You and your bundle of joy
Congratulations on your new baby! As you will quickly discover, your baby is already prepared to start exploring and discovering the world using all his or her senses. And you will be just as keen to learn about baby. Enter the date of birth in our baby development calendar and you’ll receive our handy newsletter full of valuable information, from birth up to the 3rd birthday. Feel free to explore the useful hints and tips we have provided on these pages, including things like baby massage, which can help you both to relax as well as easing any digestion difficulties. You’ll also find all sorts of useful information about breastfeeding, infant formula and bottles, including how to correctly use and sterilise them. For a bit of extra fun, have a look at our Baby Horoscope and our tips for the latest creative ways to announce the new arrival. Enjoy!
Now that the baby has arrived in a big new world, he is keen to get to know it better. The most important person is of course the mother, whom the baby greets radiant with joy. The wider environment is also just waiting to be discovered – with all the senses.
All they really want to do is learn
The baby wants to grab hold of everything even though at first he finds it hard to hold things. But as time goes by the baby's hands are able to grip more firmly, and the much-longed-for toy can finally be played with and shaken around. When adults speak, their mouth movements are imitated, and friendly faces are also rewarded with a first beaming little smile!
Looking for greater balance, wellbeing, relaxation? Baby massage allows this and it's enjoyed by young and old alike.
Babies love a gentle touch. This is especially true when the little ones feel uneasy. During their fi rst three months, many children suffer from what is known as infant colic (or “three month colic”). A gentle massage can provide a feeling of calm and ease colic. Starting in their fourth week babies can be massaged daily.
The perfect moment
Baby should be well fed and rested to fully enjoy the massage. About an hour before or after eating or after a bath is an ideal time. Regular massages can ease gas pains and prevent colic.
The road to happiness
Warm hands make for a comfortable massage feeling. After rubbing a few drops of oil in each hand, you're ready to go:
Start with stroking motions from baby’s head to feet. After this gentle beginning, perform the different exercises shown on the reverse side for complete relaxation.
Note! In order to provide babies perfect relaxation, it is recommended to first contact a trained specialist in baby massage (i.e. midwives, paediatric nurses, baby massage practitioners). They can show parents how to perfect every stroke.
All around well-being
- Complete relaxation begins with a calm atmosphere.
- Babies feel best with a temperature of 23 to 26°C.
- Babies are more comfortable lying on a soft, thick pad.
- Breathe deeply: Parents can also relax during the massage.
- Vegetable oils, e.g. olive oil, turn the massage into a luxury - avoid using essential oils!
- Time for two: Parents are involved with the baby and its reactions.
- Relaxing goes into overtime: After the massage, extend the wellness program with a warm cherry pit pillow, for example. Babies can lay warmly bundled in their parent’s arms. An intimate time for two is guaranteed and colic troubles are soon forgotten
Dream Team against colic: Massage & Yoga
Dos & Don'ts
- Use natural, pure, perfume-free oils, e.g. sesame oil, jojoba oil or almond oil; warm up slightly before starting the massage
- Go for symmetry (e.g. massage the left arm four times and the right arm four times)
- How long to do it for: just a few minutes (up to 15) on infants, 30 to 45 minutes on two-year-olds
- Do not massage babies who are ill or restless
- The baby should have been awake for at least a quarter of an hour and should not have drunk anything for an hour.
- Only relaxed masseurs are good for the baby.
The Internet, DVDs and books contain guides on how to perform baby massage. But after going on a course you are bound to feel more confident with the grips and techniques – and you'll probably have met lots of friendly people too!
Breast milk – the mega-mixture
All experts agree that breastfeeding is the best thing for babies. For practical reasons – breast milk is always there, always at the right temperature and is guaranteed to be free of any germs – and for health reasons:
- Breast milk contains everything that babies need in the first few months: vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, carbohydrates, immune defence.
- In terms of its quantity and mixture, breast milk automatically caters for the needs of the child. Its composition is variable, the constituents also change during the course of breastfeeding – very individually and exactly as baby needs.
- The suckling at the breast not only promotes the mother-child relationship, but also the development of the jaw and facial muscles – this has a benefit later on when baby is learning to eat and talk.
