During the last 3 months of pregnancy, antibodies from the mother are passed to her unborn baby through the placenta. This type of immunity is called passive immunity because the baby has been given antibodies rather than making them itself. Antibodies are special proteins the immune system produces to help protect the body against bacteria and viruses. The amount and type of antibodies passed to the baby depends on the mother’s immunity. For example, if the mother has had chickenpox, she’ll have developed immunity against the condition and some of the chickenpox antibodies will be passed to the baby. But if the mother hasn’t had chickenpox, the baby won’t be protected. Immunity in newborn babies is only temporary and starts to decrease after the first few weeks or months.
Breast milk also contains antibodies, which means that babies who are breastfed have passive immunity for longer. The thick yellowish milk (colostrum) produced for the first few days following birth is particularly rich in antibodies. Premature babies are at higher risk of developing an illness because their immune systems aren’t as strong and they haven’t had as many antibodies passed to them. As newborn immunity is only temporary, it’s important to begin childhood immunisations when your baby is 2 months old. This applies to babies who are either premature or full-term. The first immunisation, given when your baby is 2 months old, includes whooping cough and Hib (haemophilus influenza type b) because immunity to these conditions decreases the fastest. Passive immunity to measles, mumps and rubella can last for up to a year, which is why the MMR vaccine is given just after your baby’s first birthday. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/childrens-health/how-long-do-babies-carry-their-mothers-immunity/
This week I received a telephone call from a relative. Her first grandchild will be born in late September. She learned that the pediatrician chosen has recommended no one be allowed to see the baby until it is six months old!!!!! No grandmas, aunts, uncles; no one. She and the other grandma have no other grandchildren. They are devastated!!!
The death rate among infants from COVID is minuscule. In California not a single child has died of the virus. Why on earth would a young family be told not to allow anyone to see their baby? As a doula, this not only sounds strange it sounds dangerous. Aunts and grandmas are invaluable to new mommies. Their experience, support and advice are a great source of encouragement to young mothers. In addition, they are the ones who care for baby while exhausted mommy and daddy rest up. Family members do the cooking and laundry, they shop, they share information learned when they were young parents. I ask again, how could this exclusion of all family members even be considered?
I don’t have the details but perhaps the pediatrician has no children? Perhaps she missed the the med-school unit on the necessity of emotional and practical support of patients? I have no idea, but I am flabbergasted!! I will do some research and try to figure out what is up.
Below find some interesting articles on immunities in infants. More information to come:
20 Things To Know About Baby’s Immune System
Understanding some key points about a baby’s health and that bitty body’s ability to protect itself can be reassuring and helpful. By Amy Smith Dec. 23, 2018
How Breast Milk Protects Newborns
Written by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
There are many articles and opinions on the consumption of alcohol when breastfeeding. Often new moms are confused by the discussion. Many say no alcohol at all. Scientific research says a little is OK. Your pediatrician my have another opinion. This is one of those areas where you have to decide for yourself what you think is best for you and your baby. Below are articles from several sources discussing this topic.
Personally I believe those who are saying no alcohol at all are doing so because of the danger of a mom not understanding her own situation with alcohol. Drinking alone as a new mom is not a good thing. Drinking strong alcohol is not good, you need to be aware of your self and your baby. If you have any tendencies toward over drinking, if you have ever had a problem with drinking, if you are unable to control your drinking my recommendation is stay 100% away from any alcohol. The risks are not worth a drink. For alcoholics their ability to discern their own desire or need for alcohol is skewed. If you think you might be in this category please do not drink. Please seek help. Please be honest with yourself, this is really tough to do. Out of love and concern for your baby do not allow yourself to get into trouble.
Being a new mommy is the most wonderful thing. Having a precious little one to love and care for is an incredible joy. It is also exhausting and stressful. Alcohol is not a way to deal with this stress.
If you and your family enjoy a small glass of wine with dinner as a relaxing and social time science would say that is OK. You are in the company of others so you will tend not to over drink. Your baby will not be alone. The risks to you and your baby are low. Again, this is if you are being honest with yourself and do not have a drinking problem.
