Though we live in an informed society, many still believe that a baby can be “spoiled rotten”. However, baby’s physical and emotional needs are still so basic that they cannot possibly be spoiled too much! Infants have basic needs such as food, warmth, love, tenderness and the feeling of security which can hardly account for educational measures. You cannot give enough of these essential requirements so do not let your newborn cry for food for too long, even if you are very tired.

Putting baby in his crib in his own room, is a modern way of thinking in which babies are thought to be separate units from their parents. Yet, historically and as it is naturally intended, babies should always stay near the family: either carried in a sling or in a moses basket where mother or father is. Numerous studies have shown that those babies who are actively taken into everyday family life are much happier, cry much less and have a better chance of becoming more content and self-confident adults. If you still worry that your precious angel does not get enough sleep with all the background noise, think again: babies get used to all the noise and in fact, it calms them because they know that there is always somebody there to look after them.

Baby’s food

Breastfeeding is best for baby. Human milk is not only nutritionally optimised for baby’s needs, the close contact to the mother creates a deep bond which nurtures a very special relationship. However, breastfeeding can be accompanied by lots of difficulties so it is important to know somebody you can turn to if it gets tough going.

2 week old baby in parent\'s arms

If you cannot breastfeed or you decide not to breastfeed: do not worry! Artificial formula has nutritionally very high standards and companies are trying their best to create formula that is as close to human milk as artificially possible. Nonetheless, formula milk can be dangerous for baby if it is not prepared in a clean setting with good standards of hygiene. So please make sure that your hands are clean before you prepare a bottle and the feeding equipment is sterilized in order to minimize the risk for baby.

When baby is breastfed he wants frequent feedings – day and night – so be prepared to feed up to 10 times in 24 hours. This can be particularly demanding when baby has a growth spurt of which there is one during the first few days at home, another one at around 7 to 10 days and one at 2 to 3 weeks. Please make sure to allow yourself plenty of rest: sleep when baby sleeps!

When baby is bottle fed he is likely to feed up to 8 hours in 24 hours. Artificial milk tends to be more filling and can intervene with baby’s natural sleep pattern so make sure to keep baby close at all times so you can respond quickly if necessary. When baby has a growth spurt prepare yourself for more unsettled nights!

Keeping baby clean

In our modern age of allergies it is important to help baby build up immunity by using as little bath supplements, soaps, etc as possible. Baby’s skin is extremely delicate and does not require any perfume, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers etc. In fact, a newborn only requires a weekly bath with clear water! Scientific studies reveal that babies are born without the protective acid mantle, thus giving baby a daily bath can be more damaging when baby’s skin protection is still developing.

Baby’s bottom can be cleaned effectively with warm water and soft cotton wool dipped in some vegetable or olive oil. Change your baby’s nappy frequently to prevent nappy rash. Let him kick his feet with his bare bottom for at least 15 minutes so his skin can breathe a little. If he has nappy rash, use ointments that contain zinc: they are reliable helpers as they support the healing process and keep the skin dry. If you breastfeed you can also put some breast milk on his bottom – it speeds up the healing process!

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Common Sense in Breastfeeding

February 15, 2008

For many, breastfeeding is a very controversial topic. Future parents often don’t give it any thought until they discover that they are expecting. Suddenly their whole world changes and they have to make their minds up about parenting styles, personal expectations and what they “feel” is right for their offspring. The choice of breastfeeding is one decision to take that does not come easily. Parent’s choice is generally guided by their expectations of themselves and by what they think others may expect from them. Depending on the level of personal support around them the decision to breastfeed may come easily or instead may be accompanied by lots of research and information gathering. In other words, infant-feeding is essentially shaped by culture and the way society has evolved to understand and accept it.

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In the late nineteenth century when it was common practice for women to work long hours in industrial factories, artificial formula found its way into the shops. Around WWI bottle feeding started to become fashionable as it was widely promoted by scientists and doctors. In addition, large companies sold it as a safe, nutritious and supposedly easy way to feed infants. In the 1940s only 20 to 30% of babies were actually breastfed. This practice was questioned in the eighties when a boycott against Nestlé was initiated. Today breastfeeding is actively encouraged by medical professional and organisations such as UNICEF, LaLècheLeague, The Breastfeeding Network and others.

This brief historical overview shows how Western societies have grown from what was absolutely normal and, in fact, vital to human survival to a complete change in human behaviour in order to favour scientific achievements. Infant bottle feeding evolved into fashionable practice which proved deadly for thousands of newborns. Those scientific trials counted for and still do count for thousands of infant deaths annually worldwide. Unfortunately, the question of what is best for baby has long been put aside to give space to what is more profitable.

However, all information about the historical and cultural background of infant feeding disregards the importance of how the individual new mother feels in today’s world when it comes to finding the best way for her newborn. Here, support is a key factor to happy parenting. As many families live apart from their parents and close friends, support is often not present. In fact, a study has shown that 53% say they don’t see their family enough and 58% would like more friends to share problems and experiences. With not only a little baby but also great personal expectations, new parents face an extreme challenge.

Parenting is a life long task and thus, gives enough time for every parent to find their right parenting strategies, for themselves. Babies are very strong and adaptive to what their parents understand to be best for them.

Most importantly, new parents have to trust their instincts and common sense when responding to baby’s needs. It can be difficult to navigate everyday life with all the energy and care that parenting demands. The choice of breastfeeding or bottle feeding is one of them: we all know breastfeeding is best for baby; however, in our isolating society it can be difficult to overcome first hurdles, especially when going it alone. New mothers should not be made to feel guilty if they cannot breastfeed or if they doubt their own ability. Equally, new mothers should not be made to feel guilty if they decide from the start to bottle feed. Instead, they should be able to speak to breastfeeding counsellors or other mums who have been in the same situation to get the advice and support they desperately need.

For more common sense tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/Family-Forum/