Top Four Ways to Survive the First Weeks after Baby Comes Home

The nursery is decorated with coordinating colors and fabrics, miniature clothes hang in what now appears to be an oversize closet and an overflow of recommended supplies are at the ready. Parents eagerly anticipate the birth of their child, and now this precious baby has appeared on the scene. Even with all of the classes attended, books read and purchases made, many new parents find themselves feeling overwhelmingly underprepared for the first few weeks after delivery.

The Overlake Mom & Baby Care Center is here to assist new families navigate these weeks and months after delivery. Our top four tips for easing the first few weeks after baby comes are:

1. Accept the help you’re offered and ask for more. This is the time to call in any and all favors. Whether it is housecleaning, errands, watching siblings or bringing meals, don’t refuse assistance. Sleep deprivation tends to cloud judgment, and though you may think you can “do it all,” you don’t need to.

2. Rest. The laundry can wait, housekeeping can wait, thank-you notes can wait. What you need is to rest. Rest is required for you to recover both physically and emotionally. We’ve all heard “sleep when the baby sleeps.” As hard as it is to actually do that, it will really help you in the middle of the night when baby decides it is play time. This often requires limiting visitors unless they are offering help, which can be difficult but necessary.

3. Have your supplies ready. You have prepared for your baby, but have you prepared for yourself?

• Feminine pads are a must. You will continue to bleed for some time after baby is born, and tampons are not allowed.

• Use witch-hazel pads to relieve pain and swelling.

• Stock up on nursing pads, at least two comfort bras, nipple cream and a “My Brest Friend” nursing pillow.

• Visit the Mom & Baby Care Center boutique for all of these items, bra fittings, advice and more.

4. Ask a professional for advice. At the Mom & Baby Care Center, we offer professional lactation assistance for as long as it is needed so that you can meet your goals for breastfeeding your baby. Our RN International Board Certified Lactation Consultant staff is ready to work alongside you as you gain confidence and skills breastfeeding.

When you deliver your baby at Overlake Medical Center, a postpartum appointment is scheduled for both you and baby before you leave the hospital. This very comprehensive appointment is part of the service provided to you at Overlake, at no additional cost.

Becoming a parent can be equally exciting and overwhelming. Our hope is that we can assist you through the challenges and share in your excitement. To make an appointment, find out about classes or support groups, call the Overlake Mom & Baby Care Center at 425.688.5389.

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How to Protect Your Family This Flu Season

It’s that time of year again. Yes, pumpkin spice latte season! And, on a more serious note, it is also flu season. Flu (Influenza) is a contagious virus that infects thousands of people each year.  If you are pregnant or have recently given birth, you’ll want to pay attention to the flu. Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant and postpartum women; and children under 5 are particularly susceptible to medical complications from it.

A flu shot is your best protection 

• Women can get a flu shot any time during pregnancy or after birth, even if they’re breastfeeding.
• The flu shot has been safely given to millions of pregnant women over many years. However, pregnant women should not receive the nasal spray vaccine.
• Getting a flu shot during pregnancy helps protect babies for up to six months after birth – the time when babies cannot get vaccinated against flu and are particularly vulnerable.

What about the options for newborns?

Influenza vaccines are not recommended for anyone under 6 months of age. The best way to keep your youngest family member safe is for the rest of the family to get vaccinated.

• All caregivers and household members of pregnant or postpartum women and newborns should get vaccinated. It will help protect the pregnant mother and the new infant once baby is born.

Antiviral medication can treat the flu

• Prompt treatment with antiviral medication is important. If a pregnant or postpartum woman gets sick with flu-like symptoms, she should call her doctor right away. Early treatment can lessen symptoms. Antiviral treatment can be started even before influenza is confirmed.

Want more info?

The Department of Health has developed a bilingual Frequently Asked Questions about Flu Vaccine and Pregnancy page that addresses common concerns and inquiries. For additional flu information, visit the Department of Health or CDC websites.

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Overlake Nurse Wins March of Dimes Award

Congratulations to Margie Bridges, MN, ARNP, RNC-OB – our very own perinatal clinical nurse specialist – who won Education Nurse of the Year at the 2015 Washington March of Dimes Award Ceremony.

“She is always trying to improve the care and the experience of her patients, as well as improving the understanding and skill levels of all nurses, providers and nursing-related professionals,” said those who nominated Margie for the award. “She not only walks the walk and talks the talk, she lives, eats and breathes nursing education.”

Way to go, Margie!  Your dedication, grace and perseverance is an inspiration to us all.

We also applaud our other Overlake colleagues who were nominated for a March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award:

  • Jessica Finch, RN, BSN, CCRN, Critical Care Unit – nominated for Front Line Leader
  • Elizabeth Hildreth, RN, MSN, patient advocate – nominated for Advocacy of Patients
  • Linda Iraola, RN, CCU, CCRN, Critical Care Unit – nominated for Critical Care Nurse
  • Jamilie Kheriaty, RN, Mother Baby Unit – nominated for Advocacy for Patients
  • Kathryn Ordon, BSN, RN, South 4 – nominated for Rising Star
  • Sandy Salmon, RN, MSN, IBCLC, Mother Baby Unit – nominated for Education
  • Alyson Willard, BSN, RN, C-EFM, Labor & Delivery Unit – nominated for Front Line Leader

Congratulations to everyone for your enduring dedication!


