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1 Ask for delayed cord clamping. Your baby gets extra blood and more iron stores to help him/her grow. Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world. It affects around 1.62 billion people and children under 4 are particularly susceptible. Iron deficiency can affect brain development in children by causing structural changes and function of the central nervous system (the spinal cord and brain) so there is a link between iron deficiency anaemia and poor cognitive development. The only way we can carry oxygen is via red blood cells, so the body will prioritise the available iron to the red blood cells over other organs. A baby obviously has a lot of growing and developing to do which is why they really need blood and iron stores.
2 Newborn baby’s benefit from responsive parenting. You aren’t ‘making a rod for your own back’ by cuddling your baby and holding them frequently in those early days. Research shows that babies that are comforted and have their needs and cries met grow into well rounded people.
3 Avoid washing the vernix off – the white sticky stuff on your baby, it’s amazing stuff. Natures own moisturiser and if left it will naturally be absorbed into the skin. Vernix protects the baby’s skin while in the womb. If left, it can soften the skin reducing the need for products and preventing water loss.
4 Avoid using talcom powder – inhalation could be unsafe for babies. The tiny particles can get into their delicate lungs, some companies even warn about this on the packaging. Instead ensure your baby has dry skin by patting it gently and having nappy free time.
5 Have skin to skin, I can’t stress how important this really is – here are just a few things it can do for your baby.
- encourages the colonisation of friendly bacteria
- reduces the likelihood of secondary infection to the neonate
- leads to fewer complications in the preterm infant
- regulate your baby’s temperature, heart rate, breathing.
- stabilise your baby’s blood sugar levels.
If your baby is unsettled at home or any time having skin to skin will help to calm you both down because it releases oxytocin. Plus, the sound of your heart beat reminds them of their blissful time in the womb when they were safe and sound.