Moms are a lot of things: strong, intuitive, loving, determined, fierce and loyal. Never take for granted what a mom knows.
But at the same time, never assume that all moms — especially new, first-time moms — know everything.
Here are 11 important terms for a baby’s first 6 months that all moms should be aware of:
Baby Blues 1 of 11There's nothing like the joy of holding a newborn baby in your arms. But sometimes with the bliss comes an unexpected sadness. Some women are surprised to find themselves moody and prone to tears for weeks after giving birth. Thanks to a combination of exhaustion, anxiety and a drop in hormones, you may find yourself hungrier than normal (or with no appetite at all), and more irritable and nervous. Ask family and friends for help and take some time to get extra rest. Baby blues will go away on their own, and a little extra emotional support will go a long way in helping you recover.
Babywearing 2 of 11Moms (and dads) who transport their baby in a sling or carrier like a BabyBjÃ¶rn are babywearers, which is a practice strongly advocated by Dr. William Sears, who coined the term Attachment Parenting. Benefits are said to include a stronger parent/child bond, which can help lower the risk of postpartum depression, calmer babies as a result of having their primal/survival needs met, and lower instances of plagiocephaly, or "flat head syndrome" that can be caused by too much time spent in a cart seat or sleeping on the back.
There is also a risk of suffocation that comes along with wearing babies in slings — either if an infant's head is folded forward and the airway gets cut off or if the head is nestled up against the carrier's body.
Back to Sleep 3 of 11Putting healthy babies to sleep on their backs is a way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the percentage of infants dying from SIDS has decreased by 50 percent. Other ways to reduce the risk of SIDS include ensuring a baby isn't overheated with too many clothes when going to sleep, keeping all pillows, blankets and toys out of the crib, and eliminating exposure to cigarette smoke.
Co-Sleeping 4 of 11Co-sleeping is when babies sleep close to one or both parents, either in the same room or in the same bed (which is known as bed-sharing). The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages room-sharing, although it recommends against bed-sharing because of the risk of injury or death to babies as a result of suffocation, among other hazards. On the other hand, bed-sharing advocates say it encourages breastfeeding, contributes to extra rest for mom and baby, and helps parents and babies with bonding.
Cry It Out 5 of 11Also known as the Ferber Method or sleep training, crying it out is when babies roughly 3-5 months old are left to cry in an effort to help them learn to soothe themselves to sleep. Parents put awake babies to bed and pat and comfort them after a prescribed amount of time, but don't pick them up for comfort or nursing. The hope is that after a few days or a week, babies will learn to fall asleep on their own.
Some parenting experts argue against allowing babies to cry it out, saying it's harmful to babies by leaving them stressed and with a sense of insecurity.
Mastitis 6 of 11Mastitis is a breast infection that often occurs in breastfeeding moms. Symptoms include breast enlargement (on one side only), a breast lump, fever, nipple discharge, flu-like symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and tenderness, swelling or redness in breast tissue. There is no test for mastitis, but antibiotics (which are safe for a nursing baby) are generally very effective in clearing up the infection.
Nipple Aversion 7 of 11When a newborn baby has trouble breastfeeding, whether through not sucking or latching, or an improper latch, it's often called nipple aversion. Sometimes babies can learn to take to the nipple after sucking on a parent's finger or taking in breast milk or formula through a tube, syringe or bottle — although in rare cases some babies still never end up latching onto the breast.
In other cases, nipple aversion is when a baby only eats from the breast and refuses to accept the nipple from a bottle.
Source: La Leche League
Postpartum Depression 8 of 11Unlike baby blues, which usually go away within a few weeks after giving birth, postpartum depression is a more severe form of anxiety that occurs in new moms within a few weeks or months after delivery. Symptoms include trouble sleeping, the inability to care for yourself or your baby, changes in appetite, agitation or irritability, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, loss of energy or concentration, feeling unconnected to the baby, lack of pleasure in some of all activities, and suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
Women suffering from postpartum depression should be open about their feelings and ask for help from their partners, family members, friends, medical providers, therapists and support groups. There are also antidepressant medications available that can greatly assist in easing any suffering.
Immediate medical help should be sought for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or for moms thinking of harming their babies.
Rear-Facing 9 of 11The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all babies remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2 in order to reduce the risk of significant injury or death. Babies under 2 who are front-facing in their car seats — despite their weight — face noticeably higher instances of spinal cord injuries when in frontal car crashes, which are more frequent than side and rear crashes. Rear-facing car seats are not a meaningful safety risk even if a child's legs are bent at the knees because a baby or toddler might be tall.
Swaddling 10 of 11Newborn infants have been swaddled — wrapped tightly in swaddling-specific cloths or blankets — for centuries. Some experts recommend swaddling to help babies sleep, remain calm (because it replicates the tight, comforting feeling of being back in the womb), and lower the risk of SIDS. However, there is also some research that suggests improper swaddling can increase the risk of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip.
Thrush 11 of 11Thrush is a yeast infection of the mucus membrane that can afflict the mouth and tongue of newborn babies and looks like whitish or velvety sores in the mouth or tongue. It's caused by a combination of a weakened immune system in conjunction with a strain of fungus called Candida. Often treatment is not needed and it will go away on its own within a couple of weeks, although sometimes an antifungal mouthwash may be prescribed in order to help clear it up.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine
Photo credits: iStock
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