Feeding Your Baby
How you plan to feed your baby is a unique and important decision. As with all decisions surrounding birth and the immediate postpartum, it is best if you are informed and your decision is respected. Everyone has different experiences and should not be judged. No matter how you choose to feed your baby, please recognize the importance of bonding for you both during feeding time. Your baby is watching you, looking at you, and loves it when you engage with them during this activity!
In the womb your baby’s skin is covered with a waxy, cheesy substance called "vernix caseosa" (or "vernix" for short). Babies who are born later in gestation (like 40-42 weeks) may have less vernix than babies born on the earlier side (37-40 weeks) as it starts to wear away throughout pregnancy.
Delaying your baby’s bath has been linked to better breastfeeding rates in recent research!
“Let’s just take that baby to the nursery so you can get some rest!”
Sounds like a pretty tempting offer, but what about the implications for your new family? Keeping healthy families and babies together after birth encourages bonding, helps breast milk to come in sooner and be more plentiful, helps you get to know your baby and respond to their needs, and helps newborns acclimate to life outside the womb.
Learn how staying close to your baby has many benefits for you both.
Keep Intact / Circumcision
Circumcision is the peeling back and removing of the foreskin from the head of the penis. A controversial issue, you may wonder what is the function of the foreskin and what are the consequences of removing it?
Learn about the many healthy functions of the foreskin, ethical debates, and how to care for both the intact and circumcised penis.
Within a proper environment, sleeping with your baby has many benefits. Co-sleeping refers to sleeping with baby close by in your room. Bed-sharing refers to sleeping with baby in the same bed as you.
Co-sleeping and bed sharing are controversial topics these days. Ad campaigns and some medical professionals might tell you that sleeping with your baby will lead to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) but other evidence tells a different story.
After birth and beyond, your newborn baby’s habitat is skin-to-skin, ideally with you, but with your partner or relative as well. Babies are born with immature nervous systems. Having a baby snuggled up against your body helps them regulate their breathing, temperature, and heart rate. Skin-to-skin also promotes bonding and helps breastmilk come in.
In normal, physiologic birth your body is baby’s natural habitat, in utero and out. After birth, even though they become more separate, babies still form a symbiotic, connected unit with you. The newborn is also seeded with good bacteria from their parent's skin that helps them thrive in their home environment.
After birth is the “magical hour” where baby is quiet and alert. After this period of wakefulness your baby (and hopefully you!) drift off into a long, restoring sleep. It’s tough work being born! The best time to bond and initiate breastfeeding is within the first few hours after birth. This is easiest when done with limited interruptions from others.
Imagine you are a baby inside the womb and all you’ve ever known is warmth, darkness, soft tissues, wetness, and your mother’s heartbeat and voice. Now imagine you’ve just been born. It’s bright, there are strangers, a scratchy towel, there’s cool air on your skin and a lot of commotion. You open your mouth and it makes sound for the first time! Your eyes are fuzzy but can make out many more shapes than in the womb. What would your first thought be? Is it overstimulating?
After you give birth your care provider may offer you anything from ibuprofen (helps with swelling and pain) to prescription narcotics. If you've given birth by cesarean you'll likely be offered stronger medication such as narcotics.
Giving birth is a pretty intense event and it's common to feel some uncomfortable sensations afterwards. Some people may be concerned how pain medications after birth can impact their mental state and health.
Learn more about which questions you should ask your care provider.