March 23, 2020
We know thinking about welcoming a new baby can be daunting and we also know right now, with COVID-19 influencing literally every aspect of our lives, it can be more difficult to get credible information about how to prepare for the big day and beyond. SO, we created the Taking Care of You and
Even when we’re not dealing with a pandemic, many new parents take local classes to learn basic baby care skills but they’re often generic and LONG, often making them hard to absorb for parents-to-be. They’re also irrelevant for many parents, designed to meet the needs of all parents without addressing the specific concerns of any one parent.
I realize our book, The New Baby Blueprint, just hit shelves, but I just couldn’t wait to bring this resource to you in light of what’s going on all around us.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone just gave you all of the information you needed to know in bite-size chunks you could come back to over and over again, once your baby was actually around, in the comfort of your own home? Someone who has the professional expertise you need and the personal experience to back it up? Someone who has their finger on the pulse, who knows what new parents really need and want to know? The Taking Care of You and Your Newborn online parenting program is our answer.
We created our online parenting program, Taking Care of You and
It includes 11 video classes and a downloadable course manual that teaches parents to be (but especially mamas to be since that’s our passion):
Taking Care of You and Your Newborn is just what the doctor ordered for new mamas as they venture out on their motherhood journeys.
March 17, 2020
No matter what’s going on in the world, new parents need help navigating the early days and weeks with a new baby. The New Baby Blueprint gives them the information, resources, and tools they need to make early parenthood not just tolerable, but successful!
“They say motherhood doesn’t come with a manual, but The New Baby Blueprint, brought to you by the American Academy of Pediatrics, comes pretty close. Author Whitney Casares, a pediatrician and mom of two, walks expectant parents through all the essentials of prepping for baby’s arrival, including what to expect in the first days and weeks, and how to prepare your home, your partner and your brain for having a newborn—all through a relatable mix of humor and practical advice.” —Ashlee Neuman, The Bump
“In this internet age of ‘experts’ giving advice on parenting, Dr Casares, a skilled pediatrician and mother, distills down volumes of information into a single, easy-to-read guide. Her book is honest and practical–a fresh focus on the mother’s needs as well as those of the infant. Her candidness about her own struggles with bringing her babies home, combined with her work with countless new mothers in her practice, informs this modern blueprint for the well-being of the professional mother and her family.” —Nicole Cirino, MD, reproductive psychiatrist; director, Women’s Mental Health Program, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Center for Women’s Health; and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of psychiatry, OHSU
“Dr Casares shares her expertise on newborns from her professional role as pediatrician and mom in a funny, practical, and down-to-earth manner. Her book provides the most practical advice for new moms that I have read . . . form preparing for the birth of the child to managing expectations of new moms and sharing her own personal experiences to giving parents-to-be all they need to know but were never told about having a baby. New moms everywhere will find this guide to being a parenting invaluable and refer to it again and again.” —Deborah Rumsey, executive director, Children’s Health Alliance
“Pediatricians often get emails, texts, and calls from friends seeking parenting advice from someone with a pediatric medical background. Dr. Casares wrote a book that meets this need! She blends practical parenting tips and medical knowledge in this fresh and fun perspective on parenting. It’s a great read for any parent who is interested in the pediatrician-mom perspective!” —Lauren Rose, MD, FAAP, newborn and pediatric hospitalist
“A wonderful, practical resource! With both the good sense of a mom who’s ‘been there, done that’ and the seasoned experience of a pediatrician who’s helped hundreds of moms navigate the same journey, Dr Casares offers wise guidance and practical tips to parents of newborns. Easy to read, it strikes the right balance between an overall approach to parenting and practical advice on the nitty-gritty details. It’s like having coffee with a best friend who, by the way, just happens to be an expert on all things related to new babies and new moms. I can’t imagine a better baby shower gift.” —Janelle Aby, MD, FAAP, author of The Newborn Book and clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine
March 16, 2020
Tomorrow my book, The New Baby Blueprint comes to shelves everywhere, though there won’t be many people (or any) in bookstores, I imagine, at least not in Portland, when I live. There’s an eerie silence in my city at this moment, one that may stick around for a little bit.
