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Archive for December 2019

Managing Twins in the Early Months

By Jan Murray


Finding out you are having more than one baby at the same time creates all sorts of emotions, questions and physical changes for both you and your partner. But take heart, many parents have enjoyed the journey and have thrived amidst the chaos.


Once you are all home from hospital, there is no one way to do things when parenting multiples. Every baby, every parent and every family environment is individual and you do what is best for your family at the time. However, there are some basic tips and techniques that can help with the unique challenges you face. For example, if your babies are different weights or one has a health concern and the other doesn’t, you would usually need to feed them at different times or in different ways for a while. If your babies have different temperaments that require different settling techniques, you will learn what technique works best. Managing these issues in the early days is easier with an extra pair of hands but if you don’t have anyone to help, make it easy for yourself by using gadgets such as swings, a light stroller for moving the babies around in the house, dummies and rockers. Carry slings are a wonderful investment, even with twins. Wear an unsettled twin or when two adults are available, use two slings and go for a walk.

Low birth-weight babies (as multiples often are) may have difficulty regulating their temperature and have minimal subcutaneous fat layers to keep them warm. Therefore, ensure rooms are warm (around 24°C) and that you have plenty of suits and bedding made of natural fibres. Synthetic materials trap in heat and can cause overheating.


Buy plenty of nappies! Your babies will need nappy changes every two to five hours. You could be looking at a hundred to a hundred and twenty nappies per week or 5,000-6,000 per year. In fact, why not put in a request for packs of nappies or reusable nappy pants and liners (in a variety of sizes) for your baby shower?

Large swaddling wraps of 100 per cent cotton are an excellent tool for establishing good sleeping patterns during the early months. Your babies will generally be happy sleeping together in the same cot or ‘co-sleeper attachment’ until around four months old but you can have them in separate bassinettes from day one if you choose. Have them sleep in your bedroom, or close by, in the early months as you will be up several times feeding overnight. Avoid the babies developing cranial flat spots by changing what side of each other they sleep on or sit on when in the stroller.

When breastfeeding, you may need to support and position babies on a pillow while they are small. A pillow will also take the strain off your wrists, arms, back, and shoulders. It is usually easier to master the art of breastfeeding one baby at a time before trying tandem feeding, which is where both babies feed at the same time. A couch, bed or floor provides the most space for this type of feeding. Some babies swap breasts and some stay on the same side. With multiples it is best to seek professional lactation advice during the early days of feeding as good attachment and feeding comfort is vital for the ongoing success of breastfeeding.

Bathing twins in the same bath is impossible to perform safely on your own. If you are bathing them alone, the easiest and safest spot would be on the floor or a large dining room table or kitchen bench (before they can roll),and have all the bathing items at your fingertips. You could bath babies one after the other at the same time each day or every few days. You could also bath one baby at a time after different feeds each day or on alternate days. Your personal hygiene is also important but some days you may not get a shower and actually end up staying in your pj’s all day! Other days you’ll get organised and grab a shower before your partner goes to work or during the babies’ first morning sleep.

You are your babies’ first and most important teacher but don’t worry if you feel you don’t have time. Attending to their needs with your gentle touch, warm smile and soothing voice says a lot but if it all becomes too difficult, seek professional advice from your GP. Your babies need you to be healthy.


The first months home from hospital are going to be tough. Parenting multiples can be an overwhelming responsibility so there will probably be crying from you as well as your babies. Join the local Multiple Birth Association for support and accept any offers of help. Don’t just say thanks for the offer. Pin offers of help down to a time and action something straight away. Employ help if you can and give yourself time to adapt.

For more information ‘Twins & More’


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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Mimic the Womb Environment

Your newborn needs time and support to make a smooth transition from being warm and secure inside the womb to feeling comfortable and secure in the outside world. By mimicking the womb environment for a period of time most babies find this transition a lot easier.

Babies born prematurely will often need to go the extra step of sleeping in a ‘Kangaroo type’ sling next to your body for extended periods of time until they reach their original due date.