My personal recommendation would be wine only and in small amounts: one small glass per day. Strong drink impairs your ability to function. You have to be at 100% to take care of yourself and your little one. I would never recommend drinking alone, only in a social situation where there are others present. Read the articles below and share any you have found. This is a controversial topic. We can all learn more as we go.
Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing.
Anything you eat or drink while you’re breastfeeding can find its way into your breast milk, and that includes alcohol. An occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfedbaby. … To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
Breastfeeding and drinking alcohol-Your pregnancy and baby guide
Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1 drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant.
Breastfeeding and Alcohol
In the state of California not one child has died from COVID 19!!! Think of that: 39.51 million people; 366,000 cases of the virus, 7,500 deaths. Yet, according to state statistics, not one person under the age of 18 has died!! Have you heard that anywhere? Yet, schools will not be open in the Fall……………Why?
For Breastfeeding Mommies: When it is especially muggy be careful of plastic covered breast pads. Use only cotton fabric or cotton paper pads. These will breath allowing your nipples to remain dry and comfortable. Use lanolin or other lotions frugally, the goal is to stay as dry as possible. The heat will pass and you can reinstate your previous favorites.
For Baby: Avoid plastic and nylon clothing, blankets, and diapers. Baby can not tell you whether or not she is sweating. Pay special attention to baby’s skin. If she is at all wet with sweat remove her clothing and let her air dry. If there is a safe place on the floor let her lie on a soft towel or cotton blanket. This may sound crazy, but under the coffee table is safe from older siblings and falling objects. My eldest son was 15 months old when baby #2 arrived. He would never have injured his baby. My concern was he would pull #2 off the sofa or bed in an effort to help. Thus, I left #2 out of traffic lanes on the floor. There were lots of full body hugs but no bumps or bruises!
For all family members: Stay dry and wear cotton. Have cotton towels available to sit on, rather than leather or slick surfaces on which sweat will accumulate. As much as possible reduce your activity level. Read books, watch an educational video, nap!! For rashes and moisture related skin issues I recommend Caldesene Powder. Photo included. This medicated powder is like magic for everything from diaper rash to adult moisture related skin issues! If your little ones have a rash in their arm pits, some one has jock itch, or diaper rash, lightly dust with Caldesene. Use sparingly. Any recommendation comes with the disclaimer that every family, mama, & baby are different. This powder works wonders for us, I hope it will do the same for you!! It has no talc, Zink Oxide is the active ingredient. CVS has a generic brand called: CVS Medicated Powder
One of the most effective skills you can have in life is powerful and effective time management. Now that you are a parent your schedule has been turned upside down. What used to work well doesn’t any more. You are tired, hormones are running through you at breakneck speed, you feel so responsible for your new little child. Everything has changed. Allowing yourself the time to re-stabilize is vital. The ideas here will help as you settle into you new normal.
If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s the importance of paying attention to how you use the precious time you have. As busy parents and/or entrepreneurs, finding work-life balance is always challenging, but the truth is, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. I can tell you as a work-at-home mom that it CAN be done. Even the busiest mom can carve out pockets of breathing room within the day – with the right system in place.
Managing your time is not just good practice, but it is also good for productivity and organization. Follow a time management system that will help you get things done in order to achieve success with your goals. By managing your time properly and efficiently, you can create an organized life!
HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR TIME:
1. Get Up Early
Take a good look at your morning routine. What time do you usually start your day? How do you spend the first hour (or two)?
There are plenty of examples of how the most successful people are early risers and have a morning routine in place. Morning routines often include:
- Healthy Eating
- Establish a regular morning routine to ensure that you start your days successfully. This is extremely important, as this will set the tone and pace of your entire day.
2. Create a To-Do List
Creating a to-do list should be a regular habit undertaken daily.
To help you feel like a super-hero and finally cross every item off your list, I recommend you select three goals for each day to ensure that you can complete it. Don’t forget to prioritize the items on the list and review it throughout the day. I like to tackle the most important tasks first, particularly the ones that would take up the most time.
