Stork Mama http://storkmama.com Best Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenting Guide Sat, 19 Aug 2017 10:13:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 How to Start a Gentle Bedtime Routine for Baby http://storkmama.com/gentle-bedtime-routine-for-baby/ http://storkmama.com/gentle-bedtime-routine-for-baby/#respond Sat, 19 Aug 2017 10:05:08 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=1339 Getting your baby to sleep is an obsession for sleep deprived Mamas. When it comes to ensuring a good foundation there is one thing guaranteed to work. That’s a regular bedtime routine for baby.  The season it works is because your baby learns the repetitive behaviour. Pin for Later Children thrive on routine and bedtime […]

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Getting your baby to sleep is an obsession for sleep deprived Mamas. When it comes to ensuring a good foundation there is one thing guaranteed to work. That’s a regular bedtime routine for baby.  The season it works is because your baby learns the repetitive behaviour.

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Start a Gentle Bedtime Routine for Baby | Stork Mama

Children thrive on routine and bedtime is no different.

You may be stumped as to where to begin. The good news is that a bedtime routine can a simple 20 minutes each day. The most important part is that your do the same thing each time. This guide is to help you get stared with your routine, how to make it easier and how you can work with your baby to tailor it to your family’s needs. Let’s get started.

Related: How To Safely Co-Sleep With Your Baby

Introducing a Bedtime Routine for Baby

Don’t Start Too Early

When you have a baby people will become obsessed with how well they sleep. You’ll constantly be asked ‘are they sleeping through yet?’.

Well I’ll let you in on secret. Newborn babies are not supposed to sleep for longer than 4 hours at a time.

That means creating a bedtime routine is unnecessary before at least 4 weeks old. Until this time sleep and wake times are erratic and unpredictable.

That doesn’t mean you can’t start a bedtime routine. It just means you won’t see any benefit just yet, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

Around 3-6 months old your baby will begin to follow a pattern. You’ll notice they sleep for longer stretches and wake at similar times each day. This is the perfect time to start a bedtime routine as your baby will respond better to your efforts.

Choose a Bedtime

Choosing a regular time to put baby down by can really help regulate their natural body clock.

Most parents look to put baby down between 6.30pm and 8pm. This will stop your baby becoming overtired, which will lead to stress for you both. If you’ve had a good night sleep, try to start your day no later than 7.30-8 am.

You can be slightly flexible with this to allow for vacation or staying over at a relatives. As long as you use the advice in the next step, your baby will adapt.

Learn Sleep cues

If you prefer to avoid scheduled sleeping then you need to learn sleep cues. Your baby will always give you a clue when they are feeling sleepy. It’s important to recognise these cues and respond by settling them for a sleep. Ignoring these signs will lead baby to become overtired and have difficulty falling asleep or having a good quality sleep. Keep on reading for our full list of sleep cues.

Prepare the environment

Sometimes your baby will need to sleep in a strange environment. This may be a hotel or relatives house. If you set the environment up the same your baby will feel much more relaxed as they get cues it time for bed. Follow our steps below for reducing stimulation at bedtime to signal to baby its time to wind down.

10 Bedtime routine Ideas

We find that a bedtime routine is most successful when you dedicate around 20-30 minutes to it. This gives you baby plenty of time to wind down and take in the signals that it’s time for bed.  The key is to do the same thing each night. This is the perfect bonding time for parent and baby so try to choose something your parent feels comfortable with too.

1. Bath

The warm water can make your baby feel really relaxed. It’s just like how an adult takes a bath when they are feeling stressed out. Some babies just really love the touch and pampering bath. Remember to keep them cosy and dress them in pyjamas after they come out.

2. Massage

Gentle baby massage after a bath can add an extra element of touch to your bedtime routine. This is also great to do on days when you don’t want to give a full bath, or baby gets stressed at bath time.

Try using calming aromatherapy oils such as lavender or chamomile to induce sleep. If you prefer not to use scented oils on baby’s skin, you can use an aromatherapy diffuser as you massage baby.

3. Bedroom

Whether they have a nursery or using your own room, take baby to the room they will sleep in. Getting them to associate the room with sleep time will really help with your routine. Use our tips below for reducing stimulation in the room.

4. Sound

We often think that babies need silence to sleep, when this can actually upset them. Babies love soft, repetitive white noise. It soothe them as it reminds them of hearing your heartbeat or body sounds in the womb. Try using on YouTube for free videos with hours’ worth of white noise sounds.

5. Read a book

We actually recommend reading to your baby before they are born. Use the same book each night to soothe your baby with the repetition of words. This is not only great bonding time but will stimulate your baby’s language skills.

6. Feed

Giving your baby a last feed before bed will fill them up to see them through most of the night. Try to make this one of the biggest feeds of the day. If you are breastfeeding try to keep them on a long a possible so they get the rich, fatty hind milk.

7. Tooth care

Even when your baby has no teeth try to start a dental routine. After a feed give their gums a wipe down with a cloth or a soft toothbrush. This gets them into the habit or brushing their teeth before any teeth appear.

8. Lullaby or prayer

Short, repetitive words are a great way to help soothe baby. They will love to hear your voice and the words will sound become familiar to them. A great way to do this is by singing a nice lullaby or saying a prayer if your family follow a religion.

9. Cuddles

Holding your baby close is a great way to release your bonding hormones oxytocin. Also known as the ‘love’ hormone, it’s well known to induce sleep and is known to improve baby’s brain development.

10. Special goodnight cue

Signal to baby that it’s time to sleep with a goodnight. This may be a simple ‘I love you’ or ‘don’t let the bedbugs bite’. You might even want to make up something special to your family as a little bedtime tradition.

Signs of sleepy baby

Knowing when your baby is ready to sleep is half the battle. The following signs are the best time to start settling baby for them to get the best length and quality of sleep.

Early Sleep Cues

  • Fluttering eyelids
  • Jerking arms and legs
  • Brief eye or ear rubbing
  • Yawning
  • Sucking on fingers
  • Clenched fists
  • Staring into space
  • Decreased movement

Missing these cues will lead to your baby becoming overtired. This can make it extremely difficult to sleep. It can also lead to a broken, poor quality sleep for baby. If you notice the following signs you need to calm baby and remove any stimulation then encourage baby to sleep.

Signs of overtiredness

  • Fussing
  • Agitation
  • Intense eye rubbing
  • Back arching
  • Clinginess or refusing to be put down alone
  • Inconsolable crying

Related: 31 Ways To Calm a crying baby

How to Reduce Stimulation

Part of a creating the best environment for sleep is removing stimulation from your baby’s environment. Start doing this at the beginning of the bedtime routine so baby is relaxed by the time they are in their crib.

  • Dimming the lights
  • Blocking out natural daylight
  • Whisper or talk in a slow, soft tone
  • Turn off the televisions or any bright screens
  • Tell older children not to squabble
  • Use light touch, no play such as tickling
  • Check the room temperature

7 Items to help baby sleep

These are a few items that parents swear by to help their little one settle better at night. They’ll help you create the perfect environment or add to your bedtime routine.

1. Bedtime book

We’ve already discussed how the repetitive word of a book will give baby a bedtime cues. They know once they hear a particular story that its time go to sleep. My absolute favourite is Goodnight Moon, an oldie but a goody. This book is almost hypnotic to children with its soothing words, repetitions and familiarity to everyday objects.

2. Nightlight

Soft light it essential for creating a night time ambiance for your baby. Their body will soon learn that dark time means sleep. However, you may still need to do feed and diaper changes during the night. A night light is handy to see what you’re doing without disrupting baby. Try to avoid blue tons lights as these are known to cause disturbed sleep patterns.

3. Humidifier

A humidifier is a great addition to your baby’s nursery. It can help to prevent congestion and open up their airways, for better sleep. They are great if your child has a cold, and can reduce the risk of allergies and infection. They are also a great way to diffuse some aromatherapy oils such as camomile or lavender to induce sleep.

4. White noise machine

A white noise machine will provide soothing, rhythmic sounds for our baby. This gives them a sense of comfort and relaxation as it reminds them of being in your womb. Common sounds include a heartbeat, waves or rain.

5. Sleep toy

There are some really great sleep toys available on the market. These toys are often a combination of soft material, soothing sounds or reassuring lights. The sleep sheep is highly rated. It can also be used in the daytime for naps, or to give baby a little comfort during the night. Remember not to place this in the crib with baby at night to prevent putting baby at increased risk of SIDS.

6. Baby shusher

The Baby Shusher is a highly recommended technique used by baby photographer to calm down little one. They work with a lot of babies and it’s a firm favourite to help them get little ones settled. It makes a repetitive ‘shhh’ noise, just like you probably do as you rock baby in your arms. It’s ideal for a bedtime routine as baby drifts off.

7. Light show

A light projector may be ideal for a baby who is soothed by light. This can be particularly useful for autistic children who are calmed by different colors. This aid may only be suitable as a last resort, as some babies may find the light and movement too stimulating.

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How to Pick a Baby Name When You’re Pregnant http://storkmama.com/how-to-pick-a-baby-name/ http://storkmama.com/how-to-pick-a-baby-name/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:00:10 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=1302 Do you have a name picked yet? This is one of the most common questions you’ll get asked when you’re pregnant. If you are nearing your due date and don’t have a shortlist then you’re probably starting to panic a little. Pin for Later   Choosing a name for your baby is a big responsibility. […]

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Do you have a name picked yet?

This is one of the most common questions you’ll get asked when you’re pregnant. If you are nearing your due date and don’t have a shortlist then you’re probably starting to panic a little.

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Choosing a name for your baby is a big responsibility. After all your child will have this name for the rest of their lives. You are probably feeling overwhelmed by the just how many names there are to choose from. Or perhaps you already have a shortlist, but are finding it tricky to choose ‘the one’?

Naming a baby is never an easy decision to make. You probably find that you or your partner keep changing your mind. The reality is that you do eventually need to settle on something. The following advice will hopefully help your indecision and anxiety about picking the wrong name.

7 Tips to Pick a Baby Name

1. The Inspiration

There a millions of baby names to choose from, so just how do you begin to narrow it down? If you want something rather traditional, start with ‘most popular’ lists. Although these are also quite helpful to know what to avoid if you want something unusual.

You can buy a baby name book; however, the internet is best for free inspiration. Consider what you’d like from you baby name. Does it need to begin with ‘K’? A strong biblical name? Or how about a particular meaning?

Also, try looking for inspiration in everyday life. For a personal touch look for inspiration from character names from a TV shows, music or books you both love.

Make your own list and get your partner to make a list. Every time you come across a name you like, add it to the list.

Check out the baby naming website for inspiration

2. Gender Restricted

One advantage of finding out the sex of your baby is half the battle when choosing a baby name. If you know it’s a boy or a girl you might just want to focus on those names. I’d only recommend this if you have fetal DNA testing during pregnancy.

Personally, I’d advise most parents to have both a boy and girl name selected? It’s though that finding the sex of your baby by ultrasound is around 98% accurate. That means that around 2% of parents are told the wrong sex.  Although it may be a surprise in the delivery room, at least you can be prepared.

This is particularly important in states where you need to have a name for baby before you leave the hospital.

3. The Compromise

Once you and your partner have a list of names it’s time to compare. You might be surprised to find that you have a few names that you both like. These are names which should make the final cut. You may even come across names that your partner likes that you never considered.

If you don’t have any matches, search for names on your lists, which are similar, or that you can compromise on. That may mean changing the spelling slightly or shortening it so you are both happy. This is also a good tactic if your partner wants to use a traditional family name that you aren’t keen on.

4. Say it, Write it

To further narrow down your choices, put it into practice. Say the name out loud with your surname. You may notice that the names just don’t mesh, or they sound like other words when said together.

As a rule of thumb try to keep the name short if you have a particularly long surname. Do remember that your child’s name may be shortened to a nickname, especially if it’s long. This can put a whole new slant to their name.

Writing the name down is also useful. This is particularly important if you want to give your baby a middle name. Make sure their initials don’t spell anything rude or silly. Even if you find it funny, your kid probably won’t appreciate it as they grow up.