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Celebrating Nurse Practitioner Week

The week of November 8 through 14 we celebrate the contribution nurse practitioners give each day caring for individuals across all generations. The first nurse practitioner started at the University of Colorado 50 years ago. Now 50 years later, over 200,000 practicing nurse practitioners provide essential care as independent licensed professionals. Overlake is thankful to have nurse practitioners in our childbirth center and throughout our hospital.  Congratulations on the last 50 years!

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Extra Nutrition for Preemies from Human Milk

Update: Overlake’s use of Prolacta was recently in the news! Click here to view King5’s story and here for the Bellevue Reporter’s coverage.

Did you know the typical full-term baby triples their birth weight by one year of age? Babies born prematurely may need to gain up to 10 times their birth weight by one year of age to reach ideal growth standards that promote the best neurodevelopmental outcomes. Babies get the bulk of their nutrient stores in the last trimester of pregnancy by placental transfer from mom.

Babies that come early miss out on this critical time to build body stores of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals-  babies accumulate >75% of the calcium and phosphorus needed for bone development in this last trimester.

While breast milk provides ideal and complete nutrition for full-term babies that got all their nutrient stores, preemies need to have mom’s milk fortified to get the extra nutrients. Commercial preterm formulas and fortifiers provide safe and adequate nutrition for preemies but contain none of the immune-enhancing factors available in human milk.  Research has also shown cow’s milk based products increase the risk for necrotizing enterocolitis in the smallest and most premature infants. NEC is a condition that causes the bowel to deteriorate, which can lead to serious complications and result in long hospital stays.

Now Prolacta Bioscience has developed a human milk fortifier derived from human milk. Donor milk, from moms who have surplus, is concentrated under sterile lab conditions and fortified with pharmaceutical grade minerals. This small volume concentrate can then be added to mom’s milk to deliver an all human milk diet providing ideal preemie nutrition for babies less than 1250 g (2.75 pounds).

Overlake’s NICU has added Prolacta fortifiers to its nutrition products available to help tiny preemies grow. Dr. Shilpi Chabra, Overlake’s NICU medical director, says she’s “pleased to be able to offer this fortifying option to our most vulnerable and fragile preemies.”

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Have you taken your multivitamin with folic acid today?

Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that works to help the body maintain and produce new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. It is especially important for ALL women who are able to get pregnant to have sufficient folic acid supplementation. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid is recommended, even if you don’t plan on getting pregnant and/or are using birth control.

Why? Over half of all pregnancies in the United States are NOT planned, which leaves 51% of all pregnancies at risk of birth defects of the brain and spine that can happen in the very early stages of pregnancy, often before pregnancy is known. Folic acid supplementation is an easy intervention that can prevent major birth defects and promote a healthy pregnancy. For these reasons, every woman of childbearing age (15-45 years old) needs a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day!

Most standard multivitamins have at least 400mcg of folic acid; check the label on the bottle to be sure. An over-the-counter generic multivitamin, in addition to a balanced diet, will provide assurance that the woman is obtaining adequate amounts of essential nutrients and of folic acid.ˡ Help spread the word to promote the public health of childbearing women, as 50-70% of neural tube defects can be prevented with adequate folic acid supplementation PRIOR to pregnancy.

Source: ˡ; The National Preconception Curriculum and Resources Guide for Clinicians

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2015 NICU Reunion

21-IMG_0891In spite of both rain and a Seahawks’ loss,the third annual NICU Reunion on September 13 was a great success! Thirty families – 105 attendees – joined NICU staff and volunteers. Nearly half of the attendees were children(50 total), with the graduates ranging in age from 5 ½ months to 6 years of age, including seven sets of twins! The graduates and their siblings toured a fire truck, jumped in a bounce house, made Fruit Loop necklaces, frosted cookies and played in kinetic sand. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the reunion a smooth-running operation: our own NICU staff, Overlake employees, and students from both Redmond High School and Holy Name. –Lynne Saunders

The staff (me included) were so glad to see a large number of our “graduates” at our annual NICU graduate reunion. For me (and I believe I speak for all of us who work in the NICU), it is rewarding to see the babies and children doing so well. I recognize that having a baby in the NICU is a stressful time; and while preparing a premature baby for discharge can also be unsettling, it is gratifying for me to see how families thrive at home. Sometimes children go home needing specific follow up from the community health nurse, nutrition clinic, specialty medical services or the occupational therapist, so it is also rewarding to see firsthand that these community services make such a positive change in the lives of our graduates. –Linda Eagan

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Feeding you, while you feed your baby

