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Your Baby

Your Baby

If you have got this far and chosen your sperm donor, co-parent or sperm recipient, got pregnant and given birth thinking that all the hard work is done then you may want to think again. This is just the beginning of a whole new wonderful world raising your child. This section has lots of tips and advice on raising a baby.

Once you have given birth to your baby you will have lot's of questions about the day to day responsibilities for caring for a child. If you are a first time parent you day to day tasks can be daunting. Don't worry we are here to help. This section will provide you with some tips and advice on the most common parenting tasks.

Life After Birth

As a new mum, the demands placed upon you both emotionally and physically will be even greater. It is just as important to concentrate on you and your energy levels as much as your baby’s. You will need to be healthy and strong to look after the demands of your baby especially during the breastfeeding stage.

We have come up with some tips that you could consider to get that initial healthy start:

Healthy Eating Tips - Tips for a Healthy New You!

  • Try the breastfeeding option, this can be good for both you and for baby post pregnancy
  • Eating a Healthy Balanced Diet which needs to include fruit and vegetables, protein, diary and starchy carbohydrates (dieting is not recommended at this stage especially if you are breastfeeding!)
  • Maintain a Five a Day healthy food philosophy
  • Eat foods low in fat or reduced fats
  • Eat foods rich in Iron every day
  • Drink plenty of water during the day to keep yourself hydrated
  • Try and get out exercising for 20 minutes a day – even for a brisk walk in the fresh air with baby
  • Keep yourself well nourished during the day – this will ensure that the baby gets all the nutrients and vitamins needed throughout the day when breastfeeding.

Take me to:

baby crawling on belly

Your Baby’s Health

It has already been proven that breast feeding provides all the relevant nutrients and protection that a baby needs to have within the first 6 months post birth. This is to help protect the baby against infections and diseases and greatly reduces the chances of baby becoming ill later in life, as the baby’s immune system is not fully developed from birth.

Following on from the six months breast feeding, the baby will progress onto weaning. The biggest challenge for a new mother is to look after your baby’s daily needs and requirements.

We have listed some needs that obviously need attention and care when looking after your baby:

  • Nappy Changes - Check changes in contents of nappy when changing, keep baby’s skin clean when soiling takes place, any concerns contact your health care professional
  • Cord Care – Keep the umbilical cord clean and dry around the area until it dries out and falls off
  • Ear, Nose and Throat – Best to leave alone and consult with a healthcare professional should you have any concerns
  • Trimming Finger and Toe Nails – Do not do this with nail clippers as the baby’s skin could cut, would suggest using a file to file baby’s nails down
  • Bathing Baby – Your newborn doesn’t require daily bathing initially. Only use plain water for the first month to ensure the skin is not exposed to harsh substances etc
  • Sleeping – It is a good idea to have a moses basket for baby to sleep in as this is not too small or too large, the basket can be moved anywhere were you or your partner are. Keeping baby at the right temperature not too hot or too cold
  • Hand Hygiene - Keep your hands and anyone else who comes into contact with your baby clean as they are vulnerable to infections from others. Keep all products non perfumed where possible with baby

Your baby’s Safety

It is important to create a safe child friendly environment within your home. When your baby is tiny, it is important to baby proof your home and plan ahead on any potential problems that may occur.

Important things to consider when baby proofing your home:

  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted throughout your home
  • Fire guards are securely placed around your fires
  • Electrical sockets are covered with appropriate guards
  • Child gates are placed around your home – top / bottom of stairs and rooms where you do not want baby to go into
  • Keep all equipment / furniture clean and germ free
  • Do not allow baby in rooms such as kitchens etc
  • Do not leave wires or blankets etc loosely hanging – as these could be pulled
  • Place expensive items ad ornaments out of reach
  • Check all house plants are non poisonous
  • Keep children away from areas where hot water can be harmful i.e. bathing time / kettles / washing dishes etc
  • Be careful that pets within the home are child friendly

Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding?

Why is Breast Best?

All of the government guidelines try to encourage new mothers to breastfeed – this is because the health benefits are much greater than with formula milk. Breast milk contains antibodies that help fight infection and it is easily digested by baby which cuts down on stomach upsets.

It is a well known fact that breast feeding has been proven to provide all the relevant nutrients and protection that a baby needs to have within the first 6 months post birth. This is to help protect the baby against infections and diseases and greatly reduces the chances of baby becoming ill later in life, as the baby’s immune system is not fully developed from birth.