- Breastfed babies tend to be less susceptible to infections and allergies, diabetes or obesity.
- Breastfeeding mothers also tend to stay healthy: puerperal infections are rarer, and the German Cancer Research Centre says there is also evidence of a lower risk of breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding is also beneficial to involution – you get fit again faster. It is easy to digest. This means that gastrointestinal complaints are less common.
Healthy nutrition for breastfeeding mothers
Healthy and adequate nutrition – yes, of course. Breastfeeding a baby and going on a diet are simply incompatible. But the old saying of "eating for two" is a thing of the past. Women who are breastfeeding need only around 250 to a maximum of 500 calories more than women who are not – this is no more than a hearty cheese sandwich.
What else is good for you:
- Calcium: in green vegetables, black sesame (has eight times as much calcium as milk – 2 tablespoons a day are ideal), soya products, tofu, figs or dates.
- Iodine: in saltwater fish and iodised table salt.
- Protein: in eggs, meat, cereals. Also in pulses and dairy products – but you should give these a miss if they cause wind.
- Fat: yes, but high-quality, for example in cold-pressed oils.
- Fruit & vegetables: ideally also raw. Although citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and some juices often do not agree with babies because they are painful when they emerge again.
- Snacks: little snacks provide energy, for instance with some cheese, yoghurt, wholemeal bread, muesli and salad.
- Liquid: very important! But do not drink too much coffee (no more than one cup a day, ideally straight after breastfeeding so that the body can break it down). Please refrain entirely from consuming any alcohol. Tea restriction: sage and peppermint can reduce the amount of milk.
- "Milk boosters" which stimulate production: stewed apricots, wholesome beef or poultry broth with an egg, chopped-up pumpkin seeds with honey.
It is easy to tell what some babies do not like because it gives them wind, pain or they do not like the taste – "suspects" include cabbage, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, but also chocolate, nuts and fizzy drinks. Simply eat more or less of individual foods and look out for how the child reacts when drinking.
Breastfeeding women are often also advised to drink plenty of milk themselves. Please ignore this advice! Particularly with babies who have wind, it is advisable to stop eating cow's milk products entirely. From a certain level onwards, the fatty cow's milk transfers over into the breast milk – and can thus trigger wind and cow's milk allergies.
Relax, search, suck
In the first few hours of life, the sucking reflex is particularly strong in babies. They have scarcely started to relax after the birth before they start searching for the breast. And it is very full because, as soon as the placenta has been born, the milk-forming hormone prolactin has displayed its effect in full. Important things to note when you first breastfeed:
- Place the baby on both breasts so that it gets used to swapping straight away.
- Lots of calmness, no pressure to succeed. Sometimes it takes a little getting used to, this is OK.
- If it is not possible to breastfeed immediately, the milk should be expressed or squeezed out by hand so that production does not stall.
- Midwives and breastfeeding advisers will be happy to help, provide security – and reassure you.
MAM Med Info
Breastfeeding is based on hormones and reflexes which are activated by the baby's sucking:
- Prolactin stimulates the milk production.
- Oxytocin causes the contraction of muscle cells – thus pushing the milk into the glands towards the nipple.
- This "milk ejection reflex" is triggered several times during the course of a breastfeed; it acts on both breasts simultaneously, so a little leaking is entirely normal.
- Some mothers really feel the reflex, others barely do.
- In women who have given birth to their first child, it can initially take up to ten minutes for the child's sucking to trigger the reflex.
Babies and the sucking reflex: This behaviour is innate, babies practise sucking even during the pregnancy and find it soothing. A gentle stroke of the mouth or cheek – with the breast or a finger – is a reliable way to trigger the reflex.
Small steps to create the perfect team
Relax, please: Breastfeeding does not always go perfectly straight away. Sometimes mother and child must first get used to one another – but then things become simple. And simply unparalleled!
Breastfeeding provides a sense of security. The first feel, smell, sight after the birth forms the basis for the good relationship. The baby also needs to relax a little after the birth, then it immediately starts to search for the breast.
Breastfeeding makes you happy. Hormones ensure that a mother gets unparalleled feelings of happiness from feeding her baby.
Breastfeeding is closeness. A breastfeeding session every two to three hours offers a guarantee of intimacy. Tip: include your partner.