The womb can be mimicked in the following ways:

  • Warm and snug in the womb becomes swaddling  and cuddling up close out of the womb
  • Rhythmical movements from felt while inside the womb become rocking and swaying outside the womb
  • Internal womb noises of the placenta, heartbeat and bowel sounds become humming, ‘white noise’, shhhing, singing, and holding them close to your heart beat outside the womb          
  • It is important to keep your baby secure and snug as they settle to sleep Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping babies snugly in breathable material, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is restricted. A baby is born with a startle reflex which may cause them to wake during their lighter phases of sleep. Swaddling prevents this reflex occurring allowing them to sleep for longer periods. View ‘How to Swaddle a Baby’ video clip ? If you watched the video, you will see that I swaddle with baby’s arms resting on their chest rather than straight down by their side. Hands across the chest is a natural position that allows your baby to touch her face with slight movements while keeping the arms secure inside the wrap. there are many ways and alternative suggestions on how to swaddle as well as many types of wraps to choose from. What you choose is up to you (and how well a product has been marketed) but the main tips to help your baby sleep well using a wrap are:
  • Keep her tight and secure with arms in even if she at first protests
  • Use a natural breathable fabric. Synthetic material traps heat and can cause your baby to overheat.
  • Allow for slight arm movement within the wrap
  • Learn more in ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’  


This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. 

Babies First Three Months

By Jan Murray

Functioning day to day on broken sleep and often in physical discomfort in a lifestyle that is totally foreign can cause anxiety. This coupled with the overwhelming responsibility of a newborn cause’s memory glitches and decision making blips. Don’t panic – life will run smoothly again. Here are some realistic things you can anticipate while caring for your baby in the first three months.


You’ll find looking after your baby in the early months tiring or even exhausting. To help you through, accept offers of help or use paid help. Rest and put your feet up after lunch, eat well and get fresh air and a little exercise every day.

The first two weeks with your baby may be heavenly. You’ll think how perfect he is as you watch him contentedly feed, sleep and pass bodily fluids. Then the mystical three week mark arrives when this blissful life with a newborn in the house turns to chaos – your little one is growing up and becoming more alert. It is from here your baby needs more awake time – about one to one and a half hours between sleeps which includes feed time and floor play. Make sure you don’t get too love struck and keep him up too long. An overtired or overstimulated baby is very difficult to settle to sleep. It normally takes about ten to fifteen minutes for him to settle to sleep. Expect him to then sleep for one to one and a half hours. This period of sleep consists of three or more sleep cycles. Be mindful not to get him up too early. Just because the eyes are wide open when you go in and check on him doesn‘t mean he is ready to get up. It’s probably the stare that happens just before he settles back to sleep. Try not to hover and interrupt natural processes as without adequate sleep your baby is grumpy and doesn’t feed well. At night, let him wake for feeds. He may give you four to five hour stretches of sleep. If he doesn’t, don’t worry he will. Feed with low light, no interaction and stimulation and he will improve. Some bubs have night and day mixed up – sleeping in the day and waking frequently overnight. Help turn this around by waking bub regularly during the day for feeds, sleeping him in daylight areas and letting him wake on his own overnight. In total your baby will usually sleep about fifteen to sixteen hours in twenty-fours during these first few months.

Breastmilk is premium nutrition for your baby in the first three months. Unfortunately, as committed and as hard as some mums try, breast feeding ends early. Thankfully there is a variety of infant formulas when breast milk is not available. Seek professional advice before starting infant formula. Breast milk is easily digested and needs to be offered every three hours during the day. Most infant formulas are offered every four hours. The length of a breast feed is not a good indication of how much milk bub is getting. Some will suck efficiently and down enough in fifteen minutes while others take forty minutes to drink the same amount. Others feed for over an hour but are not getting much due to poor attachment. Forty-five minutes is a long enough feed, after this length of time bubs suck will not be effective enough to get much milk and he would be better off catching up on needed sleep or stimulation. Weighing your baby every couple of weeks is the best way to see if he is getting enough milk. Rumbling hungry tummies or discomfort is usually what wakes him in the early weeks. If your baby is due for a feed, don’t delay the feed fiddling around changing the nappy, start feeding and change the nappy after ten minutes when the sucking slows down. Newborns have a habit of dosing off before completing a feed.

