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December 16, 2015

Baby’s First Christmas: Celebrate without Losing Your Sanity

Christmas is a wonderful but hectic time of the year. Caring for a baby is full time job without the extra stressors of the season. Life with a newborn is a blur of activity: frequent feeds, short bursts of sleep, diaper changes and multiple loads of laundry! This leaves little time or energy for celebrating with family.

To save your sanity, you and your loved ones will need to adjust expectations to your new reality. Families have told us that it helps to make a plan.


Celebrate without Losing Your Sanity


Give yourself permission for Christmas to be less than “perfect.”

The media is filled with images of the “perfect” Christmas: beautiful decorations, elaborate meals, carefully wrapped gifts. Give yourself permission for this Christmas to be less than “perfect.”

Choose one thing that would make this season special for you and focus on a plan to make that happen. Let the rest of your to-do list go. There will be other Christmases for handmade gifts and beautiful decor.

Think through what you can reasonably accomplish and say no to the rest. Your time and energy are limited.

Feel free to keep the decorations in your storage boxes this year or choose just one or two special decorations to put out.


It is okay to say “no.”

It is okay to say no to holiday invitations. Think carefully before you make travel plans. Travel time eats up valuable sleep and feeding time.


Your house or theirs?

There are pros and cons to playing host vs. going to someone else’s house this year. If you choose to celebrate at your home, appoint someone other than your husband to act as the host/hostess. They will be responsible to cook, clean and receive visitors. Forewarn visitors that you and the baby may make limited appearances.

If you choose to go to a relative’s house, tell them that you may not be able to stay long (or, if you have had a rough night, you may not make it at all.) Ask where you can lay down when you need to rest.

Whether you choose to be the host or the visitor, you and your partner should be off duty for dishes! (And you can quote us on that!)


phptsgljbAMKeep baby close.

Everyone loves to hold a newborn; you will find no shortage of willing arms. Babies that are handled a lot by visitors tend to sleep long periods in the day but then are awake often at night to feed. Don’t be afraid to limit the amount others hold your baby. Some moms have chosen to wear their baby, to keep her close so they can respond easily to cues.


Keep it simple.

This is not the year to cook from scratch. Buy pre-made foods such a frozen casseroles and frozen desserts. Rather than bake, purchase from a local bakery or let others bake for you.


Paring down the shopping

Taking a baby to the shopping mall can be stressful and eat up your limited energy. Shop online or make this the “year of the gift card.”

Use present bags to save time wrapping gifts.


Schedule rest.

Schedule an entire day during the holidays to simply stay in your pyjamas, watch movies or catch up on sleep.

More than ever, it is important to sleep when the baby does! Excuse yourself from company and lay down for a nap.


Alcohol and Breastfeeding


While there has not been a documented safe level of alcohol while breastfeeding, most experts agree that a glass of wine or beer is fine. You can learn more in this excellent La Leche League post.


If you are concerned about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, Pinterest has great ideas for great holiday mocktails.


Now is a great time to make a plan for how you will handle the holidays. Focus on rest and let go of the non-essentials. We wish you much relaxation and enjoyment this Christmas!

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Other posts you may enjoy: Life with a Newborn – the 2nd Time Around and Nutrition Necessities for New Moms.


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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


September 23, 2015

Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up”

Help! My newborn baby sleeps all day and won’t sleep at night. I am exhausted. What can I do?


If your new baby seems to have his days and nights mixed up, you are in good company. Newborns are notorious for being sleepy in the day but awake and feeding often at night. If we had a magic solution for this ‘problem’ we could be rich!


Why do newborns wake more often at night?
  • New babies don’t understand the difference between night and day. They will need time to learn.
  • Background noise in the day may lull baby to sleep. A newborn is used to the sounds of your womb, your heart beating, your bowels gurgling as well as muffled sounds from the outside world. The quiet of night time may feel foreign.
  • Newborn tummies are tiny; they need to breastfeed often to feed their growing brain.
  • Frequent night waking prevents babies from entering deep sleep. According to respected infant sleep researcher, Dr. James McKenna, this lowers their risk of SIDS.


While it may seem like an eternity, the stage of mixed up days and nights will eventually pass (usually by the time your baby is a month old).


How to to ease your baby into a more adult friendly sleeping pattern:


  • Wake baby frequently for feeds during the day.

