Five amazing facts about newborn babies
New borns may look so fragile and just holding them can be a bit scary but there’s really no need to be fearful because they are actually quite strong and resilient. Also not only do newborns have 300 bones but their brains develop at a very fast rate in their first year of life. How amazing is that?
We’ve brought you five fascinating facts about newborns
- Heads are too big for their bodies
Babies are top heavy because their head makes up 25% of their total weight. That’s why it takes so much effort for them to lift their heads and as they grow older to balance themselves as they start crawling and walking. It can take some time for babies bodies’ to catch up and be proportionate with their head.
- They can breathe and swallow at the same time
Isn’t it intriguing that a baby can breathe and swallow at the same time? If you try to do that it is impossible because we can only do one function at a time. Babies can breathe and swallow until they are 7 months of age.
- They have more taste buds than the average human
A baby has around 10,000 taste buds which are located on the tongue but also on the sides, back, and roof of the mouth. Babies use their mouths to taste and feel everything and these extra taste buds help them to navigate their way around the world. These tastebuds eventually disappear though.
- Babies are born with the same eye colour
Have you noticed that most babies eye colour tends to be blue or gray? That’s because they are all born with the same colour until after a few months it changes to their permanent colour. If you are trying to figure out your baby’s eye colour, just wait a bit.
- Your baby cries in your accent
A research team from the University of Wurzburg found that babies pick their mother’s native tongue in the last three months of pregnancy. So all the talking that you have been doing while your baby is in your stomach actually counts as they can hear you towards the end of their term.
The study found that babies can even reflect the characteristics of their mother tongue in the pattern of their cries after birth. So you can tell the difference between German, French and English babies just by their cries and gurgles.
Tell us what interesting things you have picked up about your newborn?
Five things we know about the phenomena around placenta eating
By: Bernice Maune
In the past decade, eating the placenta has gained popularity with many mothers advocating for this practise and claiming that it boosts milk supply, reduces the onset of postpartum depression and replenishes vital nutrients.
Yet there are no studies which have verified these claims and the practise of placenta eating remains a choice which some mothers make willingly and without any medical studies supporting the purported benefits.
Interestingly, humans and sea animals are the only mammals who do not eat the placenta right after birth. All other animals do. But what is placenta eating and why is it becoming a widespread practise? We have rounded up five facts you must know about this phenomena,
What the placenta is and what it provides
The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy to create an environment for your baby which can sustain it by providing oxygen, water and nutrients to the growing foetus. It is also where the baby can excrete waste products which are then carried out to the mother’s waste system.
These are the nutrients contained in the placenta
The placenta is also loaded with iron and vitamins B6 and B12, as well as estrogen and progesterone, reproductive hormones that are abundant during pregnancy but drop after you give birth. It is believed that by eating the placenta a new mom can effectively regain these nutrients and eliminate the possibility of postpartum depression.
How to eat your placenta
It may sound like eating your placenta is possible right after giving birth but at that point it is still in its bloody and sack like form. To consume it, it is advised that you contact a company which will process it for you. In a process called placenta encapsulation, your placenta is dried, powdered and sealed into vitamin-sized capsules.
Other ways to have it prepared and eaten
There are options to have your placenta prepared differently from the capsule format. You can choose to have a mid-wife cook it for you either as a sauce, gravy in stews and add it to your normal meal routine. You can also have it freezed and consumed daily or crushed and dried and added to your meals.
Risk of infection
Because the placenta filters the growing baby’s waste products, it may be a source of toxins and bacteria which can cause infections. Consequently it is not advised to consume it because of the risk it may pose to you and your child.
However, if you are considering eating your placenta, consult a medical professional who can further advise you on which process is best to follow and how it should be administered.
Watch this video on placenta eating and the phenomena around it
Here is what you need to know about feeding on demand vs scheduled feeding
To start off it is essential to understand what the two types of feeding are. Babies feed 8 to 10 times a day which is quite normal.
With feeding on demand, you would follow your baby’s hunger queues and feeding whenever they are hungry. This means not looking at the time but watching your baby’s behaviour to see if they are hungry. Hunger signs include suckling, rooting around, sucking on their hand or fist, and crying.
Below is what you should take note of feeding on demand
- Regular feeding helps establish your milk supply.
- It may form the basis for healthy eating habits later – she learns to eat when she’s hungry, not according to a schedule.
- When babies are allowed to feed on demand they take in what they need, when they need.
Scheduled feeding is not recommended by medical professionals though it is quite popular among busy and working mothers.
