The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
Great tips for helping a family with a new baby.
Note that visiting time should be very limited - five minutes may be too long.
Focus your time on doing dishes and the laundry.
No real consensus exists as to what colic is. Some definitions are unstoppable crying for more than 4 hours, usually in the evening starting at about 3 weeks and ending by 16 weeks. Others state that 6 hours or more define colic. Other symptoms include baby drawing legs up and perhaps having "gas". A cycle of gas and crying ensue. X rays have shown that crying introduces air into the digestive track, so burping the baby while crying may be a good idea.
Products containing simethicone reduce trapped gas and are very safe for baby, as it remains inert. One theory about colic is that undigested milk proteins ferment and create gas, again the anti gas drops can be helpful here. Natural remedies include papaya enzyme (helps digestion) and mild chamomile and hibiscus tea. 2 Peppermint drops in 4 oz. water may soothe tummy aches, add a little Karo syrup if baby prefers a sweeter mixture.
There are some homeopathic solutions, my preference is Hylands Colic or Teething tablets. They are made to melt on baby's tongue so are easy to use. The teething tablets helped my little ones more than the colic! They remain helpful for teething bouts sure to come later. Cinnamon tea, best made my stirring a cinnamon stick in hot water for 10 seconds (more or less as you feel baby needs it) and giving by dropper (again Karo will sweeten.) Karo will help with constipation. 1 t to 4 oz. water or in formula, gradually decrease amount as baby regulates its bowels. I have seen much success with panothenic acid. Crush 1 tablet (100mg) and mix with water. Give this to the baby around the same time every day. The baby will probably only ingest half (50mg) which is just about right. It takes a few days to start working but the parents swear by it. Catnip and fennel Tincture is a favorite: Few drops in a little water, as needed. And the Italian Grandmothers all recommend bay leaf tea. Steep a few ordinary bay leaves (right off your spice shelf) in water.... I have seen this work; it often results in a good, loud burp, and a much happier baby!
Massage can help, I recommend a class or at least a book that covers the basics. The most important thing to know is to rub upwards on the right side of the tummy and down on the left (Sun and Moon). This is to follow the large intestine and help move gas along in the best direction for getting relief. Using a light perhaps warmed vegetable oil often makes this very comforting. I enjoy coco butter. Bicycling baby's legs often results in some passing gas. Although there are many babies that have colic with little or no trapped gas, these baby's still enjoy the touch and movement, and I feel contact is crucial to some babies with colic.
Some hypertonic babies overstimulate readily. For these infants caution is needed where touch and other stimulation are involved. Often these babies are easily startled (often they startle themselves). This type of baby benefits from swaddling and a stable and somewhat quiet environment. When upset these infants usually need help to calm down.
In cultures where babies seldom are laid down there seems little incidence of colic. Usually these babies are worn in a variety of slings or passed from one family member to another, always being held against a warm body. Interesting when here we use car seats/infant carriers, strollers, cribs and bassinets that we see more colic. I don't recommend the front pack carriers. They are awkward to use and difficult to nurse in. There are several companies that offer slings. They can be worn by large fathers to the very petite. The shape mimics the cocooning of the womb, many babies curl up and sleep fast in these simple carriers. Certainly worth the small investment.
The "colic hold" is seen universally. This is done by resting baby on your forearm facing down, her head near your elbow and her tummy getting gentile pressure from your wrist as she lays on it. Your hand will hold her at the groin and her legs will dangle.
A baby size hot water bottle filled with WARM water and covered by a
washrag or diaper to prevent burns can help when applied to the tummy.
Baby can be laid on the bottle if it's not to warm less than 98 degrees.
Newborn and the 4th trimester.
Baby has never known, sight, smell, touch, temperature regulation, hunger, voiding, night and day as we know it. All needs were met on a constant, baby was never hungry, cold etc.. By understanding this it makes it easier to help baby adjust. Babies like to be wrapped (swaddled) it simulates the womb as it held the baby. Motion is important to some babies, we have all slept in a moving car only to wake when the car stops. This is why some babies wake up when an expectant mom lays down to rest! Perfume and other strong smells can upset babies, and smoking is unacceptable around them.
All about visitors: Few and far between is a good guide. Although there are many new moms who are on a after birth high and love the attentions of guests. Let your body be the guide if you are tired then rest and have someone attend to the knocks at the door and ringing phone. A doula can help with this as well as cooking and cleaning, all while offering advice on caring for yourself and the baby. They can be great when you need nursing assistance too!
A good tip is to make a sign with the baby's date of birth and other info along with the message that baby is asleep. This will prevent surprise visits and keep delivery and sales people from knocking too. You may try holding the baby "hostage". This sounds extreme but often visitors forget they are able to help you and just want to hold the baby. So tell them you'd love them to see the baby, but in the meantime would they please empty the trash, get you a snack, pick up, etc... This defines your needs and puts you in the role as a new mother not hostess! Then you can hand them the baby (after they wash up) and perhaps enjoy a hot shower or take a nap.
Another good trick is to stay in your robe or keep one by the door. When you open the door look like you just woke up, most people will apologize and ask when they can come see you and the new family. Dad can wear a robe too!
Take the kindness of any offers to cook, clean or run errands. These offers expire quickly and you need them when you are recovering. Just say YES! Home made frozen dinners are usually better than store bought, try and prepare extra food to freeze while you are still pregnant, you 'll love yourself for it later! Greet guests in bed with baby, they will not let you get up to entertain, and will leave sooner. If not in bed, wear robe and sit on couch.
Excerpt from"Pregnancy and Postpartum - Tricks of the Trade" a book
in progress. Written by Rain Taylor DEM.
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