn’t have to work at it.

Since babies need to “work at” sucking and swallowing with no flow nipples, they do not have a high probability of becoming nipple preferenced by a bottle (nipple confusion doesn’t exist, it’s nipple preferencing from the satiety of a nipple that has a flow caused by not having to “work at” the bottle).

With a no flow nipple, babies have a lower probability of refusing the breast than they would with any other type of flow, even “preemie” or “slow flow” nipples.

The “no flow” is important, because even with “preemie” or “slow flow” bottle nipples, babies get more milk faster than with the breast because it’s still dripping/flowing.

No Flow Breast Flow Bottle Options

#1 FIRST YEARS BREASTFLOW BOTTLE

First Years Breastflow Bottle has a “double nipple” which require babies to make more effort in sucking and compressing the teat in order to extract milk. The benefit for breastfed babies and breastfeeding parents is that it helps minimizes nipple preferencing.

#2 MEDELA CALMA BOTTLE

The Medela brand is pretty genius, like the Dyson of the breastfeeding world. So much research went into their “calma teat” which helps babies create a vacuum between their mouth and the teat in order to allow the milk to flow. Similar to breastfeeding, this vacuum experience with the calma tea lets baby feed, and then pause and breathe. Since babies are “working” at extracting the milk due to the similar no flow, there is low possibility of nipple preferencing or getting frustrated when returning to breastfeed. Medela’s breast milk bottles are compatible with all Medela breast pumps and Calma, making it easy to pump, store and feed using the same container. Only one size of Calma teat available though; if your baby needs a bottle with a shorter teat due to a higher gag reflex, go with the above recommendations.

#3 MIMIJUMI VERY HUNGRY BOTTLE

Created by doctors and lactation consultants, mimijumi’s bottle allows your baby’s suckle to completely control the flow.

mimijumi Not So Hungry Breasfeeding Baby Bottle

Paced Bottle Feeding

If you choose to breastfeed or support a breastfeeding parent, or have a partner supporting your decision to breastfeeding, have a conversation about the method of bottle-feeding which is actually conducive to helping establish and maintain your breastfeeding relationship for whatever duration you’ve deemed your goal to be; feeding a bottle without the paced-bottle-feeding method can disrupt and harm breastfeeding quickly. Paced bottle-feeding helps avoid overeating and spit up from large feedings or feeds that are simply fed too fast. Remember to hold your baby upright 10-15 minutes after each feed as well. Share this video with friends and family:

Paced Bottle-Feeding video by The Milk Mob

Slow Flow Nipples – Bottle Options

If no flow is a no-go, the next best options other than slow-flow bottles to reduce flow preferencing are slow-flow nipples BUT if you can get a no-flow bottle like the three bottles already mentioned, that is best!

The following slow-flow bottles are NOT no-flow bottles:

Recommended by speech pathologists and doctors, the Munchkin Latch bottle is not a no-flow bottle but it is a slow flow bottle which means it’s a faster flow than any of the no-flow bottles above but it’s the next best thing because it has a slow flow. This is preferred 2:1 over Dr. Brown’s because it helps encourage a wide latch which protects the breastfeeding relationship to prevent sore nipples since wide latches help the nipple hit the soft palette and not the hard palette of the baby’s mouth. It’s silicone nipple is BPA-free and it has an anti-colic valve which is uniquely located at the bottom of the bottle to reduce gassiness and fussiness. They even have a pump adapter which works with many popular pumps (purchased separately) so you can pump directly into the Munchkin Latch bottle.

The nanobebe Breastmilk Baby Bottle has a “preemie” nipple and also a “slow flow” and you can pump breastmilk right into these bottles.

Philips AVENT Natural Glass Bottle with the “newborn flow” nipple. This bottle has a leak-free vent which allows babies to control the flow very similar to a “no flow” nipple. Plus they make them in glass bottles, if you’re into being green and reducing plastic and like to wash bottles in the dishwasher without any extra parts. You can still pour pumped breastmilk inside and then place the bottle in a bowl of hot water to heat it until lukewarm, or pop it in your bottle warmer as usual.

The Comotomo Natural Feel Bottle with the “slow flow” nipple.

Lastly, because the bottles aren’t mimicking the shape of the breast, a “preemie” nipple on Dr. Brown’s Bottles – with the wide neck. If you get the regular Dr. Brown’s Bottles, babies often start refusing the breast because they can help encourage a super shallow latch, so get the wide neck bottles if you’re going with these.

It’s common for partners, grandparents, and other friends and family members to ask or even expect to bottle-feed your baby from the first week.

Yes, it is a way they can bond with your baby however most lactating parents do not want this after learning that the first 6-8 weeks are detrimental to building their supply and realizing it can interrupt the nursing relationship they are working on. The first 6-8 weeks for a new mother is imperative for building her maximum potential yield for her milk supply. It also can add the stress of figuring out how to time in a pumping session which can cause fear that they will not have enough to breastfeed if Baby wakes after pumping and it can lead to clogged ducts and mastitis.

Wonderful ways to connect beyond feeding can make for very special moments such as:

  • changing diapers
  • taking walks
  • babywearing
  • bathtime
  • cuddling skin-to-skin
  • reading books
  • singing

Check out these formula supplementing tips, and learn some secrets about breastmilk here.

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Ayurvedic Super Food Lactation Snack

Ayurvedic Super Food Lactation Snack has six galactagogues and lactogenic super foods: sweet potatoes, hemp hearts, sesame seeds, cardamom, ginger, and ghee.

Sweet Potato + Hemp Hearts + Sesame Seeds + Pumpkin Seeds + Cardamom + Ginger + Ghee = YUM!!!

Sweet potatoes, a #superFood spud super magically loaded with:

🍠 Beta carotene, iron, and minerals to increase and improve a #newMum’s #breastmilk!

🍠 Magnesium, #protein, and potassium, lowering blood pressure which is usually higher in postpartum due to retained fluids! This radical root decreases water retention and balances electrolytes!

🍠 This galactagogue helps #newMother with muscle contractions and nerve signals needed when her #postpartumBody is going through uterine involution with lochia; her #uterus still cramping, reducing to prepregnancy size!

🍠 Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than yams and are full of Vitamin A and fiber so they don’t cause blood sugar levels to spike! 👍

Heavenly #hempHearts are high in:

🌱 Arginine; #hemp produces nitric oxide in your body, dilating and relaxing blood vessels (so great for #postpartum), leading to lowered blood pressure and reduced heart disease risk!

🌱 2 essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), good for heart health!

🌱 Vitamin A, E and minerals phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins: niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B-6, and folate!

🌱 Gamma-linolenic acid, reducing #inflammation and improving blood circulation for #milkSupply! Much needed for a #motherhood especially when engorged! A #lactogenic food, plus reduces breast tenderness!

🌱 #hempSeeds with shells on are a great source of soluble and insoluble #fiber, improving bowel function, pulling out hormonal & environmental #toxins, improving quality of #milkProduction!

🌱 And they’re a complete source of protein with all 9 essential amino acids + way more protein than flax or chia!

💕 #Sesame seeds, #pumpkin seeds, #ginger, and #cardamom are also #galactagogues helpful for #breastfeeding! 🤱 Hey #newMommy, don’t forget to add #ghee! All these amazing #nutrients will better digest and absorb deeper into your body’s tissues!!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 inch chopped ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. You may chop and boil the sweet potatoes on the stove for 20 minutes to reduce sugar levels, or just roast them wrapped in foil in the oven for about an hour. If you have an Instant Pot, pop them in on a trivet with a cup of water for 25 minutes under high pressure and then do a 10 minute natural release.
  2. Add ghee to a small pan and saute the ginger for a few minutes until the aroma delights you. Be careful not to burn and remove from heat.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor for a creamy texture or for a chunkier consistency, mix with a spatula.
  4. Stir in cardamom, and ginger-infused ghee.
  5. Sprinkle the hemp, sesame, and pumpkin seeds on top when serving.
  6. Sweet potatoes are… sweet. If you desire to sweeten further, see below.

Sweeten for your dosha

  • Vatas: add honey at end when cooled
  • Pittas: maple syrup
  • Kaphas: honey, agave, ~2 drops liquid stevia

Prepare for postpartum recovery with Ayurvedic Meal Delivery

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Newborn Essentials

Nourish Birth Newborn Essentials

There are so many newborn products on the market and it can be overwhelming for new parents to narrow down the list when everything is so cute. Here’s a basic list of newborn essentials so you can maximize your budget and filter through baby products that are most necessary for your newborn baby. Plan ahead so you can put any of these newborn essentials on your baby list registry and can avoid sending your partner or a friend to the store after Baby arrives!

Sound Machines

True, pure white noise is scientifically proven to help babies and children’s brainwaves when waking to lull back to sleep and sleep deeper.

The Homedics White Noise Sound Machine is what I commonly see parents using as their white noise sound machine. It’s super portable which makes it easy for on-the-go (great to have rechargeable batteries) however there is an included adapter when you don’t want to use the battery-operated feature, and the size fits well in your diaper bag. Use the pure white noise setting only because it helps baby’s brain waves settle back to sleep due to the higher frequency. Don’t use ocean waves, water sounds, or crickets, or intermittent sounds of any kind. It needs to be as loud as a vacuum if you want it to be effective at all so don’t bother buying a white noise machine if you are going to play it quietly. Did you know that you’re trying to replicate the in-utero experience during this fourth trimester? The sound of your blood when your baby was inside you was very loud.

The Sound+Sleep SE machine contains a high fidelity speaker with timers, street, and nature sounds. As much as I love the soothing waterfall played during the day (yep, I have this machine), I actually fell in love with this machine because it grows with you – there is white noise for babies (higher pitch freqency), and pink and brown noise for transitioning to toddlers and for adult brainwaves.

This tiny white noise machine is portable and can attach to Baby’s car seat or stroller for when you’re on the go so you can leave your other white noise machine in the nursery. I love this one and it has great volume despite its small size.

The Baby Shusher is a must for parents! To be clear, this is not a white noise machine and it shouldn’t be used in place of one, but I have to throw it in this category as it’s a personal favorite, and all the families I introduce it to LOVE this – it actually shushes! It helps lull Baby to sleep and can be used in conjunction with a white noise machine playing in the background for when you first put Baby down to sleep – whether they’re a newborn you’re settling, or an older baby or toddler you’re comforting through a teething spell. It will also save your mouth and cheek muscles from hurting after shushing and your partner will love this tool, too.

Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and White Noise Sound Machine: This is my favorite white noise machine because it doubles as a night light, it’s loud enough, and it can be customized with various settings you design yourself. For example, when you want a new color with nursery songs during the day, you can click on one of your top 5 settings you previously created or you can choose a new hue and dim it all together via the Hatch mobile app. So when you’re nursing in a chair and then Baby is falling asleep, you can use the mobile Hatch app to change whatever setting it’s on to the red color for sleep (read further about lights and melatonin) and to the white noise setting – all by the push of a button on your phone, so you don’t have to get up while feeding Baby just to turn on the sound machine that’s all the way across the room. The Hatch white noise machine features a time-to-rise alert, and you can customize the brightness by dimming the red baby night light as well as by setting the programs to turn off and on automatically based on your family’s sleep schedule. During the day you can play with the other fun colors! It includes a toddler lock feature as well.

Nursery Lights

Did you know that red light is the only light that does not inhibit melatonin which is essential for sleep? Read more about Baby Night Lights and Better Sleep. There is a common blooper when choosing a nightlight and this article I wrote explains about various colors of lights and their different wavelengths which inhibit melatonin, and the correlation and evidence on disrupting sleep. Read it here before choosing your nightlights.

Lumie Bedbug Light: A multi-purpose bedtime light which features a low blue light, while still producing a white/peach colored glow. Lumie Bedbug Light is non-inhibiting without having to use a red light in the room while reading or brushing teeth. This baby night light also includes a sunset mode option which gradually darkens the room, dimming after bedtime over a period of 15 minutes. This is perfect for toddlers and older children as well.

Battery-Operated Electric Candles are beautiful, glow like real candles, and create a calm, cozy environment for bedtime. These are my favorite electric candles as their flames actually move and dance. They transform your home into cozy-feel-goodness, and YES, I have these at home, too!

Also, rechargeable battery chargers are a one-time, small investment and perfect for the bathroom in place of the main light at night, or reading area. Not only are you improving your child’s sleep, you’ll all wake less, and you’ll save money on your energy bill! Totally worth it. Update: I’ve found the Panasonic rechargeable batteries work better than the AmazonBasics brand.

This durable, Red Gummy Bear Baby Night Light is cordless, portable, and squeezable to turn on/off. It also has a sleep timer of 1 hour.

Red Fairy Lights are an effective, adorable solution when used in a lockable Kilner jar as a portable baby nightlight.

Greenic 0.5W Plug-in Light Sensor LED Red Night Light: This 2-Pack Red Night Light is mini-sized, and effective for hallways and bathrooms. It can be turned upside down to see less of the LED light. It’s bright enough but also dim enough for your nighttime feedings, quick wakeups for diaper changes, or toddler bathroom trips.

Humidity & Room Temperature

Your baby can wake if they’re thirsty or too hot, and learning to control and regulate the temperature and humidity is important for that extra sleep cycle (you’ll both get). Read this guide regarding the amount of humidity and temperature for a newborn’s area vs. a toddler’s area. This is important to know if you have an older child as the humidity levels and needs change with the age of the child, and it does vary. In addition, my article on Humidity and Temperature for Sleeping Babies and Children explains everything you need to know about setting up a safe sleep environment as well as the correlation between humidity, room temperature, and SIDS/SUIDS.

Humidity thermometers measure both humidity and the temperature of the room.

Diffusers

Diffusers mist cool air to keep the room slightly humid but have the ability to contain essential oil. Some diffusers can double as your red night light. A favorite diffuser for a smaller room is URPOWER’s Red LED Night Light Aromatherapy Essential Oil Humidifier/Diffuser which holds 300ml of water. It requires no filter for the GMO-free, pure essential oil. You just add a couple of drops of GMO-free essential oils directly in the basin like chamomile and lavender which are calming and effective for sleep. Again, only use the red light setting. You can also dim the brightness of the red light. Its wood grain cover is beautiful and it’s safe as it has a waterless auto shut-off feature so when all the water evaporates, it shuts off. I find babies and children of all ages sleep more soundly with a diffuser as the it helps with breathing. I wake up with a less stuffy nose myself! In my own experience of caring for babies as a Certified Newborn Care Specialist, babies who sleep in a room with a diffuser on regularly have boogies less often! A diffuser should really be used in any room where any human is sleeping. But I’m sure pets benefit from them, too!

I can’t live without my Pure Enrichment PureSpa XL Diffuser which has two misting settings and the ability to use it without the light display, or with the light rotating various colors. You can even choose one of the colors at the full brightness or at it’s dimmer hue. On top of all of that, it has a safety auto shut-off feature, you can add essential oils to it, and it holds 2,000ml of water! This larger tank will still be misting even when the sun comes up.

Another diffuser I also own and love is the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier because it has a very informative LED Display with a Humidistat, and you can change the range of the mist level with three different settings. The 1.06 gallon tank (that’s over 4000ml of water!) also has a safety auto shut-off feature.

Crane Humidifiers are large, cool-mist humidifiers, not a diffuser. Don’t pour water into the doughnut hole. Everyone makes this mistake! Remember to tell your partner. You need to lift the clear top portion off, bring it to the sink, and fill it from the bottom by turning it upside down and unscrewing the cap. You cannot use essential oils with Crane humidifiers.

Air Circulators

Fans for baby reduce SIDS/SUIDS by 72% according to research studies. They help with increasing the mix of the exhalation into the room air and improving room ventilation. This percentage is obviously very high and getting a small fan is worth the investment. In addition, you may want to invest in a fan guard, which is made out of fine mesh and fitted over the fan head to prevent little finger getting caught in the blades. This will also prevent your child from poking other objects in the blades. Place the fan away from Baby, ensure at least 3 to 4 feet between the tip of the ceiling fan blades and the edge of your child’s bed or other furniture, so if you have an older child who is tempted to jump on their bed or climb, they won’t reach the fan. A ceiling fan is ideal. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, using a stationary fan – or better yet – an air circulator (to rotate the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide) is ideal.

Baby Cameras & Monitors

The Owlet is not a camera or visual monitor but instead it is worn on baby’s ankle, and it monitors Baby’s oxygen levels and heartbeat, and then alerts your phone. In my experience with families who has used this device, it has either stressed parents out more, or provided great relief to worries they had about their baby while they slept.

Swaddles

For quick layering advice, many mothers find “inception swaddling” or double swaddling super effective: first place Baby in a SwaddleMe Original, and then swaddle Baby in a muslin swaddle such as a lightweight Aden + Anais muslin cotton receiving blanket.

Many of my clients love to double swaddle with the Miracle Blanket Swaddle or the Halo Swaddle as well.

My go-to swaddle is the Ollie Swaddle!

The Nested Bean Swaddle is lightly weighted on the chest and sides to give the feeling of being held. The weights are filled with non-toxic poly beads (same as those used in children’s toys) and were created using physio-therapy standards to give just the right amount of pressure. Moms report longer sleep in 1-3 nights. It allows for transitioning from newborn size 0-6 months – the 2 sizes in 1 design means this swaddle lasts twice as long as regular swaddles. Babies legs go in the small inner pocket for the first few weeks and then in the larger pocket for up to 6 months. You can then transition with the arms out around 2-3 months. The Zen Swaddle has a TOG rating of 0.5 which means it is breathable for Summer days but still warm and cozy enough for night time sleeping.

Grooming

The oogiebear Ear and Nose Cleaner is a fun and tiny tool which is constructed of durable yet soft silicone, making it gentle on sensitive parts and also hypoallergenic since it doesn’t contain spores to harbor bacteria.

An Electric Nail Trimmer for Baby will be your or your partner’s favorite way to trim baby’s nails as they grow. It’s fast and baby’s fingers can’t get cut, and they can’t scratch themselves (or you) because the rotating trimmer simply massages the edges of their nails down to a smooth file.

For baby’s boogers: Baby Nasal Aspirator NoseFrida the Snotsucker by Fridababy.

Water Wipes (made in Ireland) for your Baby’s bumkin or American-made water wipes by Bets & Emy – these two are the gentlest, chemical-free wipes on the market… super important for your baby’s vulnerable, delicate membranes.

Baby can bathed in the sink, a basin, or the bathtub.

Use the softest baby cloths made from bamboo.

DermaFrida Baby Bath Silicone Brush by Fridababy: A baby essential for dry scalp and cradle cap and eczema! Use daily from birth to avoid dry scalp and cradle cap.

Bella B Bee Gone Cradle Cap Shampoo and Bella B Silky Conditioner: Great natural and gentle shampoo for dry scalp and cradle cap.

I love Babo Botanicals and have had amazing results with it on newborns, babies, and toddlers. I’m proud to recommend these products because they’re effective and I’ve seen eczema disappear even in the worse cases which makes moms really happy.

  • Vegan, Pure Flower & Plant Extracts
  • Sulfate-Free
  • Formaldehyde-Free
  • Paraben-Free
  • Phthalate-Free
  • Tear Free
  • Allergy Tested
  • Dermatologist Tested
  • No Icky Chemicals
  • No Synthetic Fragrances
  • No Synthetic Colors
  • Dairy and Soy-Free
  • No High Allergy Nut Oils
  • Biodegradable Formulas
  • Recyclable BPA-Free Packaging
  • Color Safe

There are two versions I love below, but they come in many scents, which I’ve listed as well. I recommend the Fragrance-Free version for newborns, and then switching to the Oatmeal & Calendula version as baby grows. When baby becomes a tot and is less sensitive, you can by the other varieties they come in like lavender meadowsweet and berry primrose.

BABO Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Shampoo and Wash, 16 Fluid Ounce: Perfect for newborns and babies with sensitive skin and their matching gentle lotion: Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Daily Hydra Lotion, 8 Ounce.

Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash Oatmilk Calendula, 16 Ounce: Smells amazing and super gentle on babies and great for toddlers. Watch out Mom, you’ll end up using it yourself. Their matching natural lotion Babo Botanicals Oatmilk Calendula Moisturizing Baby Lotion, 8 Ounce – Best Baby Lotion for Soothing Sensitive Skin; Helps Relieve Eczema; Natural Oat and Organic Calendula has the same gentle, very moisturizing effect and the same amazing smell as the shampoo. Great for daily use to prevent dry skin and eczema.

If Baby does develop eczema, this product has saved many babies: Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby All Natural Healing Ointment, 4 Ounce. The product is thick and works almost immediately.

For daily follow up on eczema once it is under control, this lotion is effective: Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Daily Hydra Lotion, 8 Ounce

This diaper cream is natural, safe, and amazingly effective: Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Zinc Fragrance-Free Diaper Cream, 3 Ounce. Diaper cream with zinc will heal the rash. Using a petroleum alone jelly-like Aquaphor, Vaseline, or A&D Cream does not heal a rash. It just helps with chafing because it’s a crude (harsh) oil which creates a barrier between skin so it won’t rub. A real diaper rash needs non-nano, safe, zinc applied on the skin first before applying any creamy/oily lubricant. You can always apply the diaper cream with zinc first and “seal it in” with an oil like coconut oil, vitamin E oil, castor oil, or aloe vera. Weleda’s Diaper Care Cream also works effectively as it has zinc, and then sweet almond and sesamae oils plus lanolin to seal in the zinc while lubricating against chaffing. My favorite is to use a zinc base, and then use Alba Botanica jelly which is safer than Vaseline, as it is made only of plant oils (castor).