Breastfeeding requires peace and quiet. The telephone can be switched off, e-mails can wait. Apart from the physical effort required, at first it can take a lot of mental concentration to learn to pick up all of the baby's signals.
Breastfeeding is understanding. You can just trust your own instinct. Very quickly mothers are perfectly able to pick up their child's signs of hunger, a breastfeeding rhythm and taste preferences.
Breastfeeding keeps you healthy. And not just babies with the energy for growth and antibodies, but mothers too.
Breastfeeding produces remedies. A drop of breast milk contains thousands of curative cells – ideal for nurturing the belly button, for slightly inflamed eyes, a cold or a sore bottom. Express or squeeze out a little milk and apply it with your finger – assuming you have clean hands of course.
Breastfeeding is learning. You can see, hear and feel whether baby is sucking correctly: The baby's mouth surrounds the entire nipple including the areola, the tension in the breast subsides, you hear the guzzling and shortly after this also the digestion, a full baby will relax its hands.
Breastfeeding is teamwork. Only if both of the people involved are happy will it be beneficial. This is why expressing is just as fine as gentle awakening of the baby if it has been too long since the last breastfeed.
Breast milk contains all essential vitamins, trace elements, nutrients and minerals for the first few months of your baby's life. In addition theantibodies it contains boost the immune system. Should you be unable or unwilling to breastfeed your baby during the early months of his or her life then you should feed him or her exclusively with infant formula, so-called "stage 1 and stage 2 infant formulae".
Types of milk - each to his own
Infant formula is the best substitute for breast milk - that's why you can feed it to your baby throughout the whole of the first year of his or her life. Stage 1 infant formulae are more closely matched to breast milk than stage 2 infant formulae. Among other things stage 1 infant formulae have a lower protein content, a better fatty acid composition and more nutritious carbohydrates.
Simple to prepare and clean
To prepare infant formula simply follow the directions on the packet. Make sure you distribute the heat evenly by stirring it after heating it up and recheck the temperature before feeding it to your baby!
To clean the bottle dismantle it completely and wash each part in a mild cleaning agent or in the top compartment of your dishwasher. Then boil for five minutes if necessary and allow the teat to cool down before using it.
MAM bottles can be sterilised by various means: by boiling, cold water sterilisation or with an electric or microwave steam steriliser. In addition the MAM Anti-Colic bottle includes an innovative self-sterilising function, by means of which the bottle can be sterilised in the microwave without using any other sterilisation device.
- Good preparation will stop a hungry baby having to wait too long for his or her meal and getting restless. So always keep some clean bottles and a few measured portions of milk-formula powder ready.
- A calm atmosphere will ensure a more even flow of milk. Take your time and pause often during feeding to prevent choking and spitting.
- Skin and eye contact is extremely important for the parent-child relationship. Make sure you look your baby in the eye and stroke him or her when breastfeeding.
- It is important to burp the baby to ensure that trapped air can escape. Do this by putting your baby over your shoulder and softly stroking up and down his or her back.
- Just pour away any remains, if your baby leaves anything. This is because germs and bacteria will start to multiply in milk within just a few hours.
- If you're going to be out and about it is a good idea to take a thermos flask with you containing boiled drinking water or heated baby water for the preparation of bottled food. And of course our MAM milk powder dispenser!
Has it arrived yet? Boy or girl? Name? Weight? Eye colour?
So many questions, one answer: the birth announcement – as special as baby himself.
Top trends for birth announcements:
- Scrapbook style – use a trendy design with a collage of photos, snippets, souvenirs, even painted pictures and written notes
- Photoshoot – the best picture of the baby, with or without the parents, as a greeting card
- Footprints and fingerprints – colourful watercolour imprints of baby feet and hands add a very personal touch to normal cards
- Baby greeting by e-mail – the global mail that everybody loves to receive; you might want to add a little video or sound file showing "My first smile" (do not type in too many addresses at once, otherwise the spam filter will pick up the mail …)
- Gold print on laid paper – the classic elegant alternative
Happy sentiments are returned
Whether you get professional help or do things yourself, what counts is the idea. And the many messages of congratulations you'll get in return make the baby's start in life all the more delightful.