The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

Home » Page 7

What’s Tongue Tie?

While there are four types of tongue-tie in babies, it is rarely a medical problem. However, being born with a slightly limited range of motion in the tongue can make feeding difficult.  Karen King, PCD-DONA, CLC explains how this easy-to-fix condition presents below in What’s Tongue Tie?

While there are four types of tongue-tie in babies, tongue-tie –or baby being born with a slightly limited range of motion in the tongue- is rarely serious.  Additionally, it is much more common than generally thought.  And while tongue-tie is typically very easy to fix, it does lead to frustrating feeds because baby is not able to get a strong latch on breast or bottle.

Babies with tongue tie are able to drink, but not as efficiently as they could be.   They are getting enough milk/formula to keep them interested in feeding and often fall asleep before they are full because they are working so hard to get milk.  Additionally they may take in unnecessary air, due to their limited latch, which causes them to have excess gas and a reflux misdiagnosis.

Posterior tongue-tie is the most common presentation of  tongue tie, and there are three quick ways to tell if baby is tongue-tied.  If any of the three below is present, ask a pediatrician for an ear, nose & throat referral so the ENT doctor can give baby a proper diagnosis and help.

What’s Tongue Tie?

Ways to tell if baby has a Posterior Tongue Tie:

1.Give baby your pinky and let her suck on the tip to see what her latch looks like.  If the back of her tongue goes up in a little hump, that is indicative of tongue tie.  A proper latch will be tongue enveloping your pinky, where her tongue wraps around the pinky.

2. For breastfeeding moms, examine your nipple- if a red circular spot is present on your nipple, it indicates baby’s tongue is rubbing back and forth in that one area which shows TT.   There is enough milk coming out to keep baby feeding but perhaps not enough to satiate baby.

3. Sweep your pinky under baby’s tongue.  If you feel a bump where the side-to-side sweep is interrupted, that can be indicative of tongue-tie.  If the underside of her tongue is smooth she is not tongue-tied.

Tongue-tie is one of those things in babies that we may not find unless we really look. Once it is corrected baby will nurse and bottle-feed much more efficiently.

What’s Tongue Tie?

So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support and Fun Facts

Every first time parent has questions and for expecting parents of twins, the need for information can be…well, doubled! In this blog, So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support and Fun Facts, we share how to book in-home twin care classes, interesting info and education so you can be confident once your newborns arrive.

So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support: In-Home or Virtual Education for the Whole Family

If you’re wondering how to feed both babies at the same time, what gear you need or how you get twins on the same schedule, this Twins Baby Basics class is for you! Our Nurses and Night Nannies come to your home to share all the skills and tips you’ll need to care for your twins with confidence.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Safe Sleep and minimizing the risk of SIDS for twins and triplets
  • tandem feeding
  • getting twins on the same schedule
  • understanding what is developmentally appropriate for preemies                      
  • diapering – swaddling – soothing
  • the best gear for twins
  • what parents can expect in the postpartum phase
  • setting up the nursery for twins

Your nurse also stays on call to text, email, call or FaceTime to answer any questions you might have once the twins arrive.

So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support and Fun Facts

So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support and Fun Facts – Parent FAQ’s Answered

How do you get twins on the same sleep schedule?

Feeding is the anchor to a baby’s schedule.  When we talk about “getting babies on a schedule” however, what we are really saying is that we’re following baby’s natural growth cycle and cues. When baby is just born their feeding may be on demand, since that’s what they did in the womb.  Then the feeding cycle will naturally stretch to 2 hours, then 3 and then eventually 4 hours. When we feed twins at the same time, it follows that their bodies will be ready for sleep at the same time.

There is no magic to this; it is just a matter of always offering milk/formula at the same time until after a few days the babies “hungry times” will synch. (It is much easier than it sounds).

On a side note, parents of twins who have been on the same schedule for years will tell you that potty training is so challenging because toddlers usually have to use the potty at the same time! Makes sense since they are eating and sleeping at the same time!