Breastfeeding gives your baby the best food available for growth and nutrition but can raise questions about your nutrition. How much do you need to eat? Are there foods you should eat? Foods to avoid? And how does your diet affect your baby? These are great questions to ask and though every mom and baby is unique, there are some principles to follow for best results:

  • You do need extra calories and fluids. It takes 400-500 additional calories for you to make milk and keep your energy levels high enough to care for your new baby. Remember these calories should come from nutritionally rich foods. A sandwich made with whole grain bread, lean meat and veggies works great. Drink to thirst and remain well hydrated. Lots of moms report that their milk supply is impacted by their hydration level.
  • Eat a variety of foods, your baby will get used to different tastes and smells and may even be more apt to explore many foods when she begins solids. Protein, iron and calcium are essential building blocks for your milk so all of those healthy choices you made during pregnancy should continue with an assortment of lean proteins, whole grains, washed fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy throughout the day. Most physicians recommend that you keep taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding.
  • Avoid fish that has high mercury levels. Mercury can pass through breast milk so, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish should be avoided. Moderate amounts (2-3 cups of coffee/day) of caffeine are usually tolerated by babies through breast milk. Some babies may experience agitation and sleep disturbances so, be ready to eliminate caffeine if needed.

If you suspect that a food you are eating is causing your baby to be uncomfortable, eliminate it from your diet for 2-3 weeks. If your baby improves you will want to avoid it for a couple of months before you try again. If your baby does not improve, call for help. Your pediatric provider or a lactation consultant can guide you through these often challenging times.

Remember, there’s no need to go on a special diet while you’re breast-feeding. Try to make healthy choices — you and your baby will both benefit.

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A Shot of Prevention- Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in the normal clotting of blood.  A baby who does not have enough Vitamin K can start to bleed suddenly, anywhere in their bodies and without warning. This is known as Vitamin K deficiency bleeding, and can lead to brain damage or even death.

Babies are born with very small amounts of vitamin K, and all Babies are at higher risk for bleeding until they start to eat regular foods, at which time the intestinal bacteria starts making vitamin K.

Why don’t babies have enough?

  • Before birth very little vitamin K crosses from the mother to the baby through the placenta, even if the mom takes vitamins and eats vitamin K rich foods.
  • After birth breast milk does not provide enough vitamin K, even if the mom supplements her diet with Vitamin K.

How do babies the Vitamin K they need?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies receive an injection of vitamin K shortly after birth, as it very effective in protecting newborns against bleeding.  Giving a Vitamin K injection at birth has been routine for more than five decades — since it was first recommended in 1961. At Overlake’s Childbirth Center we recommend this as a standard practice for your baby!

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Scheduled for Induction? Here’s What to Expect…

So you’ve just made it to 39 weeks, you’ve finished up your childbirth classes and your bag is packed. You’re counting the days until contractions begin and you can head into the hospital, excitedly awaiting the arrival of your baby. Just like the movies right? But then your doctor or midwife tells you that you need an induction. What!?! That definitely wasn’t in your birth plan. So what does this mean and what can you expect?

Why Induce?

At Overlake we follow evidenced-based guidelines that dictate NOT inducing unless it’s medically necessary. This means if your provider wants to induce labor there’s a very good reason for it. Some common reasons for induction include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, fetal growth restriction, low amniotic fluid levels, post-date gestation (over 41 weeks), etc.

How long will it take?

When the date for your induction comes around, plan for a very long day (or two!!). If your cervix isn’t dilated (or favorable) and this is your first baby, expect that you’ll spend many hours on the Labor & Delivery Unit. Bring something to keep you entertained – books, magazines, iPad, snacks (if your provider allows food). And of course, bring your labor bag in with you – you’ll need that too!

What will be used to induce me?

There are a few options we use at Overlake for induction. Depending on the dilation of your cervix, your provider will choose the best option for you – there’s no “one size fits all” prescription for induction. If your cervix is closed and not in the process of softening yet, your provider may need to first “ripen” your cervix or get it ready and receptive to induction medications. To ripen the cervex we sometimes use a prostaglandin medication – Cytotec or Prepidil. We occasionally use a balloon device to mechanically dilate your cervix; this is a safe and simple method without the potential side effects of medications.

If your cervix is already favorable for labor, you may only need Pitocin. Pitocin is a synthetic form of your body’s natural hormone oxytocin. We give Pitocin prudently and do our best to only give what your body needs for adequate contractions. It’s infused through an IV and is carefully titrated on an IV pump.

Key Points

The important thing to keep in mind is that this process isn’t immediate! There’s time to get settled in, meet your nurse, monitor how your baby is doing and ask questions. The majority of the time it takes hours for you to feel anything different and for labor to start. We know that this is an uncertain time for you and probably not what you were expecting. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process step-by-step. Remember, though you may not get to experience rushing to the hospital after a long night of spontaneous contractions, you will still meet your beautiful and healthy baby. That’s our most important job.

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