NEWBORN CARE SPECIALISTS: A SAVVY MOM’S SECRET SUPERPOWER

 

For women, the choice to get pregnant and have children is often a major decision that involves lots of preparation, forethought, and planning. Despite this forethought, things, of course, do not always happen according to schedule. Regardless if a birth is planned and prepared for or not, women who become pregnant must immediately consider decisions that will need to be made once the baby is born.

 

Embarking on motherhood is such a gift for most, but it does not come without its new, and scary experiences. Whether a full-time stay at home mom or a full-time corporate executive, new moms need to surround themselves with the support they need to try and avoid feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, overtired, and physically drained. For many new moms, family and friends are able to provide meals, intermittent support in the home, and an ear to listen.

 

Your Secret Superpower

In some cases, a new mom requires a more consistent, professional, long-term option to help sustain their lifestyle and needs during the fourth trimester and beyond. This is where a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) comes in. A Newborn Care Specialist is an individual with expertise in all aspects of newborn care, but her abilities do not stop there. She is trained and skilled in parental education and support as well. Her comprehensive knowledge and support can be invaluable to a working, professional, new mom who may feel the weight of her responsibilities clouding her ability to enjoy her new baby.

 

Being a mom and being a businesswoman do not need to be mutually exclusive goals/desires. All too often women hear this lie told to them from many different social, cultural, and even personal voices around them. The goals of being both mom and businesswoman can be brought into alignment when the right resources are available. A Newborn Care Specialist will provide help and support from the time that you arrive home from the hospital. This will often include help with scheduling, feeding, sleep training, breastfeeding, and pumping. Your NCS will understand the pressures and pleasures pushing in around you, and she will be able to fill in and support where you most need it.

 

Disproportionate Impact

When doing research for this article on the current attitudes surrounding professional women choosing to have children, it was disappointing and telling to come across an article titled, “What stage of a career is the best time to have children?” The fact that women need to even consider this question in our current social/economic climate is both unsurprising and startling at the same time.

 

Many professional women experience emotional fear and uncertainty when it comes to deciding when to start a family because they cannot trust that their abilities and performance will be considered above the possibility that they may decide to not come back after having a baby. A study that was conducted in Denmark and published in 2018 found that women who became mothers experienced a 20% gap in earnings over the long run. The same study also found that women were “penalized” for having children when it came to the circumstances surrounding promotion.

 

Economists suggest that this life event, and subsequent wage gap, can be attributed to the discrepancy in childcare responsibilities between men and women. Whether because of nature, or societal pressures, the responsibility to care for the child falls heavily on the mother. Without some sort of outside support, it is more likely that women professionals may be discriminated against by their employers. With the introduction of a Newborn Care Specialist, new mothers are freed up from the disproportionate amount of responsibility placed on them in caring for their infant. An NCS levels the playing field for the new mother and allows them to step into their new role as “Mom,” without having to step out of their previous role as professional.

 

Sleep

 

The recommendation of the National Sleep Foundation is that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Many of us will probably read this and scoff, because kids or no kids, we can probably come up with several excuses as to why we could never get this much sleep on a consistent basis. Regardless, this is the recommendation for adults to support a healthy mental state. If you are already not getting the recommended hours of sleep, consider how much more your sleep will suffer with the addition of a newborn into your household.

 

According to Dr. William C. Dement, a physician and sleep specialist, parents of newborns lose two hours of sleep per night until the baby is five months old. It isn’t until 3 months old that 90% of babies begin sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches. What this means for new parents is that they will be parsing their 7-9 recommended hours together in small spurts, and it will be imperative that parents utilize nap time to gain back some of their sleep debt. Breastfeeding mothers bear the brunt of this sleep loss, but bottle-fed babies have just as many reasons to wake during the night, or cry for long periods during the day.

 

Beyond the obvious effect on total hours of sleep, lack of sleep from a new baby is one of the greatest determining factors of postpartum depression. Many women feel that they must be able to “do it all,” as new mothers, but adding a laundry list of new responsibilities that comes with caring for an infant to your existing obligations can be a recipe for emotional and physical exhaustion and depression.

 

Newborn Care Specialists generally work the night shift. If the baby is breastfeeding, they will bring him/her to the mother during night wakes, or they will feed the baby a bottle. After nursing/bottle, they will take on the burping, changing, and back to sleep responsibilities. This allows mom to capitalize on uninterrupted rest, and to fall back to sleep much easier and with less disruption. Newborn Care Specialists also play a large role in developing a schedule that works for baby and mom. This schedule includes night sleep and naps, and their goal will be to develop habits and routines that create healthy sleep habits for mom and baby.

 

Breastfeeding/Pumping

 

Breastfeeding is one of those things that you cannot realistically understand until you have experienced it for yourself. The learning curve is steep, and the propensity to give up is high. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control both recommend exclusively breastfeeding infants for the first six months of life.