Also, consider if the name is timeless. Your choice may sound really cute for a baby, but may not sound so great when they are an adult.

5. Consider Siblings

If you already have children consider how they name will fit in with their siblings. Try not to choose names which sound too similar to one another. You’ll find it easily leads to consuming when calling on a specific child.

If you decide you want the name all your children with the same letter, consider the inconvenience as they get older. It can be a real pain, especially when opening mail addressed to children with the same initial and surname.

6. Others Opinions

Once you decide on a name it can be difficult to share it with others before baby arrives. You’ll always get someone who doesn’t like the name. If this will put you off, you may not want to announce you choice until baby arrives.

Sharing the name can also help you judge the impact the name will have on your baby. Do people struggle to pronounce it or snigger when you tell them? This may offend you; however, this is what your baby will have to live with their whole life, so do keep that in mind.

7. Wait it out

It’s important not to get too stressed out over choosing a name. It’s perfectly ok to simply have a short list. That way, you can always have a backup, especially if someone puts you off the name.

I also can’t tell you how many new parent I’ve come across who pick a name then decide it doesn’t suit their baby once they arrive. It’s much easier to settle on a name when you can put a tiny little face to it.

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7 Natural Ways To Speed Up Labor And Delivery http://storkmama.com/natural-ways-to-speed-up-labor-and-delivery/ http://storkmama.com/natural-ways-to-speed-up-labor-and-delivery/#respond Sun, 13 Aug 2017 00:06:39 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=1280 Unlike most labors you see on TV or in movies, they can take a long time. The average first labor lasts between 12-18 hours. After your first baby your labors are normally quicker.  A long labor can lead to both you and baby becoming exhausted and needing medical help for delivery. The official term for […]

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Unlike most labors you see on TV or in movies, they can take a long time. The average first labor lasts between 12-18 hours. After your first baby your labors are normally quicker.  A long labor can lead to both you and baby becoming exhausted and needing medical help for delivery. The official term for speeding up is ‘augmentation’, and usually involves iv drips or medical instruments. However, you can avoid all that.

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Natural Ways To Speed Up Labor And Delivery Stork Mama

You want to aim for somewhere between so quick that you’re delivering in the seat of your car and too slow that you and baby are exhausted. These are my top tips to naturally speed up labor and delivery, without medical help. It all begins in pregnancy, so let’s get started.

Related: How to Naturally Induce Labor When You are Overdue

7 Natural Ways To Speed Up Labor

1. Baby’s Position

When: Start around 32 Weeks

You can start to influence your labour before your contractions even start. The trick is getting your baby into to best position to fit through your pelvis.

Movement techniques known as optimal fetal positioning are the best way to do this. The best position to get baby into is known as LOA or Left Occiput Anterior. That means your baby’s back is facing your front and slightly to the left.

This position makes it easier for your baby’s head to fit into the pelvis. A nice fitting head, means your cervix dilates up quickly and evenly with regular contractions.

The best way to encourage baby into this position is using forward leaning. You want to encourage your bays back to use the front of your tummy as a ‘hammock’. That means no slouching back on sofas or lifting your knees higher than your hips.

Try these positions in the last trimester:

  • Sitting on a back ward chair, leaning forward
  • Sit on a birthing ball rather than a sofa.
  • Sit on the floor and lean your upper body onto a birthing ball
  • Sleep on your left side or slightly onto your tummy
  • Use a tilt cushion (like this one) when driving or in an office chair

For more information on optimal fetal positioning check out the Spinning Babies website.

2. Birth Partner

When: Around 36 Weeks

You’ve already settled on your perfect care giver for pregnancy but what about who will be with you during birth? This is a really important part of your birth plan.

Your first thought will probably be your partner. Other popular birth partners are your own mom or sister.

After seeing hundreds of births, I can tell you that your birth partner will without a doubt affect how you cope during labor.

It’s very difficult to see someone you love in pain. This can leave your birth partner feeling helpless or panicked, even if they have given birth themselves. However, they can help you get through by coaching your breathing or offering massage.

A good birth partner is someone who can read you the best. That means they know when to offer you support or when to leave you alone. Also preferably they are not squeamish, as it can sometimes get little messy.

It’s best to have a conversation with your intended birth partner, so they know what you expect from them. You may even decide to have more than one for extra back up.

It’s also important to put your foot down if someone you know is insisting on being at the delivery. If you know this person will make you feel tense or anxious, they need to stay out of the room. The stress and tension having them there will more than likely stall your labor.

3. Raspberry Leaf

When: Start After 37 Weeks

Raspberry leaf tea is an age old home remedy for women’s health issues, including pregnancy. It’s used by herbalists to prepare your body for labour and delivery. The evidence from a few small studies shows that it can speed up the pushing stage of labour (second stage).

It works by softening up the cervix and aiding contractions. It’s not safe for everyone, so it’s best to take it if you’ve had a straight forward pregnancy with no complications. As always, discuss it with your caregiver if you’re not sure.

The most common way to take it is by drinking raspberry leaf tea (loose leaf or teabags), but you can take capsules if you dislike the taste.

You should gradually build up to taking it 3 times per day. There is a variety of advice to when you should start taking it. Some women start at 32 weeks. However, you should probably wait until around 37 weeks in case it stimulate you to go into pre-term labor.

4. Eat and Drink

When: Start in early Labour

Eating and drinking in the early stages of labor is essential. It’s important to know that during this stage, it offers your body the energy to cope with labor.

You won’t want to eat a lot, so try little and often. Energy packed proteins or carbohydrates are great for a great boost without filling your stomach. Breads, cereals, soup and crackers are good options.

In active labor, you’ll probably lose interest in food. A great way to keep up your energy is suckling on candy or using glucose tablets. For fluids; plain water, ice chips or sports drinks are great ways to keep hydrated.

Lack of food can slow down your labor. That’s because your body is using energy to break down your fat stores instead of food.

Before you go into labour ask your caregiver what their policy is on eating and drinking in labor. If you have any narcotics foe pain relief, you’ll more than likely be restricted to water sips only.

5. Bladder Care

When: During Labour

The toilet will probably become your best friend in early labour. It’s really important to keep empting your bladder as often as possible in labor. It’s probably easier to do this in the early stages when you are not in as much pain.

Once baby’s head is deep into your pelvis it can cause a few issues trying to pee. Often the head can block the urine coming out. This means your bladder gets more and full of urine. If your bladder is too full of urine it becomes painful and stop your baby’s head from moving down easily.

Aim to empty your bladder at least every four hours. Your care provider should be monitoring your bladder care, but tell your partner this is their job if you are still at home.

Even if you don’t feel the urge sit on the toilet or bedpan anyway. Make sure you have privacy for this otherwise you’ll get stage fright. If you are still struggling try a running tap.

If you’re still unable to pass urine, your care giver can feel if your bladder is too full. They will most likely recommend passing a catheter to empty it. An in/out catheter is the best option as it doesn’t need to stay in.

6. Keep Mobile

When: During Labour

When you think of a woman in labor it’s usually her sitting on a bed. It’s such a common image we see in the media and movies, that most women think it’s to only way to labor.

You probably didn’t know that keeping upright is the best way to help your labor progress. Studies have shown waling in labor reduces the need for pain relief, speeds up the first stage.

It’s all to do with helping your baby move down your pelvis, and gravity certain helps. It also helps to take the pressure off your lower body, especially when you baby is posterior or a ‘back labor’.

Giving your pelvis as much space as possible to ‘open up’ is key. You baby will move down quicker and your less likely to need an instrumental delivery or episiotomy.

Use of CTG monitors and IV’s and epidurals can affect your range of motion. That doesn’t mean you’re destined to be stuck to the bed, but you’ll need support to adopt different positions.

The most important thing is to choose positions that are comfortable for you. Feeling as relaxed as possible during labour is a sure fire way to speed things up.

7. Birth Environment

When: During Labour

The environment you give birth in can help or hinder your labor. It’s really important for a good labour that you feel safe and relaxed.

Take this into consideration when you choose where you want to give birth. Would you feel better in hospital, a birth unit or at home?

Most doctors and midwives will encourage you to stay at home as long as possible in early labor. That’s because a homely environment is known to encourage regular, strong contractions.

Depending on your pregnancy or medical history, you may not have much of a choice of where to birth. That doesn’t mean you can’t make small changes to your environment to make it more comfortable to you.

A few simple options are to bring in your own pillows, music or aromatherapy oils such as a relaxing lavender. Check with your hospital beforehand that these are allowed.

Dark, quiet environments are well known to speed up labor. Your sleep hormone (melatonin) detects the light and can speed up or slow down your contractions. If you are in a brightly lit room, ask to turn down the lights, and see the difference.

I hope you found these tips useful to prepare for labor and delivery. If you have any tips for speeding up your labor you want to share, please leave a comment below.

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How to Induce Labor Naturally When You Are Overdue http://storkmama.com/how-to-induce-labor-naturally/ http://storkmama.com/how-to-induce-labor-naturally/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 10:34:51 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=1221 Are you passed your due date and going out of you mind waiting for baby to arrive? You probably got really excited and shared your due date with everyone right? So now that time has come and gone and still no baby! Now your desperately searching for ‘how to induce labor naturally’. Pin For Later Going […]

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Are you passed your due date and going out of you mind waiting for baby to arrive?

You probably got really excited and shared your due date with everyone right? So now that time has come and gone and still no baby! Now your desperately searching for ‘how to induce labor naturally’.

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How to induce labor/ Ways to Naturally Induce Labor  When Overdue

Going overdue can be really stressful for modern mamas. You probably have a ton of people constantly texting and messaging you asking if baby is here yet. Heaven forbid you take a break from your phone and social media for a while. They will pretty much go into melt down.

But the aim of the game is to get your little chilled bambino to make an appearance before 42 weeks. Once you hit the 40 weeks mark, your doctor or midwife will most likely offer you a date for medical induction. The problem is that, just like any medical procedure, induction can come with increased risks to you and baby.

Related: How to Prevent Tearing During Labor

Well there are ways that you may be able to avoid going down that road. Let’s check out my favorite ways to help women to naturally induce labor.

Please note: This information is only aimed at women who have reached 40 weeks of ‘low risk’ pregnancy. Please do not attempt this advice if you are below 40 weeks or have medical concerns regarding your pregnancy.

How To Induce Labor Naturally

1. Walking

When it comes to all things pregnancy related, it’s so easy to forget about the simple things. Stripping everything back to basics usually works wonders. When I suggest walking, that may seem perhaps a little too simple for you?  Walking is a great way to encourage baby to engage further into your pelvis. This means baby’s head is balancing nicely on your cervix to stimulate it from the inside and get all your labour hormones going.

You don’t want to overdo it and get exhausted before the big event. If you can try walking up a gentle sloping hill or a small set of stairs. The movement it your hips really helps baby get into the best position, for an easier labor.

2. Sex

This is a method to use as it can work two ways. The first way is by exposing your cervix to a prostaglandins. How? Through sperm. That’s right, sperm is a natural version of the medication you receive vaginally during induction. Prostaglandins are known to help the cervix thin out, shorten and start to dilate, and kick-start contractions.

Another way sex works is by giving you an orgasm. When you reach the big ‘O’, you release a hormone called oxytocin. This is the hormone that has the same affect that Pitocin does on your body. One simple orgasm can coordinate your womb to start regularly contracting.

If your waters have broken we don’t recommend having sex, as it can increase the risks of infection to you and baby.

3. Aromatherapy

Essential oils are an age old home remedy for every ailment under the sun. Pregnancy conditions are no different. Modern midwives are often trained in aromatherapy techniques to offer a natural therapy to pregnant women.

The best essential oils for inducing labor are clary sage and Jasmine. You need to use reputable brands with pure oil, like as this one.  It’s important to know these oils shouldn’t be directly applied to the skin. The best way to use them is to dilute them in water (such as a bath). Another great way it to mix them with a carrier oil (coconut oil is great for this). Use them to have a lovely massage so you feel ultra-chilled before your labour started.