Bottle Feeding Twins at the Same Time

What do you do when you just start to feed one baby and the other twin is crying from hunger?

It’s inevitable that 1 baby will cry while you’re tending to the other. That is life with more than 1 child. The best way to minimize these situations though is to just get used to feeding both babies at the same time. For bottle feeding, this means offering the twins’ bottles at the same time.  

For nursing moms, setting yourself up on a cozy bed with both babies to tandem nurse is the answer.  Nursing while babies lay “football style” allows your hands to be free. This way you can burp each baby while the other is nursing.  Keeping 2 bassinets next to your bed means you don’t even have to get out of the bed unless you want to. It takes practice but you can do it!

Should twins share crib?

We know that the only safe sleeping environment for newborns and babies is a flat, firm surface away from pillows, blankets and other items. So the answer is no, twins should not share a crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that: “The safety and benefits of co-bedding for twins and higher-order multiples have not been established. It is prudent to provide separate sleep surfaces and avoid co-bedding…”  

To help multiples feel comforted, let them stay close to each other during awake times. There are studies which show that premature twins help each other improve heart rate and breathing, so being close can be beneficial! And of course it makes sense that this closeness is comforting to siblings who have spent 9 months in the womb together! Just make sure you’re always keeping an eye on the babies to ensure their safety and be sure they have their own safe sleep environment.  

So You’re Having Twins! Proven Support and Fun Facts – Bonus Tips & Tricks!

How do I make sure I don’t mix up my identical twins?! 

Your newborns will be given hospital hats with an “A” and “B” on them and to tell who’s who but the babies will grow out of those hats very soon! You can opt to paint one of the sibling’s toenails, dress them only in their own “assigned” colors or use a non toxic marker on one of their hands to be sure they don’t get mixed up!

What is the 1 must-have baby product for parents of multiples?

A baby Bjorn or other baby carrier that allows one twin to be worn is an absolute must for parents of multiples.  Being held by a parent means security for baby and ensures 2 free hands. There are also twin slings and baby carriers for advanced baby carrying!  For more of our favorite gear, visit our Amazon Twin’s Registry.

Any other tips or tricks to offer parents expecting twins?

  • Stock up on Diapers, Wipes and Essentials…NOW – Stock the nursery with diapers of all sizes. Having the next size diaper at the ready instead of waiting til the babies grow out of them makes one less emergency trip to the store and minimize messes. An average newborn feeds a minimum of 10 times per 24 hour period. That means a minimum of 20 diaper changes a day for your twins!

That’s about 1,500 diapers just in the first 3 months of life. One thousand. Five hundred. Diapers.

  • Type out the top 20 grocery items your family uses all the time. When a neighbor or relative asks how they can help, give them the list, have them check the house for whatever is needed and then go and get it for you!  

So You’re Having Twins! Fun Facts

“Are they identical?” “Do twins run in your family?” and the (rude) “Were they natural?” are common questions parents of twins receive.  Your answers to those questions will vary but here are some more fun facts about multiples.

What are Mirror Twins?
About 23% of identical twins are mirror twins which means that one egg has split into two between days 8 and 12 of fertilization. This is considered “late” in the splitting process. If an egg splits after day 12, the egg runs the risk of not fully splitting, resulting in conjoined twins.   

While there is no medical test that identifies this type of twinning, the mirror aspect can usually be observed as the children grow.  Being left and right handed or “right” and “left” brained are the usual marks of mirror twins.  Facial features such as cowlicks on the opposite side or teeth falling out on opposite sides are also signs of mirror twins!

Do Twins have the Same Fingerprints?

Yes and No.  

The small ridges on our hands and feet develop in the womb and while twins’ ridges are the same when they first appear in utero, factors such as hand movements during development and pressure on the hands while in the womb will change the ultimate development of each fingerprint.

Why do I see so many twins these days?

