Welcome to what I like to call THE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS CLUB. Unfortunately, babies are not birthed with an instrucion manual attached, just their placenta that has been keeping them alive and growing for the past nine months. Babies are gifts from God, on loan to us for a very short time. Everything your child will ever be, he/she is now becoming. Parenting, in my own opinion, is the hardest job in the world but also the most wonderfully fulfilling, rewarding experience. Parenting is like an emotional bank account and you will have many deposits and withdrawals over the years. Remember that as your baby slowly grows into a toddler then a child and adolescent, he/she will learn from adults by example through rolemodelling.
So always role model positive behaviour that will set your child up for being the best that he/she can be. Encourage and praise them often. As they grow from babies to toddlers, offer them choices. This takes away the power struggle, so it becomes a win/win situation for you both. Enjoy your baby each and every day, they are young for such a very short time.
And remember, you don’t have to know everything. Not even the most experienced parent or professional has all the answers. There is no such thing as the right way or one style fits all parenting. Feel confident about what you do know. And it’s ok to admit you don’t know some things, and look for the answers. Parenting doesn’t come naturally to everyone. All parents work it out as they go along, just go with the flow. Every parent will make mistakes and learn through these experiences. Mistakes only count if you keep repeating them. Patenting requires observation, understanding, persistence, imagination, patience, honesty and energy. You are an amazing woman, your body has been through the journey of pregnancy and birth and now you find yourself parenting a newborn. Welcome to the sisterhood of mothering.
PARENTING JOB DESCRIPTION
Here is your parenting job description which is strictly non negotiable:
Voluntary position, no wage will be paid on commencement or any time in the future.
You must provide – board and lodgings, love and affection and Mum’s taxi service. You will be an educator, a nurse, a chauffer, a financial planner, a sports coach and a sports spectator, a nanny, a cook, a cleaner, a laundry person, you will iron clothes and put them away, pack lunches when they are older, be a chaparone when their friends sleep over, a peacekeeper, a dishwasher, a pocket money provider, a tutor, a fun and games organiser, a counsellor, a hairdresser and beauty therapist and the list could go on and on. Although this position is voluntary, you must keep a smile on your face and ensure a peaceful household at all times.
Whilst your financial reward will forever be zero, your emotional reward will be absolutely priceless. Welcome to the magical world of parenting and the sleepless nights club.
NEWBORN SCREENING TEST (NBST)
Genetic Health Services – Victoria offer screening to all newborn babies for a number conditions including phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism and other rare metabolic conditions. The screening test is funded by the Victorian State Government and is free of charge. Other Australian states may also offer a similar service.
When your baby is between 48 -72 hours of age, a midwife or nurse will perform a heel prick blood test and collect four circles of blood onto a special piece of blotting paper called a Guthrie Card. When the results are normal (which usually they are), you will not be contacted. Normal results occur in more than 98% of tested babies.
Sometimes a repeat blood sample needs to be taken if the initial test produced an unclear result or the first blood sample was incorrectly collected. A repeat test will usually be within the normal range. If your baby is found to have a medical condition, you will be contacted and your baby will be referred to a specialist medical doctor for tests and treatment.
The National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council of Australia, recommends newborn screening cards be stored for 25 years. In Victoria, the cards are stored indefinitely in a secure off site facility. Testing on identified samples is only performed with parental permission or as required by law. Sometimes the cards may be used for approved research, once the identifying information has been removed and only with parental consent. Cards can be returned to parents after two years if requested.
A condition affecting about 5 babies each year in Victoria. If the condition is not immediately treated, severe and progressive intellectual disability will result. Early detection and treatment of PKU will enable affected babies to grow and develop normally.
This condition occurs in about 20 babies each year in Victoria. A lack of thyroid hormone can cause severe intellectual disability and growth problems. Early detection and treatment will enable affected babies to grow into healthy children.
CYSTIC FIBROSIS (CF)
A severe genetic condition that affects about 20 babies each year in Victoria. CF affects the lungs and the digestive system. Early detection and treatment helps the babies and allows other family members to find out whether or not they are at risk of having a baby with CF.
OTHER RARE METABOLIC DISORDERS
There are many other rare metabolic disorders which together affect about 9 babies each year in Victoria. These severe disorders are caused by faults in the breakdown of fat and proteins. Early detection and treatment before the baby becomes sick, results in better outcome.
Visit http://www.GenetichealthVic.net.au for further information.
Source: Genetic Health Services Vitoria
YOUR NEWBORN BABY’S HEARING SCREEN
Here in Victoria, Australia, all parents of newborn babies are offered the choice of having a hearing screen conducted on their baby by the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program. This program is based at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Technicians presently visit public and private hospital postnatal maternity units.