4. Membrane Sweep

I am a huge fan of membrane sweeps. When performed well they are fantastic for preventing medical induction. A sweep is a vaginal examination by your doctor of midwife. They will insert a finger into your cervix and circles around the tip of your baby’s head. The idea is to stimulate a natural release of prostaglandins to kick-start contractions. They will be able to tell you how likely you are to go into labor yourself (your Bishop Score).

Sweeps are known to work really well after 40 weeks and with a good bishop score. If a sweep has worked well you should go into labour within two days of having one. Unfortunately, if the sweep doesn’t work it can cause you discomfort and make you crampy without any real affect.

5. Eat Dates

There are certain foods that some women swear by to get them into labor. Popular options include spicy curries and pineapple. There is nothing truly scientific to back up these claims. Probably more than anything it gives you enough of a dodgy tummy to set labor off.

Eating dried date fruit is getting a good reputation for naturally inducing labour. It’s thought the fruit helps to ripen your cervix and prevent prolonged pregnancy. A study in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology found it helped prevent induction and reduce the need for Pitocin. It’s recommended you eat 4 dried dates (like these ones) everyday form 37 weeks. That’s easy done when chopped up and added to yoghurt or a smoothie.

6. Birthing Balls

Have you been told you baby is in a back to back position? The bad news is that this isn’t a great way for labor to start. The good news is you can change it.

A birthing ball (yes one of these giant exercise balls) is a great way to get baby into the best position. When babies head is in the right place, you contraction will coordinate and your cervix will dilate evenly.

Most advice tell you to simply bounce up and down. However, baby turning guru Gail Tully from Spinning Babies recommends hip circles for 20 minutes and them switching directions.  This can easily be done whilst to watch TV each night.

7. Nipple Stimulation

Now this one may sound a bit ‘crunchy’, but it’s seriously very effective at starting your contractions. This is not one to mess with before your due date, no matter how fed up you are.

Nipple stimulation is exactly as the name suggests. You can gently roll your nipple between your thumb and forefinger or massage the areola with the palm of your hand. Your body thinks you new-born is nursing and releases oxytocin, which you already know starts contractions.

You can stimulate your nipples for up to an hour at a time, three times a day. Or how about using a breast pump to do the work for you, if you have one available. You can do it whilst sitting on your birth ball. Or get your partner to do it for you to combine a few techniques at the same time.

I hope one of these methods works for you. If you have a favorite or unusual way of inducing labor, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.

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Best Early Pregnancy Test Reviews For Home Use http://storkmama.com/best-early-pregnancy-test-reviews/ http://storkmama.com/best-early-pregnancy-test-reviews/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:06:06 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=1142 If you are trying for a baby it can be an exciting to find out if you’re pregnant. The infamous two week wait is a rollercoaster of nerves, excitement and impatience. Knowing the best time to take a pregnancy test is tricky when you want to avoid a false negative. You CAN have the best […]

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If you are trying for a baby it can be an exciting to find out if you’re pregnant. The infamous two week wait is a rollercoaster of nerves, excitement and impatience. Knowing the best time to take a pregnancy test is tricky when you want to avoid a false negative.

You CAN have the best of both worlds. Using an early pregnancy test is the perfect solution for you. Finding the best early pregnancy test can be stressful, so we’ve done the time-consuming research for you. Check out our list of the best early pregnancy tests on the market.

Best Early Pregnancy Test Comparisons

Pregnancy TestModelTypeContentPriceRating
Wondfo comboDipstick50 Ovulation & 20 Pregnancy Tests$$$4.1 Stars
Easy@Home pregnancy tests Dipstick25 Tests$$4.5 Stars
ClinicalGuard Pregnancy TestDipstick50 Tests$$4.5 Stars
First Response Early ResultMidstream3 Tests$$$4.2 Stars
TrueStick Home Early ResultDipstick25 Tests$$3.9 Stars
Clearblue digital pregnancy testsDigital3 Tests$$$4.0 Stars
AZHEALTH Early DetectionMidstream3 Tests$$4.6 Stars
fasStep Early DetectionCassette20 Tests$$$3.8 Stars

5 Best Early Pregnancy Test Reviews

1. First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test

Pros: accurate, early testing, wide stick, easy to read
Cons: indents, single units pricey

The First Response Early Result is bestselling early pregnancy test online. This test can detect pregnancy for around 50% of women 6 days before your period is due. This percentage with each day closer to your period. The sensitivity rate is 25 mIU/ml which will detect almost all pregnancies at 3-4 weeks pregnant. You can read the results within 3 minutes of testing.

It’s a midstream design so you test directly from your urine stream and close with a cap. This makes it really convenient and hygienic to use. The curved handle and wide tip make it easy to position for a sample. The result window is simple to read with a control line with a second line if you are pregnant. We recommend buying the bigger pack to test more often in case of false negatives.

2. Easy@Home Pregnancy Test Strips

Pros: Easy to use, accurate, inexpensive
Cons: Requires collection pot, narrow strips

The Easy@Home pregnancy tests are a reliable budget option. With a detection level of 25 mIU/ml you may be able to detect pregnancy as early as 1 week after ovulation. The results are easy to read with two lines, no matter how faint, indication pregnancy. Strong positives will show immediately and early positive taking 3-5 minutes.

Each pregnancy test is individually foil wrapped for hygiene. These are a dipstick design so you will need a collection cup for urine. These sticks are not suitable for midstream samples as they are too narrow and flimsy. There are 25 tests in a packet so you can test numerous times if you get a negative first time, without breaking the bank.

3. Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown

Pros: Digital results, easy to read, accurate, no mess, and countdown to results
Cons: Expensive

The Clearblue digital pregnancy tests are the best option to avoid misinterpreting results. Ghost lines on a test can sometime cause confusion as whether you are pregnant or not. This test will count down to the results and show as ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’.

They are midstream tests with a wide tip and flood guard making them very hygienic to use. With a 25mIU/ml sensitivity the tests are really accurate. You may even be able to detect pregnancy 5 days before a missed period. They are slightly more expensive than other brands with a box of 3 for retesting. If you don’t want to agonise over whether it’s a positive or not then buy this pregnancy test.

4. ClinicalGuard Pregnancy Test Strips

Pros: inexpensive, accurate, no ghost lines
Cons: no hygiene features

If you’re a bit of a test-a-holic then check out the ClinicalGuard Pregnancy Test Strips. These tests are very basic but you can do a lot of testing with 50 sticks. The 25 mIU/ml sensitivity can detect pregnancy early and accurately before your period.

The tests are simple dipstick designed so have a disposable cup on had to use them. After dipping in a urine sample the result will appear within 5 minutes. Two lines indicate pregnancy and one line means not pregnant or HCG levels are still low. With so many tests to can test numerous times a day to catch your positive as early as possible.

5. Wondfo Combo Tests

Pros: Ovulation and regency tests, accurate, easy to use, USA brand
Cons: prone to evaporation lines

The Wondfo combo kit is perfect if you are trying to conceive quickly. The kit comes with 50 ovulation stick to pinpoint the best day to fall pregnant. The 25 pregnancy tests also allow you to start testing for pregnancy as early as possible. Ovulation sticks can tell you a lot about your ovulation as not all women follow the textbook 14 days after your period.

Similar to clinic stick you need to dip the tests into a sample of urine for 10 seconds. The results can be read within 5 minutes for a result. With a detection level of 25 mIU these tests are just as sensitive as the most expensive brands. We would recommend these stick if you have just started trying for a baby. If you have been trying for a longer time you may want to invest in a higher quality test.

Related: The best time to take a pregancy test

Types of Pregnancy Test

A pregnancy test is used to detect a hormone called HGC in your body. This hormone is released as soon as you get pregnant. The two methods the HGC hormone can be found are from your blood or from your urine.

Blood Test for Pregnancy

A simple blood test can analyzed to detect the HCG in your blood. You will need to visit the doctor for this test. The results will usually take around 2-3 days. Pregnancy blood tests are a good early indication of pregnancy. This method can give a positive result as soon as 6-8 days after ovulation.

Doctors can choose from two types of analysis of the blood tests.

  • Quantative (or beta HCG test) – This measures the exact amount of HCG in your blood, making it very accurate. Rising levels will confirm a pregnancy with further testing. A miscarriage can also be diagnosed if your HGC levels begin to fall from previous results.
  • Qualitative – This will check to see if the hormone is pregnant or not. If the hormone is present you are pregnant, if absent you are not pregnant. This blood test is as accurate as pregnancy urine test.

Urine Test for Pregnancy

A sample of your urine can be used with a HGC detection strip. The results will take around 3-5 minutes. The hormone will only be detected when it reaches a certain level in your system. The earliest detection is around 20 mIU/ml, however the FDA recommend using a test with a 25 mIU/ml detection to prevent false results. Urine tests usually give positive results 7-14 days after ovulation.

Pregnancy urine testing is available professionally or home use.

  • Professional – A caregiver such as a doctor or midwife will perform the test. You need to provide them with a fresh urine sample. They will ‘dip’ the detection stick and inform you if you are pregnant or not. Professional testing will prevent any mistakes being made during the testing so result are more likely to be accurate. A clinic will usually charge around $10-$15 per test not including consultation fee.
  • Home Pregnancy Test – You perform the test at home with a kit purchased from a store or online. Follow the instruction on the packet to ensure accurate results, they are fairly easy to use. Home pregnancy tests are inexpensive especially if purchased in bulk. Testing at home means you can have privacy to perform and read the results.

best early pregancy test reviews/ home pregnancy test

Home Pregnancy Test Methods

The method used to add the urine to the detection stick will determine how easy the pregnancy test is to use and read. Let’s check out the four different types available:

Midstreammidstream test

 

Midstream pregnancy tests are detection sticks open and one end with a cassette at the other end. The idea is to hold onto the cassette and aim the stick into your urine stream. This method is really convenient and does not require a collection of urine. It’s a hygiene ‘hands off’ approach to testing.

Digitaldigital test

 

These are midstream tests which give a digital reading. The result will appear as ’pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’ so there is no confusion over the result. The level detected can also indicate roughly how pregnant you are in weeks. These tests are very easy to use but are often the most expensive option.

Dipstickdipstick test

 

Stick pregnancy tests are plain detection strips. They are small and flexible with a thin test area. They are designed to be dipped into a urine sample. You will need a collection pot for your urine, which is not provided with the kit. Some women find them fiddly and unhygienic to use. These sticks are very cheap to buy and a great option if you test often. These test are the type used by professionals and can be difficult to ready if you’re not experience with home pregnancy tests.

Cassettecassette test

 

Cassette tests are fully enclosed detection sticks. You need a small urine sample to collect a few drops. A dropper is provided for you to drop urine into the cassette. These are an inexpensive option however can be fiddly to use.

How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy Test Buying Criteria

There are a number of factor to consider before buying a pregnancy test. If you’re confused about what to look these can be used as a checklist to narrow down your options.

  1. Ease of Use – consider how easy the pregnancy test will be to use. Can it be used straight out the packet or do you need a collection pot. Are the instruction easy to follow or very basic.
  2. Results – You need to be able to interpret the results to figure out if you’re pregnant or not. Most tests have a control line and a second line which appear if you are pregnant. Is the result area wide or is it difficult to read. Digital pregnancy tests are best for easy result reading. Average time to read a result is 3-5 minutes.
  3. Detection – Tests can detect as little as 10 mIU/ml up to 100 mIU/ml of HGC. The lower the number the earlier results are detected. That being said early detection strips have an accuracy of around 75% when carried out at 6 days post ovulation. The FDA recommend a test of at least 25 mIU/ml for most accurate results.
  4. Hygiene – Do you prefer to deal with urine samples or use a more direct method? A midstream sample is best for hygiene and convenience. Strips and cassettes require you to handle urine sample to use the test.
  5. Price – You can find pregnancy test to fit most all budgets. A single branded pregnant test can cost around $6-$10 from a drugstore. To save money buy online in bulk and reduce to cost to as little as 35 cents per test.

Advantages of an Early Pregnancy Test

Minimal Wait

The two week wait until you have a missed period can drive you insane. If you’re impatient or stressing an early pregnancy test can save you a few days of stress.

Stop Mediation

Your doctor may have advised to stop certain prescription medication if you get pregnant. The sooner you discover you’re pregnant the less risk you present to you baby in those important early stages.

