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newborn -4th trimester- advice

 
pollinator
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We are now nearing the "4th trimester" of our first pregnancy... we're gonna have a newborn soon! :-)
What are your top 3 pieces of advice -from a permaculture perspective- for the newborn stage?

PS- Thank you for all your wonderful replies in our 3rd trimester thread. They were all very helpful for us.
BABY_FEET_CC0_public_domain_pixnio.com.jpg
baby feet
baby feet
 
pollinator
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Go give your washing machine a cuddle because it's about to be working overtime!

"HOW CAN SO MUCH POOP COME FROM ONE SO SMALL???"
 
pollinator
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How exciting about the imminent birth! Congratulations!
I would highly recommend a book called The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. It rocked my world and totally changed how I viewed child-raising, and how I raised my children thereafter. There are certain books, so far about 4 of them, that affected me deeply in my life, causing profound changes and effects. This was one of them.
 
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Congratulations!

Be patient.

Listen to your instincts.

There's probably people around who want to tell you that you're doing things wrong, or want to give you uncalled-for advice. They have their own experiences, but that doesn't make them experts on your baby.

Breastfeeding can sometimes be painful at first, but it gets easier after the first month.
 
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Almost there! I'll try to keep it to just three pieces of advice. Of course, this advice was most helpful to me and my family, but everybody's different:

-first few poops are very sticky and hard to wipe. If you generously apply your preferred diaper cream all over baby's bottom BEFORE the poops, it will be much easier to wipe clean. The worst part of a diaper change for baby is the cold wipe. If you can warm the wipes in a warmer, on your body, with a hot water bottle etc., baby usually cries less. And diaper cream works great on neck curds as well.

-If mother was promised a break and baby starts crying, get that baby OUT OF EARSHOT. I could still hear our baby from the shower, so much for a relaxing break...a lot of mothers have a physical reaction to their baby's cry. Impossible to ignore, very distressing, and takes time to recover from. 

-a clean pinky finger in the mouth(or pacifier if you prefer) and a loud shush work just as well as a breast most of the time (if hunger isn't the reason for crying). Shushes work best when it's as loud as baby's cry, right in their ear, like niagra falls, but heartbeat rhythm. Sometimes you can try everything and baby still cries. Sometimes they just cry, it's not your fault. Earplugs are good to have on hand.
The 5 S's worked great for us.
 


Breastfeeding section below (if you are planning to try breastfeeding, great! If not, great! Fed is Best!) and it's ok to stop whenever you feel is the right time for you, obviously.


Breastfeeding can be painful at first, BUT....

**Raynaud's PSA**: Raynaud's syndrome, when you get cold easily and your fingers and toes turn blue, white, or purple, can happen in your nipples. It is very painful, like a hot poker shoved through your chest. The nipple will turn white in the center, aka nipple blanching or vasospasm. The lactation staff and nurses dismissed my pain as normal. Went through two doctors, before my midwife finally wrote the prescription I needed. Two hours later, no more pain. Wish I had known before and not had to desperately sift through internet forums looking for a treatment that would let me continue breastfeeding. Sorry, that was a tiny rant, but be aware.

-You can self express without a pump.
https://www.laleche.org.uk/hand-expression-of-breastmilk/ 
This technique is good for softening breasts that are too engorged for baby to latch. Also when baby is too far crying to latch, breastmilk from a spoon can help to calm baby down.

-if baby seems very gassy, upset, and nurses often, one (of many possible causes of course) could be too much fore milk. Foremilk has more lactose in it, so if you are switching breasts often baby gets more lactose than its system can handle and causes gas. Block nursing, two hours of the same breast, then two hours of the other breast helped our baby's gas a lot.  

-the breastfeeding station should have water, never have I been more thirsty than beginning breastfeeding, and snacks/food that can be eaten with one hand. And make sure everything is within reach before you walk away.

-a cloth and firm pressure will stop the unlatched breast from leaking, if that's a problem. It's also a good opportunity to catch the extra milk for later...

And as with anything, if it doesn't feel right for you, you don't have to do it. It's ok to change your mind and give yourself a break if something turns out to be too much.

Well, glad I could keep it to just three!(Sorry) All the best and don't hesitate to ask us anything!


 
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1- accept all help. There will be times when you will need it. Of course, accept it on your own terms (some people will see "helping" as "visiting to have tea and see the clean baby". But anyone who is not a dope will understand when you say "I really need a break" or "I really need some grownup interaction".

