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Top ten common questions new moms ask

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If you're new to the world of parenting or a soon-to-be new mum (or dad), you are likely to have a million questions buzzing around in your head. GARDY CHACHA got some experts to answer ten of what Google says are your most-asked questions

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When it comes to pregbnancy women are a discerning lot. It is an experience, going by the most popular pregnancy cliché, like no other.

The morning sicknesses; the hormonal tantrums; the warm glow of a radiant skin; the tender kicks at six months; no other gender can claim a glorious cocktail that ends with a final push and a shrilly cry.

“It is something beautiful,” says Mwende Macharia, a mother of one. “It changes your perspective of life.” Women take pregnancy seriously and they have plenty of reasons to do so – that is if the fact that something

1 What symptoms should cause alarm duringpregnancy?

Pregnancy is a normal and natural phenomenon. It is rarely traumatic. We wouldn't expectmuch heartache from it. Nonetheless, there are incidences during pregnancy that put the lives of the baby and the mother at risk. Bleeding of any kind from the birth canal, for instance, is not a good sign.

“Bleeding would mean certain blood vessels have raptured. It would be important to establish if the injury is coming from the womb (where the baby is growing) or from a different part,” Dr John Ong’ech, a gynaecologist at Kenyatta National

Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi says. Then there is preeclampsia, a physiological condition that

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manifests as high blood pressure. Preeclampsia is deadly and should be reported at the earliest time, says Ong'ech. When it comes to pregnancy women are a discerning lot. It is an experience, going by the most popular pregnancy cliché, like no other. The morning sicknesses; the hormonal tantrums; the warm glow of a radiant skin; the tender kicks at six months; no other gender can claim a glorious cocktail that ends with a final push and a shrilly cry.

“It is something beautiful,” says Mwende Macharia, a mother of one. “It changes your perspective of life.”

Women take pregnancy seriously and they have plenty of reasons to do so – that is if the fact that something is growing inside you is not enough. The modern pregnant woman is ferocious. She wants to know her chances. She wants to be vigil as the pregnancy unfolds. She may not have

the expertise to handle a situation but nonetheless she wants to know what  is happening with the baby.

“Kenyan mothers are curious; they exclusively for Eve

2 Which diaper brand is bestfor new-borns?

There is no direct medical answer to this question. However, Dr Supa Tunje, a paediatrician

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with Adora Children’s clinic in Kitengela, says that parents should watch for “something with high absorption capacity for urine and moisture from stool.” Some brands may create allergic reactions to

the baby’s skin at which time it would only be prudent to resort to something else. It should be noted though that babies are di­ erent and as such react differently to specifi c brands.

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3 How can I prepare for delivery?

Birth can be through a Caesarean Section (CS) or normal (vaginal) delivery. Every woman should be planning for the latter. The healing process from normal delivery is quicker and poses less danger. “A

CS is considered last resort – when labour is not progressing as it should,” says Dr Stephen Mutiso, also of KNH.

To prepare for delivery, Emmah Kariuki a midwife nurse with Jhpiego in Nairobi, says it is important that the woman maintains an active lifestyle. “But they should seek exercise advice from relevant medical personnel,” she says.

Most importantly, she adds, the woman should train her mind to handle labour without any

fear – understanding that it is a natural process.

4 Can breast milk be supplemented  with somethingelse?

Breast milk, says Ong’ech, has no substitute. Not formula milk and not food. A mother should breastfeed her baby exclusively for six months.

Breast milk contains nutrition and immunity for the child that “nothing else has”. If you're new to the world of parenting or a soon-to-be newmum (or dad), you are likely to have a million questions buzzing around in your head.

GARDY CHACHA got some experts to answer ten of what Google says are your mostasked questions

5 How can I boost my breast milk supply?

If a mother fears that she has less milk, perhaps, Ong’ech says, they should try to breastfeed more “to stimulate mammary glands to produce more milk.” He adds that it is rare that a mother would have less milk. However, in rare occasions, a diagnosis would be warranted.

 “There is medicine that can be prescribed for that,” Ong’ech says. The baby, however, has to continue taking breast milk; nothing else in its place. Otherwise, a balanced diet and plenty fluids (including water) is good for milk production.

6 How do I lose baby fat?

A woman is bound to gain several pounds from pregnancy. And that is normal, says Dr Lyudmilla Shchukina, an obesity specialist. It is true that too much fat is not healthy.

There is no other way of shedding fat but through proper diet and an active lifestyle. Baby fat tends to shed off after pregnancy. Eventually women revert to their original body size; but not with an uncontrollable appetite and a couch-potato lifestyle.

7 What unique names should I give my baby?  

A baby’s name is a personal decision. It should be informed by one’s beliefs, offers Catherine Mbau. Mbau, a psychologist, says though that names are important for identification. As a mother, you ought to be careful not to limit your child’s capabilities to who they are called.  

Whatever your choices, love your child more than you love what you name them. Eventually, your child will achieve that which you pray for and direct their path towards.

8 How do I bath mynewborn baby?

New-borns are delicate, says Lucy, “Babies don’t respond well to cold. So, the room should be pre-heated either with steam from the bath water or with a rod heater. Only cotton wool should be used on the baby’s skin,” Lucy says.

The best approach, she adds would be to start with the face stroking gently from inside going out, all the while the baby remains clothed. The head and hair should follow. Finally, the body, held gently at an angle should be cleaned.

 Baby soaps are a welcome but even plain water, Lucy says, can do the job perfectly. Drying should be performed with a soft cotton towel – which blots the water off the skin. “Nothing should be rubbed on the baby’s skin,”Lucy says

9 How do I get my baby tosleep?

Babies learn sleep patterns. “They learn how to sleep,” says Lucy Muchiri, a doula at Eve’s mama birthing centre. “How they are prepped for sleep registers in their minds. They get to know, "this is how I transition to sleep." Parents should hence be careful to create habits and patterns that can be sustained.

 "If you want the babies to learn that singing is how to get them to sleep then you have to be  prepared to sing every time they need sleep,” Lucy says.

10 How do I treat colic?

Colic is the term used to describe painful gas within a baby’s alimentary canal. It is not exactly known why colic afflicts children. However, Dr Tunje believes, babies ingest gas as they suckle.

“If this gas is not expelled, it causes pain to the baby,” she says. This gas can be relieved by burping the baby. She describes: “Place the baby on your  shoulder or lap then gently massage their back.”

Persistent and severe colic should be reported to a paediatrician who could then prescribe a relaxer ora sedative.

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