WHY SCREEN MY BABY’S HEARING?
The hearing screen is one of the routine health checks your baby will have soon after birth. The screen is a quick and simple way to check the hearing of newborn babies. The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) hearing screen is a free service. As a small number of babies are born with a hearing loss that could affect their speech and language skills. Early identification and assistance for children with a hearing loss is important for their development. A hearing loss may not be obvious in the first few weeks of life, but can usually be detected by a hearing screen.
WHEN WILL MY BABY HAVE A HEARING SCREEN?
The hearing screen will be conducted as soon as possible after birth, and almost always by day one or two after birth. Some babies will not have the screen before being discharged from hospital. This is due to the very short time a mother and baby spend in hospital before being contact discharged home. If this occurs, VIHSP will you to arrange a screen at a later date.
WHAT DOES A HEARING SCREEN INVOLVE?
The screen will take less than 10 minutes. A small stick on sensor is placed onto your baby’s forehead, shoulder and back of the neck. Soft clicking sounds will be played into baby’s ear through soft headphones. These will be attached to Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) unit. The sensor pads will record your baby’s respons to the sounds.
The screen is painless and usuall will not unsettle your baby. You can stay with your baby during the screen.
HOW WILL I FIND OUT THE RESULTS?
As soon as the screen is completed, you will be given the results. The results will be recorded in your baby’s child health record, and with your consent the resuts will also be recorded inthe confidential VIHSP database.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT MY BABY TO BE SCREENED?
The choice is yours, and the screen will not be conducted without your consent. If you change your mind, the screening can be done at a later stage.
Reflux is the movement of the stomach contents back up into the oesophagus after a feed. Reflux is common during the first three months of life because the valve at the top of the stomach is not fullly developed. After a feed, this valve should close shut. If the valve doesn’t close properly, the stomach acid and milk feed will come back up and spill out of baby’s mouth. This can be just a small overflow or a big overflow. Sometimes the stomach contents will only come part of the way up the oesophagus, and therefore baby will not always have an overflow. If this happens, the stomach acid will still burn, which will result in discomfort and pain that can lead to crying, feeding or sleeping problems, and this is known as silent reflux. The baby is having the same acid and milk regurgitating, but as it doesn’t come all the way back up the oesophagus and out of their mouth, there is no evidence of what is happen and therefore the name silent reflux. Some baby’s will have uncomplicated reflux which is painless.
STEPS TO REDUCE THE PROBLEMS OF REFLUX
- Continue to breastfeed if possible. Try to position baby more upright during a feed.
- Avoid over feeding, give smaller more frequent feeds to lessen the amount of milk in the stomach at any one time.
- Try using a thickener in artificial feeds or give seperately, before, during or after a feed to a breast fed baby, please consult your health care professional before commencing
- Change baby’s nappy before a feed. Avoid securing nappy tightly. Lifting your baby’s legs above the stomach level can encourage reflux.
- Try to wind your baby by holding upright or placing them over your shoulder whilst rubbing their back. Avoid keeping baby in the sitting position as this can increase pressure on the stomach.
- Elevate baby’s head slightly when sleeping. Do this by placing something under the mattress to elevate, not under baby’s head as this would be against the SIDS safe sleeping guidelines.
Source: Managing Infant Reflux – Nutricia www.nutricia.com.au
Infant colic occurs in 25% of babies. Colic otherwise known as infant irritability, generally occurs in the first few months, but can last for the whole of the first year. Colic is characterised by excessive crying, usually for around 3 hours each day for at least 3 weeks. Babies who have colic often have disturbed sleep, as do the parents. Crying is normal and all babies spend some time crying.
PRACTICAL STRATEGIES TO MANAGE COLIC
Seek the assistance of a health professional to exclude underlying medical causes. There could be a possibility of cow’s milk protein allergy as infant formulas are cow’s milk based and even in breastfed babies, their Mothers will be drinking cow’s milk and eating other cow’s milk based dairy products.
If your baby is artificially formula fed, try switching to a hypoallergenic formula.
Have your baby listen to low pitched continuous loud sounds such as a vacuum cleaner, washing machine or clothes dryer, for instant soothing.
Try baby massage, limited evidence suggests this may be an effective technique.
Herbal teas, gripe water and colic drops are not widely recommended, consult your health care professional before using these methods. Baby should be 4 weeks old before using a colic/wind medication.
Source: Baby Don’t Cry – Nestle Nutrition www.nestlebaby.com.au