Babo Botanicals Lavender Meadowsweet Calming Baby Bubble Bath & Wash, 15 ounces: Lavender scent for older babies and its matching lotion Babo Botanicals Lavender Meadowsweet Calming Baby Moisturizing Lotion, 8 Ounce – and its matching lavender and chamomile hand and body wipes Babo Botanicals 3-in-1 Calming Face, Hands & Body Wipes Lavender & Meadowsweet (Pack of 3), 30 wipes each.

Babo Botanicals Smoothing Shampoo and Wash, Berry Primrose, 16 Fluid Ounce and its matching conditioner: Babo Botanicals Smoothing Conditioner, Pink, Berry Primrose, 32 Ounce and its matching detangling spray: Babo Botanicals Berry Primrose Instantly Smooth Detangler, 8 Ounce – Natural Conditioner, Smoothes Tangles and Adds Shine, Sulfate Free

Puracy was developed by pediatricians

Babo Botanicals Swim and Sport Shampoo and Wash Cucumber Aloe, 16 Ounce and its matching conditioner: Babo Botanicals Swim and Sport Conditioner, Cucumber Aloe, 6 Ounce for when Baby starts swimming or getting sweaty plus its matching detangler: Swim & Sport Cucumber Aloe Vera Detangling Spray 8 FL.OZ

I also recommend Babo Botanicals Sunscreens. They have several that are very pure.

Great “brushes” that can be used on wet or dry hair and that don’t hurt! With the Tangle Teezer, you’ll never hear your child cry. Don’t even buy detangling spray. This is a must when your baby grows older.

Strollers

Sun Protection

Best cover for newborns is the Cozigo Cover from Australia – it clips on any type of stroller to create a nighttime type of coverage when you take Baby outdoors during daylight.

Coolibar makes lightweight sun hats for babies made with UPF 50+ cotton/viscose/bamboo/spandex fabric. Their ZnO SUNTECT technology protects against 98% of UVA and UVB rays and is the highest quality zinc oxide protection. They are super soft against the skin.

Laundry Detergent

All-natural, dye-free, fragrance-free, and suitable for baby: Charlie’s Soap is amazing, Biokleen is amazing, and Eco-Me Laundry Detergent is amazing. The Puracy laundry detergent was created by doctors.

Window Treatments

For temporary darkening your nursery’s windows: RABBITGOO Blackout Window Film is a cheap alternative to blackout curtains.

A Lovie will help Baby associate nap and sleepytime. This self-soothing tool used in sleep conditioning allows for earlier transition to falling back to sleep without help when waking between sleep cycles. Always buy 2 so you have a backup when one disappears, needs to be laundered, or for on-the-go in your diaper bag. You will not bring the lovie to them outside of the crib nor on their activity/play mat or during playtime. It’s to be associated with sleepy time only for conditioning purposes or it becomes a distraction and will not help with their sleep transition.

Loungers

On-the-go and baby loungers – always use supervised and do not place these inside a crib or bassinet. They are not for sleeping in unattended and not recommended by the AAP. Use at your own risk. I prefer the SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper because the sides are completely mesh and breathable. The other two I really don’t like (Dock A Tot and Snuggle Me) because babies have died in them from rolling into the side and suffocating. Again, supervision is necessary so if you’re going to supervise your baby, then there should be no problem with them lounging in these. Babies take many more breaths a minute than adults, so their chance of carbon dioxide and suffocation is higher if their face is too close to a bumper (not recommended in a crib) or a nonbreathable fabric like the Dock A Tot or Snuggle Me, should they turn and wiggle into the side of it. Therefore I encourage you to choose the first option, SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper, as it has mesh on the sides, however many parents are purchasing the other two and still safely supervising their child. I know parents who love the other two, but they aren’t recommended. Again, use at your own discretion.

Sleep Positioners help within Baby’s carseat and also when napping to prevent flat head and they give Baby a feeling of security if their feet are touching a boundary.

Probiotics for Baby

Check out my evidence-based article on Probiotics for Baby’s Best Health. The University of California Davis has done thorough research on probiotics and implemented Evivo in NICUs (Evivo Probiotics Starter Kit and Evivo Probiotics Refill Kit).

Bottles

Check out Bottles for Breastfed Babies!

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DIY Herbal Padsicles + Perineum Sitz Spray

DIY Herbal Padsicles + Perineum Sitz Spray

Soothe and heal your perineum fast after giving birth with this easy, natural DIY herbal perineum spray and padsicles recipe.  These pads will relieve inflammation, swelling, and soreness after birthing during your first couple weeks postpartum.  The remaining spray will provide much relief after you void/use the restroom.  It’s a 2-in-1!

Ingredients for healing your precious perineum:

Feminine pads (chemical-free sanitary pads which are chlorine-free and scent-free are healthier for this sensitive postpartum time)

Organic Aloe Vera gel (alcohol-free aloe vera, and watch out for imitation with coloring and dyes)

Organic Witch Hazel (choose an alcohol-free Lavender Witch Hazel or alcohol-free Cucumber Witch Hazel or alcohol-free unscented witch hazel version of this astringent which heals skin and closes pores)

Lavender Essential Oil* (antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory; relieves swelling of the skin and supports cellular regeneration)

German Chamomile Essential Oil** (anti-inflammatory; wound-healing)

Rosemary Essential Oil* (anti-inflammatory; strengthens muscles, and fights infection)

Frankincense Essential Oil* (prevents scarring and supports tissue regeneration)

Geranium Essential Oil* (skin conditioner; heals broken capillaries)

Small Spray Bottle

Aluminum Foil (optional)

spoon or small spatula

freezer baggies (gallon-size recommended)

medium-sized air-tight container (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash hands well and dry thoroughly.
  2. Pour witch hazel halfway into your small spray bottle.
  3. Add 6 drops total of your preferred essential oils.  You may want to start with 2 drops of lavender first, spray an area like your wrist, and test your sensitivity.  Then add another 2 drops of chamomile, shake it and spray to test your other wrist.  Different oils can cause different reactions so you want to make sure you are not sensitive to any particular oil.
  4. Pour in more witch hazel to the top of your bottle.
  5. Close and shake vigorously.
  6. Open aloe vera container.
  7. Open pads, opening the flaps of the outer wrapper but leave the pad attached.
  8. Spread a thin layer of aloe onto the pads using a spoon or small spatula.
  9. Shake the spray bottle again, and spray onto your pads. The pads should be damp but not soaked through; ensure you preserve some of their absorbency for postpartum bleeding.
  10. Fold up your pads and stack them inside freezer bags.  You may be able to fit up to 10 in each bag.
  11. Stack the bags flat inside your air-tight container.
  12. Store container in freezer!
  13. Place peri bottle in the fridge.
  14. When you go into labor, pop your peri bottle into your birth bag.  Shake first and then spray directly onto your perineum after you deliver your beautiful Baby.
  15. After Baby debuts, soothe your perineum by wearing 3-4 pads daily straight from the freezer!  Only take one pad out at a time as needed. You can also spray more onto each individual pad you use if you prefer more moisture.

Note:

* Only use pure, GMO-free essential oils. The best quality essential oils are made by DoTerra. Your perineum is a very precious lady part and these perineum membranes are fragile after giving birth. Your body absorbs anything placed on your skin organ directly into your blood and circulatory system. Choose the best for your best perineum.
** Only use German Chamomile, not Roman Chamomile as this version helps with inflammation.

Consider hiring a Postpartum Doula for more support after giving birth.

If you don’t feel up to making your own, check out our:

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Suggested Readings

Nourish Birth Suggested Readings

Books for Expecting Mothers

Books for Expecting Fathers

Books for Children and Expecting Siblings

Books for Pet Assimilation

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Humidity and Temperature for Sleeping Babies and Children

Humidity and Temperature for Sleeping Babies and Children

Air conditioning can dry the humidity in the room, and babies and children can wake with a dry mouth and feel thirsty and their cries can equate to more nighttime feeding occurrences. Fixing humidity doesn’t mean they’ll have one less night feed – if they are hungry, then they absolutely need to be fed!

For children who are mouth breathers and sleep with their mouth open, a dry room can be an issue and sleep disrupter.

Humidity Range and Reasoning

A humidity range between 40-60% is healthy for the body, mainly because bacteria have a hard time growing in this range. The EPA’s recommends 30-50% for preventing mold growth in the house as higher humidity promotes mold growth. Some children’s hospitals keep their air at 55%. How a room is built and insulated is also a factor for promoting mold growth. If walls get cold at night, mold is more likely to grow.

Aim for a higher humidity level without mold growth. Factors include the season and construction of the room. You can get an inexpensive humidity thermometer or pick one up from your local hardware store.

The humidity level will be raised significantly if you aim a humidifier or diffuser at your child’s crib or, but the overall humidity of the room will not be as high. This is an effective way to give Baby the benefit of humidity while decreasing your risk of mold. However, you need to be sure Baby is warm if you’re using a cold mist.

Newborn Baby Sleep Temperature

If your child is an amazing newborn or beautiful older baby, the room should be between 68-72 degrees F.

It is very important that you not overheat your newborn when Baby sleeps as it increases the risk of SIDS/SUIDS. It has also been shown that using a fan can decrease the risk of SIDS/SUIDS by 72%!

Fans help with increasing the mix of the exhalation into the room air and improving room ventilation. This percentage is obviously very high and getting a small fan is worth the investment. In addition, you may want to invest in a fan guard, which is made out of fine mesh and fitted over the fan head to prevent little finger getting caught in the blades. This will also prevent your child from poking other objects in the blades. Place the fan away from Baby, ensure at least 3 to 4 feet between the tip of the ceiling fan blades and the edge of your child’s bed or other furniture, so if you have an older child who is tempted to jump on their bed or climb, they won’t reach the fan. A ceiling fan is ideal.

If the room is cooler for Baby, you need more layers. Layers do not equal blankets with babies! They can get intertwined and tangled in them and suffocate. More layers mean instead of just being swaddled in a diaper (which is very effective for a warm room), swaddle Baby in a onesie, or swaddle Baby wearing footie jammies. Or double swaddle! Or swaddle baby in a diaper alone with a velcro swaddle and a receiving blanket burrito-swaddled over it.

Overheating

No socks, no hat! At the hospital, the nurses will provide a hat for you… do not keep this on your baby while sleeping swaddled after the first couple of days..! Socks for sleep is also a no-no. Babies with cool extremities are not cold, and it helps them self-regulate their temperature while not wearing these. Socks and hats while sleeping swaddled can contribute to overheating and SIDS/SUIDS. You can check if your baby is too hot by feeling the back of their neck and upper back. If they’re clammy, they are too hot. If you’re warm, your baby is hot! If you’re hot, your baby is very hot! If you’re cold, they are probably perfect. Babies overheat faster than adults! Again, the ideal temperature for babies is 68-72 degrees F; this can be super cold for adults, but it’s super ideal for a sleeping baby, and some pediatricians even recommend the room be as low as 66 degrees F! Wow!

