7 Ways to Help Mom with Baby

7 Ways to Help Mom Get Extra Rest

The first 6 weeks of a newborn’s life can be intense for many reasons. Everyone is excited and marveling in baby’s perfection. Mom is recovering from either her vaginal or cesarean birth. Parents are shocked at how time consuming it is to care for this tiny human. Baby prefers to sleep during the day and play and power-nurse at night. Needless to say, this time can be exhausting. Here are some ways to help mom get a little more SLEEP:

LIGHT CLEANING

Some women cannot rest if their house is a mess. Do some laundry (folding included); load the dishwasher; put away dishes; sweep; help older kids clean up their mess. These are all things that do not take a long time, but can really help mom’s peace of mind. She may be more likely to sleep, when baby sleeps, if she feels like her house is not falling apart.

COOK

Cooking is time consuming. Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! (Especially new parents!) Plus, if mom is breastfeeding, she is most likely RAVENOUS all the time! Cook or bring foods that are nutritious, but that she can also eat one-handed.

TAKE BABY OUTSIDE

Babies and children LOVE being outside. Baby’s fussy? Bring him/her outside. The warm sun, being in nature, new sights, fresh air, the peacefulness – there’s something about being outdoors that will calm the fussiest baby. My husband did this for me often when he would get home from work. This was often the only way I could get in some extra catnaps.

BABYWEAR

Babywearing is not just for mom. While baby often prefers mom and dad, anyone can wear a baby. This is a great way to recreate the womb. He/she was bounced, held tight, and kept warm while in mom’s belly; babywearing recreates that. Babywearing is also great for bonding, while allowing adults to multi-task. So, strap in baby and go for a walk!

SKIN-TO-SKIN

Skin-to-skin does not need to always be with mom. Sometimes mom needs a break. Skin-to-skin with dad is also great. My husband did this often with our little one, especially at night. My son got the warmth and snuggling; my husband got the bonding time; and I got to sleep.

CHANGE DIAPERS

If baby wakes up, change his/her diaper first, then give him/her to mom. Newborns poop a lot! Meaning, they need to be changed a lot! Take over diaper changes when home, so that mom gets a break and maybe even a few more moments to herself. Plus, baby gets familiar with someone else that can meet his/her non-nutritional needs.

ENCOURAGE CO-SLEEPING

Co-sleeping will look differently for each family. It is advised for baby to at least be in the same room as mom. The closer baby is to mom, the more mom stabilizes baby’s breathing, encourages nursing, reduces the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), AND gets more sleep. Make sure you are practicing co-sleeping safely.

What are some other ways to help mom get more sleep during the newborn phase? Comment below!

I am a certified doula, childbirth and parenting educator. I am also a registered nurse and a breastfeeding mom. For more information about me and my services, visit MY Birth & Baby.

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7 Best Foods to Give a Breastfeeding Mom

Best Foods to Bring a Breastfeeding Mom

Let’s face it. Hungry does not describe the intense hunger of a breastfeeding mother, especially in the first few weeks! She just ran the marathon of her life – birth, and now she is feeding this little being CONSTANTLY (or so it seems)! Plus, all of her stored nutrients went to her baby while pregnant and will continue to while breastfeeding. This mama needs to EAT!

Wondering how you can help a mother? Bring her food! My church brought food the first week after my son was born; it was the best gift ever! Here are some foods that are easy to eat, but also can be nutritious, for a breastfeeding mom (really, any mom that just gave birth!):

FRUITS/VEGGIES

Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, have great nutrients, fiber, and are easy to eat. Fiber will hopefully minimize constipation. This is especially important if mom is on any pain medication while she is recovering.

MEAT

Meat has high amounts of protein that will help stabilize mom’s blood sugar. Meats high in iron, like beef, are especially good the first few days after birth, especially if extra bleeding occurred. Pick meats that are easy to eat one handed. For instance, I love chicken wings, but way too messy for me while I was nursing so frequently. Burgers and steaks were much easier.