Newborns breastfeed at least 8 or 10 times in a 24-hour period. Sleeping for long stretches during the day inevitably means more frequent feeding at night. Try waking baby to feed at least every 2 or 3 hours during the day.


  • Keep lights on and shades open.

The light patterns that affect adult sleep may also affect babies. Open your curtains during the day; leave the lights on. At night, try to do feeds and diaper changes by the glow of a night-light.


  • Interact during the day but be “boring” at night.

Talk, sing, and play with your baby throughout the day. At night, try to be calm, quiet and “boring”. Speak softly, in soothing tones, while you change, feed and burp.


  • Start a bedtime routine.

A bedtime routine can help your baby to know it is time for sleep. You could include a bath, a bedtime story, a massage or lullaby music.


  • Do not limit daytime noise.

Try not to limit daytime noise. Don’t worry about the doorbell. Leave the television on. Play music. At night, keep noise levels low. “White noise” may be soothing, reminding your baby of the womb. You could try a fan (not blowing on your baby) or quiet radio static.



Some parents try to keep their baby awake during the day in the hope they will sleep at night. This may have the opposite effect as baby may become over stimulated. An over stimulated baby will be fussier throughout the day, as well as the night.


This period of mixed up days and nights won’t last forever. We promise! Every baby is different. Be patient as yours adjusts to life in the outside world.


Does your newborn baby sleeps all day and won’t sleep at night. Feel like the days and nights are mixed up These tips will help.


Learn more about newborns in these posts: Should I Wake my Newborn to Feed and 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation.

*Header photo courtesy of Flickr: abardwell.


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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



September 19, 2015

Why is My Baby’s Umbilical Cord Bleeding?


It can be alarming to see blood near your newborn’s umbilical cord. But chances are, it is completely normal!


As your baby’s cord is drying, it begins to separate from the skin. As it detaches, it may bleed a little, staining baby’s sleeper or diaper.

Help! My baby's umbilical cord is bleeding.


To know if what you are seeing is normal, answer these questions:


  • How much blood do you see?

Even a little blood can look like a lot. The bleeding should be similar to the amount seen when a scab falls off.


  • Is the cord continuously oozing?

Usually, parents will see a drop or two of blood once and never see it again. If you notice blood oozing every diaper change, you will want to monitor it more closely.


  • Have you noticed any of the following?

Although it’s rare, some babies may need medical attention for a cord problem. The following would warrant a visit to your healthcare provider.

– Active dripping or bleeding that reappears as soon as you wipe it.

– Thick greenish foul smelling ‘pus’.

– Reddened, warm-to-touch skin near the umbilicus.

– Baby seems ill.



How to clean a bleeding cord


Gently wipe dried blood with a warm, damp washcloth. Using a dry cotton swab, clean around the base of the cord, where it joins your baby’s skin. This doesn’t hurt your baby; there are no nerve endings in the cord.


Fold down the diaper to expose the cord to air. This will help it to fall off faster. You can expect baby’s umbilical cord to fall off by the time he is 10 to 14 days old.


Learn more about caring for your baby’s cord in this post.


thumbnail cindy and jana

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


June 1, 2015

Vitamin D and the Breastfed Baby

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is important for both moms and babies. It helps to make sure that bones and teeth are healthy. Our skin makes Vitamin D when we are in the sunshine; it is also found in some foods.


Vitamin D for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies


Vitamin D for Breastfeeding Women

It can be difficult for a breastfeeding woman to get enough Vitamin D, even if she has a healthy diet. Vitamin D is found in:

  • fish
  • egg yolks
  • milk
  • breakfast cereals

Sun exposure on the hands and face for at least 15 minutes a day will help. A Vitamin D supplement may be needed, especially in the winter months. Ask your health care healthcare provider about having your Vitamin D level tested if you are concerned.


Women at a higher risk for low Vitamin D include those:

  • who have immigrated to North America.
  • who are dark skinned.
  • whose pregnancies have been close together.
  • that do not drink milk.


Vitamin D for Babies

Breast milk is naturally low in Vitamin D. In addition, babies are not usually exposed to sunlight. Giving breastfed babies at least 400 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D each day is therefore recommended for baby’s first year. It can be purchased at most drug stores.


baby-small-child-babiesVitamin D is available in different strengths. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. Many families prefer a concentrated form of Vitamin D (400 IU is contained in a single drop.) The drop can simply be placed on the nipple prior to a feeding.