Lifestyle Changes

Habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol should be stopped during pregnancy. Finding out you are pregnant can give you a great reason to quit or at least cut back.

Risk Assessment

You place of employment may present a risk to your baby. If you job entails radiation, chemicals, fumes or physical dangers you may need a reassignment of duties as soon as possible.

Announcement

The first few weeks is a risky time to announce to a pregnancy to friends and family. However if your partner works away or a special event is coming up, a cute pregnancy announcement to them may be on the cards.

Disadvantages of an Early Pregnancy Test

False Positive

Early pregnancy tests have a lower accuracy rate the earlier they are used. The closer you use to you period the better chance you have of accurate results. It’s possible to have a negative test even if you are pregnant.

More testing

If you get a negative test the first day we recommend retesting in a few days. This can get costly if you are using single branded tests.

Early Miscarriage

Women can often conceive and miscarry before their period is due. It’s also known as a chemical pregnancy or missed miscarriage as most women never know they are pregnant. Finding out early can lead to heartbreak and grieving for a loss that may have been unnoticed otherwise.

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12 Surprising Things To Prepare For After Birth http://storkmama.com/prepare-for-after-birth/ http://storkmama.com/prepare-for-after-birth/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 22:15:05 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=798 Are you pregnant and nearing your due date? You’re probably psyching yourself up for the birth. Have you thought about what happens after baby is born? What?! There is more come after baby is born? Let’s simplify it by saying that once baby is out, your body is going to go through a lot of […]

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Are you pregnant and nearing your due date? You’re probably psyching yourself up for the birth. Have you thought about what happens after baby is born?

What?! There is more come after baby is born?

Let’s simplify it by saying that once baby is out, your body is going to go through a lot of changes, very quickly. The reality is, you will be feeling like a hot mess.

The first 24 hours after baby is born, will be a whirlwind. Quite frankly, your body will throw everything at you. However, if you know what to expect, it won’t be such a big shock when it happens. Keep reading to find out common things that happen after birth that new moms don’t expect.

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Prepare For After Birth, what to expect

What to Prepare For After Birth

1. The Placenta

Once your baby is out, you’ll need to deliver the placenta (or afterbirth). This is known as the third stage of labour.

You may be offered an injection of hormones to encourage your placenta to deliver quickly. This will also help to control heavy bleeding and prevent you from losing too much blood (haemorrhaging).

A lot of first-time moms think the placenta delivers with the baby, but this rarely happens. It can take anything from a few minutes to an hour for the placenta to come out.

You’ll feel a full sensation in your vagina. A gentle push will help the placenta deliver. Your caregiver may use a gently pulling technique known as controlled cord traction. Most women don’t find this painful, more like a feeling of relief.

Occasionally the placenta will become ‘stuck’ to the inside of the womb. This is known as a retained placenta. If this happens, you’ll need to have the placenta removed in a hospital theatre by medical staff.

2. Bleeding

The thought of bleeding after baby is born can be really scary. Your body will actually prepare you for this when you are pregnant. By the time you delivery you’ll have 50% more blood in your system. This means that your body will cope better with any bleeding after baby is born.

If you are at higher risk of losing a lot of blood after birth, your caregiver will be well prepared. Haemorrhages are handled very quickly by birth professionals, as they deal with them all the time.

You will continue to bleed for 2-6 weeks after your baby is born. This will happen even if you have a caesarean section. It’s similar to a period and caused by your womb returning to normal size.

It’s important to monitor your blood loss until it settles. You may be losing too much, have leftover parts of placenta or an infection. This is why it’s important to wear sanitary towels so you, and your caregivers can see your blood loss.

3. Getting Stitches

Once your placenta is out, your caregiver will want to inspect your vagina for any damage. This may be a tear, or if they performed an episiotomy (cut) before baby was born.

There are lots of different areas you can tear from. That means they will need a good look, to ensure you don’t need any stitches.

Some tears may heal on their own without any stitches. Deep tears may need you to go to theatre to be repaired. This often needs done quickly as it can be the main cause of heavy blood loss.

We have two excellent guides for stitches: how to prevent them and how to look after them. Go check them out (or pin for later).

4. Uncontrollable Shaking

This one may take you by surprise. After your baby is born your body can start to shake uncontrollably. This doesn’t cause any harm other than giving you a fright. You may be scared to hold your baby for fear you will drop them. Make sure your birth parent is close by to offer physical support.

A sudden change in hormones is the main cause. Plus you’ll have a big drop in body temperature as your baby delivers.

It won’t last long, however, can continue for a few minutes. As long as your vital signs are normal, it’s best just to make sure that you are warm enough. Keep yourself wrapped in a blanket and skin-to skin with baby will really help.

If you have IV fluids or ongoing pain relief, such as an epidural, this can cause issues with lowering your body temperature or blood pressure. Your health care provider may be able to adjust these to make you more comfortable.

5. Cramps

Remember we discussed your womb returning to its normal size? When you aren’t pregnant your womb is tucked inside your hip bones. After you have your baby it will sit just above your belly button.

Your body needs to work hard to get it back down to its regular size. It’s a process call ‘involution’.

Your body will continue to make your womb contact until its back to normal. These contractions give a cramping sensation known as after pains.

For first time moms they are usually really mild, and most don’t notice them. If you’ve had a baby before, these pains are a lot more noticeable. In fact, moms often compare them to the contractions you’ll feel during labor. This is because your womb loses more tone with each baby to have.

You’ll also notice them more if you are breastfeeding your baby. That’s because a suckling baby will release oxytocin (yep that again!) which aids contractions.

Although after pains totally suck, they are your body’s way of controlling any bleeding. Your womb is usually back to normal within a week after birth.

We recommend dealing with them the same way you would with period pains. Using heat pads, gentle massage or mild painkillers will give you relief.

6. First Breast Milk

Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, your body will produce breast milk. Straight after birth the first type of milk is known as colostrum.

This won’t look like the white, watery milk you are used to. It’s thick, sticky and cream or yellow coloured. You may produce a lot or very little, and leak milk inbetween feeds. It’s always best to be prepared with some nursing pads.

Most moms don’t notice colostrum as it’s made in very small volumes. This means your breast will still feel soft to touch. Some moms find hand expressing a good technique to learn, and it helps you see your milk.

Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, consider giving colostrum until your ‘mature milk’ come in around 3 – 4 days after birth. Colostrum is jam-packed with antibodies. These will protect your vulnerable baby from infection before their immune system gets stronger.

If you are still undecided about breastfeeding, check out this awesome list of benefits by Expressing Mama.

7. The First Pee

You’ll probably be nervous about your first pee after baby is born. More so if you’ve had stitches. After a vaginal delivery, everything is swollen and sore.

A lot of moms are scared to pee, so they drink less. This makes urine more concentrated, and the more it stings. It’s a vicious cycle. Keeping hydrated will make your urine really weak and prevent stinging.

A great way to ease the sting is to pour water over your vagina as you pee. You can use a jug or a peri-bottle to target specific areas. This will also help to keep the area clean and prevent infection in stitches or a UTI.

Your pelvic floor muscles are put through paces in pregnancy and labour.  C-section Mamas this includes you, as a catheter can cause bladder control issues. You may notice small dribbles of urine when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

It’s really important to start doing your Kegels as soon as you feel ready. This will prevent any future issues with incontinence.

READ: 25 Postpartum Recovery Essentials

8. The First Poo

Similar to doing a pee, the thought of your first poo probably fills you with dread. The good news is that it usually takes about 3 days to happen.

It’s best not to over think it. You may feel like you’re going to poo shards of glass, or your inside will fall out. Again, keep hydrated and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fiber.

You may want to consider using a stool softener to put you at ease. Your healthcare provider can prescribe you some, especially if you have stitches.

If you’ve developed haemorrhoids from pushing, you should use a topical treatment. This will reduce the swelling and pain from that area and make it easier for you to go.

Our top tip is to wait until you feel the urge. Using a maternity pad, hold it against your vagina and gently push up, to give you a feeling of support. Don’t strain, just take your time. The more you relax the quicker it will happen.

Once you get past the hurdle of the first one, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of relief.

9. Sweating

This is one of those postpartum issues that no-one ever tells you about.  As long as you don’t have a fever or feel unwell, it’s completely normal to sweat a lot after birth.

When you are pregnant, you gain a lot of fluid (remember to cope with bleeding at delivery). Once baby is born your body needs to lose this fluid.  The easiest way to get rid of the fluid is by peeing and sweating it out.

You may actually get really swollen. Don’t cut back on your fluids. Your kidneys are working really hard to get your body ‘back to normal’. Making yourself dehydrated just stresses them more.

Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics to keep your body cool and aired. The sweating often gets worse at night. We also highly recommend getting a bed pad to protect your mattress from sweat stains (and bleeding).

It can take around 8 weeks for the sweating to slow down. If you don’t notice any signs of improvement, your doctor may want to assess you for a hormone imbalance.

10. Still Looking Pregnant

Regardless of your pre-pregnancy size, you will still look pregnant after your baby is born. Forget how quickly the celebrities snap back to a size 0, this isn’t typical. I remember going to a store a few days after my second child was born and the cashier asking when I was due. Cue a hormonal mess as I explained I just had by baby.

Straight after birth, your tummy will feel really weird. It will be soft a squishy. Plus you’ll weirdly miss all those kicks, and rib jabs that gave you sleepless nights.

Remember, your womb needs to go back down to size. Plus you still have extra weight and fluid you’ve gained over 9 months of pregnancy. Don’t be harsh on yourself and expect it to disappear quickly.

Breastfeeding is a great way to burn up extra calories as well as eating a healthy diet. Once you feel ready add some gentle activity into your daily routine, such as walking with your new baby.

11. Vomiting

It’s common to feel really queasy after delivery. This is more likely to happen if you received an injection to deliver your placenta, you’ve had an epidural or a c-section.

A change in your blood pressure or hormones is the main cause.

If all your vitals are normal, and you’re not bleeding, your caregiver won’t be concerned. They will be able to give you some medicine to prevent the sickness for a few hours.

If you continue to feel sick after any medication has worn off, this is a greater cause for concern. You need to report any sudden onset of vomiting to your caregiver as it can be a sign you have an infection.

12.Mixed Emotions

Everyone talks about how amazing it is to see their baby for the first time. Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness at delivery.

Having a baby is hugely overwhelming. The reality you are now responsible for a tiny bundle can leave you feeling a bit emotionally paralysed. Coupled with the sheer mental and physical exhaustion of giving birth.

This can often leave moms worried they won’t bond with their baby. The truth is most moms are like ‘WTF just happened?!’ after their baby is born. It passes quickly.

Once you’ve had something to eat and a nap, you’ll feel like a new woman. You’ll soon be cooing over your little ones every breath. If you feel concerned or overwhelmed about your feelings, talk to someone you trust. It’s important to have support in place if your mood continues to be low.

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Best Co Sleeper Reviews – Ultimate Buying Guide http://storkmama.com/best-co-sleeper-reviews-2/ http://storkmama.com/best-co-sleeper-reviews-2/#respond Fri, 02 Sep 2016 08:00:26 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=649 What is the best co sleeper? Deciding on where your baby sleeps can have a huge impact on your family. Whether you choose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing one aspect is vital – safety. Like all parents, you’ll want to make sure your baby is safe as they sleep. Baby co-sleepers allow […]

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What is the best co sleeper?

Deciding on where your baby sleeps can have a huge impact on your family. Whether you choose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing one aspect is vital – safety. Like all parents, you’ll want to make sure your baby is safe as they sleep. Baby co-sleepers allow you to sleep side by side whilst giving your little bundle the safety of their own space.

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best co sleeper reviews

When you don’t know where to start the choice of co-sleepers can be overwhelming. The trick is knowing what features you need to focus on to find the best co-sleeper for your family. We’ve created this guide for parents, like you, who want to make a great choice when buying a co-sleeper.

If you’re in a hurry, then these are the topics we’ll discuss:

  • Co-sleeper Comparison Chart
  • 6 Best Co-Sleeper Reviews
  • Pros and Cons of Co-Sleepers
  • Recommendations for
  • Buying Guide
  • Safe Co Sleeping

Let’s get started by comparing what’s available on the market.

