I have had the pleasure of working with countless families over the past 10 years as a Knoxville area Postpartum Doula as well as first hand experience as a mother. Here are my 5 must haves for new parents to help those first few weeks and months go as smoothly as possible!
#1 A white noise sound machine
White-noise has been proven to create an environment that is welcoming to sleep for newborn. White-noise machines create a comfortable, womb-like environment that calms anxious infants, encouraging them to stop crying and fall asleep faster. White-noise machines also help babies stay asleep longer by drowning out other ambient noise that may be heard in the home without it.
#2 Black Out or Room Darkening Curtains
Blackout curtains are a huge step in creating a calm and peaceful environment for sleep for your baby. Complete darkness stimulates the pineal gland to release a hormone called melatonin. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), melatonin is beneficial in helping children adjust to a healthier sleep. You’re also creating a sleep environment here that will train your bay to read cues of their nursery. You want your baby to associate their room when it’s dark with sleeping. If your baby wakes up for a few seconds and can see the toys outside her crib or her favorite stuffy on the dresser, she might rouse herself so she can play. But if the room is dark, when she opens her eyes her brain will tell her, “It’s dark…must still be time for sleeping.”
There are a plethora of swaddles on the market these days and for very good reason. The studies and research proving the benefits or swaddling are confirming and reassuring to new parents who wonder if it’s best for their baby. A blanket wrapped snuggly around your baby’s body can resemble the mother’s womb and help soothe your newborn baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep.
#4 Red Light Lamp
There will be many times as a new parent that you will need to go into your baby’s room in the middle of the night for diaper changes, baby checks, feedings, etc. During these times your will want to make sure that your little one will be able to fall back asleep as soon as possible so that you can as well! One really great way to do this is to have a red light lamp or red light flashlight to use to light the room with instead of a normal night light or light from outside of the room. Here’s why: Red light is at a higher wavelength than blue light from a flashlight or cellphone and will not disrupt your baby while they are asleep. Red light is also the safest, 100% natural way to get your body to produce melatonin – the hormone needed for us to fall asleep and stay asleep.
#5 An Overnight Postpartum Doula
Sleep!! It’s what every new parent craves and what every new mother needs to stay healthy as she navigates the first few months postpartum. Overnight postpartum doulas provide just that and more. In the United States alone: Approximately 70% to 80% of women will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. With approximately 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States, this equates to almost 600,000 postpartum depression diagnoses. Approximately 10% of new fathers experience symptoms of depression during the postpartum period. My goal as a postpartum doula is to provide care and services to families so that I can hopefully affect the direction of this statistic. Studies following families who have hired a postpartum doula have shown that with the use of postpartum doulas these numbers start trending down. When a family has educated and supportive care they are more rested, feel encouraged and generally have a better outlook on the first few months of parenthood.
These five things are definitely not an exhaustive list of what new parents will need when bringing home a newborn but it is a fantastic start. I would love to talk with you more about evening and overnight postpartum doula services and how it can benefit your family. I love what I do and the families that I get to work with here in the Knoxville area. Message me today and we can set up a free consult.