Newborn Nursing: Frequent, Lengthy, and Normal

I really wish that all new mothers were told that the majority of newborns want to breastfeed much more frequently than every few hours. And many even want to stay latched on, suckling for extended periods of time. This can understandably shake a new mother’s confidence and make her second guess if she’s producing enough milk to keep her nursling satisfied. Women are usually just told that their baby should nurse 'every 2-3 hours,' but frequent (and lengthy) nursing is a totally normal thing for newborns to do! It helps keep them close to mama while regulating her milk supply.

Often babies won’t have these longer stretches between feeds until they’re a little older. Even then, there are several things that could make them want to nurse more, including (but not limited to) teething, sickness, unfamiliar surroundings, or feeling tired. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to have a fussy baby in your arms but feel like you shouldn’t breastfeed again because it’s "not time yet." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This isn’t discussed often enough and new mothers need to be reassured. If baby is gaining weight, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding more often than what you’ve been told is 'normal.' The postpartum period is all about surrendering, so cozy up with your babe and forget the clock.

--Oh Baby Nutrition

Cuddling Babies Positively Alters Genes

By David Neild for Science Alert
Published to Peaceful Parenting with permission

Cuddling Babies Positively Impacts Genetics

The amount of close and comforting contact that young infants receive doesn't just keep them warm, snug, and loved. A 2017 study says it can actually affect babies at the molecular level, and the effects can last for years. Based on the study, babies who get less physical contact and are more distressed at a young age, end up with changes in molecular processes that affect gene expression.

The team from the University of British Columbia in Canada emphasizes that it's still very early days for this research, and it's not clear exactly what's causing the change. But it could give scientists some useful insights into how touching affects the epigenome - the biochemical changes that influence gene expression in the body.

During the study, parents of 94 babies were asked to keep diaries of their touching and cuddling habits from five weeks after birth, as well as logging the behaviour of the infants – sleeping, crying, and so on. Four-and-a-half years later, DNA swabs were taken of the kids to analyse a biochemical modification called DNA methylation. It's an epigenetic mechanism in which some parts of the chromosome are tagged with small carbon and hydrogen molecules, often changing how genes function and affecting their expression.

The researchers found DNA methylation differences between "high-contact" children and "low-contact" children at five specific DNA sites, two of which were within genes: one related to the immune system, and one to the metabolic system. DNA methylation also acts as a marker for normal biological development and the processes that go along with it, and it can be influenced by external, environmental factors as well.

Then there was the epigenetic age, the biological ageing of blood and tissue. This marker was lower than expected in the kids who hadn't had much contact as babies, and had experienced more distress in their early years, compared with their actual age. "In children, we think slower epigenetic aging could reflect less favorable developmental progress," said one of the team, Michael Kobor.

In fact, similar findings were spotted in a study from 2013 looking at how much care and attention young rats were given from a very early age. Gaps between epigenetic age and chronological age have been linked to health problems in the past, but again it's too soon to draw those kind of conclusions: the scientists readily admit they don't yet know how this will affect the kids later in life. We are also talking about less than 100 babies in the study, but it does seem that close contact and cuddles do somehow change the body at a genetic level.

Of course it's well accepted that human touch is good for us and our development in all kinds of ways, but this is the first study to look at how it might be changing the epigenetics of human babies. It will be the job of further studies to work out why, and to investigate whether any long-term changes in health might appear as a consequence. "We plan to follow up on whether the 'biological immaturity' we saw in these children carries broad implications for their health, especially their psychological development," said one of the researchers, Sarah Moore. "If further research confirms this initial finding, it will underscore the importance of providing physical contact, especially for distressed infants."

The research was published in Development and Psychopathology.


COVID's Silver Lining: Fewer Preemies, SIDS, Early Childhood Mortality, Illness, and Anxiety Among Pediatric Patients

The positive side effects, or silver linings, of COVID distancing are fascinating — exponentially less SIDS cases, far less premature births, statistically significant fewer neonatal and early childhood deaths, physicians specializing in childhood anxiety reporting nearly 100% of pediatric patients seen with clinical anxiety have shown dramatic improvement - most to the point that they wouldn’t even be classified as having anxiety any longer... Entire practices seeing virtually no illness of other kinds among pediatric patients either.

Maybe ...maybe... there is something to be said for keeping parents and babies and children together, for not pressuring and rushing birth, for not pathologizing pregnancy, for allowing children (and new/expecting moms) the ability to get enough sleep, to cocoon together at home (not always, but sometimes), and to not be rushed around to this or that event/class/early appointment/daycare/7am school, 3pm after-school... among *other* things... 💞 Maybe.

There are so many nations that don’t have the SIDS and childhood anxiety and birth morbidity neonatal mortality that the U.S. has... maybe we are catching a tiny glimpse into why this is.

• During Coronavirus Lockdowns, Some Doctors Wondered: Where Are the Preemies?

• Lessons from the Lockdown—Why Are So Many Fewer Children Dying?

Report PDF:


When Children are Required to Mask: Using Buttons on Hats

Excellent idea for times when little ones are required to sport a mask, and need their mask kept off the ears, or to have it be more 'fun' and less intimidating to keep on. 💕

Note: this is not a mask debate, it is simply one parent's solution to make life easier for their child, and an idea that may help others along the way as well.


9 year old pumped milk found in diaper bag

With a new baby on the way, this nursing mom decided it was time to clean out the old diaper bag, and this is what she found! She writes, "So I am having my 4th kid in a couple of months, and I was going through some old stuff. I found my old diaper bag I had when my now 9 year old was a baby. In the insulated pocket I found a bottle of 8-9 year old breastmilk. The most amazing part is that there is no mold in the bottle!!"

The goodness of momma milk in an air-tight container! Antibody rich, and able to keep other bacteria at bay. Note: this is not to say that this old milk should be used for feeding in any situation. ;)

via goldilacts



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