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new baby
First Years Jan 31, 2021
7 Minutes

8 new new baby myths bust!

These days there is SO much information. The trouble is, its not always based on anything concrete. So, we turn (as always) to the latest science based research to bust some of the most common new baby myths we hear. 

ONE: feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted is a normal part of having a new baby. ‘If you’re not struggling, you’re not doing it right’. 

Wrong. It is not a badge of honour. Nor should we be made to feel that asking for help means ‘you’re not doing it right’ or are not a ‘good parent.’

Lack of support is a major contributing factor towards serious conditions like Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Anxiety. Perversely NOT asking for help, trying to do it all, and be a ‘super parent’ can do more harm than good. Not only for ourselves as parents but for a new baby. 

In fact, recent research (click here) showed positive development in two key regions of a baby’s brain when women struggling with Postpartum depression (PPD) and/or anxiety got help. The good news when it comes to new babies their brains are very plastic. In this research after getting help there were no differences in the emotional development centres of the brain between a baby whose mother had PPD and a baby whose mother had not. 

FACT: seeking help when it’s needed actually makes you a better parent. Both for yourself and for your baby! Don’t suffer in silence. The science says so! 

TWO: if you don’t feel an immediate bond with your new baby there is something wrong… 

Do you realise how massive the hormonal fluctuations are immediately post birth?! The main reason for this is that when you give birth, you give birth to both a new baby and the placenta. The placenta is the organ that helps your baby grow and produces key hormones to help this process along. 

When the placenta exits the building, hormones like Progesterone (which rise 10x through pregnancy) and Estradiol (potent form of estrogen which rises 50x during pregnancy!!) crash. That can leave us feeling very strange indeed. Often highly emotional and potentially even very sad. This can bring with it all sorts of emotional consequences that you had not envisioned in the early days of a new baby. Including not feeling how you think you ‘should’. 

So, if you don’t feel how you think you should immediately do not worry. It’s normal. The only time to ask questions and for help is if this is still the case a few weeks out from birth. 

Don’t be ashamed. It’s ok not to feel ok! 

Click here for more. 

THREE: Breastfeeding is an easy and natural process… 

So breastfeeding should be easy and natural. However, for most of us it feels like the opposite at first.

Not only is it a learning process for a new mother, but a new baby has to learn to latch too. It also takes as long as 4-6 weeks to establish your milk supply. That can mean cluster feeding, cracked nipples and not very much sleep. It is no walk in the park…. 

However, it does get easier. 

It is not easy for the vast majority of people at the start. If you decide it is right for you and your baby then once the first few weeks are out the way it should become A LOT easier. Click here for some motivation to keep you going through those 3am feeds. 

Once again: support is key. 

If it isn’t going so well, but you wish to power through, the best bet is to get some help and support. Lactation consultants are a godsend. However, you will need other support from your family. People who can help you. 

Enough calories are needed, enough water needed and enough rest. This is an often forgotten part of breastfeeding. Support is crucial from your partner and/or family. 

Click here for some wise words from leading Paediatrician and lactation consultant Dr Natasha. 

Bottom line however: nope, for most of us breastfeeding is not easy in the early days and support is needed. It’s normal to really struggle at the beginning. 

FOUR: I’m not producing enough for my new baby…. 

This is most breastfeeding mother’s thought at some point. It can feel particularly strange in the first few days before your milk comes in as all you’re producing is this sticky ‘residue’: Colostrum. Surely that cannot sustain a new baby?!

Colostrum is a nutritional powerhouse with everything your new baby needs. The key thing to remember is the size of your new baby’s stomach. 

FACT: Want to know how big it is? Take a look at your new baby’s fist. It is roughly that size. So yes, if your baby is regularly on the breast the chances are he/she will get enough. 

It is also normal for a new baby to lose 5-10% of their birth weight in the first week or two. 

The key is to keep checking your baby’s weight and growth curve regularly. That is the real way to know if your baby is getting enough. As long as he/she remains on her growth curve (whichever curve that may be) then all is ok. The key is feeding/pumping as much as possible to get that supply going. 

For other science based tips for milk supply click here. 

SIX: once I’ve had my new baby I have no need to keep up with my supplements… 

It is easy to forget about our own health and nutrition once a new baby comes along. The irony is that after nine months of often obsessing about our own health (given our bodies are growing a baby) we immediately forget it once the baby is out.

However, research has shown a few things:

  1. Pregnancy and birth takes a huge toll on key nutrient stores within our bodies leaving us often very depleted in key nutrients.
  2. Breastfeeding requires a whole set of nutrients for adequate quality, production and for a new baby’s development. 
  3. A depleted body can make us more vulnerable to things like postnatal depression and anxiety.

Of course everyone is different and every pregnancy is different. However, there are a few key nutrients to watch postnatal and a few specific areas our bodies may need more help with. DHA/Choline/Iron and B Vitamins are just a few that may need extra support after birth. 

Click here for the key nutrients you should be aware of after birth. 

SEVEN: if it says suitable for babies it must be ok…  

Unfortunately, just like the supplement industry, the beauty and personal care industry is not well regulated. Even big brands can fall short. 

A baby’s skin is super, super sensitive. Unfortunately there are two things that often work against a product when you’re considering using it on a baby’s skin:

  1. hidden fragrance
  2. alkaline vs acidic

FACT: One of the global pioneers in paediatric allergy Professor Gideon Lack flags that one of the main risk factors for allergy is eczema. He also flags that many products for bathing new babies are alkaline when in fact a baby’s skin is slightly acidic. Upsetting the delicate pH balance of a baby’s skin can dry it out and leave it vulnerable to eczema. Not what we want. Click here for more. 

We also know that many products contain hidden fragrance. The trouble with this is that the generally contain Phthalates. These have been shown to disrupt all important hormones and potentially impact development. Simple solution: read the ingredients and go fragrance free. Click here for more. 

EIGHT: it’s not good for a new baby to have pets around… 

First of all, this is only a comment about hygiene rather than safety from an animal. All animals should be closely watched around babies and children. However, the idea that it is unhygienic for a new baby is actually not correct. Providing of course basic hygiene is adhered to. 

FACT: research has actually linked babies and children who are exposed to animals early on with having reduced incidence of allergy. Why? This comes back to the microbiome. This is the collection of bacteria, fungi and virus in our digestive tract. It is also home to 70% of our immune system. In our antibiotic obsessed culture the lack of diversity has been tied to immune dysfunction. ie. allergies. 

So: if you have a well behaved, relatively clean pet who is supervised around your new baby: it’s all good! 

Click here for more. 

NINE: feels like this is going to last forever…. 

It may sound obvious, but when you’re in a tricky phase you may genuinely believe there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, everything is a phase. 

A new baby’s brain is only marginally complete at birth. This is why you’ll hear things like ‘the forth trimester’ etc. The reality is a brain is still rapidly developing into adolescence. We also know that as neural pathways are being built it can give rise to all sorts of phases and behaviour. 

FACT: research shows that things like tantrums are not deliberate ways to anger parents. It is babies/toddlers learning to cope with big emotions. You may not feel like it at the time, but, often the best thing to do for brain development is a hug. Oxytocin helps everyone. 

Remember: each and every phase will come as quickly as it goes. Hang tight. 

For more on best science backed ways to help development – click here. 

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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