Most people assume the increased use of fertility procedures is the reason there are more multiples than ever have been before.  This is true because in order to have the best chance at IVF, doctors will implant 2 or more embryos at a time with hopes that one will grow. But this is only one reason.

Another contributing factor to the rise in multiple births is that mothers are becoming pregnant later than historically typical. The thought is often that “older” mothers are over 40 but in fact, starting around age 30, women often produce more than one egg per menstrual cycle.  This allows for a greater chance of fraternal twin birth.

Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy

Our Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy was updated to include COVID19 precautions and vaccine info. The tips below are ways to help prevent and lessen the severity of colds, flu and contagious illnesses. These are the real tips and research from our team!

Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy
Night Nurse tips to stay healthy during cold and flu season

Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy

Sleep deprivation and anxiety can wreak havoc on new parents’ immune systems, especially in the winter months when we tend to stay indoors. Working with newborns, it’s imperative that our team remain illness-free, so who better to ask for wellness tips than our own nurses and night nannies?  

Here’s our team’s best advice for staying healthy as a new parent:

  • Stay Hydrated: “Water, water, water!” says BJ Edmunds, NCP for over 2 years.  Keeping properly hydrated allows the body to fight infection, maintain proper digestion and remove unhealthy toxins efficiently.   Remember that coffee and sugary drinks can actually dehydrate your body. So if you have these drinks, be sure to counter the dehydrating effects with –you guessed it- more water. We like to keep one of these water bottles on hand to measure exactly how much water we’re taking in.
  • Wash those Hands: We all know this one but if you’d like a reminder, this video shows exactly how long handwashing should take.
  • Saline + Vaseline: You’ve probably heard that saline solution, which is simply warm water with salt dissolved in it, can be used to flush out nasal passages. This helps fight off colds and flu by taking germs out before they can get in your body. But there’s a second step that can be even more helpful.   As Joy Becker, LPN, recommends: “Use Saline in the nose daily, then apply petroleum jelly at the opening of your nostril. The saline flushes out any germs and bacteria. The petroleum jelly helps protect germs from going into your nasal passages, which can help prevent colds and sinus infections.”
  • Take a sauna:  A common misconception about saunas is that they work because we’re “sweating out toxins.”  While yes, we’re sweating out dirt that’s on the surface of our skin, actual toxins are eliminated by our liver and kidneys. Recent studies show that sauna use does help keep us healthy and lessen the effects of colds and flu though! As the Mayo Clinic says, sauna use is “linked to an array of health benefits”.  Believe it or not, you can actually buy your own sauna on Amazon and install it yourself.

Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy – What about Sleep?

Sleep – by any means necessary: “Sleep when the baby sleeps” sounds good in theory but often doesn’t work in practice. Almost all new moms and dads experience sleep deprivation. This leads to a chain of other problems like weakened immunity, headaches and migraines and an increase in potential accidents due to drowsiness. For parents with older children, or those with little or no parental leave, daytime naps might not be an option. Additionally, because we’re in a constant “alert state” caring for baby it can be very difficult to wind-down and sleep when the opportunity actually does present itself.

To help get the restorative sleep that helps us mentally and physically, meditation can help. One easy method is the “4-7-8” breathing technique popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil. The basics of this technique are below, but we highly encourage watching this video demonstration:

– Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

– Hold your breath for a count of seven.

– Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

Switch Nights or Hours – Another way to combat sleep deprivation is to have a schedule with your partner. Switch whole nights or blocks of time with your partner so you’re both getting uninterrupted sleep.

Night Nurses Tips for New Parents to Stay Healthy

How Can I Minimize the Risk of Illness?