Other parents use a more diluted form of Vitamin D (400 IU contained in 1 ml). To give this larger volume, hold your baby in a slightly reclined position. Place the end of the dropper inside baby’s mouth, pointing it at baby’s cheek. Slowly squeeze the end of the dropper. Give half of the dose at a time, allowing baby to swallow in between.


Premature infants or those living in northern communities may need a different dose of Vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that babies who are not breastfed need at least 32 ounces (1,000 ml) of formula with Vitamin D added in order to get enough Vitamin D. Please check with your healthcare provider to find out what is recommended for your baby.


If you would like to learn more, please refer to the following links:

American Academy of Pediatrics

Health Canada

Canadian Paediatric Society

Other related posts: Nutrition Necessities for New Moms and Do I Need to Drink Milk to Make Milk?

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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


May 29, 2015

How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

“My breasts don’t feel as full — I wonder if I have enough milk?”

“My baby’s been fussy for the last few days. I think my milk supply is going down.”

“My mother-in-law says my baby would sleep through the night if I had enough milk.”


It is very common to worry if you have enough milk. In fact, one of the most common reasons women stop breastfeeding (or begin to give extra bottles of formula) is the belief that they don’t have enough milk. Most of the time, they actually DO have enough milk.


To avoid unnecessarily giving your baby formula, learn these “good ” (as well as the “not so good”) ways to tell your baby is getting enough milk.



Good ways:

1. Weight

Weight is an objective way to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. Compare weights taken several days apart. That way you can see if he is gaining at a rate that is usual for his age.

Babies typically lose weight for the first 3 or 4 days after they are born. After that initial loss, they should begin to gain at least of 20- 30 grams (almost 1 oz) a day.

Babies should be back to their birth weight by the time they are 10 – 14 days old. If your baby is not back to birth weight at 14 days, take your baby to your healthcare provider for help in determining if he is getting enough milk.

When babies reach 4 months of age, their expected weight gain slows down a little. From 4 months on, a breastfed baby should gain about 15 grams (½ oz.) per day. (Note: if your breastfed baby is gaining faster than this, there is no need to worry.)


2. Wet diapers

From 4 days of age and on, your baby should have heavy wet diapers. The pee should be pale yellow or almost colorless.

If your baby is not drinking enough, his urine will be dark yellow and strong smelling.


3. Bowel movements

After the 3rd day of your baby’s life, he should have at least 2 or 3 stools (larger than the size of a quarter coin) every day. If you are wondering what is normal in the first 2 or 3 days of life, see this post.

Around 2 to 4 months of age, you may see the number of bowel movements changing. Some babies continue to stool several times a day while others will have only one larger bowel movement every 5-7 days. Both can be normal patterns. (If you are still uncertain, remember, you can always check your baby’s weight.)


 4. Baby’s behavior

Once your breasts have filled (this typically happens 3-5 days after birth), baby should be relaxed and content after most feeds.

If your baby still seems to want to suck, is fussy or not settling, it may mean your baby needs more milk. Try putting baby back to the breast. You can switch back and forth between breasts, several times (this is sometimes referred to as “switch nursing”.) Try breast compressions. Growth spurts do occur, but they typically last only 1 – 2 days. If the fussy behavior lasts longer than a day or two, check baby’s weight and contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned.

P.S Expecting? To help new moms get a great start with breastfeeding, we’ve created a free ebook called “5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding” which you can download for free here. 


Poor ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk:

1.  Length of feed

The typical length of a breastfeed varies widely between babies. We have seen well-nourished babies finish a feed within 5 minutes; others take an hour! The amount of time a baby spends at the breast does not tell you how much milk he received. (You can read more about timing breastfeeding here.)


2. Pumping your breasts to see how much milk you have.

The amount of milk you can express with a pump is not a good indicator of the amount of milk available for your baby. Your baby is much better than any pump at extracting milk from the breast.


3. How full your breasts feel

By the time your baby is 10 to 14 days old, your milk supply will have adapted to your baby’s needs. Your breasts may not feel as full. Many women worry they have “lost” their milk. This change in fullness, however, is normal and is not good way to tell if you have enough milk.


4. Weighing baby before and after a feed.

A very accurate scale is able tell you how much milk your baby drank at a particular feed. This number, however, can be misleading. Babies do not always want or need the same amount of milk at every feed. You won’t know if that particular feed was a ‘snack’ or a ‘full feeding’ for your baby.

