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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I am a nursing student working my way through school to be a midwife. I am also a birth assistant. I do a lot of work with day one postpartum women in my clinicals and at the birth center where I work. Here is my question: What info./advice would have been most helpful for you to know in the first few days/weeks?

I don't have any children of my own yet, I hope to in the next couple of years
. I feel like I have so much to try to cover with new parents, especially in the hospital where parents haven't had much teaching throughout pregnancy on the newborn period (versus the birth center where parents are more informed).

You only have so much time, and parents are so overloaded in those first days, what do you wish someone would have taught you/ or gone over more with you?
 

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For me, the two biggest issues in those first days were breastfeeding and vax'es.

The nurses kept telling me that I had to supplement with formula until my milk came in and that dd wasn't getting enough to eat
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Also, I was told that dd had to get the HepB vax after birth
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I wish someone would have better supported me and informed me on both counts.
 

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Breastfeeding info for sure. People should be told that unlike alot of experts say, alot of the time it CAN be kind of sore for a bit while your nipples adjust and that is ok and normal.

Also info on the fact that sometimes newborns are inconsolable for a night or two (or more) just due to adjusting to their new world. I was going crazy on elimination diets, trying to do a routine, thinking I was doing something wrong or she had colic, when I think in actual fact its just a normal baby thing that most newborns go through.

Its really great you're asking these questions!
 

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I think reading this article from Mothering on crying in arms could be really helpful. It certainly completely changed my relationship with my dd, and brought about lots of healing.

If you're interested in reading more on this topic, it has been well debated here and here.
 

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Wow! I think just the fact that you are thinking about these things and asking for input shows that you are going to be great at this.
I would suggest, if you haven't, getting in touch with your local La Leche League leaders. They have huge amounts of information, much specifically for health professionals, but also one of their sessions is "Just home from the hospital" about getting started, tips, etc, and I am sure that would give you lots to work with.
Some of the things I found helpful were...
Trust your instincts - so often women are afraid to.
Erikson's "Trust vs. Mistrust" child development - it gave me scientific backup for always responding to my baby - new moms are too often told they will spoil their baby.
With breastfeeding advice, be sure they understand it is normal and expected that Baby will want to nurse every 20 minutes til the milk comes in! I even forgot that when my 3rd DD was born, I was like, what is happening, she can't be hungry! Too many moms are not told that it is perfectly normal, and then fall prey to those who tell them "Oh, you must not have/be able to make enough milk! Give them a bottle!" Of course, not all babies do this.
Also, if you can give the moms help with what to expect from their own bodies that would be helpful. With my first I had retained placenta but I did not know it was not normal to not be able to bend over without severe pain! I wasn't going to complain; I had just had a baby, after all! I didn't think anything of it until I hemorhaged (sp?) at two weeks and wound up hospitalized!
What a great burden I have placed on you, to make sure these moms know everything!! Perhaps the best thing you can do is give them some resources so they can find out the information they need - like LLL, if you could provide them with the local leader's name and ph #, and maybe refer them to Dr Sears, or Mothering, or other trustworthy sources to which they can turn for their particular needs.....
Blessings to you on your journey.....
 

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Definatly breastfeeding and any and all support groups that get mama's to meet other mama's - get outta the house etc. Postpartum depression stuff.

I wish people had advised me about co-sleeping more...I bet I would have gotten a lot more sleep in those first 6 weeks if I had really been shown what a great idea it is.

Vax, Vitamin D and Circ are others.

Dawn
 

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Breastfeeding and not giving it up, NO CIRCUMCISION, gentle parenting, no letting baby cry for any amount of time for any reason, babies need touch and kindness, lots and lots of
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:

Thanks so much! I do have many of these things on my "list" of stuff to cover. I do have a bit of breastfeeding training, so I do focus on that a lot. Sometimes its hard though, I took care of my first formula fed baby last semester (straight to formula) and that was hard to take...

I definitely could add more emphasis on not allowing CIO. I do give parents ideas for different soothing techniques, but I do need to focus more on the reasons behind it like how important it is for the babys development.
 

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Absolutely breastfeeding first of all. I had a "lactation consultant" come see me after I gave birth, but I wouldn't say it was all that informative. I was told my baby was "too big" and I didn't have enough milk for him right away. I still breastfeed, but I have a very low supply and I think that it might be in part due to the fact that I supplemented a bit in the beginning.