CHEESE

Cheese is a source of dairy that is high in calcium and protein. Bring cheese that is already sliced or in stick form, so that she can simply grab and eat.

CASSEROLES

Add the first 3 foods together and you have a casserole! You can hide tons of nutritious foods in a casserole. Plus, they are solid enough for mom to stab with a fork and eat one handed!

NUTS

Nuts come in convenient bags or cans and are packed with protein. Ideally, find nuts that don’t have a lot of additives or sodium, and have had minimal processing. Stash them around her house, or better yet, put them in her breastfeeding baskets. (If she does not already have a breastfeeding basket, this would be a great gift!)

GRANOLA/PROTEIN BARS

Granola bars are convenient and quick. I had a variety of granola bars sitting on my bedside table at night (remember breastfeeding a newborn is a 24/7 job!), so that I didn’t have to get up and rummage through the fridge in the middle of the night. These are also great for a breastfeeding basket, purse, or diaper bag. Again, find protein bars with minimal processing and refined sugar.

WATER

Last, but certainly not least, is water. Mom needs to drink a lot of water! Her baby will literally drink the fluid right out of her. As my son would nurse, I would get more and more thirsty! I enjoyed infusing my water with fruit because there is only so much water I can drink before I need to drink something with some flavor. We had a water pitcher that was specifically made for infusing, but really, just throwing fruit in a pitcher will have the same effect. Fruits that I enjoyed were lemons, strawberries, and pineapples.

There you have it, 7 ways to help mom while also nourishing her. What would you add to this list?

I am a Breastfeeding Mom that works as a Doula, Childbirth and Parenting Educator in the Lafayette, LA area. For more information about me and my services, visit MY Birth & Baby website.

3 Things all Newborns Need

3 Must-Haves for Your Newborn

Around the end of pregnancy, families, especially mothers, start panicking about all the things they still need to buy in preparation for baby. Some of this is normal nesting. The good news is that newborns really do not need that much STUFF. Here are 3 basic items your little one will need:

BREASTS/FORMULA

Like all of us, your baby will need something to eat. You will have 2 choices: Breastfeeding and Formula-feeding. Breastfeeding is an inexpensive, Meal Ready-to-Eat, and you don’t need any extra supplies. Your breasts start producing colostrum around 16-22 weeks of pregnancy and will be available for your little one immediately after birth. For more information, Kellymom.com has great information about when your milk will come in. If you plan to formula-feed, contact your pediatrician for his/her recommendations. You will also need bottles, and possibly other feeding supplies as well.

CAR SEAT

If you plan on ever leaving your house, or better yet the hospital. You need a car seat. There are MANY to choose from. I drove myself a little crazy researching; but there are many safe options at different price points.

DIAPERS

Life could get a little messy without diapers. You can drive yourself a little crazy researching diapers as well. Basically, though, you have 2 options: disposable or cloth. Disposable diapers are often cheaper initially, but overall you will probably spend more, especially if you have multiple children. Cloth is often more expensive initially, but cheaper overall (depending on the type of diapers you choose and your cloth addiction level), because you wash and reuse cloth. If you are in the Lafayette, LA area check out Lafayette Moms and Babies cloth diaper selection.

Either way, stick to the diapers and skip the cute clothes. Skin-to-skin is so important after birth, it promotes bonding, encourages breastfeeding, and so much more!

Anything else you would add to this list? Comment below!

I teach childbirth and parenting classes in Lafayette, LA. I am also a Doula, Registered Nurse, Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapering Mom. For more information about me and my services, visit MY Birth & Baby.