Baby Co-Sleeper Comparison Chart

Baby Bath TubModelTypeAge RangeNightlightPriceRating
The First Years Close And Secure SleeperBed Sharing0-4mYes$4.0 Stars
DockATotBed Sharing0-9mNo$$$4.5 Stars
HALO BassinestSide Sleeper0-5mYes$$$4.1 Stars
SwaddleMe By Your Side SleeperBed Sharing0-5mNo$4.2 Stars
Arm's Reach Concepts Clear VueSide Sleeper0-5mNo$$4.4 Stars
Summer Infant by Your Side SleeperBed Sharing0-5mNo$$4.4 Stars
BabybaySide Sleeper0-6mNo$$$$4.5 Stars
Chicco Next to meSide Sleeper0-9mNo$$$$5.0 Stars

6 Best Co Sleeper Reviews

The following co-sleepers are the ones we rated best. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference. It’s best to choose the co-sleeper which offers most benefits for you and your baby. There are great options available for all budgets.

The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0- 4 months
  • Colors: Cream

Pros: Affordable, good size, lightweight, nightlight, sturdy

Cons: Short length, non-adjustable foot rest

Our Verdict

The First Years Close and Secure is the bestselling co-sleeper on the market. It’s a popular choice if you want baby to sleep in the bed with you. You can also use it around the house or for traveling. For the peace of mind, convenience and portability, it’s worth the price even for the short-term use.

Safety – It’s designed with a structured head rest which gives you and baby a protected sleep space. So no worrying if baby rolls near you, or you rolling onto baby. The foot rest also prevents baby from slipping down the bed and under blankets. Although many parents report this can be quite restrictive as baby grows.

Ease of Use – The bottom half has a soft mesh side to make it easier to feed or sooth baby during the night. If you are formula feeding, keep your equipment at your bedside. This way, you won’t even need to leave the bed. There is a built in nightlight which is gentle enough for sleepy eyes to use in the wee hours of the night.

Bedding – This co sleeper comes with an in build mattress and cover. It’s waterproof so can be easily wiped down. If there are any ‘explosive’ incidents, you can remove the cover and machine wash.

Portable – You can fold this co-sleeper in half and carry with the in-built handle. This makes is easier to use around the house for nap-time, babysitting at relatives or even traveling with your new-born.

Best for – We would recommend this co-sleeper for those with a kind size bed. It would still fit a queen size, but if you or your partner are on the larger side, you will struggle for space.

DockATot

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0-8 months (larger size available for 9m-3years)
  • Colors: 7 Fabrics

Pros: Soft fabric, breathable, portable, good size

Cons: Expensive

Our Verdict

The DockATot is the best and safest bed sharing co-sleeper. It gives your baby the security of a swaddled environment which helps them to sleep better. This co-sleeper comes highly recommend from parents who use it. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s a great investment, and you get a lot longer use than other co-sleepers on the market.

Comfort – This co-sleeper has a raised bumper design that keeps baby snug inside. The material is soft and breathable, which makes it safe and easy to use for bed-sharing. As baby grows you can unclip the end so their legs can stretch.

Ease of Use – If you are breastfeeding the DockaTot is a lifesaver. You can position yourself on top of the soft raised edge, you won’t even need to move baby for a feed. It’s also great for transitioning baby to their own bed, so they don’t feel so alone.

Cleaning – The cover for the DockATot is completely removable. You can machine wash but it’s recommend to air dry to prevent shrinkage. The bumper pad need airing only. If your baby needs frequent night changes it’s recommend you put a muslin square on the mat to prolong the cover use. You can buy different covers to switch up the style or to use between washes.

Portable – This co-sleeper has handles attached to the cover for easy transport. It’s lightweight, soft and simple to store. When traveling it can be handy to use on the beach or by the pool.

Best for – We would recommend this co-sleeper for breastfeeding moms and long term bed sharers. If you have twins, the deluxe size is suitable for bed sharing with both when they are newborn.

Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear Vue

  • Type: Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: Cocoa or natural

Pros: Affordable, multi-use, breathable mesh sides, on wheels, compact

Cons: Doesn’t fold

Our Verdict

The Arms Reach Clear Vue is a great all-rounder. Not only can you use it as a co-sleeper but also a regular bassinet and storage unit. The Arms Reach side sleeper range is the most popular in the USA. They allow you to sleep next to baby without the discomfort and safety risks of bed sharing.

Safety

This co-sleeper comes with an anchor plate to make the bassinet flush with your bed. This model also has extendable legs to adjust it to the same height as your mattress. The legs are on wheels; however, they all lock for stability. Mesh panels are used on all four sides so baby can breathe if the push up against the edge. This also makes it easier for you to see baby from any angle.

Ease of Use

The best thing about this co-sleeper is the convenience. You can use it as a co-sleeper or switch to a freestanding bassinet if you feel the set-up isn’t working for your family. There is no disruption to the whole bed when baby wakes. Just lean over to tend to them or easily pull baby into the bed with you for a feed. When baby goes back you both have your own space to sleep side by side. You can even keep feeding or diapering equipment in the handy storage basket for easy access during the night.

Bedding

The co-sleeper comes with an inbuilt mattress that attaches to the base with velco. A fitted sheet is also included; however, you will need to purchase more for change supplies. The mattress is waterproof, and the sheets can be machine washed for quickness.

Moveable

A big downside of this co-sleeper id the lack of portability. You can move it from room to room as the legs have wheels. It’s if you want a bassinet that allows baby daytime naps in the living room and then co-sleep in the bedroom at night.

Best for

We would highly recommend this co-sleeper for those who need a space-saving option. It can be moved around the house so no need for extra bassinets in each area. It’s fairly compact compared to other models and won’t take up too much floor space. We highly recommend it if you have a C-section. The dropped side and storage basket means minimal bending for your sore abdomen when tending to baby at night.

HALO Bassinest

  • Type: Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: Grey circles or damask

Pros: Adjustable height, mesh edges, stable, nightlight, full rotation

Cons: Price, not portable

Our Verdict

The HALO Bassinest is the perfect option if you want a co-sleeper which rates highly for safety and convenience.  This model offers the benefits of a bed sharing co-sleeper without taking up space in your bed. It’s a great modern option with a basic model and premier range for music, vibration and nightlight features.

Ease of Use – The unique feature of this co-sleeper is the spring-loaded side that lowers when you lean on it. This gives you easy access to baby simply with the weight of your arms. With a 360⁰ swivel you can bring baby closer to you or push away to get out of bed. The sound and vibration will help you soothe baby back to sleep. The nightlight is handy for giving you a bit more visibility when tending to baby during the night.

Safety – It’s the safest room sharing co-sleeper on the market. The lowering side gives you easy access to baby without the worry of baby slipping between the mattresses. The base is very sturdy and can be adjusted to your mattress height. It comes with a side lock to prevent you accidentally pushing down the side as you sleep.

Bedding – The Bassinest comes with a waterproof mattress and a fitted sheet. The mattress is wipe clean, and the sheets are machine washable. You can also buy more separately for using between washes.

Best for – We recommend this bed for moms who have had a C-section. You have space for baby with ultimate control for mom. It is really easy to maneuver about. This means less pain for you whilst you tend to baby. It’s also great for tall beds as it expands right up to a 34” height.

SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper

  • Type: Bed Sharing
  • Age Range: 0-5 months
  • Colors: White

Pros: Good Price, Sturdy sides, portable, long length, mesh sides

Cons: Large, noisy plastic mattress

Our Verdict

The Swaddle Me By Your Side Co-sleeper is like a mini bassinet you place in your bed. It’s a really affordable option and gives parents peace of mind by having a clear view of baby. It’s not the easiest co-sleeper for access. However, it prevents parents from rolling onto baby when sleeping in the middle.

Safety – The metal frame of this co-sleeper is great for preventing rolling onto baby. Unfortunately, it makes it a little uncomfortable for parents if room is tight. The mesh side allows baby to breathe should they roll into the sides. You’ll also be able to see baby without sitting up.

Ease of Use – This co-sleeper doesn’t score too highly for access to baby. You will need to sit upright if you want to remove baby for a feed. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend it for moms who had a C-section and not as convenient as other models for breastfeeding.

Bedding – This co-sleeper comes with a waterproof mattress and removable sheet. The mattress has a plastic feel to it which some find quite noisy. The fabric makes it easy to wipe clean. You can machine wash the sheets and buy replacements for a very affordable price.

Portability – This co-sleeper is extremely portable and lightweight to move around. It’s collapsible so easy to store. We love it as a space-saving solution for baby naps in other areas of the house.

Best for – We recommend this co-sleeper for parents who have a lot of space in the bed. It’s a perfect option for bed sharing without the risk of suffocating baby.

Babybay

  • Type:  Side Sleeper
  • Age Range: 0-6 months
  • Colors: 4 wooden finishes

Pros: Adjustable height, sturdy, easy assembly, suitable for twins

Cons: Expensive

Our Verdict

The BabyBay is the best luxury co-sleeper on the market. The brand is new to the USA but a bestseller in Europe. It’s a very stylish option that gives a classic crib look rather than a metal frame.

Safety – The Babybay is the sturdiest co-sleeper on our list. The frame allows you to fix the dropped side to your bed frame with straps to keep it flush. The mattress height can be adjusted making it level with your mattress. There is also the option of a removable barrier if you want to be extra cautious about baby rolling between mattresses.

Ease of Use – This co-sleeper takes about 15 minutes to set up. Without the barrier, it is the perfect solution for breastfeeding moms. Pull baby over for a feed, then slide them back when you are done. It can be used as a freestanding crib in other rooms, but you’ll need an additional bed rail. The wheels make it easier for you to move around the house.

Bedding – The Babybay doesn’t come with a mattress provided, however, there are 4 options to choose from. The curved shape means you can’t use a generic brand. Separate machine washable sheets are also available.

Modular –Although not available for the US market yet there are accessories, which help you convert the baby bay into many different forms. This includes a playpen, highchair, child’s bench, desk and chair and freestanding crib. You may be able to have these item shipped over from Europe.

Best for – We highly recommend investing in the baby bay if you plan to have more children. It’s a sturdy piece of equipment and will see you through many years of use. The spacious design also makes it suitable to use for newborn twins.


Types of Baby Co-Sleeper

Bed Sharing Co-sleeper

This style of co-sleeper is designed for bed sharing with your baby. The idea is to eliminate the risk of parents rolling onto baby whilst you sleep. These co-sleepers allow baby to have their own space in the bed with raised side to prevent the parents of baby rolling. Bed sharing co sleepers come in two forms:

Framed – The co-sleeper has a fixed area with a framed support. This offer stability and is uncomfortable for parents if they roll into it. They make it easier to alert parents when they are too close to baby at night. They require a lot of space in the bed.

Contoured – This type is like a large pillow which contours around baby. The raised edges protect baby. They are very easy for breastfeeding moms to use. Although more expensive, this type often has a longer usage than fixed shape co-sleepers.

Side Sleeper

co sleeping with mom

This type of co-sleeper is for parents who want baby to share the bed but with their own area off to the side. These offer easy access to baby without the risk of suffocation or overheating that comes with bed sharing. Modern side sleepers are available in two types:

Three sided – These look just like a regular bassinet or crib but with three sides. You attach the missing side to your mattress. This makes the co-sleeper your babies sleep area part of your bed. It’s essential the co-sleeper is securely attached, and any gaps between mattresses minimized.

Flexible Bassinet – This type is effectively a standalone bassinet that gives you easy access to baby. A regular bassinet requires you to sit up to tend to baby. The flexible sides of this type give the benefits of easy access whilst providing a safe barrier as you both sleep.

Benefits of  a Co-Sleeper

Safe Space

The biggest risk of co-sleeping with a baby is the risk of suffocation. This may be for parents rolling or being stuck between, blanket, wall or headboards. A co-sleeper gives baby their own safe space so parents don’t need to make too many adjustments to their bed.

