10 Common Questions

15 Apr 10 Common Questions

10 Questions Every Midwife Gets Asked

Having a baby tops the list of life-changing events and if finding out you’re pregnant came with a ton of questions then you’re not alone. Midwives are there to support you through antenatal care, labour and the weeks following delivery, which makes them your go-to person for information and advice. From the intimate to the obvious, and even the downright embarrassing, never fear mamas, they’ve heard it all before!

Our Lead Midwife Educator Cecile de Scally answers some of the most common questions she gets asked.

What will labor feel like?

This is a biggie and understandably so. The truth is labour pain is hard to describe and it varies. Some women say it feels like intense period pains, whereas others feel a fullness and stretching, and many also experience backache. Everyone perceives pain differently, plus our pain threshold has a time limit. The main thing is to be prepared. A good antenatal class will teach you about the birth, how to relax and breathe properly, as well as the medical pain relief options available to help you cope.

How can I decipher my baby’s cry?

No one likes to hear a baby cry but for infants, it’s the only form of communication. Every baby has a language that you will recognise over time. Start by working through the basics i.e. check if they’re warm, dry, fed, burped, feeling safe, or needing reassurance and gradually their cries will make more sense.

How can I make breastfeeding easier?

Get as much information as you can before the birth, preferably with the same person who can support you later. Afterwards, the hospital staff are there to assist but you and your little one need to make it happen yourselves. Look into laid-back breastfeeding, an increasingly popular technique where you’re in a semi-reclined position and baby leads the way as they latch on. Remember to book a follow-up appointment with your prenatal midwife 48 hours after discharge to check your progress.

How do I know if baby is getting enough milk?

Newborns are all different and it’s easy to fret about their intake, especially if you’re breastfeeding. As a general rule, you’re looking at about six to eight feeds a day. The main indicators are whether they are passing urine and stools frequently, are they settling for at least an hour between feeds and growing into and out of clothes as they get older? Take away the guesswork by getting them weighed regularly – Malaak’s Mama Mornings provide free weekly weighing and advice sessions.

When should I start a routine?

Give yourselves a break and go with the flow as you get to know each other. You can start to implement good habits around four to six weeks and guide your baby into a pattern, which will help to reduce crying later and ensure you don’t have to sleep train your little one as they get older.

When will they sleep through the night?

Chances are there isn’t much you wouldn’t do for an uninterrupted snooze – but you’ll need to hang in there for a while. There are several scientific reasons why babies wake during the night, plus some are just better sleepers than others. Around nine months is a pretty good benchmark, although some boys will still have one night feed. The other rule of thumb is when they’re on three solid meals.

What is the right temperature for baby’s room?

UAE mamas, when was the last time your room got down to 16-20 degrees? Don’t panic, while that’s the number you’ll find in the books, it’s just not possible here. Instead, aim for 24-26 degrees. The room should be cool, not cold or hot, and you need to be comfortable too. Make sure you use multiple layers to keep baby warm rather than one thick layer, which could be a smothering hazard.

How many wet and dirty nappies can I expect?

In the beginning 10-12 plus a day: babies pass urine six to eight times a day and often stool before, during and after a feed. This should settle to four to six wet nappies and at least one dirty nappy a day, although for breastfed babies this can be one dirty nappy every seven to ten days.

How often does baby need a bath?

Newborn skin is extremely delicate so don’t use products for the first month. At this stage, bathing once or twice a week is sufficient, topped up with sponge cleaning when needed. After that, a nightly bath is a good way to establish a bedtime routine and relax the baby, but it’s also a personal choice.

When is it safe to start weaning?

I like to make sure six of the following seven criteria are met:

  • Not before 17 weeks
  • Double birth weight
  • Head control
  • Hand mouth coordination
  • Must be able to grab
  • Lost the tongue thrust reflex
  • Ability to say NO MORE
  • Watches you eat, shows an interest in the food

Quick guide – between four to six months, as long as they baby indicates they are ready. Milk remains the primary source of nutrition until six months and a large part of their nutrition before 12 months.

For more information on Malaak’s Antenatal Classes and Postnatal Consultations please email workshops@malaak.me.