Supporting Mom While Breastfeeding

Ways to Support a First-Time Breastfeeding Mom

Mothers, in general, are biologically made to breastfeed. Breastfeeding has many health and emotional benefits for mom and baby. It can also be challenging. Mom just birthed a baby, is recovering, and is now providing 24/7 care and nutrition for this totally dependent little human. Encouragement and support from her partner, family, and friends can go a long way as she navigates this new experience. Here are some ways that you can support mom:

DO SOME READING

Read/watch breastfeeding information with mom before the baby arrives. It’s hard to help her when you don’t have the same info. You may have a better memory, you know, pregnancy-brain turned mommy/sleep-deprived-brain and all. There are many great books about breastfeeding. I loved the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. If you take a Birth Boot Camp Childbirth class, there is also a great 3.5 hour Breastfeeding DVD featuring an IBCLC.

FEED HER!

Whenever the baby eats, make sure mom also has food and a drink. I was ravenous while breastfeeding for the first few months! And so thirsty! As the baby drank, my mouth would get drier, and drier. Some mothers have breastfeeding baskets at their favorite breastfeeding locations; stock them with snacks!

CHANGE DIAPERS

Change the baby’s diaper before/during/after nursing; whatever the baby needs. Any extra second of sleep is a win for a mother with a newborn!

ENCOURAGE ONLY MOM TO FEED BABY

Don’t offer to FEED the baby. Mom is biologically made to nurse her baby, not family and friends. Though it may be exhausting the first 4-6 weeks, the frequent feeding is SO IMPORTANT in establishing a good milk supply for the rest of the breastfeeding relationship. Whenever someone else feeds baby, mom needs to pump for that feeding. Otherwise, mom’s body will not know that the baby ate, and she will eventually produce less milk. Most breastfeeding mothers would prefer to nurse than pump. Pumping requires a lot more work – Ain’t nobody got time for that 😉 For more information on what to expect in the early weeks click here.

LIMIT VISITORS

Keep nay-sayers away from mom. In fact, limit visitors. Having a fresh baby is such an exciting time! Nothing draws a crowd faster than a cute baby! However, it’s often awkward trying to learn how to breastfeed with people around all the time, especially if there are issues at first. If visitors must come, encourage brief visits and give them a task! When I had my son, church members brought food and my mom and sister helped with cleaning. This was a huge help, and allowed me to relax more!

SEARCH FOR EVIDENCE-BASED INFO

If you need to look up a question online, please search on reputable sites. Kellymom articles are by an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and evidence-based. La Leche League International (LLLI) also has great information. First-time mothers and first-time breastfeeding mothers often have many questions. Just make sure answers are correct!

HELP HER FIND A SUPPORT GROUP

La Leche League (LLL) is an international breastfeeding support group. They offer online support as well as local meetings. To find the meeting nearest you click here. The LLL Leaders are, also, often available for phone-phone support for issues. If you are in the Lafayette area, you can also join the La Leche League of Lafayette Facebook group. There is also a newly formed Community Breastfeeding Club in the Opelousas, LA area. Encourage mom to attend with, or without, breastfeeding issues. There is no replacement for woman-to-woman support!

FIND AN IBCLC

The early days after birth may be intense with the frequency of nursing, while mom is also trying to recover. So, if she is having issues with breastfeeding (latch, pain, baby losing weight . . .),help her out! An IBCLC specializes in breastfeeding, is up-to-date on evidence-based research, and went through many hours of supporting breastfeeding women to become certified.  Don’t wait! The sooner mom can get help the better!

COMPLIMENT HER!

Last, but not least, tell her how awesome she is doing! She just grew a baby, birthed a baby, and is now nurturing/nourishing him/her – this is not for the weak at heart! This is very important and exhausting work! Let her know you appreciate it and that she is AMAZING!

What was the most helpful thing you did for a breastfeeding mother? Or if you are a breastfeeding mother, what was the most helpful thing someone did for you and your breastfeeding relationship?

I am a breastfeeding, cloth diapering mother of a very active son. I teach childbirth and parenting classes in Lafayette, LA. I am also a doula and a registered nurse. To learn more information about me and my services please visit http://www.MYBirthAndBaby.com.