How To See If The Baby Thrives And Where To Find Support?
After nine months of waiting you are back home from the hospital – now as parents with your newborn baby in your arms. A magical time filled with big emotions like happiness, anxiety, overwhelm and love. You want to make sure that your baby thrives. And how to make sure that it does? Here are some of the most important signs to look out for:
Sleep/awake: As a newborn, the baby sleeps on average 16-18 hours a day. If the baby thrives, it will have short periods of being awake, where it seeks the eye-contact of the parents. It`s important to make sure that your baby isn´t turning lethargic or the opposite: crying/whining a lot.
Breastfeeding/bottle-feeding: The newborn baby should have free access to the breast to stimulate the milk production. After the birth, the breastmilk is colostrum, a yellow thick milk in very small amounts containing essential antibodies. The colostrum lubricates the intestines preparing them to receive the milk when it flows after 2-4 days. The newborn should eat at least 6-8 times a day with a maximum of 4 hours between (day and night!). If fed by bottle, it´s the same number of feedings.
Diapers: The first couple of days postpartum there should be 1-2 wet diapers a day. After 3- 5 days when the milk flows, there should be 6-8. The first stools are called meconium. It is black/dark green and very sticky. As the breastmilk starts running the stools will change its colour into green/brown and end up being very thin and yellow with small pieces of fat in it (like remoulade). If the stools has´t changed colour from the meconium after 4 days, it is a sign that the baby isn’t getting enough milk. Contact your health visitor or doctor for advice.
Colours: The newborn should have a healthy and normal skin colour. Not greyish or pale. Many newborns get a little bit of jaundice. This is not dangerous as long as the baby is otherwise displaying all the signs of thriving. BUT if the baby turns very yellow and lethargic contact the doctor immediately for a checkup, and a blood sample. The jaundice is at its highest on the 5th day after the birth.
Weight: A breastfed baby will normally lose weight for the first few days after the birth. The baby regains weight as the milk arrives, and ten days after the birth, the baby will be back to its birthweight or above it. The health visitor weighs the baby to make sure that the baby does´t lose more than 10% of its weight before regaining.
This article was written by Working With Baby, the first private company in Copenhagen offering private health visits for expats in English.
Working With Baby provides experienced maternity nursing and pre- and postnatal health consultancy services in the Copenhagen region through home visiting.
The founder, Kirsten Lise Andersen, is a Nurse, BN, a Health Visitor, and the mother of four boys aged 2-14. She has eight years of nursing experience from the hospital – five years from the Maternity Ward, and one year from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In 2015, Kirsten undertook one and a half years of postgraduate studies at the Metropolitan University College, specialising as a Health Visitor.
Kirsten says: “As a public health visitor in Copenhagen, the home visits are limited to approximately one hour. As a private health visitor, I can stay for as long as is needed to examine the baby, support breastfeeding and the healthy development of the child, advise on the challenges of the relationship between the parents post-birth, as well as discuss sleep guidance, the role of siblings, and much more. It gives me time to answer all questions in a calm atmosphere which supports confident parenting and secures the early attachment between the parents and their newborn baby. Between each visit I follow up by phone, and the number of visits is decided by the parents”. Click HERE to contact Kirsten.
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