Top 5 questions on a new mother’s mind; advice from a WellVine baby expert
We’ve recently partnered with our friends at WellVine - an app that connects new mums to their own personal Baby Expert, on-demand, via instant chat and video calls. Remember the moments when you have a burning question about your baby and you just wish someone was there to help? This is the solution. Their Baby Experts are qualified and experienced health visitors, midwives and nurses, specialised in maternal and baby’s health.
WellVine Baby Expert, Jill Irving, shares her advice on the top questions on a new mum’s mind.
Ah, new parenting – a minefield of new anxieties and questions. Please remember you are not alone and many other mums are going through a similar experience to yours. Here we cover the top questions we see new mums asking on our Instant Chat service.
1. why is my baby crying and how can I soothe him?
Your baby is fully dependent on you. When they cry, it’s just their way of communicating any or all of those needs and of ensuring a response from you. It's sometimes hard to work out which need your baby wants you to take care of. But as your baby grows they will learn other ways of communicating with you e.g. eye contact, noises and smiles.
Here are some reasons why your baby may cry and what you can do to soothe them.
I’m hungry so please feed me: Hunger is one of the most common reasons why your baby will cry. The younger your baby is the more likely it is that they are hungry. Your baby's stomach is small and can't hold very much.
I need to be held: Your baby needs lots of cuddling, physical contact and reassurance to comfort them. So their crying may mean that they just want to be held. When you hold your baby close they may be soothed by your heartbeat, the warmth of your body and your smell.
I’m tired and I need a rest: Babies often find it hard to get to sleep, particularly if they’re over tired. Try and become aware of your baby’s cues. Whining and crying at the slightest thing, staring blankly into space and being quiet and still are some examples.
I’m too cold or too hot: Try feeling your baby’s tummy to check whether they are too hot or cold. Use sheets and cellular blankets. Keep the temperature of your baby's room at about 18 degrees Celsius.
I need my nappy changing: Your baby may be crying if they have a wet or dirty nappy. If your baby protests when their nappy is changed it may be because of the strange feeling of cold air on their skin.
I don’t feel well: If your baby is feeling unwell they will probably cry but it may be in a different tone form the one, which you may be used to. It may be weaker, more urgent, continuous, or high-pitched. If your baby often cries a lot but has become unusually quiet this may also be a sign that they are not well. Persistent crying in an otherwise healthy baby may be colic.
I just feel like crying: It is normal for babies to cry so try not to blame yourself if your baby simply won’t be soothed. Chances are that this crying is probably just a phase. It is very common and it will pass.
If you feel something really isn’t right contact your GP. Or if you just want more support, try WellVine’s new Instant Chat service to get an opinion from a qualified Baby Expert instantly.
2. when can I introduce a sleep routine?
Babies love routine! And remember there is a difference between introducing a regular routine to a 6-8 week old baby, vs. sleep training when the baby is older than 6-12 months. Once your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old, try to establish a regular daytime feed and nap routine to avoid your baby becoming overtired. Learn your baby’s rhythms and establish a routine tailored to your lifestyle and situation. 3 months is an ideal time to establish a bath/bed routine for baby. A regular and predictable bath routine is a good idea as it can help to relax your baby, and creates cues to help your baby to understand the difference between night and daytime sleep. Babies learn by association so quickly get used to a repetitive pattern. Your routine should commence at the same time every night and should take no longer than 30–45 minutes. If you make your routine longer than this, your baby will lose focus.
3. How do I know if my baby has had enough milk from breastfeeding?
Let your baby be your guide and feed them as often as they want to feed. Initially, there won’t be much of a routine.
If your baby is gaining weight, and producing the appropriate number of wet and dirty nappies, then they are most likely to be getting enough milk. So things to look out for include:
You should also ensure that your baby looks a healthy colour, and has a firm skin that bounces right back if you pinch it gently. And that your baby is alert when she is awake, and readily asks for feeds.
- Your baby has two or three wet nappies in the first 48 hours, which then become more frequent. Once they are over five days old, they should have at least six wet nappies every 24 hours. Your baby's wee should be pale and odourless.
- Your baby’s poos are a yellowy-mustard colour by the time they are five days old. They should also be doing two soft poos the size of a 50p coin every day for the first few weeks.
- Your baby is gaining weight steadily after the first two weeks.
4. how do I know if my baby needs to see a doctor?
You would need to see a doctor or nurse as soon as you are able to if your baby is suffering with any of the following:
- Diarrhoea for more than 12 hours.
- Repeated vomiting or vomiting for 12 hours or more.
- If your baby is under 3 months and has a fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher or 39 degrees Celsius or higher if they older than 3 months old.
- An object lodged in their nose, ear, or mouth. Never try to remove them yourself.
- A burn larger than a 50p piece particularly if the skin is blistering. This includes sunburn.
- Persistent crying. If your baby is crying more than usual or if the cry sounds high-pitched or they are whimpering or moaning.
- Blood streaked vomit or poo. More often than not this isn’t due to anything serious but it should always be checked.
- An unexplained rash accompanied by a fever as this may be an indication of meningitis.
- A barking cough with a loud, high pitched rasping sound when your baby breathes in. This may be croup which is a respiratory infection caused by a virus.
- Refusing to drink for more than 8 hours. Or your baby has had less than half their usual amount to drink over the past 24 hours. This includes breast or bottle-feeds if your baby is young.
- Sunken fontanelles (the soft spots on your baby’s head) along with other symptoms including dry lips, dark yellow urine and fewer wet nappies than usual. These are all common signs of dehydration.
- Your baby has been unusually irritable and moody for no apparent reason in the past 24 hours.
- If your baby has pink, watery or sticky eyes this could indicate that your baby has Conjunctivitis, which is really infectious and would need treating with antibiotic eye drops.
- Any discharge from your baby’s ears, eyes, tummy button or genitalia would also need to be checked out.
5. I’m reading a lot about my baby’s milestones but should I get worried if she’s not achieving them?
It is natural that as a parent you will get excited about your baby’s development but sometimes it is also easy to get anxious. Here is when to worry
- She doesn’t respond to noises or tract objects with her eyes
- She isn’t showing any curiosity in what’s going on around her
- She isn’t holding her head up by 3-4 months
- She isn’t sitting up on her own at 12 months
- She can’t use both legs and arms and by 12 months is unable to support her own weight
- She seems way behind other babies of the same age in milestones
This doesn’t necessarily mean your baby has a problem but it’s something to flag up with your health visitor as to get checked out. If your baby was born prematurely it is worth knowing that they tend to reach their milestones that bit later.
Here are some tips for feeling less anxious: Accept your child will do things in her own time. Try and not pick over every detail of your baby’s development, as it will only magnify your anxieties. Instead celebrate what your child can do, not what they can’t yet do.
Finally, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to see an expert if you feel that something is wrong.
About WellVineWellVine: on-demand baby experts. A free one-week trial of their Instant Chat service is available to a few MORI mums – first come, first served! You get your own personal Baby Expert - available to answer any questions, on-demand for 7 days, over insant chat messaging. Their experts are typically qualified and experienced health visitors, midwives and nurses. You can ask as many questions as you want - on issues related to early motherhood such as baby sleep, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, mum and baby nutrition, baby's development milestones and much more
About Jill Irving
Jill is a WellVine Baby Expert, with over 35 years experience as a Health Visitor, and as a former nurse and midwife supporting new parents, babies and young children. Her experience includes working with the NHS; in her own private practice; advising major online parenting brands; as well as working with daycare nurseries and employers to deliver child health clinics for parents.