Aids Breastfeeding

Having your baby right next to you gives you easy access for night feeds. It also makes you more responsive to their feeding cues. Feeding a baby during the night is a great way to boost your milk supply as your lactation hormones are highest in the early hours of the morning.

Soothe Baby

Modern co-sleepers have extra soothing features such as white noise, music or vibration modes. These can help baby fall asleep easier and ease the pressure on you to calm them.

Convenience

You’ll get a lot more sleep as you won’t need to full wake so often. Having baby beside you makes for easier feeding and nappy changes. Some models make it so easy you don’t even need to fully wake to comfort or feed baby. Small storage areas and nightlights mean less disruption or searching about during the night which can cause unnecessary disruptions to your partner.

Happy Dads

Most dad love the idea of sleeping but are petrified they might roll onto baby. Moms are more intuitive about sleeping with baby. Bed-sharing co-sleepers are particularly reassuring for dads to ease their worries. If your partner isn’t keen on bed-sharing, you can always compromise by opting for a side sleeper.

Save the Mattress

If you’ve ever changed a baby’s nappy, you will know they can sometime be, well…. explosive. A co-sleeper is a great way to minimize the damage to your mattress from unexpected pee and poo leaks. At the very least, it can cut down on your washing load, by changing tiny sheets rather than king-sized sheets.

Disadvantages of a Co-sleeper

Short Term Use

Most co-sleepers are recommended to use only for a few months. Usually, this is when baby can roll over themselves. You may not want to make a huge investment in a co-sleeper for such a short period of use. Even so, having a co-sleeper can reduce the risks of SIDS which is higher in babies under 14 weeks.

Unsuitable Bed

You may find that it’s difficult to find a co-sleeper for your bed. Bed sharing option often takes up a lot of space and can be uncomfortable unless you have a king-size bed. Consider the frame of your bed when buying a side sleeper as each model has different attachment style. Some will only be suitable for framed beds and not divan styles.

Baby Preference

Just like adults babies have their sleeping preferences. This means that some babies might not like the co-sleeper that you choose for them. If your baby likes to be swaddled to sleep, then you shouldn’t bed share with them. Some babies, especially when breastfeeding, won’t settle unless they are snuggled beside mom.

Best Co-sleeper for …

Let’s look into the types of co-sleeper which will offer most benefit for your family’s lifestyle.

C-Sections

A co-sleeper which requires minimal movement for mum is best. This means less maneuvering of your tender abdomen. Most side sleepers are suitable for moms with a C-section wound. For bed sharing, you should opt for one with soft side rather than a fixed frame.

Breastfeeding

For breastfeeding you want a co-sleeper which offers easy access to baby. A side sleeper or soft bed sharer is the best option. These help to position baby at the breast without too much movement. You also won’t need to fully wake for a feed, which mean you can still snooze whilst baby feeds.

 Twins

A spacious co-sleeper can be used for newborn twins to sleep together. The DockATot, Arms Reach range and BabyBay are all suitable for twin use. Newborn twins are often lower in birth weight than singletons. As your twins grow and take up more room, you’ll need to buy an additional co-sleeper or transition to a different sleep area for safety.

twins cosleeper


Baby Co- Sleeper Buying Guide

Let’s start by looking at all the features you should consider to find the best baby co-sleeper for your family.

Age Range

  • Newborn – Most co-sleepers are suitable for newborn babies until they are a few months old. This puts a short shelf life on these products so you may not want to invest too much for such short use.
  • Older Baby/ Toddler – Some co-sleepers can be used for longer periods; however, they are often more expensive. Usually, they can be adapted for other uses as baby grows, such as playpens or tummy time supports.

Usage

  • Frequent – If you plan to use your co-sleeper regularly, including nap time you want one which lasts. Invest in a high quality co-sleeper which you can use around the house or even travel with.
  • Occasional – A co-sleeper which is only used for visiting or traveling purposes doesn’t need too much investment. Opt for one which is lightweight, portable and easy to assemble.

Cost

  • New – Co-sleepers can range from $40-$500 depending on which features you want. A safe sleep space for baby is the most important feature over looks or modern gadgets.
  • Second Hand – Buying a used co-sleeper can get you a higher spec for your budget. It’s important to make sure the co-sleeper has not been recalled by the manufacturer. If you are unsure do a quick internet search before buying. Check for any structural faults, which can make it unsafe for baby. We would highly recommend buying a new mattress for your baby.

Safety

This is hands down the most important feature of any co-sleeper. You should never compromise your baby’s safety for price or fancy gadgets. It can lead to serious injury for your baby.

All bedside sleepers need to conform to ASTM Safety Standards (available here).

  • Structure – The Co-sleeper needs to offer baby a structured side which prevents movement onto baby. Side sleepers require a structure between the bassinet and adult mattress to prevent baby slipping between the surfaces. The base should be sturdy and secured to the bed frame.
  • Flat surface – All co-sleeper should provide a flat and firm surface for baby to sleep on. This will allow your baby to have a neutral neck position which does not restrict their breathing. Soft structure co-sleeper should only be used on a flat, firm surface to support baby.
  • Sides – They should be designed to allow airflow to baby. This prevents baby from suffocating should they press themselves against the sides. Modern co-sleepers have sides made from mesh or stats if there is a structures frame sides.
  • Locks – Flexible or movable co-sleepers should have safety locks to prevent accidental movement. Pets and other children are curious and can put your baby at risk if safety locks are not utilized.

Ease of Use

Picture yourself during the middle of the night, sleep deprived and tender after birth. Do the features of the co-sleeper make life easier for you or offer no benefit?

  • Set Up – How easy is the co-sleeper to set up to use. Some styles may need to be adjusted as baby grows, consider if you’ll need extra tools to do this.
  • Size – This is important for bed sharing co-sleepers. Most of them are quite bulky to allow baby enough space. For those with queen-sized beds you may struggle with room to sleep if either parent is on the larger side. For side sleepers, consider how much room you have available at the side of the bed. Will it be easy for you to get in and out of the bed without too much maneuvering?
  • Storage – you may occasionally need to store the co-sleeper when not in use. Look for a folding style which will save space.
  • Portability – Bed sharing co-sleepers are the most portable option. These are even suitable for using out of the house such as when traveling, visiting or on day trips.  The arms reach side crib range have a few styles which are portable. A lot of modern side sleepers have wheels so you can use them as a free-standing bassinet around the house.

Comfort

Just like your own bed you should try to make your baby’s sleep environment as comfortable as possible.

  • Mattress – A firm mattress will provide a good sleeping position for baby. Some mattresses are made from a waterproof material which can make them a bit noisy when baby moves around.
  • Position – Some co-sleepers can offer a slight incline to ease the discomfort of reflux of colic. We do not recommend using this position unless you can fully supervise your baby. It puts baby at great risk of slipping down and under blankets.
  • Space – This is a case of personal preference for your baby. Your baby may prefer a snug space to which reminds them of your womb. As your baby grows will probably like to move around more and hate to be restricted. If they are unable the stretch and kick, your baby will be uncomfortable when they get larger. You may want to opt for a sleeper with adjustable length to get as much use as possible.

Cleaning

Diaper changes, spit up or just general use mean that you’ll need a way of keeping your co-sleeper clean. This is what you should look for to make the process easier.

  • Material – Mattresses should at least be wipeable, and some should be regularly aired to prolong the use. Non-removable fabrics should be wipeable to freshen the co-sleeper during washes.
  • Machine washable – Removable sheet should be machine washable and dried. This helps to speed up the washing and keeps the crib fresh and clean.

Baby Co-Sleeper Safety Advice

When co-sleeping you need to provide a safe environment to reduce any risks to baby. Always adopt this safety advice when co-sleeping with your baby.

Never leave baby unsupervised

Always supervise your baby whilst they sleep. Regardless of where there are sleeping, babies are at greater risk of SIDS if left unsupervised whilst sleeping. You will be able to tend to baby’s needs quickly should they become distressed.

Smoking and Medication

If you or your partner is a smoker, it is best that you do not use a co-sleeper for your baby. Your baby will benefit more for sleeping in a freestanding bassinet in your room. This is due to the risk of second-hand smoke increasing your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Check the temperature

Your baby is at great risk of SIDS if the room is too hot. Ensure that room temperature is between 60.8-68⁰F. If you feel baby is too cold, add a layer of blankets. If you think baby is too hot remove layers of blankets or extra clothing such as cardigans.

Remove Excess bedding

Extra bedding such as pillow, blankets or big fully duvets put baby at great risk of suffocation. Your baby can become entrapped in these areas, and their airflow restricted. Remember to remove any toys from babies sleeping area when they are in it.

Use a firm surface

Your co-sleeper should always provide a firm, flat surface for babies to sleep. Poor neck control makes it easy to position a baby with their chin to their chest. As a result their airflow is restricted. Never use a bed sharing sleeper on a waterbed.

Place baby on back

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Statistics have shown a 50% drop in SIDS related deaths when babies sleep on their back rather than side or tummy. Again, this is because the airflow is at greater risk of restriction in these positions.

No Pets allowed

Regardless of whether you are bed sharing or using a side sleeper, never let pets sleep on the bed. You will be unable to monitor their movements as you sleep, putting baby at greater risk of suffocation.

Learn CPR

Knowing how to resuscitate your baby is a lifesaving skill to have. Knowing how to react in those precious few minutes can help to save your baby’s life. If your baby chokes on a toy or when weaning, you’ll be prepared with CPR skills. You never know when you may need it. Look into child-related CPR courses near you before your baby arrives.

Summary

We hope this guide was helpful enough to find the perfect co-sleeper for you. If you have any recommendation or tips for co-sleeping with your baby, please leave a comment below.

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Cosleeping with a Newborn Baby – Ultimate Sleep Guide http://storkmama.com/cosleeping-with-a-newborn-baby/ http://storkmama.com/cosleeping-with-a-newborn-baby/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 05:00:08 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=630 Cosleeping with a newborn baby is a growing parenting choice. As the name suggest it means sleeping alongside your baby. This may be an easy choice for you, however you need to consider how your partner feels about co-sleeping. Weighing up all the pros and cons before baby is born will prevent you coming across […]

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Cosleeping with a newborn baby is a growing parenting choice. As the name suggest it means sleeping alongside your baby. This may be an easy choice for you, however you need to consider how your partner feels about co-sleeping. Weighing up all the pros and cons before baby is born will prevent you coming across any stumbling blocks once baby arrives.

Cosleeping with a newborn

If you are considering co-sleeping with your baby then this guide is for you.  If it works for your family then it’s the best choice for your baby. Never mind if others don’t agree with your choice, you won’t be losing any sleep over it. We’ll discuss the different types of co-sleeping, the pros and cons, how to co-sleep safely, deciding if it’s right for you and how to set up your room. Let’s get started.

Types of Co-Sleeping

When it comes to co-sleeping there are two different methods: bed sharing or room sharing. Each one has their own benefits and drawbacks. The best one is the one that works for your family. You may even decide to switch between the two styles as your baby grows.

Bed Sharing

This involves having baby sleeping in your bed, either on mom’s side or in between parents. Having baby sleep in your bed has a lot of advantages. However parents are often wary of this option because of the potential dangers. This co-sleeping option is the one that requires most consideration as it has big implication for you and your partner.

family bed sharing

Benefits of Bed Sharing

  • Save money – You don’t need to spend money investing in a crib, or dealing with the hassle of building it up.
  • Keep cozy – When you baby wakes you simply open your eyes and you are there. No more getting up to the sound of your baby screeching down a baby monitor from your warm and snug bed.
  • Instinct – Humans have evolved to sleep with their newborn babies to protect them. It’s natural for parent to lie of their sides in a protective c shape around there baby. Higher rates of sleep arousal mean we have evolved to naturally wake and check that baby is ok.
  • Better sleep pattern – Your baby is more likely to follow your sleep patterns if you bed share. This helps you quickly get through those sleep deprived nights.

Concerns of Bed Sharing

The biggest concern with bed sharing is safety and babies’ risk of suffocation. It’s not simply a case of placing baby in your bed and off you go. Modern day adult beds and sleeping arrangements are not exactly baby friendly. Most parents, especially dads, worry about rolling on top of baby.  If you are in a deep sleep you can roll of top of baby. This is extremely rare and unlikely if you follow safe co-sleeping guidance, which we will discuss later.

