Having a baby in the 21st century requires an entirely new set of vocabulary. The new trends of pregnancy and parenting have added to the lexicon, and there are new words popping up every day. Some are slang; others are originals. But most are things that need a lot of explanation — and grandmother will never understand.
Until a year or two ago, every thought there were only a couple of options for baby to go to sleep — crib or bassinet, maybe co-sleeping. Then a scientist threw a whole new term out there for people to debate which way is best. Breastsleeping crammed a whole new category into the mommy debate, and made more than one parent or grandparent run for the dictionary.
Dr. Spock never heard of umbilical cord burning or elimination communication, and the old volumes of What to Expect When You Are Expecting had to be updated for things like gentle C-sections and kangaroo care. Just try to drop the term "brelfie" on Nana and see what happens. It can be hard to keep up with the new terms and trends, but we've got you covered.
Here's an explanation on breastsleeping and 12 other things you never heard of before.
Most new moms are totally exhausted in the first few months of motherhood, especially if they are breastfeeding, as a breastfed baby can take months longer to sleep through the night. A new trend, though, could be the answer to getting a good night sleep. James McKenna of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame introduced the idea of breastsleeping in 2015. It basically combined breastfeeding and bed-sharing to help both mom and baby get through the night.
Bed-sharing has gotten a bad rap in recent years, with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that the baby stay in the same room but not the same bed because of the risk of suffocation or SIDS. With breastsleeping, some doctors believe the same risks are still there, but McKenna says that the two sleep lighter and are more likely to wake to avoid any tragedy. The arrangement can promote longer breastfeeding and strengthen the mother-baby bond, he says. Only time will tell if it catches on.
12 Umbilical Cord Burning
Cutting the cord used to be a rite of passage for dads during delivery, but the latest trend takes a more natural, holistic approach that can get the whole family involved. It's called umbilical cord burning, and many families who do home births are into the idea, which reinvigorates an ancient tradition.
The umbilical cord is encased in a kind of jelly that quickly melts under a flame. After the cord stops pulsing, the family gathers around and uses candles to sever it. They say it doesn't hurt and it can cauterize the blood vessels and create a plug, lowering the chance of infection or bleeding.
It's definitely a crunchy new take on cord cutting, and some people are grossed out on the idea, but others think it is a natural, interesting procedure that is less traumatic on the baby and a cool way to include siblings.
11 Placenta Smoothies
Lots of animals eat the placenta after they give birth, and recently, so have lots of human mamas. The trend, called placentophagy has been on the rise sense certain celebrities decided to try it. Some services prepare it into capsules, but some midwives and doulas go even further and cut it up and prepare it into meals.
The placenta is full of nutrients, as until the birth it was storing them to deliver to the baby through the umbilical cord. It's also full of oxygen-rich blood. Some say that those nutrients give a new mom a burst of energy. It wards off postpartum depression and can help level out hormones, so they say. And they claim it also improves the quality and quantity of breastmilk.
Placentophagy has been a tradition in some cultures, but doctors aren't convinced that it is in the best interest of new moms at this point. Some people swear by it, though, as a natural, healthy part of becoming a mom.
10 Birth Art
Artists have depicted motherhood and birth for centuries, but there is a new trend that allows any mom to get creative in depicting her experience. The art ranges from beautiful photography to gory paintings or more. Some women choose to commemorate their pregnancy with a bump cast that turns into a sculpture, and others turn their ultrasound image into a canvas or a three-dimensional sculpture.
Some paint an image onto a plate or they use the umbilical cord to make images. Some use the placenta and blood as their stencil, and others can make it into an object. One Etsy shop offers to turn it into a teddy bear. The sky is the limit to making art to deal with the emotions and passion of birth. It's a personal experience, and it can be fun or cathartic. It can help a woman to get a grip on her experience and commemorate a special moment in life.
9 Jade Eggs
Gwyneth Paltrow is back at it again with her crunchy, posh lifestyle antics. She surprised us all, though, with her latest fad. On her website Goop, she is selling jade eggs, which she swears will be great for your vagina. They are a supposed to be spiritual while also giving an extra boost to a Kegel workout. Women who are pregnant or postpartum need to be sure to practice Kegel exercises, which involve tightening and releasing pelvic floor muscles, doctors say, but they don't recommend the jade egg thing, according to recent reports.
Kegel exercises can prevent issues such as uterine prolapse, strengthen the muscles for pushing during childbirth and help with postpartum incontinence. They also are known for enhancing sexual please, and Gwyneth swears that the jade eggs take those benefits a step further, helping improve hormone balance as well while they "invigorate our life force."But the doctors say they could cause infections and they could interfere with birth control methods such as IUDs, so be careful before inserting an egg in your hooha.
8 Crowd Birthing
You may never have heard of crowd birthing, but the new trend is exactly what it sounds like. It's when you invite a crowd to witness your birth. We know it takes a village to raise a child, but when a baby is born, there are only a handful of people who actually have something to do. In fact, a couple of generations ago, the dad wasn't even allowed in the delivery room. Now, he can bring his brothers and friends.
A mom and dad need to consider ahead of time who they would like involved in the birth. Some don't mind extras on hand during labor but decide to have a more selective group for the actual delivery. Some want to include the entire family for the whole affair. Hospitals and doctors may have restrictions, especially if there are complications, but a home birth allows for unrestricted access, as long as the parents agree.
7 Gentle C-section
C-sections have gotten a bad rap in recent years, and it isn't just because moms are afraid they will be judged if they don't push their baby out. Some women's perception of a C-section is of a sterile room with cold, impersonal doctors and surgery that lays your guts out on the table while the baby is forcibly removed and taken to the nursery. But doctors are realizing that one way to remove the trauma of having to go through surgery is by making the experience more pleasant.