 

According to a study from the Journal of Perinatal Education, only 60% of women exclusively breastfeed for the first month, and only 51% continue to breastfeed after three months. The study found that although 90% of women initiated breastfeeding at birth, 21% started supplementing within the first week. One of the main factors to contribute to the discontinuation of breastfeeding is the absence of support or partner. The common breastfeeding difficulties that lead to early breastfeeding cessation are inadequate milk supply, latching difficulties, and painful breasts or clogged ducts. These are all problems that a professional, who is trained in lactation, could address in order to help the mother continue to breastfeed.

 

Lactation specific training raises the trajectory on breastfeeding outcomes. Nipple pain is the most common complaint of breastfeeding mothers in the first few days and weeks after baby is born. Persistent nipple pain is associated with low breastfeeding rates at 6 months postpartum. A study published by Breastfeeding Medicine found that inappropriate latching was the number one reason for nipple pain. The study found that early detection and treatment helped mothers recover within 2 weeks, and ultimately found no breastfeeding disparity between mothers who had early care management and detection, and those who were found to have no nipple pain at all.

 

Consider the invaluable knowledge of a Newborn Care Specialist in this situation. An NCS is trained and experienced in the intricacies of breastfeeding, and able to provide knowledge and support should feeding issues arise. Having the expertise and support to detect and solve problems early directly effects the mother’s ability to continue to nurse.

 

Lifestyle

 

Many aspects of society tell women that having a baby means that one must choose between her own needs (professional) and the critical needs of her baby (attachment, nutrition, stress management). In reality, these two desires are not mutually exclusive.

 

Work and travel can seem like a scary combination when you put a baby into the mix. Add to that the extra variable that is breastfeeding, and many women would conclude that it isn’t possible to maintain a lifestyle that was manageable pre-baby. According to the CDC, traveling with a breastfed infant may actually be easier than with a bottle-fed infant or child. They suggest enlisting the services of a lactation specialist if a nursing mother requires long periods away from her infant, but a Newborn Care Specialist can also provide the expertise and planning that can help with traveling with/without a nursing infant.

 

If you need to travel away from your nursing infant, the CDC also recommends pumping with the same frequency that your child is nursing in order to maintain your milk supply. A Newborn Care Specialist is experienced and well-versed in the specifics of pumping, milk transport, and milk storage and will be able to carry the weight of these burdens so that you do not have another thing to add to your plate. She will develop a schedule and plan for you, as well as obtain the necessary supplies you will need one hand for milk storage and transport.

 

Being adequately supported with highly competent help, and specialized newborn care means that you do not have to stress, or wonder how you will continue to do the things you love, while also being a mother to the one you love. If you are freed up from stressing about the small planning and logistical aspects of having a newborn, you will be able to just enjoy your new baby while still carving out time for things like special projects, travel, and humanitarian work.

 

 


References:

Brand, Elizabeth, et al. “Factors Related to Breastfeeding Discontinuation Between Hospital Discharge and 2 Weeks Postpartum.” Journal of Perinatal Education, vol. 20, no. 1, 2011, pp. 36–44., doi:10.1891/1058-1243.20.1.36.

“Breastfeeding.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 June 2015, www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/travel_recommendations.htm.

Ding, Karisa. “Sleep Deprivation and New Parents.” Consumer HealthDay, Healthy Day: News for Healthier Living, 20 Jan. 2018, consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/parenting-31/parenting-health-news-525/sleep-deprivation-and-new-parents-643886.html.

“FAQ.” NCSA, NCSA Team, ncsainfo.com/faq/.

Kleven, Henrik, et al. “Children and Gender Inequality: Evidence from Denmark.” The National Bureau of Economic Research, Jan. 2018, doi:10.3386/w24219.

Kliff, Sarah. “A Stunning Chart Shows the True Cause of the Gender Wage Gap.” Vox, Vox, 19 Feb. 2018, www.vox.com/2018/2/19/17018380/gender-wage-gap-childcare-penalty.

Magnavita, Nicola, and Sergio Garbarino. “Sleep, Health and Wellness at Work: A Scoping Review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 14, no. 11, 6 Nov. 2017, p. 1347., doi:10.3390/ijerph14111347.

Murphy, Hannah. “What Stage of a Career Is the Best Time to Have Children?” Financial Times, Financial Times, 6 Mar. 2018, www.ft.com/content/6955fe0c-0745-11e8-9e12-af73e8db3c71.

Puapornpong, Pawin, et al. “Nipple Pain Incidence, the Predisposing Factors, the Recovery Period After Care Management, and the Exclusive Breastfeeding Outcome.” Breastfeeding Medicine, vol. 12, no. 3, 1 Apr. 2017, pp. 169–173., doi:10.1089/bfm.2016.0194.

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