Following feeds during the day your baby will enjoy watching you and the surroundings for a while. At six weeks, introduce bright toys, mobiles and rattles for extra stimulation at this wake time. Lay him on a soft mat on the floor on his tummy and back and not just in bouncers and rockers. Give nappy free time for air and sun kicks. This activity is important to tire him before a sleep.

Watch for at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period. Poo can vary between fifteen times a day to one every three to five days or even once every ten days in totally breast fed bubs. Infant formula fed babies need to have a bowel motion every day or two as they risk constipation.

How to give your baby a bath

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. For more online resources visit


Cleaning Newborn Sensitive Bits

By Jan Murray

Your newborn is tougher than you think but there are a few sensitive areas that need to be handled with a little more care. These include the ears, eyes, nose, umbilical stump, and genitals.

Cleaning the ears

Earwax is formed in the outer ear canal and travels towards the outer ear edges with jaw movement. Ear wax is assists in natural ear cleaning and lubrication and protects the inner ear from bacteria, fungi, water and insects. Problems of infection and impacted earwax arise if wax builds up in the inner ear canal. Therefore, clean the ears using a moistened cotton wool ball or soft wipe only around the outer ear folds and behind the ear; NEVER put a cotton bud or other narrow implement inside the ear canal as it can perforate the ear drum and push wax further in.

Cleaning the eyes

Clean the eyes using cotton wool balls or soft wipes moistened in clean water. Using a clean moistened piece for each eye, wipe the eye area from the nose edge to the outside. At times you may notice the eyes weeping and stuck together. This is referred to as ‘sticky eye’ and is not an uncommon or harmful condition and is usually due to blocked tear ducts that more often than not resolve themselves.

Cleaning sticky eyes

Eyes can remain sticky for several weeks and often months despite regular cleansing. It is important to keep the eyes cleansed. If you are breastfeeding, squirt a little milk into bubs eyes. This helps cleanse and protect the eye from infection. To help release the blocked tear duct, firmly massage the inner canthus area (inner end) of the effected eye. Always clear the eyes of built up matter before nursing and seek professional advice if the eye becomes red or discharge increases.

Clearing the nose and sneezing

Your newborn starts life as a nose breather. Therefore, it is important to keep the nose clear. He cannot blow his nose or cough effectively so he sneezes regularly to clear his air passages. Keep his nasal secretions moist to assist clearing. Do this by regular feeding and squirt a little water or normal saline up the nose. A humidifier may help keep air moist. When nasal secretions are moist, use a little rubber bulb purchased from a pharmacy or twist the end of a tissue and gently grip any matter at the base of the nose. NEVER push cotton buds (or anything for that matter) up into the nasal space.

Cleaning the umbilical stump

The umbilical cord changes in appearance and odour until the point of separation (7-10 days). It becomes darker, dryer and maybe a little offensive. Clean with a cotton tip applicator dipped in normal saline or cool boiled water and a little added sea-salt if gets contaminated with poo. When the area is inflammation, cleanse and protect the skin with a natural barrier cream. Continue to air and keep dry and seek professional advice if the area continues to weep or bleed for longer than a week after the dried cord stump has fallen off.

Cleaning boy bits

When wiping baby boy genital bits don’t forget to gently lift up the scrotum and wipe underneath. Change his diaper every three to four hours as urine or poop left in contact with skin for too long forms an acid that burns. Never pull back the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis as this can do harm. A daily bathe will keep this area clean and don’t stop self-discovery, it’s normal.

Cleaning girl privates

Baby girls’ vaginal area is delicate so avoid wiping deep into the inner vaginal folds. The white substance you’ll see is natural and stays to give added cleaning and protection. Gently hold the vaginal folds apart and wipe downwards with a soft diaper liner or cotton wool ball soaked in warm water. Avoid using treated cleansing wipes as these often aggravate delicate skin and mucosa and disrupt the natural PH balance. Change her diaper every three to four hours as urine or poop left in contact with her skin for too long forms an acid that burns. Always wipe the vaginal area in a downward direction to avoid wiping faecal matter into the short urethra. A discharge of blood streaked mucous may appear in the first six weeks. This is a pseudo-menstruation so just gently wipe it away, it’s normal.

