Waiting to bathe babies after birth leads to better outcomes, according to an Illinois nurse conducting research on the subject.
Unable to find significant research about the benefits of delaying the newborn bath, nurse Courtney Buss spent six months observing and recording outcomes for babies whose first bath was immediate or delayed.
After one month, she found that delaying the first bath for 8-24 hours resulted in the following outcomes:
- Hypothermia rates decreased from 29% to 14%
- Hypoglycemia rates decreased from 21% to 7%
- Breastfeeding rates increased from 51% to 71%
Vernix, which is the white, waxy substance covering newborn babies, keeps babies warm and helps control blood sugar. Because the baby’s body doesn’t have to work hard to stay warm, energy is conserved that can be used for breastfeeding instead.
Thanks to Buss’s research, her hospital system now has a policy to wait 14 hours before baby’s first bath.
How long did you wait to bathe your baby?
We often use the term “undisturbed birth” to describe a birth free of interventions and other stress-inducing factors that disrupt the natural hormonal process that takes place in a physiologic birth.
But as research shows, that period of minimal disturbance should continue after baby arrives as well, for at least an hour that is often referred to as “The Golden Hour.”
In a post on Collective-evolition.com, Alexa Erickson discusses four benefits of an undisturbed first hour in which the newborn and its mother have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact:
Allows the baby to begin breastfeeding
Permits body system regulation
Allows the baby to receive better oxygen
Initiates motherbaby bonding
To facilitate this undisturbed hour, Erickson recommends
There should be a warm blanket placed over both mother and baby to slow the production of the adrenaline hormone in her to avoid interference with oxytocin and prolactin hormones being produced. The environment should be quiet.
Height, weight, head circumference, and the newborn exam can all wait. So can the eager relatives waiting to hold the new baby! For a healthy baby, the best place to be immediately after birth is skin-to-skin on its mother.
To read more about the benefits of an undisturbed first hour, see the full article.
Nearly one in ten woman suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after giving birth, a sobering statistic reported by The Lamaze International “Listening to Mothers II” survey of more than 1,500 mothers.
In an article for Women’s Health Today, Kathleen Kendall- Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA explores the topic of birth trauma, its prevalence, and its effects on breastfeeding and the postpartum period for mothers. A full 9% of women in the Lamaze study met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
“If the number of women meeting the full criteria for PTSD does not seem very high, then let’s compare it to another number. In the weeks following September 11, 7.5% of the residents of lower Manhattan met those full criteria (Galea et al. 2003). Take a minute to absorb these statistics. In at least one large study, the rates of full-criteria PTSD in the U.S. following childbirth are now higher than those following a major terrorist attack.”
Kendall-Tackett looked at similarities among women who experienced PTSD after birth.
“In a meta-ethnography of 10 studies, women with PTSD were more likely to describe their births negatively if they felt “invisible and out of control” (Elmir, Schmied, Wilkes, & Jackson, 2010). The women used phrases, such as “barbaric,” “inhumane,” “intrusive,” “horrific,” and “degrading” to describe the mistreatment they received from health care professionals.”
Breastfeeding following a traumatic birth may be negatively impacted, or it can be a healing experience when the mother is provided with assistance and support, Kendall-Tackett said. She cited a study by Beck and Watson where women described their breastfeeding experience after birth trauma:
“The first five months of my baby’s life (before I got help) are a virtual blank. I dutifully nursed him every two to three hours on demand, but I rarely made eye contact with him and dumped him in his crib as soon as I was done. I thought that if it were not for breastfeeding, I could go the whole day without interacting with him at all.”
“My body’s ability to produce milk, and so the sustenance to keep my baby alive, also helped to restore my faith in my body, which at some core level, I felt had really let me down, due to a terrible pregnancy, labor, and birth. It helped build my confidence in my body and as a mother. It helped me heal and feel connected to my baby.”
To help women who may be experiencing PTSD or struggling with breastfeeding after a traumatic birth, Kendall-Tackett recommends the following:
Recognize the symptoms
Refer women to resources for diagnosis and treatment, which may include psychotherapy, counseling, and journaling
Anticipate potential problems, like a delay in the mother’s milk coming in
Continue working to reform birth in the U.S.
If you feel like you or someone you know are experiencing PTSD or are struggling to process a traumatic birth, please call Babymoon Inn at 602-314-7755 so we can support you in getting the help and resources you need.