Why Swaddle Baby?

Swaddling is effective during the Fourth Trimester to help mimic the feeling of the womb. After wrapping Baby up in a blanket like a little burrito, Baby feels safe and secure because Baby feels boundaries, like when inutero. Baby is born with over 70 reflexes that Baby loses as Baby develops, and one is called the moro reflex or startle reflex. Swaddling helps Baby feel the boundary when disrupted by the reflex so that they have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. It can take up to 4 or 5 months for Baby to stop the startling, but you can stop swaddling after Baby starts rolling over and transition to a sleep sack.

Which Swaddles are Best?

We love the Ollie swaddle, which makes swaddling a breeze with velcro.


For quick layering advice, many mothers find “inception swaddling” or double swaddling super effective: first place Baby (wearing a diaper only) in a SwaddleMe or Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle, and then burrito-swaddle Baby in a muslin swaddle blanket such as a lightweight Aden + Anais muslin cotton receiving blanket.

Many of our clients love to double swaddle with the Miracle Blanket Swaddle and the Halo Swaddle for the second layer as well.

Toddler Sleep Temperature

It’s also proven that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your child is a terrific toddler, dress them in a single layer of long pants and long sleeves. If the room is warm and it’s not a variable you can control, stick with short sleeves or nothing but a diaper.

Thirst Solutions Caused by Dry Air

As an adult, it’s easy to have a glass of water next to our beds when we wake thirsty. Obviously, this is dangerous for babies! However, toddlers can have a spill-proof cup near their bed such as the Munchkin 360 Training Cup. This cup is a great stepping stone for Little Ones transitioning from the bottle as it has a 360-degree drinking edge. Its spout-less design eliminates spills completely so if your child falls asleep with it in their hands or bed, you don’t need to worry about mattresses getting soaked as the cup automatically seals when your child stops drinking.

These are better to use than a straw-type of sippy cup for both developmental and sanitary reasons:

  • These cups are recommended by newborn care specialists, dentists, early intervention specialists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.
  • They improve tongue, oral development, and in-turn, speech function as they help develop mouth muscles.
  • They’re easy to clean with no extra valves or parts.
  • The top piece, where your child’s mouth will touch, is silicone material; thus, it’s hypoallergenic since there are no open pores to harbor bacteria.

These cups also come in stainless steel if you want to keep it in the fridge for children who absolutely love cold water on hot days.

Buying the Best Humidifier or Diffuser

If you use air-conditioning or central heating, you may consider adding a humidifier to the room. A cool-mist diffuser/humidifier combo works really well.

Crane Humidifiers: Awesome and easy larger cool-mist humidifier. Don’t pour water into the doughnut hole. Everyone makes this mistake! Remember to tell your partner. You need to lift the clear top portion off, bring it to the sink, and fill it from the bottom by turning it upside down and unscrewing the cap.


Diffusers are another option to create humidity and can be used with essential oils. These diffusers require no filter for the essential oil. You just add a couple of drops of GMO-free pure essential oils which are calming and effective for sleep such as chamomile and lavender directly in the basin. Only use the red light setting because other lights have different wavelengths that inhibit melatonin and disrupt sleep. (Read more about Baby Night Lights and Better Sleep here.) You can also dim the brightness of the light and it has a cool-mist, doubling as a diffuser and humidifier. The waterless auto shut-off feature is a great safety net so when all the water evaporates, it shuts off.

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Baby Night Lights for Better Sleep

Baby Night Lights For Better Sleep

Baby Night Lights

A quick Google search for “baby night lights” brings you to many magical and cute animal baby night lights and heart-shaped baby night lights but 99% of these baby night lights you see are proven to actually inhibit sleep.

If you’re using a nightlight in your baby’s/toddler’s/child’s room, or plan to, you need to know which type of lights to avoid so you can create the best possible sleep environment for your Little One.

If you already have a night light in your child’s room, and it’s something that emits a dim glow, it may be causing disruption to your child’s sleep, and here’s why:

The wavelength of different colors such as white, blue, and green-based lights inhibit melatonin at night. Melon-what? Trust me, your honeydew will love you for altering your child’s night light situation and your precious babe will be able to sleep longer and stay asleep at night.

Melatonin Magic and Sleep

The sweet sleep hormone, melatonin, is released by the brain when there is a response to light sensitivity in the eyes. This hormone is essential for children to fall asleep and stay asleep overnight. If the world wasn’t clogged with electric lighting, research has shown children fall into slumber between 7:30pm and 8pm.

It’s common for parents to choose cute nightlights that might emit blue, green, white, pink, or purple hues. Blue is especially calming and used by most manufacturers of baby night lights but it’s a scientifically proven sleep disrupter and mistake to use them if you’re sleep conditioning or sleep training, or trying to get your baby, toddler, or younger child to stay in bed or sleep well throughout the night.

Cell phones, laptops, TVs, and almost all home lighting have blue and white-based lights need to be off and out of the area where your child is sleeping or away from your child at least an hour before they sleep. This is because these lights inhibit the body’s secretion of melatonin by tricking the brain into believing it is still daylight.

What’s the Sleep Solution?

Red light is the only light, shown by research, that does not inhibit melatonin because red-based light has a much higher wavelength than white/blue/green light.

The goal is to use no light in the nursery initially. When parents or caregivers come into the nursery for night feedings and diaper changes, you can then switch on a night light that is a red night light. This solution is perfect as red light does not interfere with the chemical building blocks needed for sleep.

However, you need to plan the environment and timeframe leading up to bedtime. Think about the light your child is exposed to before bedtime if you are giving Baby a bath or brushing your older Baby or younger child’s teeth. Is your bathroom lit by regular white light or energy-saving lightbulbs? These emit much more blue light than old-style incandescent bulbs. If so, you may consider investing in a battery-operated light which is more appropriate for preparing for sleep in terms of helping the brain prepare for sleep.

Lights Used When Prepping for Bedtime

In the bathroom when brushing teeth or giving a bath, or in the nursery when dressing into pajamas, when first putting Baby down, or when reading a nighttime story (or two books) to your child, here are options:

Lumie Bedbug Light: A multi-purpose bedtime light which features a low blue light, while still producing a white/peach colored glow. Lumie Bedbug Light is non-inhibiting without having to use a red light in the room while reading or brushing teeth. This baby night light also includes a sunset mode option which gradually darkens the room, dimming after bedtime over a period of 15 minutes. This is perfect for toddlers and older children as well.

Battery-Operated Electric Candles are beautiful, glow like real candles, and create a calm, cozy environment for bedtime. These are my favorite electric candles as their flames actually move and dance. They transform your home into cozy-feel-goodness!

Don’t forget rechargeable battery chargers are a one-time, small investment and perfect for the bathroom in place of the main light at night, or reading area. Not only are you improving your child’s sleep, you’ll all wake less, and you’ll save money on your energy bill! Totally worth it.

Best Red Lights for My Baby’s Nursery or My Child’s Bedroom Nightlight

These are the top red baby night lights I recommend for parents when breastfeeding or bottle-feeding Baby throughout the night or when needing light to change Baby’s diapers during the night, or for your Big Boy or Big Girl when they get up in the middle of the night during potty-training:

Red Gummy Bear Baby Night Light: This red LED gummy bear light is cordless, portable, and squeezable to turn on/off. It has a sleep timer of 1-hour and is soft and durable.

Red Fairy Lights: Effective and adorable solution when used in a lockable Kilner jar as a portable baby nightlight.

Greenic 0.5W Plug-in Light Sensor LED Red Night Light: This 2-Pack Red Night Light is super cute and mini-sized, and very effective for hallways and bathrooms. It can be turned upside down to see less of the LED light. It’s bright enough but also dim enough for nighttime feedings, and quick wakeups for diaper changes or bathroom trips.

Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and White Noise Sound Machine: This red baby night light doubles as a white noise sound machine, which is another recommendation for parents as pure white noise (do not use intermittent ocean waves, water sounds, crickets, etc.) is scientifically proven to help babies and children’s brainwaves when waking to lull back to sleep and sleep deeper. This machine is remotely controlled with your smartphone, features a time-to-rise alert, and you can customize the brightness by dimming the red baby night light as well as by setting the programs to turn off and on automatically based on your family’s sleep schedule. During the day you can play with the other fun colors! It includes a toddler lock feature as well.

Other solutions for sleep include how cozy your Little One is, and how much humidity is in their room. Dryness can cause a thirsty baby or toddler. Read more on how to fix the humidity in your nursery and child’s room for better sleep.

You may also consider BleepBleep’s Suzy Snooze.

Resources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12970330
  2. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/21/16/6405.full.pdf
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18838601
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11763987
  5. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1081/CBI-100107515?journalCode=cbi
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14962066
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Probiotics for Baby’s Best Health

Probiotics For Baby

Evidenced-Based Info and Essential Advice for New Parents or Soon-To-Be Parents

Spit ups, reflux, “colic”, and new mothers feeling that “something is wrong with me” – these are issues which are occurring much too frequently.  Avoiding too much coffee and brussels sprouts and cauliflower can only help so much.  It’s important to be informed and understand the evolution of the human body and what is needed for baby, so you can know:

  1. Why your baby is experiencing these symptoms and how probiotics can help decrease and diminish them
  2. You can get rid of guilt from thinking that something is wrong with your breastmilk
  3. Learn a solution which can restore baby’s gut microbiome, and decrease digestion issues and fussiness

Introducing Evivo probiotics for newborns and babies: Implemented in Hospital NICU’s with MCT Oil and given to preterm infants, Evivo Probiotics are now available to provide to your Little One at home.

“If we give a probiotic, their [a premature baby’s] chance of getting Necrotizing enterocolitis goes down,” says Mark Underwood, who is chief of Pediatric Neonatology at UC Davis and a professor of pediatrics.  In fact, at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, all preemies born under a certain birth weight are now given probiotics. It’s become a common practice in other countries including Australia, Japan, Sweden and Finland, Underwood says.  This is because probiotics can help prevent a very serious intestinal inflammation called Necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies.

Research on Evivo Probiotics

  • In Evivo’s Clinical Trial, Evivo restored infants’ gut microbiome 100% of the time
  • Babies given Evivo probiotics showed 80% reduction in potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli, clostridia, Staph and Strep; babies who did not receive Evivo had more than 4 times the level harmful bacteria versus the babies given Evivo

Gone are the days that the word “bacteria” just means something bad.  This is because there is also good bacteria which is essential in balancing your gut flora.  Good gut environment equals better immunity and resistance to disease.  Research studies have shown that colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes, and obesity are all related to how much good vs. bad bacteria was collected within the first few months of life.  We need more good bacteria to be present in the gut to decrease bad bacteria.  Unfortunately, an increasing number of babies experience disruption in their bellies that actually cause bad bacteria to thrive.

