Week 39 of Your Pregnancy
At 39 weeks, your baby is waiting to meet its loving family! It is the size of a small watermelon, though boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls. Before meeting your baby, find out why breastfeeding is recommended over infant formula, and how to keep a healthy breastfeeding diet.
All babies are different in size, but your baby would measure right about 36cm and weigh around 3kg¹. With just a week or so to D-Day, the umbilical cord, which connects your baby to your placenta, has grown in length too, and now measures around 51cm1.
Any how many bones will your baby be born with? If you guessed 300, you are absolutely right! By adulthood, some of these bones will fuse together to become 2061 bones. Your baby’s brain will also continue to develop rapidly after birth.
Planning for Confinement
Confinement is believed to be important as it allows your body to recuperate and recover from childbirth. It is believed that when a woman delivers, her pores are open and she is more susceptible to catching a cold! (Motherhood) This is why you may be told to stay indoors, keep warm and refrain from showering in some cultures. (CNN) Depending on your culture, your confinement period may range from 30 to 44 days.
If you’ve got a fabulous mother, mother-in-law or sister to help you along during confinement, count yourself lucky! Otherwise, short of hiring a confinement lady, here are some tips for you if you wish to take matters into your own hands.
First of all, discuss with your partner on all the possible things you may need help with and from whom you can ask for assistance. Be sure to note down alternatives in case your first options fail, and delegate these tasks ahead of time!
Next, ensure that your confinement is planned in a way that allows you to rest as much as you can. If possible, get help with household chores such as cooking, washing the dishes and cleaning the house. If you have other children, get help on looking after them as well!
Finally, enjoy bonding with your newborn through breastfeeding or activities such as bathing or dressing your child. Don’t forget hubby and your other children too! Something as simple as a hug or a kiss will mean the world to them.
Breast Milk: Complex Support for Baby’s Development
Breast milk puts babies on the right start to life! This is because it provides a balanced combination of all the nourishment they need, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats including LCPs (long-chain polyunsaturated fats), nucleotides, prebiotics, vitamins, minerals and antibodies.
By drinking breast milk, your baby will be in a better position to resist illnesses, such as ear infections. Since breastfeeding is more easily digested than formula, your baby will also be less constipated and gassy. Besides raising your child’s intelligence, breast milk also reduces your child’s risk of developing asthma, diabetes, cholesterol and lymphoma. (WebMD)
Plus, breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding activity with your baby! Picture the magical moment as your baby starts suckling – it marks the start of a very beautiful mother-child relationship!
Keeping a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
Many new mums wonder if they should make changes to their diet while breastfeeding. The good news is, even if you are not eating healthily, your breast milk will still meet your baby’s nutritional needs. However, to prevent your body from drawing on its reserves, eat a variety of fresh and nutritious foods to maintain a strong and healthy milk supply!
Variety and balance are key to a healthy diet. To stay energetic and healthy, include the following in your breastfeeding diet²:
- A variety of at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day
- Protein from lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts
- At least 2 portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt, ideally reduced-fat varieties
Breast milk carries flavours from your diet, which helps your baby adapt when they are weaned onto solids³. If you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, it’s likely that your baby will too⁴.
Quick Snack Tips
Add the following foods to your shopping list!
- Nuts and seeds (unsalted)
- Wholegrain bread
- Milk, yogurt and yogurt drinks (unsweetened)
- Snacking portions of your favourite vegetables e.g. carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes
¹ Deans A. Your New Pregnancy Bible, The experts’ guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. 4th ed. London: Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited, 2013. p.50.
² Gandy J (Ed). Manual of Dietetic Practice, 5th Edition. Wiley Blackwell. UK. 2014 pp.237-238.
³ Cooke L, Fildes A. The impact of flavour exposure in utero and during milk feeding on food acceptance at weaning and beyond. Appetite 2011;57(3): 808- 114.
⁴ Robinson S, Marriott L, Poole J, et al. Dietary patterns in infancy: the importance of maternal and family influences on feeding practice. The British journal of nutrition 2007;98(5): 1029
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Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.