Weighing before and after a feed is not a useful predictor of baby’s overall milk intake.


5.  Offering a bottle after a breastfeed.

You may assume that if your baby is satisfied, he will not take a bottle after breastfeeding. This is not true. A baby will almost always suck on a bottle and take at least ½ oz. even if he is full.

If you still have concerns about whether your baby is getting enough milk, contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or your health care provider. If your milk supply is a bit low, there are many things you can do to successfully increase it. Please see this post for evidenced based ways to increase your milk supply.

Learn more about breastfeeding a newborn in our online Simply Breastfeeding course (12 videos that teach you everything you need to know about breastfeeding).

References and More Information:

  1. Average Weight Gain for Breastfed Babies.” 11 Apr. 2016. Web.
  2. La Leche League Canada. “How to Know Your Breastfed Baby is Getting Enough Milk” [pdf]. n.d. Web.
  3. Li, R., S. B. Fein, J. Chen, and L. M. Grummer-Strawn. “Why Mothers Stop Breastfeeding: Mothers’ Self-reported Reasons for Stopping During the First Year.” Pediatrics 122.Supplement (2008): S69-76.
  4. Newman, Jack, MD, FRCPC, and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC. “Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?” International Breastfeeding Centre, 2009. Web.
  5. Weight Gain and Knowing Baby Is Getting Enough Milk.” La Leche League Canada. N.p., n.d. Web.

Related posts: Increasing Your Milk Supply and Foremilk/Hindmilk: Why All the Fuss?

thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



May 19, 2015

How to Bottle Breast Milk: Answers to the Top 9 Questions

Giselle gave birth to a premature baby who was not ready to feed at the breast. She expressed her milk and gave bottles until her baby was strong enough to feed at the breast.


Analise believed in the nutritional advantages of breastfeeding but knew that breastfeeding was not for her. She pumped and bottle fed breast milk to her baby for over 6 months.


Madison has returned to work and expresses milk for her caregiver to feed to her 4 month old while she is away. She breastfeeds in the evenings and on weekends.


Women may choose to bottle feed their expressed breast milk for a variety of reasons. Expressing milk is extra work and will take time and dedication. The health benefits of breast milk for babies are well documented. If you are expressing your milk, feel proud of the hard work you are doing to give this gift to your baby!


Please don’t be discouraged if you are unable to express enough milk to meet 100% of your baby’s needs. Any amount of breast milk is beneficial! If you have questions about how to build your milk supply, consult a Lactation Consultant.



mother-223299_640What is the best type of nipple to use?


There are a wide variety of nipples and bottles available. It can be confusing to read the bottle packaging. You may have to experiment to find a bottle and nipple your baby likes.

Bottle nipples come in a variety of flow rates. For healthy, newborns, choose a slow flow nipple. Each brand’s slow flow may be labeled differently e.g. “newborn”, “stage 1”, “0+ months”, “slow flow”.

Milk should drip from the nipple at a rate of about 1 drip per second. If it drips faster, your baby may have trouble keeping up with the flow of milk.

Some brands of nipples claim to be closest to breastfeeding and others claim to reduce gas. Please know that there is no research to say that any bottle or nipple resembles or is most like the breast. But, it is a good marketing strategy!


Do I need to sterilize the bottles and nipples?

Sources vary as to the recommended cleaning method for bottles and nipples. This is confusing for both parents and health care workers!  Due to this difference of opinion, we recommend boiling all feeding equipment for 5 minutes until your baby is 4 month old. This will ensure you have met the highest standard.


How do I sterilize bottles and nipples?

1. Before you begin, wash your hands with soap and warm water.

2. Wash your preparation surface well.

3. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

4. Separate the bottles, nipples, lids, and rings. Wash them in hot soapy water and

rinse them well. A bottle brush may help to clean residue from the bottles. Take care

to ensure the nipple holes are not plugged.

5. When the water is at a rolling boil, completely submerge all the bottles and other

feeding equipment in the water.

6. Boil for 5 minutes.

7. When the water is cool, remove the items with the clean tongs and place them on a rack or clean towel to dry.

8. Once they are dry, and store them in a clean, covered area until use.


How long will expressed breast milk last in the fridge?


Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 4-8 days (4 degrees C / 39 degrees F). Milk that has been previously frozen may be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

See this post for more information about storage of expressed breast milk.


How do I warm the bottle?

Simply place the bottle of breast milk in a container of warm water. Be sure to keep the nipple out of the water.