I also second circ. I didn't circ, but I came across info by accident to be completely honest. If I hadn't of, I probably would've made the mistake of circ'ing because I thought that's what EVERYONE did. I don't think people realize that they have an option, as silly as that sounds.
 

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I like to stress the importance of baby being close to mom (and this goes along with not CIO) by telling them that an infant literally believes that they are one with mom (it takes something like 18 months to 3 years before a child fully understands that they are an individual, separate from their mother). By separating the baby from the mom, the baby feels as though they've lost an appendage, so to speak. So it's extremely important for baby's emotional well-being to be close to mom as much as possible.
 

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Will the medical establishment have issues with you if you inform parents of the truth on things? When I tried to co-sleep with my newborn those nurses popping in every couple hours through the night made me stop and tried to tell me I'd kill my baby. I couldn't stand leaving him in the bassinet untouched when he'd been held warm and soft inside til then, so I didn't sleep in the hospital at all. The lactation consultant looked at DS's 10.5% weight loss and bad latch and sleepiness and gave me formula, warning me that they would take him and hospitalize him if I didn't get his weight back up within 1 day (day 4) I pumped and gave bottles of colostrum/transitional milk instead because he couldn't keep the formula down, smart baby. Nobody told me 14 was a perfectly fine bilirubin level on day 4 and all he needed was to get milk going through him to get the jaundice down, no when I said isn't that pretty normal the doc's response was he'll get brain damage, he needs to be isolated under lights. I knew better through all of this but if I didn't comply they said they'd take him away.

Nobody told me how awsome it would be getting outside after my natural birth, hormones heightening my senses. I feel sorry for moms who don't experience that because they're locked in the hospital and treated like invalids for days, or filled with drugs that inhibit the release of those hormones. Nobody told me he'd sleep all the first day and I could let him and sleep too, cause after that I'd be waking him to feed every couple hours round the clock and spending 1.5 hours on getting milk into him each time for a week. Nobody told me I could still take those 5 blankets off him and cuddle him skin to skin even though he was more than an hour or so old and nurses had put them on him.

I really envy you the opurtunity to make life simpler and more pleasant for new moms and just born babies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I haven't had many issues with telling the truth as of yet, but I'm switching clinicals to a much less progressive hospital this fall (I'll keep ya posted). For example, the little book they give new parents at the more progressive hospital was pretty evidenced based. I read it cover to cover because my instructor told us that we shouldn't really give opposing views because parents come back and complain about how confusing that is. Luckily I found the info. in the book to be correct (I know the IBCLC that helped with the BF part and shes great). The problem is some of the nurses hold completely dated ideals and don't follow hospital protocol. I don't have to deal with them much because they are so busy that they are happy to have a student to take a patient off their load. Most of the moms I came across seemed to soak up everything I told them (which is a little scarey- I heard a peds doctor give horrible advice and the parents soaked that up). But, I am happy to know that I can make a small impact on that mamababy before they go home.

All this advice is very helpful
. Its hard when you don't have your own baby yet, so I research and listen to other mothers.
 

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Yes on the breastfeeding, including ideas on where they could get support. I found that I had time to read 'hand-outs' after birth, but didn't retain much info. that was spoken to me. The hand-outs were great to refer to. Lists of local resources might be helpful. Also, that babies bf often and for a LONG time. A few minutes later, it can start all over again - and that's not only o.k., but good for mom and baby.

Another rec. is to let the parents know they have options. Some things, I didn't even know I HAD an option about, just b/c it wasn't the way I had seen things done. Maybe let them know they can choose to co-sleep, or side-car or crib, etc. Give them info. so they can see there are choices to be made.

Suggest to Mom to take it easy and listen to her baby. She and baby both need time to adjust. At first, I was concerned that my baby would not sleep by herself. I learned she slept wonderfully in my arms and I could rest with her or read or be on the computer. She was telling me she needed that comfort and thank goodness I listened...and boy has that led to so many more wonderful experiences!

Also, I think it would be good to mention that it's o.k. to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. It takes time to get used to a new way of doing things. I am fortunate that my baby is pretty easy-going, but even then, there were times when I didn't feel like I knew what she wanted.

What wonderful experiences you have ahead of you!
 
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