  • Vitamin D AND Vitamin C!  In looking at over 82 studies, Vitamin D is the one supplement shown to protect against the common cold in all age groups. You can find vitamin d in dairy and cereals but a free way to get Vitamin D is to go out in the sun for 10-30 minutes a day.   Vitamin C is good too, but you can’t just drink a bunch of OJ at the first sign of a cold, it has to be consistent supplementation for 3-4 months to make a difference in the severity and length of a cold.  The ideal scenario is to use Vitamin C and D together all winter but if you can only 1 thing, remember good old sunshine!
  • Hospital Grade Disinfectant – You probably already own Lysol disinfectant but did you know there’s a hospital grade version? It’s a little bit more expensive but is proven to kill Norovirus (the gross stomach flu) in addition to other germs and bacteria.
  • Get Your Flu Shot as Early as Possible:  Receiving the flu vaccine before flu season is a pre-emptive strike against the flu. An added benefit is the protection the flu vaccine gives your infant. According to the CDC, one study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.
  • Get the COVID vaccine: To protect yourself and those too young or medically unable, please get the covid vaccine. The vaccine lessens the symptoms of covid and can prevent hospitalization. This helps you, but also helps keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Mask up when appropriate as well.

Visit our Amazon shop for products that are proven to help minimize the effects of colds and flu.  What helps you stay healthy? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

The flu peaks between December and February so we’re almost out on Valentine’s Day!

The Flu Shot Facts vs Fake News

Updated August 1, 2023 – Did you know the flu shot has been around since 1960? Building on the success of targeted flu vaccines, annual flu shots were first recommended and used in children age 6 – 23 months old starting in 2002. Our resident experts, Public Health Nurse and Infection Prevention Specialist, Laura Hegarty-Moore and Rachel Wolf, RN dispel common myths in The Flu Shot Facts vs Fake News, below.

Why is it important to get your flu vaccine?

  • Protecting Newborns and Infants – Every year there are about 36,000 deaths attributed to the flu. This statistic can be difficult to estimate due to having the flu at the same time as other issues such as underlying health conditions or age. And while we typically think of the elderly when we consider age as a factor in illness, newborns and infants also a vulnerable population due to their still-developing immune systems. The flu shot can help protect our oldest and youngest loved ones.
  • Reduced Severity of Illness – You might still catch the flu, but if you’ve been vaccinated, the vaccine gives at least partial protection, meaning fewer days of feeling unwell and a reduced likelihood of serious complications. Less severe illness also keeps our healthcare systems from becoming overburdened, which helps all of us.
  • The “Tripledemic” – Yes, COVID is still around. And yes, RSV is on the rise in babies and toddlers. Flu, COVID-19, and RSV are all respiratory viruses and will be spreading at the same time and it is possible to have illnesses at the same time. While the best prevention is to stay away from those who may be sick, the flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu, which reduces your chances of coming down with a potentially serious double illness.
Toddlers can take the flu mist if they don’t like shots!

What about babies?

It’s recommended that everyone age 6 months and older get the flu shot. Before 6 months, babies’ immune systems are not mature enough for this vaccine. The flu mist, which is the nasal spray version of the vaccine is approved for people 2 years through 49 years of age.

You can keep yourself and your newborn protected even more by following these tips from our night nurses on remaining healthy during cold and flu season as well. Hand washing, staying hydrated and creating a barrier from germs can all help you help your baby.

The Flu Shot Facts vs Fake News – Can the flu shot give me the flu?

No. This is a myth. The flu vaccine is not capable of giving you the flu.

Flu vaccines are made with either inactivated (killed) virus, attenuated (weakened) virus, or recombinant (only a single protein from the virus is used) virus. These viruses and particles are no longer infectious.

Some people do get mild symptoms after the flu vaccine such as low grade, fever, headache, and muscle aches. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Your immune system is building a response (a good thing!).
  • Influenza viruses are circulating at this time, so you may have been exposed to flu shortly before or after becoming vaccinated. It takes your body two weeks after vaccination to build up protection against the flu.
  • You may have also been exposed to one of the many other seasonal respiratory viruses out there, such as rhinovirus, commonly known as the cold virus.