Never use a microwave to heat a bottle as it can create hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth.


What if my baby doesn’t finish the bottle? Do I need to throw out the remaining milk?

When a baby feeds from a bottle, bacteria from baby’s mouth can enter the milk. Breast milk contains cells that hamper the growth of bacteria. There are no conclusive recommendations for when to discard an unfinished bottle of breast milk, however based on related evidence, 1-2 hours seems reasonable. has an in depth post about this issue.


baby-229645_640Do I need to hold my baby to feed the bottle?

Newborns need to be held to feed. Never prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth, as it is a choking hazard.

Choose a comfortable chair and use pillows if needed. Hold your baby close during feeds with his head higher than his body. Newborns love to be bottle fed skin to skin (baby in a diaper only, against your bare chest).


Will it upset my baby’s stomach to use both breast milk and formula?

Our first choice for babies is always breast milk. If breast milk is not available, however, by all means, you may use both. We suggest bottling the breast milk first rather than mixing breast milk and formula in the same bottle. This will prevent wasting any of the precious breast milk!

Burp your baby mid-feeding and at the end of the feed to help expel air.


How do I take my bottle of breast milk with me when I go out?

Put your bottle of expressed milk in a cooler bag with an ice pack. Some mothers take a thermos of warm water and an empty container to warm the bottle just before feeding.



  1. Mohrbacher, N., Stock, J. & Newton, E. (2012 Update). The Breastfeeding Answer Book Schaumburg IL: La Leche League Intl.
  2. International Lactation Consultant Association (2014). Clinical Guidelines for the Establishment of Exclusive Breastfeeding. Raleigh: International Lactation Consultant Association
  3. Jones F.(2011) Best Practice for Expressing, Storing and Handling Human Milk in Hospital, Homes, and Child Care Settings. Fort Worth, TX: Human Milk Banking Association of North America Inc.



To learn more, see this post about hand expression and this post about pumping breast milk.



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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


April 24, 2015

16 Fascinating Facts About Babies and Breastfeeding

Every 4 years, the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada hosts a National Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) conference. In 2015, they gathered in Edmonton, Alberta. Jana was present and learned these fascinating facts.


16 things Jana learned at the 2015 BFI conference


1. Research has shown that a newborn’s first bath should be delayed until at least 24 hours after birth. Babies are born with a special protection on their skin called vernix (a white, waxy cream cheese-like substance). This vernix has immune properties; leaving it on a new baby’s skin helps to provide valuable protection.


2. Baby should be placed skin to skin with mom immediately after birth and left uninterrupted for at least 1-2 hours. If skin-to-skin care is done properly, it is the SAFEST way to transition babies to the external world. (Note: we know there must be benefits with babies doing skin to skin with dads as well. The research just has done been done to confirm it yet!)


3. A newborn’s temperature is ALWAYS within normal limits when skin to skin with their mother. Mother’s axillary temperature (under her arm) fluctuates based on the temperature of baby’s feet. If baby is too hot, Mom’s body cools the baby. How amazing is that?


4. When babies are snuggled skin to skin during painful procedures, they show less of a reaction to pain. (Important information for that first Vitamin K injection for baby!)


5. A study presented babies with pieces of gauze soaked with either his own mother’s milk or the milk of other women’s. Babies were able to recognize the odor of their own mother’s milk and move toward it.


6. We should expect newborns to feed a minimum of 8 times in 24 hours. There should not be an upper limit. For some babies, 8 feeds a day is adequate while other babies may need quite a few more.


7. Babies born via C-section have a 3-4 times greater risk of receiving supplementation (milk in addition to breastfeeding).


8. The most common reason that babies receive milk in addition to breastfeeding (excluding medical indications) is women’s lack of confidence and their fear of not having enough milk. If, in the first 24 hours, all women were taught skin to skin care and the skill of hand expression, there would be far less extra milk given.


9. Currently, 26% of babies in Canada are exclusively breastfed at 6 months of age (Note: “exclusive” means no food or drink other than breast milk). The BFI target for 2025 is for 50% to be exclusively breastfed.


16 Fascinating Facts about Babies and Breastfeeding from the National Baby Friendly Initiative conference


NuuNest for twitter-210. One third of 15-20 year olds have never seen a woman breastfeed.


11. Health care professionals should be using technology and social media to connect with the current generation of pregnant women. (Our app NuuNest was created for just that reason!)