Now, some hospitals offer "gentle" C-sections, which can also be called "family-centered" C-sections. It is still surgery, so there is a need for sterility, but now the doctor or nurse will lower the drape to allow the mother to see the baby at the birth, and if it is safe, the mom will be allowed to do skin-to-skin contact and hold the baby right away. Sometimes, the doctor will even slow down to compress the baby as she comes out through the incision so that the chest is compressed in the same way it would be through a vaginal birth, which helps clear out the lungs.
There are still emergency situations that can preclude the options of a gentle C-section, but for some women, the new method for the procedure is a welcome change.
6 Kangaroo Care
Lots of people have heard of tiger moms in recent years, but they may have missed the trendy technique that gives a nod to another animal. Kangaroo care may have become popular in Australia, but its name really gives its due to the way that the marsupials keep their babies on their bodies to give them warmth and milk in their first few weeks or months of life.
For humans, researchers have found, putting the baby directly onto the mother's skin right after birth can not only help with warmth and nutrition in the form of breastfeeding, but it also helps the baby regulate his heartbeat and breathing. It can aid in sleep and soothe the baby when he is awake, and it can also help the parents reduce stress and even increase the milk supply. Some babies who are near death have made miraculous recoveries when their mothers practice kangaroo care, also known as skin-to-skin contact, and now it is a widely adopted practice in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
5 V Seeding
Many mothers worry that their babies could suffer because they gave birth via C-section, even though the procedure may have saved both the mom's and baby's lives. With a new wacky trend, some are trying to give a benefit to the baby by exposing them to the vaginal fluids that they missed out on when they didn't take a trek through the birth canal.
It's called "vaginal seeding," and the idea started in Australia and has grown in popularity in Britain and the United States. The fluid is put over the baby's face and body, even a little in the mouth. It's about giving the baby a sense of the microbiome of the mom, the good germs that might help in preventing disease and things such as allergies and asthma.
But health professionals aren't so sure this is a good idea. Along with the good bacteria, seeding can expose the baby to bad bacteria such as Group B Strep, which can hurt the baby. STDs are a particular worry too, so be sure to talk to a doctor before ever considering the trend.
4 Dirty Practice
Similar to the vaginal seeding, another trend is allowing babies to keep it more natural for a while after birth. Some aren't just delaying clamping the cord; they are also delaying bathing the baby. A few decades ago, the baby was immediately taken to the nursery after birth for weighing and getting cleaned up, but in more recent years, the trend has been to allow the mom and baby to bond. Usually the baby is wiped down but the bath is delayed for a few hours. The new trend, though, delays it for days.
In the womb, babies are covered in vernix, a waxy coating that is white and kind of cheese-like. It starts to rub off in the last few weeks of pregnancy, so a baby who is born a few weeks early may have a thick coating while a baby who goes overdue may have a thin one. The vernix protects the baby's skin in utero, so some think that it would work even better if it remains for a while. The coating could help the baby stay warm and the nutrients in it may help prevent disease. Most hospitals try to get the baby bathed within 12 hours or so, but the no-bathing trend may mean that practice goes away in the next decade or two.
3 Postpartum Waist Training
The pressure these days to bounce back to a pre-pregnancy body shape has some women turning to trend that died more than 100 years ago, and for good reason. Many new moms are trying waist training — no, not weight training, but waist training. They are going beyond the belly band or even Spanx and using corsets to mold their bodies back into shape.
A corset is a supportive device that is pulled tight. We all remember Scarlett O'Hara holding on to the bedpost getting her corset tightened in "Gone With the Wind," but even she couldn't get the corset pulled as tight after she had a baby. Nowadays, celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Kim Zolciak-Biermann are going through the pain to get back to their tiny waists. Doctors say that moms should be cautious, and they point out that a corset does nothing to get rid of fat. It's less painful to go the old-fashioned way and work out and eat right to get back into shape.
This trend is definitely a millennial thing. The kids who brought us the selfie are now all about the brelfie. They have become used to sharing every moment of their lives, so now that most of them are spent with a baby, you can bet that the little one gets its share of shares. The brelfie is a way to commemorate all the feels she gets when she breastfeeds her little one, and be sure that her friends know how much she loves her baby.
Being a new mom can be very isolating, so sharing on social media can help a woman feel connected to friends and family, and a brelfie is an extension of her former life as a selfie sharer. And new trends like the tree of life app can make it even more fun.
Of course, some people don't like to see that kind of thing, and some posts can be reported as inappropriate, but many brelfies are discrete but beautiful images that give us a perspective into the new mom's life, and she shouldn't have to apologize for that.
1 Elimination Communication
Many parents delay potty training as long as they can, but others want to get it over with before the baby is even crawling. That practice is called elimination communication, and it's not far off from the way that moms in third-world countries deal with their babies' bodily functions when they don't have the benefit of diapers. It's about paying attention to the signals that the baby needs to poop or pee and then rushing them to the toilet. Some parents start as early as the first week of life.
Before the 1950s, babies used to be toilet trained by 18 months, but that has slipped to 3 or even 4 years old now. Diapers often are so absorbent that babies don't even notice when they are wet, so it makes it harder to figure out it's time to go to the toilet. But some parents say if they start early, they can figure out the signs that the baby is about to expel his waste.
To be successful, a parent has to be around the child all the time, and there are sure to be accidents. But some say the baby can be fully potty trained by the time they can walk.