Sleep is vital for your baby’s optimal growth and development. Adequate amounts of sleep during the day and night are important to assist your baby’s general wellbeing and development. It is your job as a parent to provide an appropriate environment and opportunity to help your baby sleep both day and night.
Cute little boy is sleeping There’s nothing more beautiful and calming than to watch your baby sleep. During the early weeks your baby devotes much of the day and night to sleep. But your baby could be at risk while in the land of nod.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
“SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping is an evidence based health promotion campaign developed for health professionals, childcare workers, new and expectant mothers, parents and
communication. They will cry for hunger, discomfort, tiredness, in pain and needing a comforting cuddle. You may learn which cry means what after a while. To begin with, your baby will need milk feeds every three to four hours during the day and overnight. This will lead to the need for frequent nappy changes and a bath every day or two. During the first few weeks your newborn will need 16-18 hours sleep in 24 hours for growth and development. They will not be awake for very long – usually just enough for a feed, burp and nappy change. The length and what your baby does during this wake time will change as they get older. While all babies will be slightly different, newborns will roughly sleep for an hour or two at a time during the day and longer stretches at night – unless they have their nights and days around the wrong way. The key to surviving the first weeks at home with your newborn is to relax. Getting your baby regularly checked by a health care professional will give you confidence to see that what you are doing is right. Visits will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions. You are not going to get everything right straight away but there’s plenty of time to learn – parenting is something that is picked up over a lifetime. "Surviving the first weeks at home requires a calm attitude
A routine is a sequence of activities. In the early days you and your baby won’t know what sequence to do things in, so for the first few weeks just relax and go with the flow of what your baby wants. That involves sleep; a comforting breast feed, cuddles, and cares such as nappy changing, bathing and warmth.
After a few weeks your baby can be encouraged into a more specific feed and sleep sequence.
Routines are a great guide to follow but try not to get yourself bent out of shape if your baby does not conform to your plan every day. The best plan becomes the one that works for your family. Your baby is developing new skills everyday but there can be reasons preventing your baby from eating and sleeping well such as birth trauma, environment, intolerances and reflux. Seek professional advice early if your baby is not comfortable and settled. In the early months try and stay calm and relaxed – your baby mimics your mood.
As your baby gets older the sequences remain similar but the type of feed, type of play and length of sleep varies.
Baby Health Checks
It is advisable to see a child health nurse or general practitioner a few times during your baby’s first six weeks of life – weekly if you can manage it. It is important to know that your baby is growing and progressing appropriately and if not, an assessment of why not is carried out and managed. As your baby gets older these visits can be fortnightly, monthly and three monthly unless otherwise advised. How you space visits can also depend on what support you feel you need to confidently care for your baby.
* Your baby’s very first bowel movement arrives in the first 24 hours and is called meconium. It is greenish-black, thick and sticky and consists of all the intestinal substances that an unborn fetus ingests while in the womb – epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile and water.
* If your baby is breastfed, their poo will change into a more yellowish mustard colour (sometimes greenish or orange). It is a soft consistency and often unformed, with a sweet smell, and can occur at every nappy change or less often as the digestive system matures. Breast fed babies don’t usually suffer from constipation unless there is an underlying health problem, consult your health care professional if you are concerned. If there is any jaundice (not uncommon in the early days and is characterized by yellow skin) poo could be pale until the jaundice is gone.
From the moment your baby is born, you are on one very steep learning curve – learning sleep routines, changing nappies, bathing and keeping them safe, are only a few of the things you’ll need to fit into a day. Fortunately, over time you do learn these things and they will become second nature, you will find yourself changing a nappy in the middle of the night half asleep and it will still be on in the morning – miracle right! This chapter covers many of those hot topics for new parents.
anyone who cares for babies and infants. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, the campaign has reduced the incidence of SIDS by 80% saving over 7500 babies lives”. http://www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping/
According to SIDS expertise, your baby is at risk of getting into dangerous situations while sleeping. These include:
* Suffocating under bedding
* Choking or inhaling vomit
* Choking on toys or other small objects
* Getting caught between the cot-side and mattress
* Getting entangled in curtain cords, clothing, dummy ties and ribbon.
Your baby may get in these situations because:
* Of being unable to control the sleeping situation and environment
* Unable to escape from dangers
* Unknowingly place things in the mouth or around the neck.
SIDS advice for safe sleeping strategies for your baby include:
* Their own cot is best. Putting your baby to sleep in a cot next to your bed is safest option.