Room Sharing

An alternative to sharing your bed with baby is to have them sleep in your room but in their own bed space. The type of bed can vary between a bassinet, crib or co sleeper which attaches to your bed.

cosleeping room sharing

Benefits is Room Sharing

  • Great middle ground – Room sharing is a great way to get the benefits of co-sleeping without the disadvantages of discomfort or concerns of rolling onto baby.
  • Tend to baby – Having baby close means you can feed them or change a nappy quickly during the night. Plus if you have an explosive diaper or leaky nappy then it’s only in baby’s area and not yours.
  • Baby adapts – When it comes to moving baby into their own bed room sharing can make this easier. The closeness of room sharing lets baby know you are there but gives them the freedom of their own space.

Drawback of Room Sharing

The main disadvantage of room sharing is that it’s not close enough for some parents. You may prefer to have baby as close as possible and enjoy the skin to skin contact it give you. If you prefer to follow and attachment parenting model, then you’ll probably opt for bed sharing over room sharing. Intimacy is another concern for parents who are considering room sharing.

Cosleeping Aids

Co-sleeping involves making changes to your sleeping area to make it safer for baby. Check out the co-sleeping products available to make your life a lot easier.

For Bed Sharers

Nest

This is a little area of padding which ‘nests’ your baby. It makes co sleeping easier whether baby is sleeping to the side or in between parents. Baby has its own little sleep area, which makes it less likely parent will roll onto them. They can also be used as a portable sleep area. Using a nest is great for new-borns and can even be used for padding as baby learned to sit upright.

Bed Guard

For older babies opt for a bed guard. You can buy a pillow shaped guard which should cover a good length of your bed. Some parents like to use the mesh toddler bed guards so baby can still breathe should they roll into it. Never use a bed guard for a newborn or baby unable to roll as they can become trapped and at greater risk of suffocation.

For Room Sharers

Bassinet

This is like a little mini crib for baby. As bassinet is a great way for babies to have their own sleep space in your room. Position it right next to you bed so you have easy access if baby should cry during the night. Modern bassinets have supportive mesh sides to allow breathing is they roll over. These also help you to see baby easily when you are lying in bed.

Co Sleeper Crib

These cribs attach to your bed with no side barrier, giving you instant access to baby. They are a great way to get the closeness of bed sharing without the safety risk.  No need to even sit up to tend to baby. They are fantastic for breastfeeding, whilst giving baby their own safe area to sleep.

best co sleeper reviews article

Benefits of Cosleeping With a Newborn

Whether you chose to co-sleep by bed sharing or room sharing there are some shared benefits between the two methods.

Easier night feeds

Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding so much easier. You don’t need to get up and settle in another room. Simply let baby settle in bed with you and feed whilst side lying. You usually only need to be awake to attach baby and then you can snooze throughout a feed.  This method of night feeds encourages longer breastfeeding relationships.

Reduced Risk of SIDS

Babies who sleep alone are 4 times more at risk of SIDS than babies who co-sleep. Countries where co-sleeping is the norm have the lowest rates if SIDS. A slight increase in carbon dioxide from parent breath stimulates baby to breathe more. Co sleeping babies also tend to sleep more on their back or sides which is a big factor in preventing SIDS.

Babies Cry Less

Co sleeping causes baby to startle less during the night. Startling can cause a baby to cry, so babies who sleep alone cry up to 4 minutes more than a co sleeping baby. Your baby will cry less because you are able to respond to their needs quicker when you are co-sleeping.

Parents get more sleep

With reduced crying and easier night feeds, co-sleeping leads to minimal disruptions during the night. Compare this to solo sleeping where you need to constantly get up to tend to baby in another room. A baby monitor may also cause more disruption to your partners sleep than if baby was in the room with you.

Improved Health

Co sleeping babies are known to have better breathing rates, heart rates and maintain their temperature better. The feeling of security the closeness give them reduce their stress levels. Babies who experience less stress have better emotional and brain development in later life.

nightime breastfeed

Co-Sleeping Risks

There are certain circumstance under which you should never co-sleep by bed sharing. Even room sharing put you at higher risk of taking baby temporarily into bed and falling asleep. These factors are known to increase your baby’s risk of SIDS or suffocation.

Alcohol

If you have drunk alcohol it can make you sleepy and affect your ability to wake. Even if you’ve has only one glass of wine it’s advisable not to co-sleep with baby. If you bed share with baby in the middle, then it’s important your partner is not under the influence of alcohol.

Smoking

If you or your partner is a smoker then it is advises you do not bed share. Smoking release second hand toxins into the air for hours after a cigarette. This reduces the amount of oxygen available to you and baby. This dulls your sense and make you less reactive to baby. For baby it interferes with their breathing patterns and put them at higher risk of SIDS.

Medication

Any medication which makes you sleepy or drowsy should not be taken when co-sleeping. These medications put you into a deep sleep and can make you unaware of baby in the bed. This includes sleeping tablets as well as certain antidepressants, flu and cold remedies or pain killers.

Exhaustion

Most parents are exhausted from sudden changes to their sleep patterns. Conditions such as anemia, pain or thyroid disorders can all increase your levels of fatigue. This makes you less responsive to baby and unaware of their presence. Try to get as much sleep during the day as possible to avoid this.

Sleep Disorders

Avoid bed sharing if you suffer from a sleep disorder which can make you unresponsive. Conditions such a sleep apnoea, narcolepsy or sleep paralysis will all make you unable to respond to baby should they be distressed. Room sharing is still great option and may be advisable so you partner can tend to baby if you are unable to.

Sofas

Never sleep with your baby on an arm chair or sofa. When co-sleeping this is the most dangerous place to sleep. This is mostly due to parent being excessively tired and unintentionally co-sleeping. Babies can become easily wedged between the arms and the parent and become trapped or suffocate.

Low Birth Weight or Premature

If your baby was born before 37 weeks or weighted under 2.5kg then you should not bed share. Premature and low birth weight babies are at greater risk of SIDS. Although unknown it is thought that their immature development makes them unable to cope with a bed sharing environment. These babies do greatly benefit from co-sleeping by room sharing.

Obesity

If you are morbidly obese it is recommend that you room share rather than bed share. You may struggle to recognize when baby is too close to you which put baby at great risk of suffocation. If your partner is extremely obese you should position baby at your side only and not between parents.

co sleeping risks

6 Co-Sleeping Considerations

If you are still undecided about bed sharing, use this guide to consider how much impact it will have on your life. For each concern consider both you and your partner as the decision to co-sleep will affect you both.

1. Risks

If you or your partner fall into any of the risk categories you should reconsider bed sharing. These are based on statistics from infant sleep deaths. Not all of these are risk to room sharing, which is the safest method for newborns when in their own bed space.

2. Comfort

You will probably need to make changes to your bed set up for co sleeping. Changes to a mattress or bedding can reduce your comfort levels. You will have less room to sleep and you movement will be restricted. Bed sharing may not be the best idea if you already struggle to get a good night’s rest.

3. Intimacy

Are you comfortable with the thought of getting intimate when baby is in the bed or room? It’s a personal choice. If one partner is not happy with baby being present then don’t force the idea. You can temporarily move baby to another room during and then bring them back after. You can also choose to get intimate at different times or day or other areas of the house.

4. Sleep disruption

Having a baby in your bed can cause disrupted sleep for either parent, especially as they grow. Consider thing like snoring, sleep talking or tooth grinding. Frequent night waking’s can play havoc with your daily life. It can leave you both feeling tired and grumpy which can lead to short tempers or poor work performance.

5. Timing

If you agree that bed sharing is the way to go then have a time frame in mind. This may be different for either parent. Co-sleeping get more difficult as you baby grows and it get harder to transition then into their own bed. You should only bed share with one child at a time, so you don’t want to cause sibling resentment if you get pregnant whilst still co-sleeping.

6. Pets

A new baby can be a big change for family pets. If your pets already share your bed, it needs to stop if you want to let baby sleep with you. If you think it will be a struggle to get pets to stop sleeping on your bed then room sharing may be a better idea.

Making a choice

If after reading these consideration you are still excited about bed sharing with your baby then go for it. When one parent is keen and the other is hesitant about bed sharing or you have risk factors then room sharing is a great middle ground. If you dread the thought of giving up your comforts, vices and privacy then you should opt for baby to sleep in their own room.

Successful co-sleeping requires commitment from both parents and a safe set up

family cosleeping

Co-Sleeping Bed Set Up

If you decide to share a bed with baby to need to know how to keep it a safe environment for them. This is what you should look out for to ensure your baby is as safe as possible in your bed.

No pillows

Your baby should not be resting on any pillows at all. Your pillows should be regular sized and in plain bedding. Make sure your pillows are positions well away from baby. Try to keep you bed free from extra pillows or decorative piece whilst baby is in it.

Right Temperature

The temperature of your room should be kept comfortable and not too hot or cold. Babies who overheat are a greater risk of SIDS. A good temperature is 60.8-68⁰F. If you think baby is too hot remove a layer of blankets.

Bedding

Thin blankets should be used and not big thick, fluffy ones. Try to keep blankets to a minimum and don’t used heated blankets. Blankets should never go over your baby’s head. You should not swaddle baby when bed sharing.

Mattress

A firm mattress should be used for co-sleeping. Soft mattress or waterbeds are known to increase the risk of SIDS.

Away from walls

Keep your baby away from walls, hard rails or dividers. These can cause baby to become easily trapped between them and a parent. Check you headboard is plain, without any slats, where babies head can get stuck.

Lower the bed

If you decide to keep baby on one side of the bed you may want to lower the bed. Some parents prefer to move the mattress onto the floor, so there is no risk of falls when baby is asleep. If your bed is higher you should not leave baby to sleep alone due to the risk of falls from a height.

Place baby on back

Your baby should always be placed on their back to sleep. If your baby tends to side sleep them move them onto their back if you can. Babies who sleep on their front are at double the risk of SIDS.

Tie your hair back

If you have extremely long hair you should tie it back. This prevents it front getting tangled on baby’s neck or causing a breathing obstruction as they sleep.

Side Carts

Your mattress should be flush with the side cart and secured safely to prevent movement. Using a thin sheet to cover over the join between beds will prevent the risk of gaps baby can slip down.

Co-Sleeping Resources

UNICEF Safe CoSleeping Guide

James McKenna Co-Sleeping guidelines

Mothering.com CoSleeping Community

Infant Sleep Information Source

Attachment Parenting Article

CoSleeping Facebook Group

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Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy http://storkmama.com/leg-and-foot-care-during-pregnancy/ http://storkmama.com/leg-and-foot-care-during-pregnancy/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 05:00:50 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=619 In pregnancy it’s natural for you to focus on your growing bump. Unfortunately that mean that you may be neglecting anything below the wait. Leg and foot care during pregnancy is important for your health. Your rioting hormones and extra weight can do a number on this area. There are a number of ailments your […]

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In pregnancy it’s natural for you to focus on your growing bump. Unfortunately that mean that you may be neglecting anything below the wait. Leg and foot care during pregnancy is important for your health. Your rioting hormones and extra weight can do a number on this area.

There are a number of ailments your legs and feet can suffer from during pregnancy. This guide is here to help you care for your legs in pregnancy. Let’s get started.

Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy

Leg and Foot Care during Pregnancy – Common Problems

Swollen Legs and Feet

Excessive swelling is also known as edema. You will notice this happening more as your bump grows. It’s common in the third trimester to go up a shoes size due to swollen feet.  Your body swells so much because of your increased blood supply. With an increase of around 30% of its normal volume it settle in places like your legs and feet. Be aware that excessive swelling can be a sign of a serious condition known as pre-eclampsia. If you have other concerns such as bad headaches, visual disturbances, liver pain, vomiting or high blood pressure, contact your doctor or midwife immediately.

Rest

Elevating your legs will help your circulation to pump the blood higher up the body and away from the lower half. Standing for too long or crossing your legs really restricts the blood flow back to the heart.