Anyone who has experienced parenting a baby with colic will tell you how challenging it is. And they will all likely be able to offer some advice, some comfort techniques, or at the least a shoulder to cry on. But it turns out you’ll find more of these parents in countries like Italy, the U.K., and Canada, as a new study reports that babies in these countries cry more than babies elsewhere.
The study, originally published in The Journal of Pediatrics and reported by Julia Zorthian of Time, found that:
“In the U.K. 28% of babies 1 to 2 weeks old had colic, for example, while the average prevalence for that age was only 17.4%. And 34.1% of babies in Canada had colic at 3 to 4 weeks, while the average percentage was 18.4%. On the other hand, the study found 6.7% of babies in Denmark at 5 to 6 weeks had colic, much lower than the average 25.1% for that age.”
Along with Denmark, the study found that babies in Japan and Germany cried the least. Wondering why the large discrepancy between countries? Unfortunately, we don’t know yet.
“The study did not determine a reason for the variation in crying time by country, but the scientists said there should be more research into potential cultural and genetic influences.”
What are your thoughts? Why are some countries reporting such high rates of colic in their babies?
Do you remember the first time you were alone with your baby?
Oh no, I’m not talking to you, Mama. Pass your phone to your nearby partner, because this time I’m talking to them.
Do you remember that first time? How old was your baby? How long were you alone together? Did you look forward to the opportunity with excitement? Or were you secretly (or not-so-secretly) a little hesitant?
Being alone with your little humans for the first time can create a wide range of emotions – fear, joy, pride, anxiety, confidence, or sheer terror. And I think we’d all agree that any of these feelings are normal!
In an article for Romper, author Fiona Tapp spoke with 12 partners about the first time they were alone with their baby.
“My wife had to go back into the hospital a few days after the birth and I was left to look after the baby by myself. I was frightened to hold him without a chaperone, but once I got over myself I was fine. I just needed to find my feet.”
“I had a rough time at the beginning, and [my son] cried every time I held him. To be honest, I withdrew from him and my wife. I wasn’t alone with him for longer than five minutes until he was a toddler.”
“The first time I watched the baby by myself it was because my wife was in bed sick. I realized how boring it is to look after a small baby. It made me appreciate everything my wife does.”
“I took the baby to the coffee shop. I couldn’t believe all the attention I got. People were talking to me and helping me with the door. I felt like I was famous or something!”
Do any of these responses resonate with you? Moms, do you remember YOUR first time alone with your baby?
Read the rest of the entertaining article .
When my daughter was born three years ago, for hours afterward I was too excited to feel hungry. Her birth left me on a high that has yet to go away, even three years later. Food was the last thing on my mind, even though I was under strict orders to eat from my Babymoon midwife and nurse.
It wasn’t until hours after she was born when I was happily snuggled up in bed with her at home that I finally felt like eating something, and my obliging husband brought me some scrambled eggs.
They were the best. eggs. ever.
With every bite they grew more tasty, and I asked my husband what he had done differently to these eggs to celebrate this special occasion of our daughter’s birth. Turns out the “special ingredients” were salt and pepper.
A couple nights later, a friend brought over lasagna and I experienced the same euphoria when eating it. To this day, I still talk about that lasagna and those eggs and how every bite of food for those first couple postpartum days blew my mind.
Turns out I’m not alone in that experience Recently, my fellow doula and Lamaze Certified Childbirth educator Sharon Muza wrote about this phenomenon in a blog post on www.dona.org.
Muza shares the story of a preparing a meal at a home birth where the pickins’ were slim:
I slowly pulled some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, no doubt meant for their toddler, from the freezer and popped them in the oven. Slicing up an overripe banana and a couple of oranges, I arranged the fruit “artfully” on the plates. Some mayonnaise mixed with creamy horseradish made a “fancy” dipping sauce for the baked nuggets. I cut up some string cheese sticks and mixed the pieces with the jar of olives I found. Crackers spread with jam served on the side completed this first postpartum meal.
I carried the plates to the bedroom, where both parents were resting in bed while the newborn nursed. Placing the plates on the night table, I encouraged them to eat. And eat they did. They dug in and ate with gusto. Every last bit of food was consumed. When they were done, they leaned back against the pillows happily and commented that this was the best meal ever. They were serious!
Muza hypothesizes that the first meal after giving birth is always “the best meal ever.” Anecdotal evidence at Babymoon would support this theory, as we have heard more than once that our postpartum pizza, pancakes, and snacks are beyond compare…
What was your first postpartum meal? Was it, in fact, the best meal ever?
For the rest of this insightful and fun article and for other great articles – please visit the DONA blog.