* Meet Australian Standards. The cot or bassinette needs to meet Australian safety standard AS2172 and carry a safety standard approval sign. Be wary when buying a cot or bassinette second hand;
* Sleep your baby on their back, with feet positioned at the end of the cot. As soon as your baby learns to roll from tummy to back you will feel more relaxed;
* The cot should remain flat and not propped. Make sure the mattress your little one sleeps on is firm enough to facilitate maximum circulation of air. Make sure there is no more than 20mm gap between the mattress and the cot sides and ends to prevent your baby becoming wedged in gaps between the mattress and the cot sides. A pillow, cushion or beanbag is not a safe mattress.
* Keep the cot free from all unsafe toys, pillows and loose sheeting and position near parents bed for the first six to twelve months;
* If you wrap or swaddle your baby, do not cover baby’s head. You can stop using a wrap when baby can roll from back to tummy and to back again.
* Sleeping bag. When over four months old, wrap your baby firmly but leave limbs free to move, or invest in a suitable sleeping bag for your baby – covers are then not necessary to use
* Ensure head and face remains uncoveredduring sleep and avoid the use of hoods, beanies, hats or bonnets; Only use enough bedding required for warmth; do not overheat Using a sleeping bag will prevent your baby’s face being covered. If you do use blankets it is best to use layers of lightweight blankets that can be easily added or removed according to room temperature. They should also be tucked underneath the mattress. Don’t leave any extra sheets in the cot for your little one to get entangled in. Loose blankets and sheets can restrict airflow and cause suffocation;
* Dummies should not be attached to your baby with ribbon and if the dummy falls out of the mouth during sleep, parents are advised not to reinsert it.
* Avoid exposing your baby to cigarette smoke before and after birth (this includes marijuana as well) and do not co-sleep with your baby if you smoke.
* Avoid Co-Sleeping ;if you smoke, are under the influence of drugs and /or alcohol; if you are overly tired, if there is adult bedding that may cover the baby; if there are other children and pets who are sharing the bed; if you are placing baby to sleep on a sofa, beanbag, waterbed or sagging mattress. If the baby could become trapped between the wall and the bed or fall out or be rolled on it is also advisable to not co-sleep. If your baby is premature, or less than 3 months of age or small when born then co-sleeping should also be avoided.
* Place cot away from hazardous materials. Ensure the cot is not under a window with blind cords within reach. Hanging toy mobiles must be well attached and out of reach. Do not have the cot near peeling paint.
* Height of the cot is same as your bed. When your baby’s cot and your bed are at the same height, it is more convenient;
* Pull up cot sides: Make sure the sides of the cot are pulled all the way up, so it prevents your baby from climbing up and out. It is time to change to a bed if your baby has worked out how to climb out.
Arriving home with a newborn with no buzzer to press for help or a midwife standing by to encourage you can be daunting. You may find that you can’t take your eyes off your newborn and you burst into tears for no good reason. Your breasts leak and you can’t sleep despite being exhausted. Don’t worry it’s all normal.
Expectations and Support
If you have been a person that is always in control you may need to relax a little, as the first few weeks are going to feel out of control. Go with it – there is plenty of time to sort things out later. Don’t be a martyr – accept any help that is offered to you by close friends and family and know that accepting this help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It’s all about surviving the madness, however you can. "Surviving the first weeks at home requires a calm attitude, not perfected parenting skills. Get your partner involved with changing nappies, burping, settling and bathing as soon as you can. Crying is your newborns first form of
* If your baby is fed infant formula, their care is generally firmer and may vary in colour ranging from yellow, green or brown depending on which type of formula they are on. They will be slightly more pungent smelling and frequency of poo’s may vary from several times per day to once per week depending on your baby and the type of formula they are on.
* If you are using a combination of breastfeeding and infant formula, your baby’s poo will vary between the descriptions above depending on the ratio of breast milk to infant formula.
* If your baby transitions from breastfeeding to infant formula or between formulas, it is normal for there to be changes in bowel motion including the texture and colour of your baby’s care.
A baby’s care is affected by a number of factors and the colour and consistency can change with many situations including;
- Fluid intake
- Introduction of solids
- Time (as the age increases the stool characteristics change)
- Illness and infections
- The iron content of infant formulas
If you are aware of what normal baby poo looks like, you will then know when something is not normal and may need further attention. Baby poo that is black (apart from their first poo), red or Whitealways indicates the need for further assessment by a healthcare professional.