While these symptoms are annoying, they’re considerably less severe than the actual flu illness and are not contagious.

The Flu Shot Facts vs Fake News

The Flu Shot Facts vs Fake News – When is the best time to get the flu shot?

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, the best time to get it is now! The ideal time to get the flu shot is about two weeks before flu season begins which is mid to late Fall. So, early-mid September is a good time to get vaccinated, but you can get one anytime.

Remember that some babies and children need two doses of the flu vaccine to keep them safe from flu. These doses occur 4 weeks apart. And while newborns cannot receive the vaccine, it’s recommended for babies 6 months and older.

What about pregnant women? Is it safe for them to get the flu shot?

Absolutely! The flu vaccine has been proven safe to take during pregnancy. In fact, studies show that in addition to protecting the pregnant mom, receiving the flu vaccine during pregnancy can protect the newborn from flu for several months after birth, when baby is too young to get a flu shot.

Laura Hegarty-Moore, Public Health RN says: Pregnant women, children, and babies are at increased risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from flu. You could be saving your baby’s life by getting the flu vaccine while pregnant! I am currently pregnant and I was one of the first in line for my flu shot at the clinic this year!

Can I be contagious with flu before symptoms develop? What about after symptoms are gone?

Yes, you can be contagious with flu 1 day before symptoms start. You’re still considered contagious for 7 days after symptoms start and up until symptoms resolve. For example, even if your symptoms went away after 5 days, you can still be contagious for at least 2 more days! Young children and people who have weak immune systems can be contagious for even longer.  This is why it’s also important that anyone caring for your little one is vaccinated as well.

4 Fantastic Baby Tips You Might Not Know

Being a new parent is a continual learning experience, and tips and tricks from those who have “been there done that” can make the journey a little bit easier.  Here are 4 Fantastic Baby Tips You Might Not Know; actionable solutions to common infant challenges from our team because we’re all in this together.

4 Fantastic Baby Tips You Might Not Know

1. Milk of Magnesia is a great cure for diaper rash

Our nurses swear by this trick!  Milk of Magnesia is non-toxic and safe to use in the diaper region (even if it gets into the folds on female babies.) First, clean diaper region and pour milk of magnesia over diaper rash.  Then, close up diaper and wait five minutes. Afterwards, open diaper back up and apply regular ointment.  Do not rinse or wipe off the milk of magnesia when you apply.  Apply it right on top. It’s okay if it looks white and cake, that means it’s working! At the next diaper change, use a warm wash cloth to rinse and wipe the diaper region, dry, and start the process again.

2. Keep reflux babies to their left side when changing their diapers

When trying to soothe a baby who has reflux, positioning is so important. The traditional diaper change position where baby is on their back and the caregiver lifts the legs is uncomfortable for a baby with reflux because it crunches their digestive organs and encourages fluid to go back up instead of down.  Instead, position baby on the left side to change diapers. As the National Institute of Health has noted, To date the only non-pharmacological intervention proven to reduce reflux is the positioning of infants on their left side after feeding.

You can also wear your baby in an upright carrier to soothe reflux…let gravity do its job and keep the liquid from coming back up. Speaking of baby carriers…

3. Babywearing helps your baby’s development!

There are many benefits of babywearing but one of them as La Lache League points out is that the face to face contact of wearing your baby “facilitates bonding...leading to frequent verbal and non-verbal interaction, enhancing speech and social development. Additionally allowing babies to face outward allows them to see and experience the world around them!

4. Reduce the risk of SIDS with a fan

Running a fan in the room where baby is sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS by over 70%. It can be a ceiling fan, a box fan or an oscillating fan. Anything that keeps air moving and the room ventilated has been proven to be an effective intervention for further decreasing SIDS risk.

For more tricks and tips from experts please visit our Baby Tip of the Day, where we post the advice from baby nurses (RN), night nannies and other newborn care experts. If you have one to add let us know on Facebook or Insta!