Consequences of a Disrupted Gut

  • 9.6 million children under the age of 18 have eczema; of this total, 3.2 million children (33%) have moderate to severe cases (National Eczema Org)
  • There are at least two children with food allergies in almost every kindergarten classroom (FARE)
  • Over one million children in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes (American Diabetes Association)
  • The rate of obesity doubles as children grow from toddlers to teens (CDC)

Why is Evivo Important for Babies?

The first 6 months of baby’s life contain many critical developmental milestones.  The presence of B. infantis is vital during these crucial early months of life when baby’s metabolism and immune system are developing.  Unfortunately, due to modern medical practices and lifestyles, the vast majority (9 out of 10) of American babies no longer receive B. infantis at birth.

How does Evivo Work?

Evivo works to create a protective internal environment in your baby’s gut, and it’s clinically proven to do just that by significantly reducing the abundance of bad bacterias. Evivo probiotics reduce the presence of bad bacteria by restoring B. infantis, a good bacteria that thrives most in the intestines of infants as it helps break down the lactic acid in breast milk.  Are you a mom with a baby who exclusively breastfeeds?  Then it will be important for you to know that lactose is the only sugar which is naturally found in breastmilk, AND the only sugar babies should be consuming.  Evivo only contains lactose and activated B. infantis EVC001. It is gluten-free, and there are absolutely NO artificial additives, colors, dyes, flavors, or preservatives.

Evivo’s scientists are world-renowned experts in the infant gut microbiome and its critical interaction with human breast milk.  Over a decade of research and clinical trials at The University of California led to the important discovery that the nutrients in breast milk that have evolved over millions of years to become the perfect prebiotic, or food, for B. infantis, the key good gut bacteria in Evivo.  This research concluded that only one bacteria—the B. infantis in Evivo—takes advantage of this unique relationship.  The amazing breastmilk nutrients, Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs), feed B. infantis in Evivo, and the B. infantis returns the favor by transforming the HMOs so they can serve as valuable nutrition for your baby.  Without B. infantis as much as 15% of the nutrients in your breast milk will be wasted in your baby’s diaper!

Conclusion

Evivo probiotics help you build a strong foundation in your baby’s gut by improving the good flora in your baby’s gut environment, improve digestion, further increases immunity, and decreases the probability of allergies and disease later in life.

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Labor Pain Management

Labor Pain Management

Labor pain is one of the primary fears expecting mothers have about the physical aspect of childbirth.  Educating yourself on evidence-based and proven pain management techniques can help you make better decisions during labor and give you tools to manage your body AND your mind while birthing your baby.

Proven ways to cope with labor pain

FACT: Controlling your mind and what you’re thinking actually helps control labor pain! Scientists termed this the “central nervous system control method” of labor pain management and includes obtaining continuous physical and emotional support from a Birth Doula, doing deep breathing, utilizing hypnotherapy/hypnobirthing or hypnobabies, and incorporating relaxation tools such as aromatherapy with essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, and rose for relief of anxiety and fear, as well as music.

FACT: Scientist deem the “gate control theory” as a method of activating your nerves in a non-painful way at the same time you’re experiencing pain. It’s like a distraction. You involuntarily flood your nerves with other stimuli which blocks pain signals from reaching your brain! This is proven through experiencing comfort measures while in labor. These are tools Birth Doulas perform and/or also teach your partner to help you with while you’re in the process of delivering your baby. Methods include receiving massage on certain pressure points of your body, moving your body in certain positions and rocking with birth balls and rebozos, laboring in the shower or a warm tub of water, and using both warm packs and TENS units.

Support During Childbirth

FACT: Scientists concluded that expecting women who had support from a Birth Doula was one of the most effective methods, as each were given a tailored approach including a combination of multiple methods to address labor pain.

FACT: In 2014 researchers compiled all research ever conducted on non-drug approaches and found using both gate control and central nervous system methods to be very effective, actually decreasing the outcome of epidurals while increasing birth satisfaction rates. In fact, through random assignments of being offered drugs or a central nervous system method, scientists discovered that women who were first offered the central nervous system approach experienced a greater chance of natural birth: fewer interventions such as Pitocin to induce labor, fewer cesarians, forceps, and vacuum-assisted deliveries, and shorter labors!

FACT: ACOG, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, actually recommends women in labor be offered non-pharmacological methods because no adverse or no side effects have been found to these methods.

Learn more about the differences in pain and suffering by watching Rebecca Dekker’s Evidence Based Birth’s Pain Management Series below. Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast.

Resources:

Try Hypnobabies for an Enjoyable Birth

Ditch those old-school pain-coping methods!

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The Secret 4th Trimester

Virtual Tackle the 4th Trimester

The baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment they’re born and lasts until three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in newborns, as they adjust to the new world outside the womb. Dr. Harvey Karp, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine and nationally renowned expert on children’s health and the environment, believes that newborns experience “fourth trimester” issues.

The 5 S’s

These five actions re-create the atmosphere in the womb – the “fourth trimester,” and are the secrets to calming colic, or a fussy baby. Babies can have a difficult time getting used to the huge amount of stimuli present in life outside of Mom’s body. Their reaction to all of this is to cry and cry.

What is Colic?

Moms and Dads can be left puzzled – are they hungry? Need a diaper change? Overtired? Is it gas?

Newborns inherently are soothed by recreating their environment, mimicking that of the womb. These are swaddling, shushing loudly, sideways or stomach positioning, swinging, and sucking. Newborn Care Specialists can teach this method to you so you can calm your baby down if they are overstimulated or overtired. The result can be a happy baby on a healthy sleep schedule, better nutrient absorption, and more alertness (for all of you!).

Through mastering these 5 methods and babywearing, getting through the 4th trimester can be so much easier. Babies at this age physiologically cannot self-regulate and rely on an adult to help them to feel safe and secure and even a physical boundary, like being in the womb, which is why swaddling and babywearing is so calming to their nervous system.

If you have a newborn, book a Virtual Newborn Consultation to get fast solutions which can help get you on track.

If you have an infant (older than 6 weeks), book Virtual Infant Care Coaching to learn more tips, solve your issues fast, and master the 4th trimester in a pinch!

If you’re pregnant, you’re on the right path!  Get prepped with our Virtual Tackle the 4th Trimester consultation and our Virtual Newborn Care Class.  Doing this ahead of time can ease you into what to expect for your new life.

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Formula Supplementing Tips

Formula Supplementing Tips

Feeding your baby by formula supplementing may have you puzzled as there are so many options and types of formulas on the market. A Newborn Care Specialist will present to you the research discovered by professional pediatricians comparing the 6 categories of formula (Cow’s Milk-Based, Soy-Based, Hypoallergenic, Lactose-Free, Organic, and Formulas for Babies with Special Needs).

After making an educated decision and finally choosing a formula, your Newborn Care Specialist will discuss these topics in regard to formula supplementing your precious little one:

  • bottle types
  • nipple sizes
  • how often to formula feed
  • how much formula to supplement
  • best baby bottles to use if you plan to breastfeed in conjunction with formula feeding
  • physical signs of your infant getting enough nutrition with formula
  • guidelines for weight gain
  • signs of underfeeding and over feeding
  • safe formula supplementing tips
  • formula guidelines
  • bottle temperature
  • converting ccs and ml to ounces
  • water usage in formula
  • how to clean and sterilize bottles and equipment
  • the Kangaroo Care method
  • and any supplementing questions you have
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Best Breastfeeding Position

Best Breastfeeding Position

Natural breastfeeding using the laid back breastfeeding method also known as the Turtle Method position can stimulate your baby’s pressure points to nurse and heal your breasts while getting a deeper latch! It is also a safer way for your baby to breastfeed if you fall asleep while feeding your baby.

With the Turtle Method, newborn babies can stabilize themselves naturally. This means your baby can already instinctively control certain parts of their body, and will naturally help manipulate your breast to suit their own feeding behaviors. The Turtle Method position gives your baby control of your breast by flexing his or her hands and fingers and then moving them to sculpt your nipples. This position makes it more suitable for them to feed, and it also releases scar tissue in your breast which eliminates the need for pumping because of inverted or flat nipples.

When your baby is faced down on your stomach in the Turtle position, they are touching certain pressure points with their knees, pelvic area, and feet while also allowing gravity to pull them into your chest instead of gravity pulling your breasts downward. Plus, being on their belly counts as tummy time toward their essential development!

The Turtle Method allows your baby to breastfeed much better than when they are laying on their back breastfeeding in your arms because they won’t involuntarily reflex backward when you guide your baby’s head toward your chest with your hand. When your baby is laying on their back in your arms, it is a gravity-fighting position and there is a shallower latch… ouch!

In addition, being on their stomach while in Turtle position actually allows your baby to help release the fluids in your own body which you received from IVs and also from engorgement as your milk comes in. This is due to your baby’s body pressure pushing against you while you lay in a reclined position. With your baby facing down, their body helps through this reverse pressure technique to decrease the swelling and fluids in the breast and draw out the nipple for easier feeding.

In terms of safety, the Turtle Method allows your baby to be fully resting on your body without the requirement of your arms. You don’t have to worry about your baby’s safety. However, if you fall asleep while breastfeeding your baby in your arms as they lay on their back, your baby would have no support.

Quick Turtle Method Tips:

  1. Lay back or recline in a chair and place your baby on your tummy, diagonally across your body with their cheek on the upper part of your breast. You should be fully reclined. If your baby starts slipping, you’re not laying back far enough. The natural curves of your body will support your baby sans props, and gravity will assist in a deep latch while your baby receives skin-to-skin contact.
  2. When your baby’s pressure buttons are pushed, their coordination improves. This was identified at Prague School by Scientists as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS. To activate your newborn’s internal GPS so that your baby knows where they are and what they need to do, they need to feel their entire front against you and touching you with their complete body. This full frontal contact activates their pressure buttons located on their wrists, ribs, inside of their knees, and tops and bottoms of their feet, stabilizing their spine, which gives them better control over their own movements, so they can feed more effectively.
  3. Lastly, adjust your breast.
Breastfeeding Positions
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Breastfeeding Tips

Nourish Birth Breastfeeding Tips

Breast care and breastfeeding go hand-in-hand. A Newborn Care Specialist can help expected and new mothers with breastfeeding by discussing and demonstrating:

  • nutritional support for increasing milk supply
  • milk storage
  • nipple care and breast wellness
  • bottles for breastfed babies
  • nipple sizes
  • how often to feed
  • how much to feed
  • physical signs of your infant getting enough nutrition
  • guidelines for weight gain
  • signs of underfeeding and over feeding
  • safe breastfeeding tips
  • the most popular breastfeeding positions
  • best breastfeeding positions for c-section births
  • bottle temperature
  • converting CCs to ounces
  • choosing and using a pump
  • how to clean and sterilize bottles and equipment
  • benefits of nursing
  • the Kangaroo Care method
  • and any questions you have
Related Topics

* Read about better Breastfeeding Positions such as the Turtle Method in which newborn babies can stabilize themselves naturally. This means your baby can already instinctively control certain parts of their body, and will naturally help manipulate your breast to suit their own feeding behaviors.