Hydration

Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day will reduce your swelling. It helps to keep your circulation moving around the body. You will also dilute any salts from your diet which make you retain water.

Dress right

Try to avoid clothing which restricts small areas of your legs, such as tight socks or shoes. Make sure the feet are well supported with an adjustable fastening for comfort. Compression stockings or socks are a great way to reduce the swelling and improve your circulation.

Relax

Giving your body time to rest can really help reduce the swelling. Try simple methods which are easy on the body such as taking a bath or swimming. A nice leg or foot massage is a great way to pamper yourself or bond with your partner in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

getting a foot massage


Leg Cramps

Muscle cramping during pregnancy are common. They usually start in the second or third trimester. The main cause is unknown however increased weight, hormones and changes to your calcium levels are all thought to contribute.

Do Stretches

Gentle calf and leg exercises can help to reduce a cramp attack. Holding a stretch for 15-30 seconds a few times a day will lengthen the muscle to ward of a contraction. Combining stretching with a gentle massage is known to be very effective for cramps.

Increase Calcium

Calcium is believed to be important for warding off cramps. Increase your calcium intake if you regularly suffer cramps. Dairy products are your best source, however you can also take a vitamin supplement if you have an intolerance or a special diet.


Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the most problematic in pregnancy. It runs down right along the area under greatest pressure from your bump. The nerve them runs down your leg and into your feet. Any pressure put on this area buy your bump can cause severe nerve pain for a few days.

Painkillers

Taking a mild pain killer such a Tylenol can help relieve the pain. Usually it won’t last any longer than a few day. If it persists see your doctor for further advice on using stronger painkillers.

Position

Lying on your left side can take the pressure off your nerve. This position preferred for better blood flow to the baby. You can aid this position by propping yourself up with a maternity pillow for extra support.

Compress

A hot or cold compress can help to provide instant relief for the pain. These are easily available from a pharmacy. If you have a sudden attack of sciatic pain, even a cold bag of peas from the freezer can ease the pain until painkiller kick in.

Exercise

Gentle exercise will help support the muscles in your back. The movement can help reduce the severity of the sciatic pain as sitting may make it worse. Gentle walks or stretches are best for targeting the area.

Physiotherapy

If the sciatic pain is not relieving you can consult a physio for advice. They may give you specialist exercise to do during the day. You may also be given a tummy support band to relieve the weight pressure from the nerve.

pregancy sciatica


Restless Legs

This is an uncontrollable jerking sensation you get in your legs or feet. It mostly occurs during the night time. About 20% of pregnant women suffer from this condition in the third trimester. You are more prone to this condition if you are anemic , so ask your doctor for a simple blood test to check your iron levels. Although it sounds harmless it can really affect your sleep or disturb your daily activities. It can take around 4 week after birth for the symptoms to disappear.

Good Sleep Habits

Establishing a good sleep pattern can help alleviate the symptoms. The means going to bed at a regular time, getting enough sleep and avoiding caffeine which can keep you awake.

Exercise

Gentle exercise can help to stop the symptoms. It’s thought the condition can be linked to dopamine and how the body handle it. Exercise is a great stress reliever and helps your cope better with adrenaline rushes. Try gentle swimming of yoga which can both aid other foot and leg ailments.

Thermal care

If you need an instant cure try using a thermal pad on your leg. You may find a hot or cold compress takes way the jerking motion and relaxes the leg quickly.


Varicose Veins

These are large, visible veins that stick out from the surface of your skin. When your veins backflow a small amount of blood get trapped and causes swelling. These are common in pregnancy because of the extract pressure and weight of your growing baby. You will experience these more if you stand or walk a lot.

Many of the treatments for swollen legs will aid and prevent varicose veins. This includes extra fluids, rest and foot elevation.

Compression stockings

Regular use of compression stocking can help keep varicose veins at bay. Where them as often as possible. This may be difficult if you live in a hot climate. We highly recommend them if you have a job where you are on your feet for very long periods of time.


Flat Feet

In pregnancy your body release a hormone called relaxin. This relaxes the muscles in your body, including your feet. Your foot arch is affected by this hormone. You may even go up a shoe size in pregnancy. The extra weight gain can also cause strain on your foot which results in pain. You should consult a podiatrist if your foot pain becomes excessive.

Supportive shoes

Wearing a shoes with a supportive arch will help to position your foot properly. Ballet flat and sandals won’ provide enough support. Opt for a good supportive trainer shoe for best support. Try to avoid walking around barefooted as the lack of support can cause pain in the ankles and foot ligaments.

Insoles

Specialist orthotic insoles can help to support your joints is the pain worsens. The insoles will support your feet in all the right places and take pressure away from the weaker areas. Your foot will be aligned and prevent pain.


10 Foot and Leg Care Essentials for Pregnancy

To help care for your leg during pregnancy you may need a few aids. Let’s look at some great products to keep your legs and feet in tip top shape.

1. Massage Cream

A good foot massage cream will make foot care feel like a real pamper session. Opt for a soothing mint fragrance to boost your circulation and leave you feeling fresh. If you prefer a relaxing finish then try a lavender or chamomile scented cream.

2. Elevation Cushion

Tackle swelling, varicose veins and sciatica with this simple foot support pillow. The tilted design allows you to position your feet above your heart for optimal circulation. It also helps to keep your pelvis tilted to avoid placing weight on your sciatic nerve.

3. Compression Stockings

Help to boost your circulation when spend a lot of time on your feet. Compression stockings help to push your blood back up to your heart to prevent swelling, varicose veins and cramping. These are lots of funky styles you can get to add a little fun to wearing them.

4. Gel Insoles

Extra pregnancy weight can make your feet hot, sweaty and sore. The extra pressure can make wearing some shoes unbearable. We recommend using a gel insole to cushion your soles. You can even cool them down in a fridge to provide a cool relief for your feet.

5. Foot Bath

A luxury soak in a foot bath will feel like luxury after a long day on your feet. Swollen and pain feet will benefit from the warm water can help to reduce the size and boost your circulation. You can use the time to do some foot and lower leg stretches to prevent cramps.

6. Foot Soak

The ingredients of a foot soak are designed to relieve discomfort in your feet. They will boost your circulation and improve swelling. A foot soak also help you to keep your feet hygienic when your bump start to get in the way.

7. Arch Support

Arch support insoles will provide an area of support for your fallen arches. These insole align your foot to the correct position and relieve pressure from your joints and ligaments. You can also opt for an arch bandage to wear around the house if you prefer to walk barefooted.

8. Foot Massager

This is a bit of a splurge item, but its pure luxury when you need to relax in the third trimester. If you partner isn’t up to massaging your feet it’s a great alternative for you. We recommend a shiatsu style foot massager to give you a good deep kneading massage to your soles.

9. Dry Body Brush

Get your circulation flowing by dry brushing your lower legs. Using an upwards motion you will help to improve the blood flow and lymph drainage in your body. This prevent swelling, varicose veins and cramps. Opt for a dry brush with a long handle to reach all the way down and over your bump.

10. Thermal Compress

Using a hot or cold compress can provide instant relief for swelling, cramps, sciatica and restless legs. These are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. You can also use them after pregnancy to relieve stitches or breastfeeding problems such as engorgement.

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11 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Anemia http://storkmama.com/postpartum-anemia/ http://storkmama.com/postpartum-anemia/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 05:00:13 +0000 http://storkmama.com/?p=612 If you had a big blood loss at delivery you are probably now dealing with postpartum anemia. This will make you feel exhausted, irritable and downright rubbish. The postpartum period is already a hard slog with sleepless nights, constant feeds, poor diet and still having to run a household. If your iron levels are low […]

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If you had a big blood loss at delivery you are probably now dealing with postpartum anemia. This will make you feel exhausted, irritable and downright rubbish. The postpartum period is already a hard slog with sleepless nights, constant feeds, poor diet and still having to run a household.

If your iron levels are low it can affect your life beyond your health. Let’s look at ways you can deal with postpartum anemia. These are great tips if you’ve just given birth or you’ve had a big blood loss in a previous pregnancy.

postpartum anemia

11 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Anemia

1. Take Supplements

Depending on how low your iron levels are you should start to take iron supplements. You can opt for capsules, liquid or chewable forms. You’ll need to take around 2-3 tablets a day to get your levels back to normal. Finding a good iron supplement for you can be a bit hit or miss. Certain types of iron can give you a really upset tummy or make you feel sick. Look out for brands which are labelled as non-constipating or slow release.

2. Eat Iron Rich Food

Even if you are already taking supplements you have to remember they are a diet aid. That means you should still change your diet to include iron rich foods. The best sources of iron come from animal protein such as meat, poultry or fish. You can also get iron from vegetables, fortified cereals and whole grains. Plant based iron doesn’t absorb as well into the body but can still boost you daily intake.

3. Get Follow Up

Whether you are already diagnoses with postpartum anemia or you feel rubbish at home. See your caregiver If you continue to feel run down and symptomatic of anemia. If may mean you need to change the brand of supplement you are on or that further bloods are needed. If your iron levels continue to drop you may be offered and iron IV drip, injections or a blood transfusion. Your caregiver may also be able to monitor your diet to ensure you are getting the right amount of iron and where you can make changes.

4. Cut down on the Tea

Or coffee for that matter. Both contain an ingredients known as tannins which can slow the absorption of iron. If you also drink a lot of milk, such as a latte, then the calcium can slow your absorption of the iron. We recommend cutting down your daily intake or preferably stopping until your iron levels increase. If you can’t go without try only drinking your tea or coffee in between taking your iron supplements.

5. Get Rest

You should try to get as much rest as possible to help your body recover. If your partner has parental leave then let him do the bulk of the work. Try not to be superwoman, you’ll end up out of action for longer. Rope in family and friends to help out too. They will be around a lot in those early day. Don’t let them leave you to act as a host. If possible get them to bring around a meal do a chore, or let look after baby whilst you have a nap.

best iron supplement article

6. Watch Your Mood

You’ve probably heard of postnatal depression. Studies have shown that there is a definite link between being anemic and developing postpartum depression. Anemia causes fatigue and low milk supply when breastfeeding. These can both leave you feeling overwhelmed. Especially if your baby is not settling and you are feeling exhausted. If you are feeling low then discuss your moods with your caregiver. They will help give you more advice, medication or support groups you can go to.

7. Go Natural

If you are not keen on taking supplements for anemia then try a natural cure. Blackstrap molasses has been used for centuries to improve anemia symptoms. It’s really rich in iron and can help to boost your iron levels quickly. It’s suitable for diabetic as it has a low glycaemic index unlike refined sugar. Its sweet taste means you can use it in your diet as a sweetener. It’s a great option if you simply can’t tolerate any iron supplements. Also if you are vegetarian or vegan and want to avoid using any animal based products or fillers.

8. Vitamin C

Fill up on Vitamin C rich food to boost your iron absorption. This includes fruits such as oranges and strawberries. Some people like to take their iron supplement with orange juice to boost the amount absorbed. You can even look out for iron supplements which are combined with a vitamin c supplement.

9. Drink More Fluids

The health benefits of a regular water intake after birth are amazing. If you’ve lost a lot of blood it’s important to keep your circulation flowing. IF you become dehydrated you put yourself at risk of developing a blood clot. Water can also increase your energy levels and prevent UTI’s which are common with anemia. Iron supplement can also make you constipated which you can tackle with regular fluids.  Don’t go excessive with the water as this can dilute your blood too much and make you feel worse.

10. Stool Softener

If regular fluids aren’t tackling to constipation problem then try a stool softener. You probably won’t poo for around 4 days after delivery. If you are bunged up longer than this you may need a little help. Stool softeners are great for getting things moving along. If you’re brave you can even opt for some prune juice to get more nutrients and increase your fluids at the same time.

11. Monitor Infection

Anemia can make you much more likely to get an infection. Your immune system is lowered and has less change of fighting off any nasty infections. Tears, C-sections wounds and milky breast are all heavenly places for bacteria to breed quickly. If you start to feel unwell, have a fever, shivering or see since of infection then contact your doctor or midwife. These are usually quickly cleared up with antibiotics, however can be fatal if left untreated.

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