Today we ran a Twitter chat with maternity nurse Mary Ashton. We were flooded with lots of questions on newborns, breastfeeding, babies and sleep, circumcision, babies and pets, nappy rash, colic – you name it! Here’s a summary of the chat. Thank you to all who took part. 

Babies and crying – when to leave them to it, and when to attend to them?

You must deal with them. Standard rule never go straight to them or they will learn all they have to do is make a tiny noise and you will appear. All fine when baby is a week old but 6 weeks in or more and it gets old very quickly!

How do I know if my baby is too hot or too cold at night? What’s the best temperature for her bedroom?

The ideal temperature for a nursery is 16-20 degrees. This may seem on the cool side but it is easier to add a blanket than to cool down a hot room. Check baby’s temperature by putting the backs of your fingers on their chest. Baby should feel warmer than you but not hot to the touch. They generally should be wearing one more layer than you would.

What’s your advice to families with pets? How best to introduce a new arrival?

Cats can be a little tricky as they like to sleep in warm places such as bouncy chairs and moses baskets, so you may need to fill them with something when baby is not in there and don’t leave the baby alone with a cat in the room. Dogs are easier, just make sure they know that the baby is human and let them have a sniff as it is a new thing in their world and they need to understand it – most dogs are very protective of the new member of their family.

I’m worried I have PND. Some days when I’m out the house, I dread going home. Going to GP but what do I do?

Going to the GP is absolutely the right thing to do. Do you have someone who could come and stay with you for a few days or weeks to help out and give you a bit of company and support? I hope things improve for you soon.

Paranoid my baby might get colic after a friend’s child did, it was terrible. Anything I can do to avoid it?

No, I’m afraid not but try not to worry too much just because it happened to your friend’s child doesn’t mean it will happen to yours. Burp your baby well after feeding and positive thinking 🙂

I know babies are supposed to sleep on their backs, but mine tends to turn over on his tum. What to do?

If he is rolling over by himself there is not much you can do except make sure there is nothing else in his bed no toys or loose blankets or cot bumpers. It’s a common problem as babies get older.

How often should I be dealing with nappy rash? It’s something my little one has suffered with 2/3 times now.

Some babies can be more prone to it than other especially when teething. You may need to try a different cream and give plenty of nappy off time – air is wonderful for nappy rash.

How often should I nappy change? What are the signs to look out for? Besides the smell?!

With a newborn baby you are looking at 8-10 nappy changes a day. I like to do it before a feed initially as it helps to wake baby up for the feed. If it’s wet you should be able to feel the difference.

When do you suggest moving a newborn into own room? It is across hallway, so very close!

Guidelines for reducing the risk of SIDS say you should have the baby in your room until they are 6 months old.

Do you have any advice on baby’s circumcision? I haven’t had the procedure done yet.

It can be very traumatic for parents but the babies always seem to cope so well. Follow the advise of the person doing the procedure as I find aftercare alters from person to person. Be brave, it heals very quickly.

How best to hold my baby when I am bathing him? Seems kind of awkward at the mo!

Have you got a bath seat/support? These really are the best for little babies and easy to get in, try Mothercare or John Lewis.

 We’ve just got home, my newborn is crying continually. Not having any luck breastfeeding. What do I do?

If you want to persevere with breastfeeding I would suggest getting a lactation consultant in to help and reassure you. Baby may also be struggling with life outside of you too, so give her a chance to get used to this massive change. Try and stay calm as the more upset you get the more your baby will too. If baby is not getting enough breast milk, make sure to top up with some formula.

How should I care for my newborn’s umbilical cord? How do I clean it, and when will it fall off?

Just clean the cord with water and make sure it is dry. It should come off around ten days to two weeks. If the skin around it goes red or there is any puss you need to see a medical professional although this is rare.

My baby is now one, but he always wakes up at night, he cannot sleep without breastfeeding, what can I do?

It sounds like your baby has not learnt how to go to sleep by himself, so I would suggest you contact a sleep consultant.

How can I help my baby bond with me? Do you have any tips?

Skin to skin contact is wonderful to promote bonding try doing it with your baby once they have just had a bath

My baby can’t sleep at night, I have to sit up the entire night with her, what should I do?

Try putting a muslin in your shirt for a few hours and then placing it under baby’s head in their bed before you put them down.

We’ve been home for a week now, and my wife won’t let me do a thing! How can I help? 

It can be really tough for new dads. Your wife is feeling very protective and as difficult as it might be for you what she needs from you is for you to look after her, so she can look after the baby. She will calm down when her hormone levels start to drop and she feels a bit more confident as a mum. Hang in there I promise you are not alone in this.

What are your views on swaddling? When and to what age should I do this?

I personally like to swaddle but as there are now concerns regarding baby’s hips, I have started using a baby sleeping bag by a company called Puckababy which allows the baby to move their hips with them still contained. Use these from birth until the baby has gross motor control of their arms around 12 weeks.

Should I wake my baby to feed him?

Yes! Absolutely especially in the first weeks. Newborn babies can be very sleepy and it is crucial they eat/drink regularly.

What are your views on dummies / pacifers?

I find with some babies they can be very helpful, the only way a baby can calm itself is by sucking. However I do advise removing the dummy by 6 months, as new research suggests using it beyond this time can cause speech problems.

What are your three key pieces of advice for new mamas and papas?

  1. If someone comes round to visit in the early weeks during a mealtime they should bring the meal with them.
  2. Enjoy this amazing, tiring, loud, smelly, wonderful baby you have created before you know it they will be going to school!!
  3. Healthy mums & healthy babies are what’s important at the end of the day so however you feed your baby don’t feel bad about it

 

Mary Ashton, Maternity Nurse
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