* Bonding with your newborn baby can happen immediately after birthing through a method called Kangaroo Care. This promotes psychological and physical well-being for both your newborn and for you as the mother. Kangaroo Care includes skin-to-skin contact and exclusively breastfeeding.

* Learn the 15 Breast Milk Nutrition Secrets

* Compare the composition of Breast Milk vs. Formula

* Educating yourself with evidence-based information is important, and without judgment is so important for your psychological and emotional well-being.  It can be stressful if you feel alone in this, but you’re not.

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Sleeping with a Pacifier

Sleeping With a Pacifier

Pacifiers can be both a godsend AND a nightmare. I have cared for and supported hundreds of families and babies, from singletons to preemies with special needs and multiples. A lot has changed according to the AAP and guidelines from orthodontists and lactation consultants since I became a Certified Advanced Newborn Care Specialist, Doula, and Certified Lactation Educator Counselor.

Over my course I went from not recommending pacifiers to understanding the physiology of a human newborn and their sucking reflex in conjunction with their speech, oral, and facial development and how that actually connects with and benefits the breastfeeding relationship.

Let’s get down to it. As a new parent, you do not want your baby to become dependent upon pacifiers.  This can result in sleepless nights for parents and disruption of your baby’s precious time to sleep and grow, as some argue that pacifying can lead to baby’s feeding signals being interrupted and disrupting breastfeeding. But if your baby is truly hungry, they’re going to spit it out and will not settle with a pacifier if they want to eat.

I have consulted with many families and as a Postpartum Doula, I’m going with the new parents (usually assisting the new mother while her partner is at work) to their pediatrician appointments. I have spoken to many pediatricians and all their views vary. Some pediatricians are very strict and don’t recommend a pacifier until 6 weeks and some are more casual, recommending to wait until the newborn is 2 weeks young.

In my experience as a Birth Doula, I have encountered hospitals using them often for NICU babies to encourage facial and oral development and promote sucking, but I’ve also seen hospitals lock up pacifiers!

Some healthcare professionals argue that pacifiers cause nipple confusion. There is no such thing as nipple confusion. It’s flow-preferencing that takes place, caused by hunger satiation from using any type of “flow” nipples (including preemie and slow-flow nipples), not using no-flow bottle nipples, the improper use of nipple shields, and from not practicing evidence-based paced bottle-feeding. Pacifiers don’t cause this.

As a trained lactation consultant, I do advise to use pacifiers sparingly. This could mean using it in the first week only a few times or using it in the baby’s third week as needed when Baby is quivering and not hungry – they have a sucking reflex and need to suck, so it’s okay. Not everything is black and white in postpartum, because every baby is so unique and different.

For example, if a baby was whisked away due to a lower APGAR score at birth, and then poked and prodded with needles and tests, they may have birth trauma and anxiety and that pacifier may help them. Birth trauma exists for newborns, too – they just went through a LOT! Even if they weren’t taken to the NICU, they can have trauma from coming down the birth canal, regardless if delivery was fast or slow, and regardless if a vacuum was used.

Babies receive a lot of pressure coming out, and they are resilient, but I have seen many babies with alignment issues who, when receiving proper care, are easily corrected by a pediatric chiropractor. Sometimes these issues aren’t addressed until the baby is 3-4 weeks old, for example, until the new parents are suggested to see a craniosacral therapist or pediatric chiropractor by the Postpartum Doula.

A fussy baby is an indication that something is wrong. Don’t panic. It doesn’t mean something is devastatingly bad or seriously wrong or hurting the baby. It means there could be one tiny variable that something is off. So let’s narrow it down, go down the list, and figure it out together.

There are different levels of fussiness; and it can be super overwhelming for new parents! The role of the Postpartum Doula alone is not trained in, or to offer, newborn care. It’s in my scope as a Certified Advanced Newborn Care Specialist to help you through issues you’re having if you’re my client, and this is why I do emergency, remote Newborn Consultations

Determining what is and what is not colic, the definition of Purple Crying, determining the baby as being hungry, if they’re clusterfeeding, variables from Baby being too warm and a frantic parent actually thinking Baby is cold, to a hair strung around Baby’s finger, to a tiny gas bubble, to a wet diaper that is irritating Baby and not turning the diaper indicator line blue – all these variables and more can justifiably confuse a parent and cause so… much… frustration!

If a pacifier is going to save you sanity, then by all means, use it. How many pediatricians have admitted to me they used it on the first night with their newborn… I don’t have enough fingers to count.

Also, if the new mother has cracked and bleeding nipples, there’s an issue with improper latch and possibly not a deep enough latch, and other variables I’m not going to go into at this moment, and then a pacifier may provide relief to that baby while she gets help from an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or from a Lactation Counseling Consultation on what to do get baby fed, help heal her nipples, proper nipple care, guidance for preventing further similar issues, and a plan to protect her milk supply. 

Don’t judge yourself. We aren’t going to judge new parents, that’s ridiculous, and you’re not welcome here if you’re judging a new parent. So let’s establish that as rule number 1: we aren’t going to judge ourselves because, let’s face it, there’s just not a great foundation of proper prenatal or postpartum care in America, which is one of the main reasons the American Doula profession has grown so much, because in Europe and other countries it’s just standard decency that the government both allows and provides multiple, and I repeat, several, postpartum nurses to visit and care for the newly postpartum mother in the first week and first few weeks (if not more) after childbirth. You’re off the hook here, it’s not your fault you’re here now, so let’s get to the point and get you some quick tips!

  1. The room should be darkened already (with the correct lighting that doesn’t inhibit melataonin), your white noise sound machine should be on, and the room should be comfortable with the correct humidity and temperature for your baby’s age.
  2. Ideally, your baby has been fully fed and burped and held upright for 15 minutes after each feed (so they aren’t having issues with tiny gas bubbles and reflex) then laid down for sleep on their back.
  3. When laying them down, place your hand on your baby without changing the amount of pressure of moving your hand at all, and without moving your hand around as that stimulates nerve endings. No petting, no rubbing, just a steady, slightly firm amount of pressure to let your baby feel your warmth and that you’re still there. This gives them a sense of security and comfort. Keep your hand there for about a minute.
  4. Sleep is a learned behavior which is directly associated with a caregiver-child relationship; the way your baby learns to sleep now will directly impact how they face stressful issues. They need to learn it from you. Your gift of sleep conditioning is an empowering investment in their future which will carry on into the future as it will give them the ability to calm themselves when they face a stressful situation as a child and even as an adult. Through these tips of sleep conditioning, your baby will eventually learn to self-soothe (when your baby is an infant, not a newborn) and you may be able to avoid sleep training.
  5. If your baby is agitated and moving around even after holding your hand steadily on their tummy for over a minute, you can take both your hands and gently, ever so gently, I said super gently, squeeze their sides and hold. Newborns were inside the womb, which was a very snug environment, and some newborns need to feel a tighter boundary and like to be able to feel they’re safe and secure. You can release a little pressure little by little over a bit of time and then lift your hands.
  6. If they become too agitated, you may need to keep your hands on their side and slowly jiggle them to settle them a little. This can be for about 15 seconds, while you quietly “shh, shh, shh” in a staccato fashion. Then when you see them start to settle, slow down your little jiggle and hold your hands at their sides steadily for about thirty seconds, and then gently release pressure and lift your hands slowly.
  7. You may need to do this a few times. Some babies are out right away with just this technique.
  8. Other babies need more. You may even need to pat their tummy/side softly while shushing. Some newborns love this and they’re settled immediately, while other babies are too stimulated by this. Every baby is unique. Do not try this until you have tried the above steps more than once.
  9. If after trying a few times, they may be need to feed a little more, they may have a gas bubble and need to be burped, or they may have a wet diaper. If you already did these things, the chances are not high, but sometimes Baby is still hungry. Do you ever want a little more, an extra serving, a snack, or something sweet after a meal? Babies do, too.
  10. If you are certain they’re totally full, and nothing has worked, their diaper is dry, they could be overtired (did you have them up for more than the golden hour? Try not to exceed more than an hour to 90 minutes wake time for a newborn.) You may calm them by mimicking your womb, and “SHHHHH” near their ear. 
  11. Time to pick up Baby now. You may swing and sway Baby ever so softly but swiftly in your arms, while Baby is in cradle position, to wear their head is softly jiggly ever so slightly. Do not have them upright on your chest or over your shoulder and then start to bounce. Also do not bounce while sitting on your birth ball. Would you want to be bounced after you’ve drank something, like a milkshake? Think about it… You will cause your baby to spit up. Swaying from side to side for a few minutes usually does the trick and Baby will be fast asleep. You can then set Baby down on their back and place your hand with slightly firm, steady pressure (don’t move your hand around) on their chest for about thirty seconds, or at their sides with both hands. This usually settles them to sleep.
  12. Still not sleeping? This is usually when a pacifier is introduced. If you touch Baby’s lips with the pacifier and Baby starts rooting, they’re hungry! Feed them. If they’re not, insert it gently and slowly to where they won’t be startled and until they grasp on and start sucking. Usually after a short time, that pacifier will be dropped out of your baby’s mouth. Through sucking, serotonin is released by your baby’s brain, allowing for a faster transition to sleep.
  13. Do not go in and continually put the pacifier in your baby’s mouth. You do not want a ticket to the musical pacifier ride at this theme park. Avoid this at all costs… usually this can easily be avoided by a few sucks on the pacifier and then they drop it and they’re off in la la land. 
  14. When you leave the pacifier in, now that’s when the problem starts. Don’t allow them to sleep with it. Remove it after a couple minutes. This way you allowed them to self-soothe with the pacifier, and removed it when it wasn’t needed anymore, and no addiction is formed. 

If you do the above for a couple of fussy moments, it will cease and your baby can learn to self-soothe and go back to sleep on their own.

Are Pacifiers Good For For Baby?

