Are you excited about the Royal Baby? Well, I am! I've been a fan of William and Kate from the get-go, and I'm happy to see them blessed with a new little son.
Kate's not the only new mom in my circle of acquaintances, so I was interested when I came across these tips from Dr. Stan Cohen, one of the top experts in the fields of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition in the country and founder of the Children's Digestive Research Fund (disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and you should take Dr. Cohen's advice only at your own discretion.)
TOP TEN NUTRITION TIPS FOR KATE, KIM, AND ALL NEW MOTHERS IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS AFTER BIRTH
1) Breastfeed if you can. Breast milk has wonderful immune factors to lessen infections and doctors visits. Breast milk even helps to lessen asthma, diabetes, obesity, reflux and a host of other conditions. You'll also lose your baby weight faster, by the way (and you will decrease your own risk for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers).
2) In those first days after birth, put the baby to the breast often to help your milk come in. The baby isn't going to take much at a time (his stomach is only the size of a small marble). Let the skin-to-skin contact help stimulate your flow and let all that bonding nurture both you and the baby.
3) Don't give up easily or assume breastfeeding is totally natural. I actually almost did this as a brand new mom. Thanks to a supportive husband, I stuck with it, nursed all my children, and I'm so glad I did. It may not be easy right away, but beleive me, if you persevere, you'll be so glad you did.
4) Breastfeed as long as you want to, though Dr. Cohen recommends at least 6 months if possible. The longer you continue, the more you may help to diminish any tendency to allergies and increase the baby's intellectual and social development.
5) This was a new one to me, but Dr. Cohen says to Make sure you eat fish 2-3 times a week* to increase your supply of DHA that will cross to the baby. DHA is one of the factors that optimizes the baby's brain and visual development, beginning in the last trimester of pregnancy through the second year of life. *These should be fish that do not contain high levels of mercury (swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, shark). If you are allergic to fish, you can take DHA supplements or get it from other DHA-enriched sources (eggs, for example).
|Go here for a yummy-looking recipe for grilled snapper|
6) Continue your prenatal vitamins --and Dr. Cohen suggests that you consider taking extra vitamin D, some of which will get to your baby. He also recommends giving the baby vitamin D drops as well.
7) Don't let all of the emphasis on breastfeeding cause any guilt if you are unable to breastfeed or choose not to. I agree with this one. I've seen new moms agonize when breastfeeding didn't work out...or feel guilty for choosing not to do so for various reasons . Dr. Cohen says that formulas are quite healthful. They were developed to match breast milk and the outcomes of feeding breast milk as much as possible.
8) Watch for early hunger cues, especially when your baby is smacking his or her lips or seems to be sucking or rooting for your breast. It's much easier to initiate a feeding than when the baby is already shrieking with a hunger cry.
9) Neither breast nor bottle fed babies need to have a rigid feeding schedule. Nor do they need to finish a bottle just because you prepared it. Overfeeding can result in an uncomfortable baby or one who brings back the excess. My addition to this thought? As a new mom, you'll feel your way with this. Do what feels right for you and your baby.
10) Ask for help if you need it--from your husband, your baby's doctor or others. Dr. Cohen says not all babies are professional feeders, and they may have problems that others can assist you with, even if it's just to watch the baby so you can refresh and pamper yourself for a few hours. I totally agree with this! Just an hour or two away from the baby...for a hair appointment, a pedicure or coffee with a friend...can go a long way to making you feel "normal" again.
Note: Dr. Stan Cohen is the author of What to Feed Your Baby: Cost-Conscious Nutrition for Your Infant
Any other suggestions? Feel free to put them in my comments section!