With scheduled feeding a mom would take note of the clock and try to feed baby at set intervals that you have come up with. Usually these times are set to fit into a parent’s day or to get their baby on some kind of schedule so things are more predictable for the parents.
- A schedule may be easier to maintain if you are bottle feeding, whether that is from exclusively pumping or formula feeding.
- It brings predictability as new moms can schedule their day around the feedings.
- Scheduled feeding also doesn’t allow for growth spurts – a time when your baby will ask to feed much more often than normal, helping to increase your milk supply as your baby grows bigger
Researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex and Oxford University found that babies who fed on demand were smarter than babies fed according to a schedule. The study found that these children boasted an IQ that was up to five points higher than babies fed on a schedule by the time they were 8 years old. However, it is important to choose a feeding style which suits you and your baby as your needs as a family may be different.
Five tips to help you while breastfeeding
- Staying hydrated and eating healthy: to ensure a good supply of breastmilk is available for feeding and expressing.
- Enjoy the process without putting pressure on yourself as this can stress you out and affect your supply. See each feed as an opportunity of bonding with your baby you actually look forward it.
- Learning to trust those that assist you with the baby, so you can find time for yourself. Teach them how u want baby’s milk to be warmed, how baby must be fed, burped, etc.
- Burping with each feed is very important as it helps reduce abdominal uncomfortability and helps reduce gas. Especially when you burp the baby halfway through a feed. At times it takes long but its well worth it.
- Stomach massaging for releasing gas, this should not be done after a feed as baby will throw up.
How to deal with post-partum depression
New moms have entered a journey of motherhood which is a beautiful experience but can leave them feeling overwhelmed and drained by the arrival of their babies.
Post-partum depression is a reality which many women face as they may struggle to keep up with caring for a small infant, creating a schedule that works while bonding with the baby.
Symptoms of post-partum depression may include severe mood swings, trouble bonding with baby and difficulty handling the day to day running of your household and a loss of interest in taking care of yourself and the child.
Visiting your doctor to discuss the onset of post-natal depression is essential to your well-being and that of your new born and family. A medical diagnosis is required before any medication can be prescribed. To help you deal in conjunction with medical advice, we’ve compiled tips to help you cope below.
Get into a routine which works for you and your family. Exercise helps to release pent up frustration and also releases feel good hormones endorphins which can improve your mood. Simple exercises like walking, jogging and swimming are a great way to stay fit while not over exerting yourself.
Make it a point to schedule a day during the week where you pamper and spoil yourself with something special like a massage, spa day, manicure or some retail therapy. It’s important to remember that even though your life has changed and you are a mom, you must also prioritise yourself as self-care and love is essential to being the best mother to your child.
Your emotions may be changing all the time and a good way of managing your feelings is by writing down what you are thinking and feeling. Journaling is also a form of therapy which can help you de-stress and become more self-aware.
Talk and speak to your partner and loved ones about how you are feeling. Keep them in the loop so that they can understand your mental and emotional state as well as help you where they can. Postpartum depression can develop because of a sense of being overwhelmed by the new baby and by speaking out, your family and partner can come up with plans to help with the baby.
Meeting up with mothers who are also experiencing post-partum depression is a form of support which can give you a platform to express yourself in the presence of women who can relate to you. Ideas and techniques on how to handle being a new mom can be exchanged without fear of feeling like a failure.
Improve your diet and stock up on fruits, vegetables, fresh and raw food and increase your water intake. A healthy diet will enable you to be energised and able to cope with the demands of a newborn.
Rest and relaxation
Take turns with your partner to get at least eight hours sleep or hire a nanny who can assist you and baby so that you can rest.
Remember to check in with your doctor if you do not feel better and the symptoms of postnatal depression continue.
What no-one tells you after giving birth
By: Bernice Maune
You are nearing the last few weeks of your pregnancy and you can’t wait to hold your baby in your arms. It’s been months of feeling him kick in your belly and as your due date comes closer, you have waited in anticipation of this precious moment. The birth itself will be even more special as your child makes his grand entrance. It will be the first time you meet him and you probably can’t wait for that day.
Family and friends have likely been advising you about the birth and if you are having a natural or Caesarean birth, you are aware of what the experience entails. Yet as much as one can prepare for the birth, there are some details that not many people even your obstetrician can fully brief and prepare for you. We’ve spoken to two first time mothers who shared their experiences of what happened after they welcomed their babies into the world.