When you work from the hardest task to the simplest, you can actually free up more time later in the day. Also, checking off items as they are completed will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation.
3. Use Sticky Notes
Some of us use our phones to remind us of our tasks. But you may miss an important reminder if your phone dies or accidentally hit the snooze button!
With Sticky Notes, on the other hand, you can be sure that you don’t miss a task on your to-do list.
Sticky Notes are ideal for displaying reminders of tasks, motivational quotes, and visualizations. They now come in various colors, sizes, and designs, so it should be a fun and interesting way to get things done!
For example, if you’ve got a pile of letters that need to be mailed and that’s an item on your to-do list, why not put a sticky note on top of the pile with a deadline for posting them? It’ll serve as a reminder to get them posted and cleared out of your way.
4. Record It
Of course, you can record your notes digitally using note taking apps or in a text document, or use pen and paper but have you thought of recording them using a digital recorder?
This is a fast and easy way to get things done if writing things down is too much of a fuss.
You can get free recording apps for smartphones. By making a voice recording you can replay the recording and listen to your ideas. This will give you the opportunity to listen from a different perspective.
5. Create a Schedule
Online calendars now make is so easy for us to create schedules.
Using an online planner such as Google Calendar will ensure that you are able to access your schedule on your smartphone, tablet or computer wherever you are.
I love how you can color code different categories of entry and share with friends, family, and colleagues as necessary!
6. Use Pen and Paper
Many of us have gone digital, but I still love the process of writing down things with pen and paper.
For your most important events, tasks and notes use the traditional recording method of pen and paper – use a diary, planner or bullet journal.
You can keep it with you at all times. It won’t distract you with messages or run out of power. You’ll also be able to flick through at a glance to see how much you’ve achieved, past or forthcoming events and outstanding tasks.
Be realistic. Not all tasks and events are created equal, and surely, you can’t do everything!
Find a way to highlight events that are essential so that you can see them at a glance and be sure not to miss them.
On your to-do lists always prioritize these events and complete the most important first. If there are items that aren’t important or not time-sensitive, then considering moving them off your current list and on to another day.
From my groceries and bulk shopping (think Amazon!) to professional tasks I can hire out, I’ll delegate it.
The truth is that you don’t need to try and be a superhero and do everything yourself.
Kids can tidy away their toys and when old enough learn how to load the dishwasher, set the table, do their laundry, water the plants and do other simple chores. By enlisting the help of other household members, you not only empower them by teaching life skills they’ll use for life, you will also get more accomplished in less time.
Managing your time properly and efficiently with these tips is one of the keys to staying organized. When you implement a few smart rules on your daily routine, you will surely have some extra time for yourself. Be sure to do something wonderful and kind, something you truly enjoy. You so deserve it!
Postpartum doulas are trained to help parents welcome their newborns into their families. Doulas have usually raised children of their own. Certified doulas have followed the certification process required by their organization. This training took me eighteen months. It involved in home training, studying many books and articles on the subject, 30 hours of training from a more experienced doula, and interviewing several clients on the subject.
Most new parents will tell you that navigating through those first few days after bringing home a new baby is anything but easy! Even for the most experienced parents, bringing home a new baby means changing routines, dividing time and just trying to figure out how to juggle it all.
If mom had a cesarean delivery or any other birth complications, it can make the transition to home even more challenging. The problem that many families run into is finding the help they need to support them through these first few weeks.
A postpartum doula provides evidenced-based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. Research shows that moms, dads, and babies have an easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place.
What type of services does a Postpartum Doula provide?
The postpartum doula offers many services to her clients, but her main goals are to help “mother the mother” and nurture the entire family as they transition into life with a newborn. This would include doing things to help mom and dad feel more confident in their roles, sharing education on family adjustment, and tending to the unique needs of a new mother.