That doesn’t mean life won’t, in at least some ways, go on. Today I saw parents of a three-day-old baby in
At times like these, it’s easy to get discouraged and to feel helpless, especially if you’re in that new parent phase when overwhelm, anxiety, and depression are already more likely to throw parents off their game. Opportunities for support are all around us, though, even if we have to be more creative to find them.
This week on the podcast, Katie Kennedy, IBCLC, joins us to talk about what to do to make breastfeeding successful long-term, and what success really looks like in the big picture.
Even if you can’t access lactation help as easily as you might when there isn’t a pandemic sweeping the nation, you can get reputable information. Check out our book, The New Baby Blueprint for more. Sign up for our online program: Taking Care of You and Your Baby. You are not alone!
This allows the food to go down versus up. Think about yourself when you eat a huge meal. You feel uncomfortable, right? You feel like burping. You might even feel a little bit of spit-up coming up. If you were to lie down, you would feel even worse. The same goes for a baby. Experts recommend an upright position after feeds as much as possible.
Ask your doctor or lactation specialist about laid-back positioning and about c-clamping if it seems like you may have
Laid-back nursing positioning is just that—you recline back onto a pillow or a couch so that you’re at more of a 45-degree angle with your baby, as opposed to leaning over your baby’s mouth, so that the milk flows more likea stream versus like a waterfall (which is less forceful).
C-clamping is when you make a c-shape with your forefinger and your thumb, encircling your breast just behind the areola. You latch your baby, watch the baby swallow your first letdown’s milk, and then, instead of clamping down and pushing forward, you clamp down and push back on the breast tissue to stop the flow. Wait until your baby takes a pause from eating, then loosen your clamp. Repeat this for the rest of the feed until your baby is done eating. Again, your pediatrician or lactation consultant will be the best person to let you know if this is appropriate for you.
If your baby isn’t getting enough milk, she can lose too much weight. By about day 3 to day 4, your milk shouldbe in. You’ll start to see and hear your baby really swallowing when she is eating, and you may see milk at the corner of her mouth. If that isn’t happening, again, it means you need help.
We expect that babies will lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight in the first few days after birth. But once your milk is well established, weight gain begins.
One of the major indicators of a normal progression is poop, which changes rapidly as your milk comes in and turns from just a few sticky, dark stools to a lot of yellow seedy stools when the milk is flowing well and your baby is processing all that good nutrition!
Breastfeeding is hard work…and it’s an area of severe disappointment for so many mamas. We wrote all about how to deal with your own personal breastfeeding story – joyous, overwhelming, disappointing or somewhere in-between here.
March 12, 2020
Women in the U.S. need all the help we can get when it comes to breastfeeding success. We live in a nation whose relationship with lactation is highly paradoxical —the societal pressures are high to exclusively breastfeed but real, practical information on how to make it go right and how to tell if things aren’t going right is spotty, to say the least. When I meet new moms in the hospital, I’m always trying to give breastfeeding advice to fledgling nursers on the most important rule of all: babies need to eat.
You’re probably thinking that sounds pretty basic. Obviously, babies require nutrition. But, exactly how much they need to eat and when they need it often gets significantly more convoluted. Thankfully, we can set ourselves up for better breastfeeding success by understanding a few basic principles and following some simple breastfeeding advice around newborn nursing needs. Let me break it down for you:
In the first few days to weeks, babies need to have a feeding attempt at least every three hours. We call it “three hours start to start” in my office – that is, it should be no longer than three hours from the start of one feeding to the start of another. Babies will often want to feed way more often than that, which is great and perfectly okay, but at the very least they need that every three-hour cueing. That means, set a timer when you start feeding your infant in the first few days. Three hours later, you need to start feeding again, even if your last feeding session only ended two hours ago.
Breastfeeding is a two-way feedback loop. The first feedback loop is for the mom; the more a baby’s suckling stimulates the breast, the more milk the mom’s body makes.