Babies are born wanting to suck. Some even suck their thumbs or fingers before they’re born in Mommy’s womb. Sucking is often an important method of self-soothing as it is comforting, familiar and a calming mechanism in their new world outside of the womb. The American Academy of Pediatrics gives pacifiers the green light throughout baby’s first year for the following reasons:

The Pros

  • Researchers have found an association between pacifier use during sleep and a reduced risk of SIDS/SUIDS.
  • Pacifiers do not decrease breastfeeding rates in full term infants.
  • Also, studies show pacifiers actually help with breastfeeding. 
  • Some babies are happiest when they’re sucking on something. They are born with over 70 reflexes that they grow out of overtime, and one of them is a sucking reflex! This is a non-nutritive sucking reflex, and often confuses parents to thinking their baby is hungry when their baby just wants to suck!
  • There is a physiological process where an infant moves from a “suckling” pattern to a “sucking” pattern to a more mobile “collection and swallowing” pattern. Pacifiers can help infants with oral muscle flaccidity, difficulties with latch during breastfeeding, or encourage sucking in pre-term newborns. 
  • A pacifier may help your baby go to sleep if your baby is fussy.
  • A pacifier may buy you a few minutes when your baby is hungry to empty your bladder, find a comfortable spot to nurse or to prepare a bottle, or be helpful during shots or blood tests. It is super imperative to curb maternal or paternal anxiety from seeing your baby cry from medical procedures. Come on, say it. You matter, too. Give yourself a break here.
  • Pacifiers are inexpensive and recyclable.
  • Most pacifiers designed now are orthodontically-approved.
  • The binky is easily disposable. Toss when its time to stop. You can’t do that with fingers if baby prefers to suck their thumb.

The Cons

  • Your baby may become dependent on the pacifier and wake up frequently if you choose to replace it every time it falls out of their mouth.
  • Pacifier use may increase the risk of middle ear infections. However, rates of middle ear infections are generally lowest from birth to age 6 months – when the risk of SIDS is the highest and during this time period is when your baby may be most interested in a pacifier. Usually the babies who are not allowed to keep their pacifier in too long don’t get addicted to pacifiers, and around 6 months of age, they are generally not interested in it anyways.
  • Typically, the reflexive need to suck (non-nutrative sucking reflex) slows by approximately 5 months of age. This is also when we begin to hear our children coo and babble quite a bit. That is generally the appropriate time to stop offering the pacifier. Again, studies show that 90% of SIDS deaths occur before the age of 6 months of age. According to Speech Pathologists and Certified Oralfacial Myologists, using a pacifier after that time is simply not necessary and instead becomes a “nurturing” pattern the parent offers to the child.
  • Prolonged pacifier use may lead to dental problems. Normal pacifier use during the first few years of life doesn’t cause long-term dental problems. If your child continues to use a pacifier persistently, however, their top front teeth may slant out or the upper and lower jaws may be misaligned. This can be avoided by not allowing the pacifier to be left in your baby’s mouth when sleeping, not allowing it during awake time, moved out of sight by the parent and/or caregiver when the baby is awake, by providing appropriate teething toys instead, and by choosing an orthodontically-safe pacifier in the first place. Breastfeeding instead of bottle-feeding also helps with preventing dental problems. 

Pacifier Tips

  • Let your baby set the pace. If they aren’t interested, skip the binky entirely!
  • If the pacifier falls out while they’re sleeping, don’t pop it back in!
  • Try other ways to calm your baby first. Change their position, sway for a few minutes, check if they’re hungry or if their diaper is soiled.
  • Before using a new pacifier, wash it with soap and water, and sterilize by boiling it! Avoid fungus by soaking it in equal parts white vinegar and water for a few minutes a day and air dry thoroughly before returning it to your baby. Thrush can be transferred to and from Baby, Mom, and pacifiers so be sure to sterilize any pacifiers you have, and often. You may also pop it in the dishwasher to clean it depending on the brand.
  • Watch for signs of deterioration. Replace pacifiers before they deteriorate; cracked nipples can tear off and pose a choking hazard.
  • Use caution with pacifier clips; use a short strap to prevent it from wrapping around your baby’s neck. Better yet, don’t use one.
  • Once a favorite paci is established, buy a few identical binkies to have on-hand.
  • Choose the one-piece, dishwasher-safe variety. Pacifiers made of two pieces pose a choking hazard.
  • Pull the plug before the bad habit forms. If you are jumping to put the pacifier into the baby’s mouth because the baby cannot stay asleep without it, it is a bad habit, your baby is clearly restless because they’re hungry, wet, have an air bubble/gas trapped, are teething, or have another issue. A pacifier addition can happen the first week of life. Remember 3 times starts a habit.

Recommended Pacifiers

Clockwise from top left to right:
  1. Eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, 100% pure natural rubber pacifier with orthodontic nipple: Sweetie Pacifier
  2. 100% medical grade silicone & dishwasher-safe: Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT Pacifier
  3. Eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, 100% pure natural rubber pacifier with orthodontic nipple: Natursutten Butterfly Orthodontic Rubber Pacifier
  4. Best classic paci and great for cleft palette: BIBS Pacifier
  5. Most popular pacifier for newborns up to 3 months (most American hospitals send these home with new parents after childbirth): Philips Avent Green Soothie
  6. Best pacifier for preemies up to 30 weeks gestation (not 30 weeks postpartum): Philips Wee Thumbie
  7. Best orthodontic pacifier for infants up to 2 months old and best pacifier for breastfed babies: MAM Newborn Start Pacifiers
  8. Best pacifier for breastfed babies: The First Years GumDrop
  9. Best classic paci and great for cleft palette: BIBS Pacifier
  10. Best glow-in-the-dark binky and for bottle-fed babies: Tommee Tippee Pacifier
  11. Another best orthodontic paci for up to 3 months: NUK Newborn Pacifier
  12. Best pacifier for cleft palette and tongue-tie: WubbaNub (see various styles)
  13. Best clinical and silicone binkie: Chicco PhysioForma Pacifier
  14. Best anti-colic and ergonomic paci for breastfed babies: Nanobébé’s Flexy Pacifier

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What is Sleep Training?

Nourish Birth Sleep Training

Sleep training encourages your baby to be on a schedule which will maximize cognitive development. It all starts with a daytime sleep training schedule which greatly impacts their nighttime sleep training outcomes. Neurons grow and brain development increases at an accelerated pace at night. Therefore the quality and duration of a baby’s nighttime sleep have a greater impact on overall growth and development than their daytime sleep. However, nighttime sleep is dependent upon the quality of daytime sleep. This is because babies develop specific, organized thoughts that permit them to learn and unlearn all the sensory input they experienced during the day.

Therefore a good night’s rest means more than just a peaceful night for the family. The actually quality of your baby’s sleep allows her to form memories and start emotionally bonding with those they interact with during the day. Hence, the earlier sleep training begins, the earlier they have this cognitive development tool to help them bond with you, and the sooner she can start forming memories about her family!

When sleep training, Newborn Care Specialists feed, diaper, and care for infants much differently during the night than we do during the day. At night, it’s tough love – all business. You do not want your baby to enjoy getting up at night!

  1. We give your baby a 5 minute relaxing, warm bath.
  2. We give your baby a 2-minute oil massage: downward strokes on limbs, clockwise circles on the tummy, outward sweeps on the chest, small circles on head and face, and sweep downward strokes on back and feet.
  3. We put your baby to bed as soon as they get sleepy but are still awake. This teaches them to self-soothe and shows your baby they are capable to put themselves back to sleep when they wake during the night.

Our sleep training methods at night involve no lights (as we feed in the dark or with a small light on), no talking to them, no singing, no eye contact, no TV, no music, no mobiles, no rocking, no singing, and no diaper changes unless they have dirty diapers.

We do not wake a sleeping baby. Only if the baby is premature and/or the pediatrician instructs do we awaken the baby every 3 hours to eat. When the baby is gaining a ½ pound a week, we allow them to sleep. If the baby stirs, we do not pick them up. We wait until they are at a full cry before attending to them because many times they will go back to sleep. We prefer gentle sleep shaping or gentle sleep conditioning to help soothe them as they physiologically cannot self-soothe on their own.

First, we change the baby’s diaper and re-swaddle. If you are breastfeeding, we bring your baby to you for nursing. If the baby is bottle-fed and a one-ounce drinker and goes back to sleep, we unswaddle and feed more, and if they continue to sleep through, we change them using cool baby wipes on their bottom to wake them up to continue to feed and ensure they eat or they will be waking up again soon wanting to eat. We take care of overnights for you so that you can rest. This includes helping you learn to store your breastmilk and then feeding your baby at night, along with properly sterilizing your bottles.

As your baby grows, then during the daytime our goal is to encourage your baby to consume more so they receive the nutrition they’d usually get at one of the nighttime feedings, so eventually, the baby is getting their adequate amount of nutrition for their weight. Nighttime feedings move to their daytime feedings and they eventually sleep through the night, allowing mom and dad a peaceful and full nights rest as well.

If you need help sleep training your newborn or infant or toddler, I can help you. I do not allow babies to sleep with the bottle as they age. Sleeping with the bottle can lead to serious tooth decay as well as cause ear infections. Fluid from the bottle and germs from saliva drain into your baby’s Eustachian tubes at the back of their throat, leading to their middle ear. I’ve taken over jobs where children have not been sleep-trained properly, waking up to twelve times a night because they were given a bottle to sleep and they couldn’t sleep unless it was in their mouth. They’d wake every time it fell out of their mouth. It is a vicious cycle to break but it can be done.

I’ve also trained children who scream to get out of their crib or bed at 4am or 5am, training them to stay in bed until 7am or when parents deem it to be an appropriate time to start the day. Children need boundaries and structure to feel safe and secure. They want these boundaries and it can be a nurturing experience for them to receive them. It is also exciting for them as they recognize self-accomplishment when they meet your goals; and feel better about themselves and the little human beings they’re becoming.

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Tummy Time Instructions

Nourish Birth Tummy Time Instructions

Tummy time enables your newborn baby to receive several essential developmental benefits as your newborn engages their entire body to lay the foundation of all of their sensorimotor skills for their entire life.

How exactly do you do tummy time? Follow the timeline below and read the tummy time tips. It’s never too late to start tummy time exercises, and to give your baby all the tools they need to reap the tummy time benefits.

Tummy Time Timeline

  1. From birth to 3 weeks: Tummy time should start the day baby comes home from the hospital, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A good time to play with your newborn in this position is after a diaper change or nap. Begin by placing your baby on your chest (practice Kangaroo Care), as often as possible and preferably skin to skin while you are laying down. In the first few weeks, try tummy time for 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day, at different times of the day. Your newborn can build up to 10-15 minutes a day.
  2. Around age 3 weeks to 1 month: One to two times daily, hold your baby upright with their belly against your upper chest and their head resting against your shoulder. Gently support your newborn’s neck and head with your hand. As they lift their head they are strengthening their neck and back. This simple exercise allows babies to develop the ability to move their face out of a blanket or mattress in case they accidentally roll to the stomach. When you do place him on his tummy, gently lift his head a tiny bit. Show him how to slowly swing his face to the side. Place safe objects and toys close to your newborn. Move them from side to side in front of her face. This encourages her to move, lift and turn her head.
  3. At age 2-3 months: It is easier for your newborn if you place your hand under their chest during the tummy exercise. This helps to lift your baby a tiny bit. Always put both of their arms in front to help them start learning how to use their arms to push up.

