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The most wonderful “gut feeling”

Anticipation is known as the greatest joy. That is why, right from when you start trying for a baby and in the first days of your pregnancy, we offer you our full support for your body and your baby in the form of valuable information and products. Enjoy discovering them all.

[Translate to South Africa:] Everything you need to know about childbirth

Everything you need to know about childbirth

How do I know when I am having contractions, what type of birth is best suited to me, who will help me? Answers to this will help you with the process of childbirth.

Preparing for childbirth

Antenatal classes can be of great help and are open to mothers from around the 20th week of pregnancy. The focus is more on preparing yourself physically and mentally for the big event rather than training for childbirth. You learn the correct way to breathe during contractions and techniques for coping with the new experiences your body is going through. You can talk to experienced midwives or doctors to help overcome any uncertainties or fears you may have. Your partner can also come with you to most of the classes.

The initial stages of childbirth

Signs that you are going into labour include your waters breaking, bleeding and regular contractions. These are contractions of the womb triggered by hormones. If the contractions continue over the course of an hour at intervals of between five and ten minutes, it is time to make your way to the hospital or birth centre or to call your midwife if you have opted for a home birth.

The childbirth process

The entire process of childbirth can be divided into three phases. The first phase is often the longest and is when the uterine orifice opens to its full extent. The contractions are weak to begin with, with long intervals between them. This is followed by the second phase of labour when the long awaited event finally happens - your child is born. The final stage of labour lasts until the placenta is discharged along with the umbilical cord and the amnion. Then you can rest and bask in the joys of parenthood.

Pain relief during childbirth

Everyone knows that childbirth can be painful - even extremely painful. This depends largely on what course the birth takes and the individual pain threshold of the mother. We do know, however, that an exact knowledge of the childbirth process helps reduce the pain. So find out in good time about the various pain treatment options available to you during childbirth. The pain relief available ranges from homeopathic remedies, relaxation techniques and acupuncture, right through to injected pain killers and epidural anaesthesia (peridural anaesthesia or PDA for short). Whatever you decide, you should make sure that your wishes are taken seriously – whether you want to do without painkillers completely or want the pain to be taken away right from the start.

Selecting the place of birth

Childbirth is an individual process, which is influenced by a range of factors - including the place of birth. Take your time to find the right place for you. Ask about the various childbirth options and aids available such as the birthing chair, wall bars and water births, the types of Caesarean section used, the type of breastfeeding counselling available after birth, as well as puerperium care. You basically have a choice between a home birth in familiar surroundings, a birth centre run by midwives with a homely atmosphere or a hospital birth, with the advantage of medical facilities on-hand. The latter is the best option if you have experienced complications during pregnancy or for multiple births.

Baby’s first feed

The sucking and swallowing reflex of your newborn baby reaches its peak up to two hours after birth. If you hold your baby in your arms, its sense of smell will help it find your breast and the best baby food in the world. Crying also helps this process. It releases hormones which are essential for breastfeeding. Fear and stress can also make breastfeeding impossible for both mother and child. So take your time and make sure you receive a good breastfeeding consultation. In many hospitals, breastfeeding consultation already forms an integral part of puerperium care. Even if it doesn't work right away, experience shows that practically every mother can breastfeed. So there’s nothing to worry about.

Understanding your baby

Your newborn child is an individual. It will kick, cry, sleep and be hungry whenever and for however long it likes. In order to build a strong bond with your baby, it is important that you get to know each other. The best way to do this is to spend lots of time together right from the start. Soon you will be able to read your baby's different bodily signals and noises. And your baby will also be able to tell from your touch and tone of voice how you are feeling. If you understand each other, breastfeeding often goes more smoothly too.

Midwife finder

You should organise puerperium care with a midwife as soon as possible for the period after your baby is born. The midwife will be able to advise you on breastfeeding, as well as monitoring the post-birth vaginal discharge and the reforming of the womb. Midwives can also give you lots of tips on how best to handle your newborn baby. If you choose to breastfeed, you are entitled to home visits from a midwife for up to a year. A list of midwives is available from your doctor or the maternity hospital.

These fit to this phase of life

[Translate to South Africa:] shopping planner for pregnant women

Shopping Planner

To make sure you have everything you need at home and can focus entirely on your new family.

What do I need in my hospital bag?