Twenty-seven year old Mbali Gushu gave birth to her daughter, Phillipa in 2015. She had an emergency Caesarean birth as Phillippa was in distress and her heartrate was dropping. Mbali says after the birth, she was in intense pain and couldn’t stand up or walk.
“It felt like I got stabbed multiple times in my lower abdomen. It was so painful and even the painkillers were not strong enough to fully relieve me of the pain. I still had to try and move about and not just lay there even though that was what I wanted to do, stay in bed all day until the pain went away.
“The nurses told me to not stay put though and move around. You have to push through the pain, in a week that’s when you start feeling better.”
Amusingly Mbali says her hair was a mess and that she was not fully prepared to deal with it.
“I would advise new moms to get their hair done right before the birth. A simple style like braids or plaits will keep you looking neat and tidy because you will barely get a chance to look after your appearance after the birth.”
Mbali also adds that her first menstrual period after giving birth was unusual as her flow was heavier than normal and she bled for longer than usual.
Refilwe Moagi, gave birth to her son Logan three years ago. She says her birthing experience was nothing like what she had been told.
“My mother and family told me what to expect when having a natural birth but nothing fully prepares you,” says Refilwe.
While walking around the maternity ward to cope with the contractions and to speed up dilation, Refilwe says she suddenly felt her son’s head and rushed to her bed to begin pushing.
“It took minutes to give birth to my son and he practically flew out. While he was coming out I had a bowel movement which was completely unexpected because I had emptied my stomach earlier.
“What made this even more cringe worthy was that the father of my child was in the room and having him see me like that was really weird. I know now that nothing fully prepares you for birth and my doctor neglected to tell me that a bowel movement could happen at the same time as pushing.”
Here are five more unexpected things that happen after birth
- You may be emotional and breakdown in tears now and again. The levels of hormones in your body are still high and being emotional is normal. If you feel down for longer than a month, you may want to consult your psychologist to ensure it is not the onset of postpartum depression.
- There is a third stage of delivery where your body expels the placenta and all the remaining products of conception. Over the course of the next few days, you will experience bleeding as your uterus completely empties itself to get back to normal.
- Bowel movements after a vaginal delivery may be uncomfortable and painful. Buying a mild laxative will help to ease the pain.
- Breastfeeding may be painful as your nipples are sensitive and adjusting to having your little one pull and suck on them. Buy a nipple cream to massage onto your nipples in-between feeds.
- You may experience brittle hair and hair loss due to hormones.
Why hugging your baby can make them smarter
New research reveals that hugging your child often from birth has a positive impact on how their brain develops.
The studies show that during the developmental stages, babies respond to touch and affection which triggers growth in their brains and they thus become smarter.
Research conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio studied 125 babies, some of them born prematurely and others at full-term to note the effects of consistent touch and embraces. The studies showed that skin to skin care, hugs and breastfeeding impacted brain development, causing it to occur at a faster and healthier rate.
More benefits of hugging
Hugging releases oxytocin which is a positive hormone that elicits feelings of joy and love in human beings. Hugging and embracing your baby can lead to them to feeling loved and wanted.
Hugging can reduce stress hormones in children as the release of oxytocin prevents the harmful effects of stress related hormones such as cortisol. Studies reveal that exposing your child to cortisol too early impedes their growth and health and even compromises their immune system. It also affects their memory and verbal reasoning when they grow older.
Gentle hugging provides multiple benefits to your child which also includes a closer emotional bond between mother and child, emotional regulation and happiness which boosts self-confidence and their self-esteem.
What the experts say
A 2012 study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis found that the brain region that holds the memory, learning and stress response, the hippocampus was 10 percent larger in babies who come from a nurturing environment.
The larger the size of the hippocampus, the more a baby will respond to learning, boosting their cognitive development.
“There really is research that proves there’s significant impact on brain size. They looked at mothers in particular. They found that when mothers nurture through hugs and obviously emotional support, even right through pre-school, they see growth in the brain called the hippocampus, and that’s the part of the brain which is associated with higher emotional functioning right into teen years. So there’s some fascinating long-term effects,” psychologist Collet Smart told Hope1032.com.
Natural remedies for morning sickness
Nothing can dampen the excitement of pregnancy like morning sickness.
The name, however, is very misleading as morning sickness can happen at any time during the day or night. It is most common during the first trimester, but for some women morning sickness lingers throughout pregnancy.
What you need to know about SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.
SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs
Dealing with temper tantrums
Remember when you went shopping and your child eyed a toy they wanted but you had no intention of buying it?
Identifying a bully
Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. It can be physical, verbal or over the internet and social media.