Ask Tori, RN®
Many of your questions this month are regarding pregnancy fears and concerns. It is very common and quite normal to have worries. Of course you want what is best for your baby. I’d like to address a few of the most common ones that I hear.
Q: I’m afraid to take any medications while I’m pregnant. I’m so concerned that being stressed or becoming ill could harm my baby. What should I do?
A: Nature provides a great deal of protection for growing babies. Being “stressed” or ill has not been shown to negatively affect babies in utero. However, not sleeping, eating properly, or taking care of yourself, can be harmful to both you and your baby.
Some moms don’t even want to take Tylenol® while they are pregnant, for fear that the medication will harm their baby. Even to reduce the pain of labor, many women are afraid of using medication. It is important not to take any unnecessarily, but it is valuable to know that many medications are safe during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Tylenol® (or acetaminophen) and Sudafed® are frequently recommended for headaches, minor discomforts and colds. The medications that are offered for labor are also safe for both you and your baby. Please talk with your doctor of midwife about your medication concerns and never take any without checking with them first.
Q: I would like to breastfeed because I know that it is healthier for my baby but I am extremely worried that I will not have enough breast milk. Will I be able to breastfeed?
A: The great news is that your body is perfectly adapted to breastfeed your baby. The key to successful breastfeeding is getting off to a good start.
Let’s start by setting realistic expectations. When your baby is first born, your colostrum or ”pre- milk” is perfectly suited to feed him. As your baby nurses, your breasts are stimulated to produce milk. Initially, it is important to breastfeed your baby every time she cries. This helps you learn her patterns and allows her to become an expert feeder. In the beginning, expect to breastfeed eight to ten times every 24 hours for about twenty to thirty minutes each time. Your body will make enough milk for your baby’s needs. As he grows, your production will increase and the frequency of your feedings will decrease.
Q: How do I protect my baby from SIDS?
A: SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is frightening to all parents. Since it is not well understood, it is not entirely preventable. We do know that there are some things you can do to keep your baby as safe as possible. When babies are sleeping, it is best to alternately position them on their backs and sides. It is important, however, that they spend some time each day on their stomachs. This helps to build their upper body muscles for sitting and crawling. Perhaps, during play time or when they are quietly awake. It can be a very nice time for you together. Also, don’t keep your baby too warm. Use thin blankets in the crib and “layer”. Your baby will require one layer more than you have. Keep the cute, fluffy, crib comforter as a decoration over a chair.
Finally, don’t smoke or expose your baby to second hand smoke. There is an increased risk of SIDS for babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke. – tkrn