2- I don't think I know anyone who had an easy time breastfeeding at the beginning with the first baby. The first days may be painful, impossible, and unbelievable. If a nursing mother wants to keep on trying, good for her. And a few bottles in the hospital given in the middle of the night (even when you specifically state "exclusive BF") will not "ruin" breastfeeding. Ask me how I know.
That said, be supportive up to a point. If she says "enough, I can't do this anymore", it's not a massive failure if you don't BF (although the world seems to have gotten very judgy about it). Be supportive with that too, because she is going to hear lots of things from people.

3- Enjoy it as it comes. Everyone has a different experience, good babies, colicky babies, babies with medical issues, and then your second cousin's absolutely perfect baby that never cried or made a mess, which she endlessly reminds you about as your child screams and pukes for no reason. Even if the days seem to crawl by for the sleep deprived new parent, this all shall pass, and quickly-- enjoy it and take lots of pictures because before you know it your baby will be in college.
 
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Ok, one practical piece of advice some will loathe.

We have two kids and learned on the first one that the diaper genie is a stink machine!  I know that it is supposed to cut down on odors, but we found the stink went right through the little baggie tube and the nursery STANK!  We could not clean the diaper genie to save our lives.  We tried every conceivable cleaner and it just would not work!  We eventually threw it out as it was starting to stink up not only the nursery but the whole house as well.

We replaced it with grocery store bags—the thin plastic ones that are good for one use and then get thrown away.  I didn’t like just throwing them away so they got a second use.  We started saving up every grocery bag we got and every wet or messy diaper went into a bag (actually two usually, just to be safe) and tossed them into the garbage.  Stink problem solved.

There is actually a Permies angel to this.  We had the bags anyways and they were eventually destined for the landfill (local recycling was not taking them).  We gave the baggies a second use, the re-use part of reduce, reuse, recycle.  And we stopped buying the plastic diaper genie tubes.  

We never even considered a diaper genie for our second child.

Eric
 
pollinator
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Kate Downham wrote:Congratulations!

Be patient.

Listen to your instincts.

There's probably people around who want to tell you that you're doing things wrong, or want to give you uncalled-for advice. They have their own experiences, but that doesn't make them experts on your baby.



totally!  do what feels right to you.

also, plan for growth spurts in the first month or so, starting with 3 days old;  luckily we knew what to expect this time around (i.e. all night feeding).
 
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Like others here, people gave me advice. I would nod, smile, thank them and then go home and make my own mind up.

Very permy point: observation is key. (And because of that, parents will know their baby best.) Spot patterns in routine and behaviour - which may take some weeks to emerge, and will shift every once in a while.

Food: when there's a quiet moment, prep your next meal(s), even to the point of making a sandwich and putting it in the fridge hours ahead, and keeping the biscuits out next to the kettle. Things can get hectic and everyone copes better with regular feeding.
 
master pollinator
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Even if you are breastfeeding, have some formula on hand. It would have been very useful to me before my full milk supply came in. You really do not want to find your wife in tears at 2 in the morning, wailing with the poor hungry child when the nearest place to buy formula is a 45-mile drive one way. Nature is not always as quick as we wish.

Buy a breast pump. The baby and I had thrush due to the necessary use of antibiotics. Thrush will be passed back and forth if both mom and baby are not treated. The doc did not bother to mention that, so we developed an advanced case. I wound up using previously frozen milk to feed baby, and pumping to keep up my production. Just in case the milk would reinfect baby, I discarded this milk. I have no evidence if the milk would be affected. At any rate, breastfeeding was excruciating, the pump was merely uncomfortable. I knew little of herbal remedies at the time, we used the Dr prescribed medicine.
 
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Kate Downham wrote:
Breastfeeding can sometimes be painful at first, but it gets easier after the first month.



I would add that if it's really painful, make sure to get help. I kept asking for more and more nurses and nursing consultants to come. My nipples were sore and worn out, and my son was screaming all the time. And, being a first mom, I wasn't sure I had the latch right. They found out he had tongue-tie, and fixed it right there in the hospital. I am so glad I made sure I had a nursing consultant come and check us out and teach me how.

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Sometimes nipples get chafed, or worse, cracked. Lanolin is wonderful for healing this. It does not need to be removed before nursings.. This one looks similar https://www.etsy.com/listing/156826497/lanolin-skin-salve?ref=pla_similar_listings_top_ad-2&plkey=ec2b288cc3fd0d4412230928f6cebe5c742674d2%3A156826497
 
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Aw, this is awesome! Congratulations! My youngest is 6.5 months old now. That went by in a blur. :)

I'm a Licensed Midwife. I was in my third year of midwifery school when I had my first baby. I had already been to almost a hundred births, and STILL, I had no idea that MY birth was going to be the way it was.