Some of the duties include:
- Breastfeeding support
- Help with the emotional and physical recovery after birth
- Light housekeeping so that mom does not feel so overwhelmed
- Running errands
- Assistance with newborn care such as diapering, bathing, feeding and comforting
- Light meal preparation
- Baby soothing techniques
- Sibling care
- Referrals to local resources such as parenting classes, pediatricians, lactation support and support groups
Most postpartum doulas provide service for a family anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks after bringing home a new baby. Families may have her work 1-3 days a week or as many as 5 days a week.
Postpartum doulas often offer nighttime service to help the family transition more smoothly into the challenges of nighttime parenting. Each doula offers different services, so it’s important that each family decide what their needs are and find a professional who can meet those needs.
What do Postpartum Doula’s charge?
The price of postpartum doula services vary depending on what part of the country you live in, what type of service you need (day or night time) and the skill level. They usually charge by the hour and usually require a minimum amount of hours of service.
The range of costs could be anywhere from $30-50 an hour. Some doulas offer discounts if you book them for a certain amount of hours, if you pay in advance or if they are a newly trained. More and more families are asking for postpartum doula service as a shower or baby gift from family and friends.
This is especially helpful for new families who have little or no family support nearby. Postpartum doula service may also be paid for using money from a family’s flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) depending on what the guidelines are for their particular plan.
What is the difference between a Postpartum Doula and a baby nurse?
The postpartum doula’s role is to support everyone in the family, including mom, dad, siblings, and baby. Unlike a baby nurse, whose sole focus is the new baby, the doula is there to support mom through the postpartum period and to help the family as a whole.
How do I find a Postpartum Doula?
Postpartum doulas have been around for quite a while, but have just recently become more popular. The Doula Organization of North America (DONA) both certifies and provides referrals for postpartum doulas. They list them by city. When you look them up enter several local cities to find a doula close to your location.
This is a continuation of our conversations regarding the Chinese Postpartum Diet and cultural ideas on post birth recovery. This is fascinating in that it provides ideas, recipes, and nutrition from a different perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
WHAT IS CHINESE CONFINEMENT?
The term 坐月子 (zuo yue zi) or literally translated to “Sitting The Moon” means to allow postpartum mom to do nothing but to “sit” (rest) recover for one month after delivery. This practice has been around for thousands of years and it is still being practiced by most Chinese. It is called “Zuo Yue Zi”, literally translated as “sit for one month”. The post-partum mom will stay at home for at least 30 days or longer to rest and recover from major trauma to her body. Many believe that this is one of the most important periods when the mother must let her body recover in a proper way and nourished with confinement meals or she will have many ailments or weaker body.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CHINESE CONFINEMENT?
1. To allow postpartum mom to fully rest and bond with the baby
2. As the reproductive organs are undergoing some changes after giving birth, confinement allows recovery
3. The confinement food menu also tailored to help accelerate the mother’s recovery from her “weakened” body. This special diet is made up of confinement foods targeted towards specific functions like dispelling “wind” from the body, quelling heatiness, boosting blood circulation, increase mom’s milk supply, revitalizing strength, etc.
4. To prevent postnatal hair loss, backaches, rheumatism, premature again, and other ailments associated with post-delivery.
HOW LONG IS CONFINEMENT PERIOD?
Confinement period usually is done for 30 days but my mom said it’s not unusual to go as long as 40 days.
HOW TO DO CONFINEMENT?
The postpartum mom usually does not do the cooking during the confinement period. In my case, I was lucky enough to have my mom with me as my “confinement lady” . Many women have either their mom or mom-in-law to help them out during the confinement period. It’s not uncommon as well to hire a “confinement lady”. The confinement lady will cook, take care of the baby, take care of the mom, and help you transition into motherhood with your baby (isn’t it awesome?). In western cultures doulas fulfill the role of “confinement women”. Doulas will come into your home for up to twelve hours shifts for the express purpose of serving you as you recover. They are specially trained to help you learn to care for yourself and your baby.