Breastfeeding not only provides protection for you and your baby but can also enhance and develop the strong bond between you and your baby, and helps mum too in losing some of the weight that has been gained in pregnancy and triggers faster retraction of the womb. When you feed your baby during the night, mothers who breastfeed will get back to sleep much quicker and will sleep deeper than mothers who bottle feed as the woman’s body releases hormones which signal rest.

A baby breastfeeding

The types of illnesses and infections that breastfeeding can help protect against are:

  • Eczema Chest & Respiratory Infections
  • Ear Infections
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Urine Infections
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (Gastro-Intestinal Infections)

Signs of Successful Breast Feeding:

  • Your baby adopts a comfortable position on the breast (find a comfortable position that it is right for both you and baby!)
  • Your baby’s mouth is in good contact with the nipple
  • You feel the first few sucks from your baby are strong but should feel no pain
  • Your baby is feeding well and sucking well
  • Your baby comes off the breast when they have finished their feed

Benefits to Breast Feeding:

  • Breastfeeding can be good for the mother’s health
  • Develop stronger bond between mother and baby
  • Easier to breastfeed
  • Save time and money as opposed to buying formula milk
  • Can benefit change in society

A Guide on how to Breastfeed

There are lot’s of different positions you can try but check the following:

  • Get into a comfortable position
  • Hold your baby’s head and body in a horizontal straight line across your chest
  • Support baby’s neck, shoulders and back. Baby should be able to tilt his/her head back easily.
  • Check your baby’s nose is opposite your nipple. This will allow baby to reach up and attach well.
  • Your baby’s top lip brushing against your nipple will make him/her open their mouth. When the head is open bring baby to the breast with the head back and chin first.
  • Your baby should take a large mouthful of breast not just nipple and your nipple should go towards the roof of baby’s mouth.
  • Many women suffer sore nipples during breastfeeding - this can be because the baby is not attaching correctly so try to adjust your position and see if this helps or try rubbing milk on the nipple after a feed.



What is Weaning?

Weaning is the process whereby you introduce your baby to solid foods. Within the first six months, you and your baby will have already created a bond, during breast feeding the baby will have been getting all of their vital nutrients needed. Post six months, you will need to gradually move away from feeding your baby breast milk and replace this with a varied balanced and nutritious diet.

When Should I Start the Weaning Process?

It is recommended by the Department of Health that you should wean from six months onwards. However, you may see signs from your baby that they may be ready to wean earlier than six months, if this is the case, contact your GP or healthcare professional. There may are also be localised weaning classes that you could attend within your community or children’s centre. Find out where the nearest one to you will be and get researching. These classes are a fun and enjoyable way to share ideas with other mums and give you practical menus that you can take away and make within your own home.

How do I Start Weaning?

Start off by offering your baby a little of the blended solid food, you could even offer a little breast milk to reduce their appetite using mashed or pureed foods only. Introducing small amounts of purees, trying out what foods work and what don’t. Making sure that all weaning foods are high in nutrients and fresh in goodness.

What are suitable Weaning Foods to start with?

Many mums worry about the types of foods and products to use that are suitable for weaning. There are some common brands such as Heinz, Plum, Organix which tend to be the favourites. However, you can create your own healthy meals for your baby that are both highly nutritious and full of flavour with no additives or preservatives within, keeping you in charge of your babies health.

Bottle Feeding

If you decide to bottle feed here is some information you may find useful:

Buying your feeding bottles: you will need to purchase a number of bottles and teats, as well as sterilizing equipment. A simple, easy-to-clean bottle is probably best.

Sterilizing and safety: make sure your bottles and teats are sterilized.

Preparation: get everything you need ready before you start feeding. Find a comfortable position to hold your baby while you're feeding and relax and use it as a bonding time.

Keep the teat full: when feeding, keep the teatfull of milk, otherwise your baby will take in air. If the teat becomes flattened while you’re feeding, pull gently on the corner of your baby’s mouth to release the vacuum.

Winding: your baby may need to burp sometimes. When your baby does not want any more feed, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.

Discard unused formula: don’t forget to throw away any unused formula or breast milk after the feed.

Hungry: Feed your baby when they’re hungry, and don’t try to force them to finish a bottle. Babies will differ in the amount of milk they take.