Tummy Time Tips

  • Supervise your newborn during tummy time. Never leave your baby alone. As they get stronger and start moving more, clear away dangerous objects like tables with sharp corners.
  • If your baby doesn’t like tummy time on the floor, do tummy time on a rolled-up towel or your lap. You can later transition to the floor.
  • Newborn babies have limited strength and poor head control. They tend to cry. Thus some parents fear and avoid it. Begin with brief sessions, a few minutes at a time. The key is to stay consistent. Then gradually increase the time as they grow through tummy time. Prepare to be amazed how quickly your newborn will gain strength and develop their vestibular system. They will improve coordination, sensory, oral and motor skills, all while they build self-confidence.
  • Get down on your baby’s level, interact by talking eye-to-eye. Sing songs, stroke their back, and tickle their hands. Engage in facial expressions, smile, and encourage touch. This enables your child to feel safe and secure in tummy time, ultimately enjoying the experience and benefits of learning to move and play.
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Newborn Development From Tummy Time

Nourish Birth Newborn Development From Tummy Time

In your tummy, your baby was curled up in a little ball shape. Tummy time exercises allow your baby to open up and gently elongate the front of their body for optimal newborn development. Tummy time itself does not hurt. However, it is a brand new, stimulating experience for babies to process as they engage their entire body to lay the foundation of all of their sensorimotor skills for their entire life.

Benefits of Tummy Time:

  1. Tummy time teaches your baby safety techniques. For example, routinely sleeping on their stomach raises a baby’s risk of SIDS about 4 times. However, SIDS risk increases 8-37 times when babies under 4 months sleep on their back and then accidentally roll onto their stomach. Naturally, your baby will flip over during sleep as they age, but the way you can protect them is to provide them with skills learned through doing tummy time exercises. These safety techniques will help them to free their face by arching their back and lifting their head when they do eventually roll over.
  2. Tummy time promotes visual development through building visual motor skills, binocular vision, two eye coordination, looking upward, and moving eyes side to side independent of head movements. This can influence later activities in life such as copying a teacher’s notes from a whiteboard and following a moving object such as a baseball.
  3. Tummy time eases tummy function to help reduce gas and reflux, decrease constipation, and encourage bowel movements.
  4. Tummy time builds motor skills of the arm, hand, neck, and shoulder for rolling over, crawling, and eventually walking. Tummy time also prevents torticollis, abnormal or asymmetrical neck positioning, due to tightness in the neck muscle. Babies may be having trouble with active head and neck movements when they do not turn their head or stare in one area without moving their eyes. Studies show a direct correlation linking thirty waking minutes of consistent tummy time with higher newborn developmental task scores and improved gross motor control of the neck and head when compared to babies who did not practice tummy time exercises.
  5. Tummy time produces the optimal head shape. Most babies sleep on their backs, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and long periods of time can create pressure on one area of the head. Then when awake, babies are often playing on their backs which reinforces that pressure. A baby’s soft skull molds easily, and this can create a flat spot on that area of the head. Daily tummy time exercises give the baby a break from their back, ensuring a round head and prevents neck troubles and imbalances flat spots can bring due to one side of their head weighing more than the other side.
  6. Tummy time engages oral function while strengthening throat, tongue, and oral skills for optimal latch and feeding. Without enough exposure to tummy time, baby’s tongue will not function optimally.
  7. Tummy time facilitates sensory skills and input for hands to mouth and lips, as well as vestibular skills which help the brain register and respond to whether an object they are looking at is moving or if their head is moving, how quickly, and in what direction. It also helps them have balance and equilibrium, equipping them to coordinate both sides of their body together for future activities like catching a ball, riding a bike, cutting with scissors, and zipping a jacket. Tummy time helps the vestibular system to also develop muscle tone for sitting still and upright in a classroom and holding their body parts in-position like when practicing ballet technique.
  8. Tummy time inspires self-confidence and establishes a connection when your baby is complemented after working so hard. Spending time praising your baby after even thirty seconds of exercises does wonders for your baby’s neurodevelopment. Research has shown that the single most important building block of self-esteem is the responsiveness of the caregivers to the cues of the infant. This means your reactions give meaning and importance to your baby’s impulses.

Tummy Time Methods

A Newborn Care Specialist can help you and your baby through tummy time to reach your baby’s newborn developmental milestones. Learn tips on how to do tummy time here.

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Overstimulating A Newborn

Overstimulating A Newborn

Overstimulating a newborn is very easy to do and it’s important to learn the cues to avoid crossing this delicate line. When your baby is overtired or overstimulated, a pacifier can’t always do the trick! A Doula or Newborn Care Specialist can teach you about the secrets of the fourth trimester and how to nurture your newborn back into feeling a familiar safe, secure environment which mimics your womb.

Signs of Sleepy Baby

They are calming down, they’re sucking slower, they’re yawning, eyes do not look around, eyelids start to droop.

Signs of an Overstimulated Baby

They’re cranky, irritable, they’re crying uncontrollably, they look away from you, they’re staring at a wall (gaze aversion), crying, arching of back and neck, tremors, coughing, flailing arms or legs, sneezing, rubbing eyes, twitching, grasping, sighing, breathing rate may be faster or slower or may have pauses that last 2 seconds or more, skin may be pale, dusky, red or/and blotchy, arms and/or legs may be extended or stretched out, fingers and/or toes splayed, hands in fists, high arm position where arms are over the head and forearms lay across the face in self-protecting or shielding manner, rigid flaccid body, squirming, jerking, mouth open limply, or tongue extending beyond lips.

Calming Your Baby

Too many visitors, whether it be relative or friends, too early just after giving birth can also overstimulate your baby. It is important to have your baby on a sleep training schedule to avoid overstimulating. Ensure there is Daddy time and sibling time, but also be instinctive of your baby’s needs. A Doula or Newborn Care Specialist can help you by telling guests when it’s an appropriate time to visit or distract siblings when Mommy needs to breastfeed or bathe the baby, as well as educate parents on soothing techniques which the baby instinctually already knows and effectively responds to.

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Choosing A Formula Supplement

Nourish Birth Choosing a Formula Supplement

Choosing how to supplement your baby’s diet with formula can be puzzling. Currently there are 6 major categories of formula on our market shelves today. They include:

  1. Cow’s Milk Based Formulas
  2. Soy Based Formulas
  3. Hypoallergenic Formulas
  4. Lactose Free Formulas
  5. Organic Formulas
  6. Formulas for Babies with Special Needs

It is important to make an educated decision on the type of formula supplement you will feed to your baby. Hiring a Doula or Newborn Care Specialist includes discussing and educating the mother with in-depth research done by industry professionals on the advantages and disadvantages of each category of formula.

For example, did you know in cow’s milk based formulas, the proteins are made more digestible by adding more lactose which makes it similar to breast milk, and butterfat is replaced by vegetable oils? And did you know that although there is a category of hypoallergenic formulas, that no formula is NON-allergenic, and that the specialty formulas just have degrees of lesser stimulation of the allergic response or a sensitivity to the protein in the formula?

We will discuss Dairy Allergy Vs. Dairy Hypersensitivities, soy formulas, iron-fortified formulas, and the importance of choosing a formula without artificial DHA/ARA. It is imperative that all parents be made aware of the potential risks of feeding their babies formula with DHA/ARA, and then given a list of formulas which have DHA/ARA without the use of hexane (a neurotoxin) in the manufacturing process.

After choosing a formula, we will discuss the available forms of your preferred formula supplement (powder, ready-to-use, ready-to-pour, or concentrated liquid) and how to prepare formula properly for your precious little one.

Lastly we will discuss:

  • bottle types
  • nipple sizes
  • how often to supplement with formula
  • how much to supplement with formula
  • physical signs of your infant getting enough nutrition
  • guidelines for weight gain
  • signs of underfeeding and over feeding
  • safe formula feeding tips
  • formula guidelines
  • bottle temperature
  • converting ccs to ounces
  • water usage in formula
  • how to clean and sterilize bottles and equipment
  • the Kangaroo Care method
  • and any questions you have

Book your Virtual Newborn Care Consultation for fast solutions on feeding and other concerns you may have.

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Bonding Naturally with Your Baby

Nourish Birth Kangaroo Care Skin to Skin

Bonding with your newborn baby can happen immediately after birthing through a method called Kangaroo Care. This promotes psychological and physical well-being for both your newborn and for you as the mother. Kangaroo Care includes skin-to-skin contact and exclusively breastfeeding.

Kangaroo Care is excellent for both parents, however. Studies show lowered testosterone levels when fathers experience skin-to-skin with their babies. All babies and all parents benefit from Kangaroo Care, regardless on the feeding method.

Kangaroo Care is wonderful for mothers who have problems breastfeeding, too, when needing to feed their newborn formula and/or through a tube. Having your baby suck and nuzzle on empty breasts can help stimulate your milk production. In fact, practicing skin-to-skin contact with the mother stimulates a specific part of the newborn’s brain, causing the baby to instinctively move to the breast, self-attach, and feed. This increases the baby’s physical development. Secondly, kangaroo care causes the baby to gaze at his or her mother, ensuring emotional and social development.

This should begin right after giving birth and is always a great benefit at any time during the first few weeks. For an infant in need such as a premature baby, it can be used continuously day and night however it is beneficial any amount of time it is experienced.

Kangaroo Care Bonding Benefits are amazing!

  1. Acceleration of your baby’s brain development occurs with bonding through Kangaroo Care, lowering levels of cortisol, the hormone produced when undergoing stress, after just 20 minutes of skin to skin contact.
  2. Your baby gets better sleep with lowered cortisol levels as well.
  3. Research shows a baby’s digestive system can be restored to perfect balance after one hour of skin-to-skin contact.
  4. Your baby will also cry less and be calmer through this bonding tool because your heartbeat and warmth remind them of the safe, familiar world they were once in when inside your womb.
  5. Thermal synchrony phenomenon occurs as the temperature of your chest increases to warm your cold baby and decreases to cool your overly warm baby.
  6. Antibodies will pass through your skin to your baby and strengthen your baby’s immune system.
  7. Kangaroo Care naturally stabilizes the newborn’s respiration and oxygenation, increases glucose levels (reducing hypoglycemia), regulates blood pressure and heart rate, and increases the quiet alert state.
  8. When you begin bonding skin-to-skin with your baby immediately following birth, they are more likely to breastfeed than a baby who has been swaddled immediately after birth. Furthermore, the more your baby breastfeeds, the sooner your milk comes in and the better your milk supply will be.
  9. Researchers have found that preterm infants who experience Kangaroo Care have longer periods of sleep, gain more weight, decrease their crying, have longer periods of alertness, and earlier hospital discharge.
  10. Babies held skin-to-skin by their fathers are proven to have higher temperature and glucose levels compared to those of babies left alone under warmers.
  11. Depriving babies of skin-to-skin can lead to ADD, colic, and sleep disorders.