Dads

 

Helping dads feel confident and empowered is just as important as it is for mums.

Try not to underestimate what they might be feeling.

Dads can feel anxious , uncertain and overwhelmed and sometimes even go through bouts of depression. Fatherhood can bring many challenges but we often underestimate how this change is affecting them.

Here are some ways you can to support them and help them feel more confident

1- Feelings versus Instincts
Many of us hear of the maternal instinct.
Dads may not have natural instinct but their instincts are just as powerful.
Don’t underestimate their feelings and advice. Acknowledging that they may have a different view that may not be influenced by hormones can be good to hear.

2- Give us a chance
An unsettled and crying baby can be challenging at the best of times.
Dads need to gain confidence to be able to settle and nurture their unsettled baby. They may have their own techniques for settling, winding or cuddles, so it’s best to leave them to it. Try not to intervene and grab your baby thinking that they need a mum rather than dad. Dads arms can be just as comforting as mums arms- give them a chance.

3- Trust them
It is very important to trust that your partner can manage your baby just like you can. Remember this is just as much of a learning curve for them as it is for you. He won’t be able to spend as much time with your baby as you do, so the more time he can spend with them and learn, the easier it becomes for the both of you.

So how can he help?

1- Feeding
Whether it is formula or breastmilk via the bottle, this is a great opportunity to get them involved. Dream feeds, night feeds or the occasional day feed so mum can take an opportunity to rest. It may take time but with patience, dads will love that they can help with feeding. Of course when your bottle feeding, give them every opportunity to be involved.

2- Winding
Best option if you have difficulty winding is hand them over to dad.
For some reason, dads hands hold babies more upright and firmer to help babies bring up wind. Dads love hearing babies bring up the old mighty belch and they feel very proud.

3- Bonding
Dads bonding with their babies is just as important as it is for mums.
The more opportunity you give dads the more confident they will feel.
Ways to bond are bathing, showering, lots of cuddles, story time, bottle feeding, winding, going for walks, singing to them are just a few.

4- Settling
Helping your baby to go to sleep can be challenging. Often during the day mums are the only people that settle babies and this may continue throughout the evening and at night because it becomes a pattern.
However, it is very important that you give dad the opportunity to settle your baby when they can. Communicate together how your baby best responds to settling and help each other out when support is needed
Night time wake ups – share the load even if you are breastfeeding. It’s important that baby knows both mum and dad are on the same page.

5- Playtime
Mat time is a great way to interact. Get down on the floor with them, chat to them, sing to them, introduce books especially black and white in the early weeks.
Lap time can be used the same way. Don’t be afraid to sound goofy, be repetitive and make funny faces, your baby will love it.

6- Exercise
Perfect time to take a baby for a walk or a run if you have a good buggy.
This gives dads time with their babies and mums time for themselves to rest, have a shower or however they wish to spend their time alone.

 

I can’t emphasize enough to allow dads to be dads.

Mums – if you struggle and you are finding that you might intervene its best to be mindful of their feelings and maybe even walk away and let them deal with any challenges.

Give them a chance to learn, engage and feel empowered.
Dads are parents too

Your baby’s weight gain!

The weighty debate and how we need to take a broader look.

Feeding well, sleeping well and only waking up couple of times a night.
Happy, smiley, reaching all developmental milestones and yet some professionals say wake baby up and feed to gain weight.
Some babies are just not big weight gainers and in my experience with many babies over the years we need to stop getting mums stressed about weight gain.
The plotting on the chart scenario and stressing mums out because their babies are not the average, needs to be stamped out.

This article has great insight that all babies aren’t created equal!

ARTICLE-

Look at the Baby, Not the Scale

It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet I have seen so many mums whose babies have looked healthy, nursed well, met developmental milestones one right after the other and have lost all confidence in breastfeeding due to someone telling them that their baby’s weight was not on the charts. This someone was looking at the scale and charts, rather than the baby.

In the first 24 to 72 hours after birth babies tend to lose about 3-10% of their birth weight and then regain that weight over the next 2 to 3 weeks. If a mother receives lots of IV fluids during labor, the baby could be born “heavier” because of the increased water. The somewhat higher weight could be measured if a baby were weighed right before it peed for the first time. The difference of this extra fluid retention might only be a few ounces, but some parents are told to be concerned when, at their baby’s two week checkup, the baby is a few ounces under birth weight.

Another common problem at early checkups is a baby that is not gaining what the practitioner considers to be “normal weight gain.” There is not general agreement on normal weight gain and the range in texts are from 140 – 250 grams a week. Some babies are genetically destined to be a lot smaller or larger than others. As I mentioned in the first paragraph:
Easy concept, isn’t it?

If you have been told that weight gain is not acceptable, look hard at this list of questions:
Is your baby eager to nurse?
Is your baby peeing and pooping well?
Is your baby’s urine either clear or very pale yellow?
Are your baby’s eyes bright and alert?
Is your baby’s skin a healthy color and texture?
Is your baby moving its arms and legs vigorously?
Are baby’s nails growing?
Is your baby meeting developmental milestones?
Is your baby’s overall disposition happy and playful?
Yes, your baby sleeps a lot, but when your baby is awake does he have periods of being very alert?

If you have answered yes to the above questions, you may want to progress on to two important questions which the “charts” seem to ignore.

How tall is mom?

How tall is dad?

If someone were to ask you what weight a 33 year old man should be, you would laugh. The range of possibilities varies according to height, bone structure, ethnicity and many other factors. Yet babies are expected to fit onto charts distributed throughout the country with no regard to genetics, feeding choice or almost anything else.

In summary, babies who are nursing, peeing clear urine and wetting diapers well in the first weeks of life are almost always all right. I cannot recall seeing a baby for whom slow weight gain in the first 2 to 6 weeks was the only sign of a problem.
Older babies, 2 to 12 months of age, grow at varying rates. Weight gain should NOT be used as a major criterion of good health. Developmental milestones and interaction with parents and others are more important. Do not be persuaded to supplement a baby who is doing well. Get help with breastfeeding and use other things besides weight to guide you.

Snippets from article by Dr Jan Gorden

How do I transfer my baby into a cot?

Your baby is growing quickly, and for you and your emotions, far too quickly!

We can’t turn back time and at some point comes the realization that your little baby is no longer fitting inside their bassinette or moses basket.

Babies grow at different rates but whatever age or weight your baby is if the time has come to transfer your baby from their cozy comfort of the bassinette, into their cot.

So this blog is for you.

You may not be emotionally ready but your baby is kicking the end of the bassinette, hitting the sides with their hands and possibly even waking themselves up because of it.

Note that some bassinettes also have safety restrictions as far as the weight of your baby.

Another reason for moving a baby into their cot and their own room is when you’re being woken up: not because of feeding, but because your baby is just so noisy.

Yes babies are very noisy when they sleep and often if your baby is just left and not fed they will resettle to go back to sleep. However when your baby is beside you, it will be very hard to ignore and so this maybe time to transfer them out of your room into their own.

Transitioning to a cot can be a big step for both baby and their parents.

It may even be more of a big deal if you’re moving your bub not only to a cot but also into their own room.

So here are some steps to help you make that transition easier.

  1. If you’re swaddling – this maybe a good time to stop swaddling and introduce your baby to a sleeping bag.

Swaddling is best up to the age of 8 -12 weeks. Around this age most babies outgrow their bassinettes.

My recommendation is to introduce your baby to a sleeping bag prior to moving your baby into the cot. This is a positive sleep association. The sleeping bag is now a prop that your baby knows and recognizes.

  1.     Use the same sheets for a few days that your baby has slept on. A smell is very receptive for you baby so using a sheet, cuddly or toy without washing it helps with the comfort of a new environment.
  1.     If you’re moving your baby into another room into a cot. A suggestion that will help is to actually put the bassinette with your baby in it, into the cot first for few sleeps. Why you ask? Visually babies know and recognize their environment they are sleeping in. Pictures on the wall, contrast of windows and walls, toys or mobiles. So giving your baby the visual anticipation of knowing where they are going to sleep is a positive sign. Then after a few days you can then put them straight into the cot.
  1.    Keep the routine the same. Just because your moving your baby either into a different room or cot. Doesn’t mean the feeding –sleep regime needs to change. Remember your baby will respond best to consistency. There may be a few days of restlessness, so try not to give in. Use the resettling technique. If you wonder off form the norm they will accustom themselves to a new routine and it will be harder to get them back to what was previously
  2.   Once in the cot try not to  move them back.
  3. Inconsistency wreaks havoc for babies and toddlers.

Swaddle- Love to dream

How babies sleep settle and what helps them can be very different from one baby to the next.

Not all babies sleep well swaddled.

Not all babies like the patting and shushing as this can actually overstimulate them.

This is especially so for the love to dream swaddle.

Many new mum buy this type of swaddle/sleeping sac for their newborn babies.

For very newborn babies under the age of 2 weeks these swaddles can be great.

However as your baby grows stronger, becomes more aware of their environment and is starting to stretch and move around a little more. These swaddles can be more of a hinderance than a great sleep tool.

Babies love to stretch out their hands above their head just like us when we wake.

As you can see by the picture there isn’t much room for your baby to stretch and there is limited amount of movement especially when your baby is growing.

I find babies grow out of these suits very quickly.

Also when you are finding that when your baby wakes with very wet material around their hands, they are looking at sucking for self soothing which is best done by skin to skin contact. It’s at this time getting rid of the swaddle altogether and transferring your baby to a sleeping bag is your best option.

It may take a few days for your baby to get used to a little more freedom but they will thank you for it as they can find their fingers or thumbs to suck for self settling and also stretch and move without limitations.

If your baby is a dream sleeper in this type of swaddle then why change.

Just keep in mind that when they are changing their sleep patterns that it could be they are needing a change of sleep attire.