12. Prenatally, women tend to use their left-brain. This is a great time to learn facts and information about breastfeeding. In the first 6 weeks after birth, women predominantly use their right brain (more emotionally based). Health care professionals need to keep this difference in mind when providing information to new mothers.


13.Only 5% Canadian hospitals that deliver babies have the BFI designation. Find out here why this is important.


14. There are 129 facilities in Canada that have the Baby Friendly Initiative designation.


15. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for babies born in one Quebec hospital went from 14% exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months to 64% after the hospital achieved the BFI designation.


16. If you would like to advocate for your hospital to work toward the Baby Friendly designation, you can find a sample advocacy letter here.


Tidbits Jana learned at the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada National Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) conferenceJana at the conference with Tonia Olson (left) and Julie Smith-Fehr (right).

Other posts you may enjoy: Breastfeeding Trivia and Getting the Best Possible Start with Breastfeeding


Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


April 14, 2015

How to Care for Your Newborn’s Cord: It’s Simple!

Being responsible for newborn cord care may seem daunting but, good news! Cord care is simple. All you have to do is keep it clean and dry!


Newborn nurses explain how to care for baby's umbilical cord.


Why does my baby have a cord?

In the womb, your baby received oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord while you were pregnant. At birth, the cord was clamped and cut, leaving only a short stump. The cord stump looks white and shiny initially but as it dries, it becomes dark brown or blackish.

Although it may look sore, there are no pain receptors in the umbilical cord.


How do I care for the cord?

In the past decades, treatments such as rubbing alcohol or gentian violet were used to dry the cord. Recent research has shown that keeping the cord clean and dry is all that is needed.

noname-4Fold down the front of the diaper to expose the cord to air.

• If the cord is damp, it can develop a foul, rotten smell. If you notice a foul odor, use cotton swabs to dry inside the baby’s umbilical area, right at the base of the cord. It may take several cotton swabs to completely dry the area.

• If the cord becomes soiled, clean it with plain water and pat it dry.

• As the cord begins to detach, you may notice a drop or two of blood on baby’s diaper. This is a sign the cord will soon fall off. A spot of blood, less than a quarter coin size, is considered normal. Never attempt to pull on the cord, even if it looks like it is hanging on by a thread.


When should I be concerned?

Take your baby to see you healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:

• Baby’s cord continues to ooze, leaving quarter sized or larger spots of blood on the diaper.

• The skin around the umbilicus is reddened, swollen or warm to touch

• A thick “pus” coming from the base of cord

• Baby has a fever or seems unwell

The cord stump should fall off by the time baby is 3 weeks old. This is a natural process that happens on it’s own if the cord is kept clean and dry.




References and More Information:

  1. Your Baby’s Skin.Caring for Kids. Canadian Paediatric Society, Feb. 2012. Web.
  2. Zupan J, Garner P, Omari AAA. “Topical Umbilical Cord Care at Birth.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001057.


Learn more about newborn care in these posts: Diapering Tips for New Parents and Baby Bath Time.



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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


March 28, 2015

How to Wake a Sleepy Baby to Feed

“Wake your baby every 2 to 3 hours to feed”.

“Never wake a sleeping baby!”

New parents get tons of conflicting advice. Who is right? Do you need to wake your baby to feed?

The answer is yes AND no!

How to wake a sleepy baby to feed

Waking your baby to feed will not always be necessary. In fact, it won’t be long before you are spending your energy trying to get your baby back to sleep!

In the early days, however, there are special circumstances that make waking for feeds a good idea.

Immediately following birth, babies usually have a quiet alert stage. They are awake and show interest in feeding. After this first period of alertness, however, they enter a drowsy state that lasts for about 24 hours.

After this first 24 hours, most newborns will wake on their own and want to feed often. Unfortunately, these early days can often be busy with visitors and hospital routines; it is easy to miss baby’s feeding cues. Some babies will wake and cry for feeds while other babies are more laid back and may need reminders to feed.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend waking baby every 2 or 3 hours in the day to feed and every 3-4 hours at night until he is about 2 weeks old and back to birth weight. This will help to ensure a plentiful milk supply, as baby gets older.

Other reasons babies may be too sleepy to feed are:

  • Prematurity:   Premature babies may tire quickly and may fall asleep before they have had a full feed.

  • Jaundice:   Jaundice can cause babies to be too sleepy to feed well.

