Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bonding with your baby and gentle parenting

It`s a well-known fact that the  first moments after baby`s birth are crucial to baby`s proper adjustment and adaptation to life out of mom`s womb. Baby will immediately start breathing on his/her own, and gradually regulating temperature, breastfeeding and internal organs will begin its functions-liver will start with blood clotting thus protecting new-borns from bleeding, then breaking extra waste and red blood cells and bilirubin to prevent jaundice,
GIT will initialize digesting breast milk and passing the first stool- Meconium.
Urinary system will be maintaining body`s fluids and electrolyte balance.

Nowadays all this is well taken care of in hospitals. Babies are being properly examined immediately after birth by specialized pediatricians, then given shortly to moms and then whisked away to nurseries.
Babies physical needs have been well studied, documented and all care providers agree that  physical needs need to be taken care of in order to achieve the best possible health and potential for baby`s development.  But what about baby`s emotional needs? Aren`t they of equal importance as the physical ones? How does baby feel once separated from his/her mom? How will this early separation from mom affect him/her?
If taking care of physical needs is necessary for baby`s proper development, so is taking care of baby`s emotional needs promote baby`s well being , calmness, emotional stability and ensure raising a balanced and well-adjusted child.

Baby needs to feel safe and protected. Baby wants to smell mom`s scent and hear mom`s voice. Baby also wants to feel mom`s gentle touch. The same sensations and experiences as those in mom`s womb ensure smooth transition and adaptation to baby`s new life. You can observe that babies are usually calm in their mom`s arms and cry once taken away. Again they will calm down when returned to their moms.
Bonding between mom and her baby has numerous beneficial effects like: baby is calm, baby`s heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation are optimal. Baby can breastfeed in peace and learn proper latch which is vital for successful breastfeeding.

It`s advised that mom and baby are given unlimited opportunity to bond and breastfeed right after birth. Latest research shows that medical exam of newborns can be basic and short , so that  baby can be returned to mom for bonding. Unlimited bonding between mom and baby, and also family members attending labour promote the best chances for happy and serene moment’s right after birth, thus setting the best atmosphere and patterns of love and trust. It also helps to promote release of mothering hormones which may ease mom`s transition to motherhood and help her become more confident and intuitive.
Unlimited bonding has also positive effects on Dads. While bonding with his new baby, he will get a boost in the hormone Oxytocin- hormone of love and social relationships and experience new parenting adventures.

My advises:
If you wish for unlimited bonding right after birth, give it an extra measure and plan it ahead

1 .Educate yourself and your family about best pregnancy, birth and baby care choices
- It`s important that you have the information you need to decide what is right for you and for your baby and that your experience of labour and birth reflects these wishes and preferences.
- Look for trusted and reliable sources of evidence based information such as: Cochrane library, NHS choices, Lamaze International.
- Read books about best baby care, attend educational courses.
- Gather information about available resources in Kuwait.
- Attend Childbirth education classes (such as the ones offered at BirthKuwait.)
2.  Make your choice
-Being informed will help you prepare for birth and will help you make decisions on what is important to you and your labour.
-Being involved in the decision process ensures that your care is specific to you and your baby.
-You know your needs best.
-Decisions you make about your pregnancy and labour will affect the quality of your birthing experience and your overall satisfaction.
-Informed decision requires the following information about any procedure or intervention:
      Benefits: What are the benefits involved?
      Risks: What are the risks involved?
      Alternatives: What are the alternatives / other suggestions?
      Future consequences: Is my baby ok? Am I ok? What would happen if we wait?
3. Prepare a written Birth Plan
-Birth Plan is a written document about your birth preferences and choices.
-Birth plan should include your preferences for bonding and breastfeeding, for example :
"I wish to have an unlimited opportunity for bonding and breastfeeding right after birth, I wish that my baby will be first placed on my belly while awaiting the delivery of the placenta and clamping of the umbilical cord, then I wish that my baby will be returned to me after short medical examination and placed on my chest and breast in order to start breastfeeding if situation allows so. I also prefer that my baby will stay with me all the time if possible and not be taken to nursery.”
-Discuss your birth wishes with your health care provider to make sure you are on the same page.
- It`s a good idea to have more copies of this plan, so you can hand it to different care providers while their shift changes.


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  2. Bonding for me actually started during pregnancy. Not completely naturally, though, but somewhat intentionally. I was very ill during my pregnancy with my son, but we began the bonding process by regularly reading a week-by-week development book. It is truly amazing to track the miracle that is taking place. It really made a difference for me even after birth. Now, there are a lot of great books and blogs out there to serve this purpose, but the one I'm reading now blows all the others away, and it's great for every pregnancy, not just the first. Not only does it have even more development details than usual, and personalized, it has a section in it where you can journal or write letters to baby. It's called “The Wonder Within You: celebrating your baby’s journey from conception to birth” by Carey Wickersham. It’s an awesome combination of week-to-week information, what’s going on with the baby, “Did you know?” plus health advice about what to eat, cravings, nutrition, etc, BUT also with awesome 3D/4D pictures and videos you can link or QR with your phone to and see what your baby looks like at each week stage. I've just not seen anything exactly like it! It’s got famous quotes and real mom stories, too. The pregnancy information is as up-to-date as it gets and it’s such a great keepsake. I want to get one for everybody I know who is expecting! I highly recommend it!

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