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Up to 32 Weeks Pregnancy

Healthy babies start with healthy pregnancies.

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You've got that pregnancy glow thing happening now! There's a few things you need to start thinking about now like metabolic screening & hearing screening for baby and breastfeeding. Theres also some really important topics on keeping your baby safe like caring for your baby at night, coping with crying baby, safe sleeping, baby danger signs, childhood Immunisations.

Normal New Born Behaviour

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Childhood Immunisations

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Baby Danger signs

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Safe Sleeping

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Coping with Crying Baby

Coping with a crying baby is right up there with the lack of sleep and in fact they go hand in hand- the more tired you are the harder it can be to cope!

Babies cry. Full stop. That's what they do! It is their main way of communicating. They may cry because they are hungry, tired, need a nappy change, need a cuddle, they are unwell, they are in pain, they are uncomfortable, or....... maybe the moon is just in the wrong quarter! In the early days it is tricky figuring out what the cries might mean, eventually most parents learn to recognise the different ways babies cry.

Its ok to be frustrated with crying- it is really hard when you can't figure out how to make it stop. Sometimes its a matter of just sitting and cuddling baby and being present with them to let them know you are there and continuing to try and soothe them.

The most important thing to remember is that it is NEVER EVER ok to shake your baby or handle them roughly. Babies brains and bodies are fragile and one moment of lost control can leave a life time of damage. If you feel like you are losing control please place your baby in their bed or cot gently- somewhere safe. Then remove yourself for a while- go and make a coffee or walk around the back yard. Take some deep breaths and calm your body and mind. Baby may still be crying but thats ok- they are safe where they are. When you feel ready then go back to your baby and start again with the cuddles and soothing. If you feel like you are really losing it then call a friend or whanau member to come over and give you some time out.

please click here to read the MOH "Coping with a Crying Baby Info"...

From the Mayo Clinic website:

" If your baby seems otherwise OK but the crying continues, do your best to stay calm. Getting tense or upset might only make the crying worse. Remember, crying doesn't hurt anyone — including the baby.

To stay in control of the situation, you might:

  • Keep it quiet. Hold your baby close to you, and quietly sing or talk to your baby. Repeat a calm word or phrase, such as, "You're OK."

  • Get moving. Weather permitting, put your baby in the stroller and take a walk. You might even buckle the baby into his or her car seat and take a short drive.

  • Think rationally. Remind yourself that it's OK to be frustrated by your baby's crying, but getting angry isn't going to help.

  • Take a timeout. If you're alone, put your baby in a safe place — such as the crib or bassinet. Let your baby cry while you take a few minutes to regroup in another room.

  • Be realistic. Remind yourself that you're not failing your baby if you can't stop a crying spell.

  • Ask for help. Let your partner or another loved one take over for a while. Take advantage of baby-sitting offers from trusted friends or neighbours. Use the time to take a nap or simply relax. If you're worried about your ability to cope with a crying baby, contact a family member or friend, your health care provider, a local crisis intervention service or a mental health help line for support."

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Caring for your baby at night

Caring for a baby at night is one of the biggest challenges parents can face. The nights can feel long and it can be frustrating when your baby won't settle or wakes often you yourself are already tired. Lowering your expectations and understanding that frequent night waking is a protective mechanism for babies can help. I can also promise you it won't be forever (although it feels like it at 3am!).

Babies are programmed to wake 2-3 hourly for feeds and cuddles. Some may wake more frequently than this and some may sleep longer than this fairly soon. Please do yourself a favour and throw out the notion of a baby "sleeping through the night" at 6 weeks. I can tell you this is extremely rare and it just makes for disappointment and frustration when 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year and even 2 or 3 years passes and your baby isn't sleeping through the night.

Babies need our love, support, reassurance, and gentle care. They need to know that they can count on their parents or caregivers being there for them. This creates strong bonds and emotional foundations on which your baby will grow in to a secure child and a well adjusted adult.

Ensuring that you prioritise having a nap during the day while your baby sleeps will make the broken nights more bearable. Covering the clock and going with the flow is another important step in acceptance. Avoiding the temptation to pick up your phone and jump online is also a good idea... the bright lights of the screens on devices is confusing for our brain and will interfere with your natural hormones that help you fall back into a deep sleep once baby has gone back to sleep.

click here to read the Unicef "Caring for Your Baby at Night" pdf...

Newborn hearing screening

In New Zealand up to 170 babies are born each year with a significant hearing loss. More than half of babies found to have a hearing loss have no family history of hearing loss or other risk factors. Without screening, it is difficult to detect hearing loss in babies until speech and language development becomes delayed.

Newborn hearing screening is a safe and simple check to find out if your baby hears well. The screen is designed to pick up moderate to profound hearing loss. It may not pick up mild hearing loss.

Screening is completely free and very gentle. If you are staying in maternity then they will do the screening there for you or book an appointment for you to visit as an outpatient. If you birth at home we will send a referral for you and you will be contact with an outpatients appointment.

click here to read more about hearing screening...

Newborn Metabolic Screening Test (PKU)

The Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme screens for rare but potentially serious disorders such as phenylketonuria (PKU), cystic fibrosis, and congenital hypothyroidism.

A blood sample is taken from your baby’s heel at or as soon as possible after 48 hours of age (the ‘heel prick’ or ‘Guthrie’ test).  If a disorder is found, early treatment can prevent permanent damage or death.

click here to visit the National Screening Unit website to read more...

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Breastfeeding is the very best start you can give your baby in life. It is full of everything your baby needs and offers protection from many illnesses and improves lifelong health. Its not easy to start with for everyone but I am here to help support you in getting it right. Its tricky to do much teaching about breastfeeding before baby is here and you can try it all out for yourself but educating yourself as much about the benefits and info around breastfeeding is a great start.

click here for the MOH page on breastfeeding....

click here to visit Breastfeeding East Coast. A fantastic website and resource from a local lactation consultant..

click here to visit the website of the amazing Dr. Jack Newman...

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