  • Difficult delivery:   Use of vacuum or forceps and/or drugs during delivery can result in a sleepy baby.5767768168_55ce76afbf_n

  • Medical problems:   Babies who have a medical problem such as an infection or a heart problem may not feed well.

  • Overstimulation:   Babies can react to excessive handling by visitors, constant loud noises or bright lights by tuning out and going to sleep.

  • Not taking in enough calories:   Babies that are consistently not taking in enough milk may lack the energy needed to feed well.

Tips for waking a sleepy baby:

  • It is difficult to wake a baby in deep sleep. Watch for “soft signs” that your baby is waking such as small body movements, sucking on a fist, or eye movements.

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin with baby in a diaper only. The closeness to mom helps to cue baby to feed.

  • Use diaper changes to wake baby. If your baby is alert and ready to feed, save the diaper change until after the first breast. It may help him to be alert enough to take the second breast.
  • Express a drop of milk on your nipple and bring it near baby’s lips.

  • Use breast compressions while baby is feeding, to keep him alert and drinking.

  • Burp baby between breasts to reawaken him.

  • Change your breastfeeding position. If you find your baby is sleepy when tucked against your body, try feeding in the football position.

  • Some sleepy babies benefit from switch nursing. (Leave baby on the first breast as long a he is actively sucking. When baby is no longer actively sucking, even with breast compressions, wake your baby and switch to the second breast. Repeat as often as needed. Some moms feed 2 or 3 times on each breast.)

  • Talk to your baby as he nurses. Babies love the sound of their mother’s voice.

  • Walk your fingers up baby’s spine.

  • Rub the soles of baby’s feet.

  • Massage baby’s scalp.

  • Hold your baby up in front of you, talk and make eye contact.

  • imageTry the “doll’s eye technique”: gently lift baby from lying to sitting, hinging at the hips.

  • Gently clap baby’s hands together or bicycle baby’s legs.

  • With your thumb on baby’s palm and a finger on the back of baby’s hand, rhythmically apply pressure.

  • Rub baby’s back with small circular motions, starting from the small of the back and working upwards.

  • Use your finger to trace a circle around baby’s mouth.

  • Some people have used a cool washcloth. This seems a bit harsh so try this only if nothing else is working.

Please note: This list is long; try one or two per feed and see which ones work best for your baby.

Feeding a sleepy baby can be frustrating and time consuming. Keep your baby close so that you are able to respond as soon as baby shows interest.

Once your baby is 2 weeks old and weighs more than when she was born, you will no longer need to worry about waking for feeds. You can relax and feed on demand.

Learn more about breastfeeding a newborn in our online Simply Breastfeeding course (12 videos that teach you everything you need to know about breastfeeding).

Related posts: Days and Nights Mixed Up and How Often will my Newborn Feed?

thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

5767768168_55ce76afbf_n(Photo courtesy of Flickr:  Digenis Akritas)


March 27, 2015

Can I Spoil my Newborn Baby?

“If you hold your baby too much, she will always want to be held.”


“It’s good for a baby to cry. It exercises their lungs.”


Well meaning family or friends may warn you that you are spoiling your baby by picking him up every time he cries. But is this true? Can you spoil a newborn?


We believe the answer is NO! You cannot spoil a newborn. Responding to your baby teaches him that the world is a safe place and that his needs will be met.


Child psychiatrist Dr. Jean Clinton recommends we treat baby’s first month as an extension of the womb, where baby’s every need is met. “A baby cannot manipulate you, they can only experience. Your job is to figure out what the baby needs.”


Can my newborn be spoiledNewborns communicate when they are hungry, need their diaper changed, are cold, or want to be cuddled. They let us know their needs by fussing or crying. It can be challenging to determine exactly what your newborn needs, often requiring a little trial and error. We would recommend first trying to feed, especially in the early days. Snuggling your baby skin to skin, in just a diaper against your bare chest, is a wonderful way to calm a fussing baby!


Your quick response to baby’s cry means he will experience less anxiety. Research shows that babies whose needs are met develop into more secure and confident children.


So, hold your new baby as much as you want. Respond quickly to every little need he has. Both you and your baby will be happier.

Need help positioning your newborn for feeds, watch the free preview video lesson from our Simply Breastfeeding course. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the preview button.)

You cannot spoil a newborn

Other posts you may enjoy: Importance of Skin to Skin with Baby and 14 Reasons to Love a Newborn.


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

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