CAMBODIAN PORK OMELETTE (PONG MOUAN SNOL)
- 2 T. + 1 t. cooking oil
- 1 small onion – peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 T. preserved cabbage (roughly chopped) – I sub with preserved mustard greens
- 1/2 lb ground pork/turkey
- 1 T. sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. fish sauce (this has a very strong odor. You may wish to omit)
- 6 large eggs + 1 t. soy sauce – beaten
- Fresh cilantro sprigs
- Preheat the cooking oil on a large (about 12″) non-stick skillet. Add in the onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add in the preserved cabbage/mustard, saute for another 1 minute. Add in the ground meat and use your spatula to break it up. Add in sugar, salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir to mix everything and cook until the pork is no longer pink and cooked through.
- In the same skillet, add in 1 t. cooking oil. Swirl the oil to coat the pan. Add the eggs and tilt the pan so the eggs cover the surface of the pan. Once the egg is cooked spread the meat mixture on half of the cooked egg, fold over and sprinkle scallion on top. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side until the bottom is set and golden brown. Turn it over and let it cook for another minute. Carefully and gently remove from the skillet into a serving platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves
This is our second installment discussing the value of proper nutrition after birth. Here are more suggestion used in the Chinese culture to aid new moms in healing and recovering from birth. The Chinese Postpartum Diet also serves mothers in that it is rich in proteins and nutrients that help hormones stabilize and provide good lactation.
Several of these entries are taken from websites written for Chinese mothers. The term “confinement” refers to the month after birth when moms usually stay at home to recover.
Disclaimer: As you look over the Chinese nutrition websites you will see some prettying interesting items: Snake Head Soup, Pigs Feet Salad, etc. Please ignore these if they are troublesome to you. Or, stretch yourself and try some new things. Either way, we are looking at nutrition from a culture different than our own. Look at it as an adventure.
Confinement food is the food that is prepared during this first month after birth. It is special and tailored to nourish your body, help you to recover/heal and to boost milk supply for the baby.
Here is what to focus on for confinement meals:
1. High protein and low fat food
Protein helps to promote wound healing and rebuilding inside our bodies. Low fat food is to prevent indigestion.
2. Small frequent meals
6-7 small meals throughout the day is suggested. 3 main meals and soups and teas in between. It helpes to sustain your energy throughout the day and to prevent indigestion.
3. Adequate calories
You will need to rest after you baby is born. Even though the postpartum moms don’t move around much adequate calories are needed to help with recovery, energy needed to care for a newborn, and breastfeeding. Adequate calories doesn’t mean “empty calories” (food that doesn’t serve much nutrition other than racking up your calorie quota). Tea such as red dates tea, dang shen tea, goji berry tea, and Chinese herbal soup are often used to add adequate calories.
4. Food rich in iron
Blood was lost during delivery/C-section and therefore it is important to eat food rich in iron such as: animal offals, pork, chicken, fish, dark green vegetables.
5. Adequate hydration
It is a myth to say that a postpartum mom should not be drinking water during confinement. It is important to keep yourself hydrated with water, milk, Chinese herbal tea, Chinese herbal soup. Avoid and coffee and caffeine tea in that they act as diuretics, causing the body to stuff off water.
6. Include dietary fiber
It is not uncommon to become constipated during confinement because of less activity. Including fiber in you diet will help your system reboot more quickly.
SLOW COOKED TUMERIC GINGER CHICKEN
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken thighs/breast – I prefer thighs
- 4 cloves garlic – finely minced
- 2- inch ginger slices – finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. red cayenne pepper – optional
- 1/4 cup of chicken stock or water
- Salt to taste
- 2 stalks spring onion – finely chopped
- Small bunch coriander leaves – roughly chopped
- Cut the chicken into large chunk pieces. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper (if using) and let the chicken marinate for about 30 minutes.
- When ready to cook, place a large heavy-bottom pot with tight-fitting lid on stove-top. Place the chicken inside the pot. Add the chicken stock/water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the lid. Let it cook for the next 1 to 1 1/2 hour. The meat will be really soft and juicE.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle on the spring onion and coriander leaves and enjoy! This recipe is super easy and super flavorful