The second feedback loop is for the baby: the more the baby eats, the more food it takes in, the more alert and hydrated the baby, driving hunger and allowing the baby to eventually regulate its own feeding needs.
People are constantly talking about letting newborns breastfeed “on demand” – that they should drive their own hunger and can do so. That breastfeeding should be natural.
That’s totally true…eventually. But, in the beginning, a baby needs help to get her system going. Breastfeeding IS natural, but it’s not usually easy in the beginning for a new baby or a new mom – both have to learn new skills and how to “rev up the system.”
There’s also a ton of talk in the new mommy world about how a baby’s stomach is really small at first and they don’t need much milk. About how they really only need tiny bits of colostrum in the first few days.
That is absolutely true. Babies are often sleepy in the first 24 hours after they are born, mom’s milk hasn’t come in yet, the system is set up so that there’s a little grace period.
But here’s the catch – that is the time to prime the pump(s) by nursing frequently so that the milk actually does come in and so that baby is alert enough at day three to four so they can take the milk mom starts making.
Breastfeeding success isn’t quite that simple (believe me, I wish it was—it would have saved me a lot of time and money in lactation services with my first baby). Consider these factors as well.
Keep your baby active at the breast. You may need to stimulate your baby (tickling baby’s feet, using a cool washcloth at the forehead, getting baby undressed down to the diaper, rotating her arm gently) to get your baby to feed effectively.
Of all the advice I offer, this is the most important. Get help from the get-go with latch. Ask your nurse at the hospital to position correctly the first day. Ask for a lactation consultation right away (not day two or three) if you have any concerns at all (this is pretty much every new mom I meet, so don’t feel like you have to have major worries in this area to justify getting extra assistance. Sometimes, you don’t realize the questions or issues you have until an expert helps you out).
Like I’ve said before, if you lived in a home with all of your breastfeeding friends and experienced breastfeeder family members, you wouldn’t need all this outside help but, the reality is, you probably don’t. Lots of moms worried about they are a bother if they ask for help but that is not true at all!
When a baby is born, we expect that they will lose up to 10% of her initial weight at birth. This occurs because, in the beginning, they don’t get much milk. When the milk comes in (at about 72 hours), the weight starts to come back up again. If your baby loses more than 10% of her
By about day 3-4 of life, we expect milk to come in for most moms. You’ll know your milk is in because the poop will be changing, you’ll start to see your baby really swallowing when he is eating, and you may see milk at the corner of his mouth. If that isn’t happening, again, it means you need help. Ask your pediatrician for
Almost all babies spit up and (as long as the spit-up looks like digested milk, not bright yellow/green or bloody) although it creates a huge laundry problem, it’s not a problem for the baby. Sometimes, though, if your milk is coming out
Breastfeeding success, even if you follow every single piece of good advice you hear, is hard work. Sometimes, despite doing everything “right,” it’s still a huge struggle for new moms, contributing to a sinking feeling that they’re “lesser than” other first-time mamas out there and setting the stage, for some, for postpartum depression and anxiety. The truth is, breastfeeding is only a small part of motherhood—a part that is easier to approach and problem-solve when you have credible resources and knowledgeable support at your fingertips.
March 9, 2020
Everywhere you look, someone’s trying to sell you on ways to get your baby
There’s a billion-dollar baby industrial complex out there, designed to, you guessed it, make other people money, and to prey on our desire to be the best parents possible…and to raise kids who are the most successful possible. Commercialism threatens our ability to focus on what matters and to live in contentment every day with our kids. Which begs the question, what is the true measure of success? You can read our definition here.
This week on the podcast, John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, joins us to talk about the science behind intelligence and about what truly makes babies really smart…in the ways that actually matter.
His ideas about what constitutes intelligence might surprise you…and relieve you. Turns out we have a lot more control over how our kids turn out (at least in terms of their emotional intelligence) than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. Hint: our relationships with our partners and the other adults in our parenting village have a ton to do with it.
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