How to Change a Nappy/Diaper

It is a fact that if you have a baby you will have to change nappies and lots of them. Disposable nappies tend to be far less trouble than reusable nappies but they are more expensive and not as environmentally friendly.

Your baby may experience nappy rash which is caused by the urine and faeces reaction breaking down and burning the baby’s skin. There are creams available but try to stick to cleaning the area with warm water and avoid using soaps and wipes and let baby’s skin breathe with no clothes on as often as possible.

Baby Sleeping Patterns

When first born your baby may sleep up to 18 hours a day but this is likely to be in intervals of 3 or 4 hours at a time. Your baby is likely to want feeding when he/she wakes so you will have to feed on demand during the first few weeks.

You can encourage your baby to sleep for shorter periods during the day and longer at night to bring baby in line with your sleeping patterns. Think about the baby’s surrounding at night if they have their own room or are in a cot in your room make sure you keep the environment dark at night and light and bright in the day so baby gets to recognise day and night.

As your baby gets old he/she will sleep for longer and routines will become easier so stick with it.

The guidance for new born babies to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) is:

  • Place your baby on his/her back
  • Tuck in the side of your baby’s blanket
  • Try to maintain your room temperature at around 18C/65F

Bathing Your Baby

Bathing your baby is a lovely time for both of you to bond. Place your baby bath on a steady, stable surface and fill the bath with about 3 inches ofwarm water to around 37C/99F – its handy to purchase a bath thermometer.

Support your baby with one arm and use the other to wash him/her taking care not to get soap or shampoo in the eyes. Using bath toys and singing songs will really stimulate your child’s senses and he/she will really look forward to bath time.

When its time to get out; wrap your baby in a warm towel and pat them dry don’t rub. Your can rub cream or baby massage oils onto your baby’s skin which will really relax them before bed time.

Why is my Baby Crying?

Trying to work our why your newborn is crying can be frustrating but you will soon get to recognise your baby’s different sounds and know instinctively what they want.

A baby crying

Babies cry for a number of reasons including:

  • Baby is hungry – if your baby is hungry then feed them.
  • Baby needs his/her nappy changing – have a look or have a sniff and this will confirm the matter.
  • Wind – put your baby over your shoulder and gently rub his/her back to help them release the wind.
  • Teething – Baby’s teethe from around 10-12 weeks and you will notice your baby is red cheeked and dribbling a lot. This can be a difficult time but there are gels you can buy to soothe your baby’s gums.
  • Colic - If your baby is persistently crying they may have colic. This usually occurs in the first few weeks after birth and can be very painful for the baby. Colic is essentially caused by trapped wind and there are several things you can do to trey to ease your baby’s pain including baby massage, taking your baby for a walk, bathing the bay in warm water, aromatherapy using lavender oil.
  • Fever – if you baby’s temperature goes about 37.5C then this can indicate a fever so take medical advice.
  • Tired – try a nice warm bath or a singing softly to get your baby to sleep.

Swimming with Baby

It is not advisable to take babies under 12 months old into the sea as their kidneys cannot cope with salt water intake so if you go on holiday besure to keep your babies head out of the water.

It is perfectly safe to take you baby into a swimming pool – in factbabies up to 3 months old have a ‘dive reflex’ that enables them to hold theirbreathe under the water. Swimming will also give your baby confidence and it’sa great fun time to bond with your child. Just remember to buy your specialswimming nappies.

Teaching Your Baby to Swim

What is the Ideal Baby Weight?

It is perfectly normal in your baby’s first week for him/her to lose upto 8% of their birth weight. Babies store fat to help them cope with birth and after they are born when they are waiting for mums feeding to kick in they can often lose weight so don’t be alarmed.

Babies come in all different shapes and sizes so try to avoid comparing weights. Monitor your own baby’s weight and if you are worried just ask a health professionals opinion.

Baby Names

Choosing your baby's name is one of the most important decisions you will make so take your time before you make up your mind. Think about whether you want to go for a traditional name or you want to choose something different?

A child’s name can impact on his or her personality and your babies’ ability to interact with his or her friends so consider the impact the chosen name may have in future years to come. How does the name sound, is it compatible with the surname and what is the meaning of the name?

We have had hundreds of births through Co-ParentMatch.com and we love hearing your success stories. We also love you telling us what you have named your baby.

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