You never know how things will turn out. That's why it’s always best to pack a bag for your stay in hospital before your baby is due to be born. In addition to personal hygiene products, we also recommend:

  • 2 shirts or long T-shirts for during contractions
  • 1 flannel
  • Dressing gown or long cardigan
  • Nightgowns which unbutton at the front (make it easier to breastfeed) or a breastfeeding T-shirt
  • Boil-proof knickers
  • Breastfeeding bra, nursing pads
  • Slippers, flip-flops
  • Your favorite music or audio-books
  • Outside clothes suitable for the time of year for the journey home
  • and last but not least, biscuits, fruit or similar for the father-to-be or other loved ones accompanying you to the hospital

For baby's journey home:

  • 1 babygro
  • 1 little jacket
  • Warm socks
  • 2 nappies
  • 1 romper
  • 1 set of outdoor gear with hat
  • portable child car seat

You should also have the following on hand:

  • Maternity log
  • Identity card/passport
  • Marriage certificate, birth certificates for unmarried couples
  • Family record book

Sounds like a lot? No need to worry - even if you're not perfectly organised, your baby doesn't enter the world with a ready-packed bag either.

What things should I have in the house before the baby is born?

No need for stress - you don't have to welcome your baby home with a freshly painted, comfortably furnished nursery. It is much more important that you spend time with your child and are able to focus completely on its well-being. This works best if your home is arranged practically:

  • Baby changing unit at the right height
  • Bath fixture for changing and washing your baby at the same time.
  • Washable changing mat
  • Cot with suitable mattress and at least 2 sheets
  • 1-2 sleeping bags suitable for the time of year
  • Heater for the baby changing area
  • A mobile bassinet or cradle for the first few months

You will need the following for going on trips:

  • A pram complete with a bag or carrying tray and protection against the sun and rain (ideally TÜV tested)
  • Baby car seat and car sunblind
  • warmer Fell- oder Fleece-Sack für den Kinderwagen (je nach Jahreszeit)
  • Baby changing bag containing all your baby paraphernalia such as nappies, baby oil etc.

How much care does a baby's skin need?

Your baby's delicate skin needs lots of care and attention, particularly in the first few months. The best thing (for the environment too) is still a flannel and warm water. The basic equipment you will need to care for your baby also includes:

  • Nappies (smallest size)
  • Nourishing oil wipes, powder and rash cream
  • Nappy pail with lid
  • Baby bath
  • Bath thermometer
  • 2 towels (ideally with a hood)
  • Baby oil or baby lotion for after bathing
  • Soft brush
  • Baby nail cutters
  • 4-6 soft flannels
  • 6-8 bibs (e.g. muslin cloths)
  • Sterile compresses for treating the navel area

What is important for breastfeeding and drinking?

Breastfeeding is best for your baby - and with a little help usually works like clockwork. Nevertheless, despite their best attempts, there are times when a mother simply cannot breastfeed. For times such as these, it is important to always have a bottle at home and if possible to pump the breast milk for your baby. This check list contains everything you will need in the first few months:

  • Several breastfeeding bras
  • Nursing pads
  • Breastfeeding cushion
  • 1-2 milk and tea bottles
  • 3-4 teats (silicon or latex in size 1)
  • Breast pump if required (so you can feed your baby valuable breast milk from the bottle in emergencies)
  • Bottle brush
  • Baby food warmer for bottles and baby cups as your baby gets older
  • Steriliser for the microwave
  • 1-2 soothers (size 1, to satisfy the strong urge to suck even between breastfeeding)

What clothes does a baby wear?

Buying clothes for babies is fun – also for relatives and friends. You will probably receive lots of cute outfits for your baby. The best thing is to create a list which covers also the practical things. In the first months, for example, your baby grows very quickly and therefore clothes should be bought slightly too big. Additionally, your baby loves soft and natural materials such as cotton. Very important for you: To prevent your baby‘s skin from having contact to pollutants wash all clothes twice before letting your baby wear them. Necessary for the first weeks are:

  • 6-8 small bodysuits – best with buttons or to tie at the sides
  • 6-8 shirts with long sleeves
  • 6-8 romper suits with and without sleeves
  • 4 tights
  • 3-4 pairs of socks (also thick ones)
  • 1 warm jacket (depending on the season)
  • 2 caps (thick and thin)
  • 2 light baby blankets for wrapping
  • 3-4 baby pyjamas with handy flap for nappy changing

How many toys does my baby need in the beginning?

When you are expecting and full of anticipation it is hard to stay away from cute cuddly toys and other baby toys. Even though your newborn won‘t be able to play with them right from the beginning on. However he can perceive sounds and movements and soon even bright colours. For the first stimulations we suggest

  • 1-2 mobiles for the changing table
  • 1 musical box
  • 1-2 cuddly toys which are tightly knitted
  • 1 grip toy

These fit to this phase of life