That being said. I would strongly recommend that you and your partner NOT attached yourselves to any specific outcome. Be open, flowing, willing to allow change to come and go. We are not in control. There are so many players in the birth and parenting game, and one of them is a miniature human who can't speak any of your language yet. Be patient...with yourselves and with baby. <3

Yes, please read The Continuum Concept! That book also changed my life and literally made me the parent I am today. Also, Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

Nursing shouldn't hurt. Some soreness is expected in the first two days or so, but if baby latches and your nipples are on FIRE, that is NOT okay, and it usually means that something is wrong with baby's latch! You do not have to suffer through that! Call your local La Leche League leader and ask for advice! Call your care provider and ask for a referral to an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Watch Dr. Jack Newman's breastfeeding videos on youtube (here: Dr. Jack Newman's Newborn Nursing Video).

Babywearing: Please get yourself a soft, stretchy wrap for the first couple months. Like, a Moby Wrap or a Boba Wrap. Watch a couple youtube videos to learn how to wear it. Have non-breastfeeding parent wear baby often when baby sleeps, so that baby gets used to non-breastfeeding parent and breastfeeding parent can sometimes shower/poop/nap without hearing baby crying. Switch to a woven wrap or soft structured carrier (like Ergo baby) when babe gets too heavy for stretchy wrap.

When people ask what they can do to help, ask them for one of three things: 1) Dishes. 2) Laundry. 3) Bring healthy meal that only needs to be reheated (no prep). And in the early days, post a cute little sign on the door that asks that visitors please leave a meal then ring the doorbell and leave (Mama and baby are sleeping). Visitors in the very early days can be exhausting! On the other hand, maybe mama needs to see grown-up humans. YMMV.

Baby blues on days 3-5 are caused by a significant and drastic drop in pregnancy hormones. "Baby blues" at the end of the second week, or third week, or fourth week are likely not due to hormones and can be postpartum depression. GET HELP. Call your care provider, your best friend, church minister (if you have one), La Leche League leader, etc. Call someone and tell them what's going on.

After you have a baby, you have a wound the size of a dinner plate inside your uterus. Any time you lift something heavy, try to vacuum the floor, stand on your feet all day making food, try to start exercising too early, etc...you risk opening that wound and bleeding heavily. GET REST. That's not necessarily the same as getting sleep. STAY IN BED for at least the first week, stay on the couch for the second week, stay sitting or still on the couch the third week. Obviously you will get up to bathe and go potty, that's alright. But resist the urge to get up and do things for a while. There will still be plenty to do after your body is healed (my nana used to say that the dishes will be there when you're dead and buried!).

I hope y'all have a beautiful birth and postpartum experience!! <3 <3
 
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Mike Kenzie wrote:We are now nearing the "4th trimester" of our first pregnancy... we're gonna have a newborn soon! :-)
What are your top 3 pieces of advice -from a permaculture perspective- for the newborn stage?


From my perspective, the second month was the hardest. Embrace the suck, and know that things will get better.
 
Mike Kenzie
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@elle sagenev: hehe, I’m already caressing the old washing machine & telling it that it’s in for a wild ride, but hopefully it'll just be a short couple of years!

@Annie Collins: Thank you for this recommendation. We looked up The Continuum Concept and it seems right up our alley. We will certainly check it out.

@Kate Downham: Yeah, it’s already started. The biggest challenge for me will be some very opinionated family members.

@Amy Arnett: Wonderful epic post. Yeah, I’m glad that I have a “cottage business” that I mostly do from home. I’m excited to be fully supportive & there for the child as much as possible.

@Tereza Okava: Very wise advice; I can tell you have some experience with this.

@Eric Hanson: Thank you. I just recently noticed that the local hardware store “recycles” plastic bags. Don’t know the whole chain of custody & where they actually end up yet, but it did lift my spirits a bit considering the municipal recycling center here does not take plastic bags.
We have been gifted a cloth diapering service for the first few months. The service includes an air-tight sealed bin to keep the soiled cloth diapers in.

@Hilary: Great advice, especially the meal prep stuff.

@Joylynn Hardesty: Thanks! Got any advice on which pump to get, make & model? The choices are overwhelming to us.

@Nicole Alderman: Thank you. Luckily our midwives are very well connected to lactation consultants. So, I think we’re set. I just wish I could feel the pain for her from time to time!

@Isabella Love: Great post. Thanks for the heads up on the “baby blues”; hadn’t heard about those yet.

@John Wolfram: Glad to hear it gets smoother at some point relatively soon after birth.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE! This has been so helpful for us. :-)
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