Video Clip on how to bath a newborn . . .


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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance.

Summer with a Newborn

By Jan Murray


The Australian summer can bring extremely hot weather that lasts for months. The heat can be humid with rain or dry with wind and no rain. Whatever kind of summer you experience the effects of hot temperatures can be stressful for you and dangerous for newborns. Keeping cool yourself helps babies feel relaxed and comfortable; try cooling down with frequent quick showers and regular cold drinks.

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature like adults do, which leaves them at risk of overheating and dehydrating. Babies can become too hot internally when lost liquids are not adequately replaced. Newborns lose fluids regularly from weeing, pooing, vomiting and perspiring and the lack of liquid causes little bodies to dehydrate and overheat. When dehydration is severe the risk of heatstroke and SIDS is increased. Keep an eye on the bottom end. Newborns need to have at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period—less than six is an indication that babies are becoming dry. Newborns may poo after every feed or only every few days or so. Poo should not be hard pebbles as this is constipation and a sign of not enough fluid. Offer babies extra liquid at regular intervals during the day. Either extra short breast feeds or if using infant formula give cooled boiled water between milk feeds.

Humid, hot, and airless environments cause fungal infections to thrive. Keep a check on places such as the nappy area, under baby’s chin, between creases and folds, as well as your nipple area. You can reduce the risk of thrush developing by regularly exposing these areas to air and keeping them clean and dry; if you are breastfeeding, eating yoghurt and reducing your yeast and sugar intake can also help. When reddened areas won’t go away with these measures seek professional advice.

Skin-to-skin contact is important for newborn development but it can make you both hot and sticky. When breast feeding on steamy days, if you place a wet cloth under your arm or around the back of your neck, and a small cotton cloth between you and your baby it can make feeding a little more comfortable.

Water is cooling. Ensure babies have a sponge down with a wet cloth, bath or shower at least daily. Wet your hand or a washer with lukewarm water and regularly wipe over bubs head on really hot days. If infant skin is dry, add a little natural oil to the bath water or moisturise the skin after a bath.

While feeling hot can make anyone irritable, the heat can also make it particularly difficult for newborns to settle and go to sleep. But don’t worry, there are some things that you can do to help keep them cool. Increase airflow in the cot by using a firm cotton mattress and remove any waterproof protectors, as these hold in heat. Spread a towel over the mattress under the sheet to absorb perspiration and be sure to remove any unnecessary bedding, toys and bumpers from the cot. Use natural cotton or bamboo fabric for clothes and bedding as synthetic materials trap heat and can cause babies to overheat.

For additional cooling, if you don’t have the luxury of air-conditioning, drape wet towels and a dish of water in front of an oscillating fan. Dress babies in only a nappy and light cotton wrap to sleep. When regulating an air-conditioner, take into account their fat layers, prematurity and general health, and set temperature to around 24°C. At this heat, babies would need a loose sleep-suit and swaddling wrap and perhaps another cotton blanket over the top. If bub is too hot his head will be sweaty as this is where newborns loose heat. Because babies loose heat from the head, place their feet at the end of the cot, which allows air flow around the head—this is also in line with SIDS safe sleeping recommendations.

If your house is hot, escape in an air-conditioned car or to an air-conditioned shopping centre or library for a break. When going for a walk, avoid going between 10am and 3pm as this is when the sun is most harmful. Avoid having babies in a stroller for too long as these tend to be hot and airless. This also applies to the car restraint when the car is stopped. These contraptions can heat up very quickly and cause body temperatures to rapidly rise, which can put babies at risk of a febrile convulsion. It is also important to use UV protectors on windows and over strollers to stop the sun’s strong rays from burning delicate skin.

Enjoy summertime with your newborn but remain alert to the hazards of heat. Seek professional help if your baby has less than six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period, has dark circles under dry eyes, hot dry skin, sunken fontanels (soft spot on his head) a dry mouth and tongue or is floppy and difficult to arouse.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance.