Labor and delivery
Three things you should know about ensuring your baby's gentle birth
Though it may feel like it never will get here, the big day shall
arrive. I hope you have chosen to utilize any one of the marvelous
options available to help make your childbirth a fulfilling experience.
Yet in anticipating what promises to be one of the most phenomenal
experiences for you, don't overlook what baby goes through. From the
pressure of suctioning her nose and mouth to the sharp pain of her
first injection (vitamin K), her welcome can certainly seem unkind.
Minimize your baby's physical pain
Make no mistake about it, newborn babies can perceive discomfort and
pain—new and shocking sensations to them. One thing you can do
to comfort your baby is to have immediate physical contact with her after
birth. If this is impossible, as when undergoing a cesarean section,
request that your partner be able to embrace your newborn shortly after
Too often we as new parents permit hospital staff to unjustifiably
create separateness between ourselves and our healthy baby by whisking
him away to a nursery moments after his birth. This is wrong and goes
against a very basic instinct of bonding with your baby soon after he
is born. If your baby requires medical care and once you are physically
able to do so, ask to participate in his care.
Above all else and if at all possible, ensure that your baby be
touched and embraced frequently. Numerous studies have proven the
healing effects of touch on babies and children: they thrive from
frequent physical contact, achieve quicker recovery times, and experience
improved immune systems, enhanced growth, and reduced stress hormones.
Consider rooming in
If you and your baby are physically able, ask that your baby room-in
with you. There may be both full and modified rooming-in options available
at your birthing facility. Modified rooming in is when your baby is with
you the majority of the day but is brought back to the nursery several
times during the day and all night. Your baby will be brought to you, if
you choose, every 3-4 hours during the night for feedings.
This option may be suitable for the mother who is experiencing medical
problems and who cannot respond to or care for her baby as necessary in
the immediate postpartum period. However, every effort should be made to
change to full rooming-in as soon as you are feeling able to safely
care for her baby. Full rooming-in means baby is with you day and night.
Baby goes back to the nursery only for medical exams or procedures and
when you request that he return, such as times when you want to shower
or get some rest.
Having your baby with you for as much time as possible after his
birth is the most beneficial for the both you and baby. In addition to
soothing your baby during his time of adapting to his new world, the
close contact with him will increase your natural intuition and
responsiveness to him. The ability to sense what your baby is feeling
and thus knowing what he needs creates a natural easiness in parenting.
Begin intuitive nurturing
Do not be afraid or intimidated by your new role as a mother (or
father); trust yourself to sense what your baby needs and wants. It
is entirely possible to perceive what your baby is experiencing as he
adapts to his new situation. Begin as soon as you can after your baby's
birth. While you are alone with your baby, close your eyes and
temporarily forget every child rearing advice you received from anyone,
including family members, physicians, parenting experts, and so on.
Look, listen, and feel your baby; then ,sense his unique innateness.
What does he feel like when he is calm? Try to sense the difference in
his body when he is calm/alert and calm/sleepy. What about when he begins
to cry? What does the intensity tell you? Do you sense the sharpness of
pain, or the dullness of discomfort? The vast majority of times when a
healthy newborn baby cries, it is because he is expressing the
discomfort of unfamiliar sensations and/or arousal. Obey your own
natural instinct to embrace your child, and notice the change in him
when you hold him.
A child's cries are designed to evoke a physical response from
you; however, it is your baby's last resort of communication. In time,
by familiarizing yourself to your baby's uniqueness, you will be able
to pick up on what your baby needs or wants before he has to cry. Many
parents who are intuitively connected to their children can even sense
when their baby is getting ill—before symptoms arise.
About the Author:
Christine Ramos is a Registered Nurse and Certified Childbirth Educator,
with experience in High-Risk Antepartum and Maternal/Child Health. In
addition to writing articles, Christine offers private maternity services.
Her first book, entitled A Journey Into Being will be due
out in June 2006. She is the mother of 2 boys ages 15 and 12, and a girl
age 4. Visit Christine at www.IntuitiveNurturing.com for more information.