I recently attended a webinar with the subtitle, “Why Do Babies Suck So Much?” This tongue-in-cheek description of newborns is a great way to begin a discussion about what happens for mothers and infants during the first days and weeks of breastfeeding.
Jaundice is a common condition in newborns during the first few weeks of life. Before babies are born, they need extra red blood cells. Once they are born and begin breathing air, they no longer need as many red blood cells and the extras must be broken down by the body. A by-product of this process is a substance called bilirubin which causes the yellowish skin color characteristic of jaundice. The bilirubin is processed by the baby’s liver and is eliminated through the stools. This process occurs smoothly in the majority of newborns and at least 50% of breastfed newborns will experience some level of newborn jaundice. Some research has shown that bilirubin, which is an antioxidant, may actually benefit newborns. In many cases all that is required with newborn jaundice is monitoring. With frequent breastfeeding, most babies will pass enough stools to keep their bilirubin levels within safe limits and breastfeeding can continue uninterrupted.
There are many things families can do to prepare for breastfeeding. While we never know exactly how the birth and other events in the early days are going to go, here are some things partners and other family members can do that will generally help get breastfeeding going smoothly.
There are many things moms can do to prepare for breastfeeding. While we never know exactly how the birth and other events in the early days are going to go, here are some things moms can do that will generally help get breastfeeding going smoothly. (My next post will be about how partners can help get breastfeeding off to a great start!)
IV fluids are a common intervention during the birth process for many mothers. IVs are likely to be given during inductions, long labors, with epidurals, and with cesarean births. An unexpected side effect of IV fluids has recently made headlines and may soon come to affect how we view newborn weight loss.