Filipina newborn care expert Ruby Sibal, who now lives in New York, spent ten years as an advertising and promotions officer at Philippine Airlines. After that, she tried her hand in several other industries and fields. She was an entrepreneur, a make-up artist, an events organizer–before finding her life’s calling as a newborn care professional (also known as a baby nurse) and new parent coach. Now, she’s very in-demand by upper-class clientele in New York City as the go-to expert when it comes to providing infant care for the first few weeks up to three months of the baby’s life.
Not surprisingly, Ruby has a natural affinity and affection for babies. She’s earned the moniker of “the Filipina baby whisperer” for her almost uncanny ability to keep babies calm and relaxed. She has specialized knowledge and training when it comes to infant care. Her expertise is recognized and sought-after even by pediatricians—who are glad to recommend her services to new parents.
“Modern life is especially stressful on new parents. It’s already normal for both father and mother to have jobs, or high-pressure careers, or to be running a business together. After the maternity leave lapses, mothers are faced with the very real dilemma of balancing their time and energy to care for the baby and their other responsibilities. In this very stressful, exhausting stage of life, a mother would really appreciate getting support.
“As a mother, would you just leave your baby to a stranger’s care? Even in the Philippines, it’s not always possible to have a close, trusted relative around to care for your baby. As for getting a yaya or nanny—well, you have to make sure that person is trustworthy and is trained to keep your baby well-cared for, happy, healthy, and safe. But how many yayas or nannies out there have proper training?” said Ruby.
A newborn care expert like Ruby has specialized knowledge and training that’s especially beneficial to infants up until the third month of life or what is called “the fourth trimester”. It’s not enough to have a loving, caring disposition towards infants. A newborn care specialist has to have proven, effective means to provide optimum care. This goes beyond knowing how to calm a fussy baby. It includes knowing what a baby needs at the moment—a tough challenge since babies can’t talk and tell you what they want or need—and even knowledge of infant nutrition, infant health, and how to deal with potential emergencies.
“The type of care that a baby receives in the first three months of life is crucial to his or her future development as a toddler, child, and even through adulthood. For example, there are studies that show that babies who receive the adequate amounts of caring touch—skin-to-skin contact, massages, being held by a loving adult—grow up healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally. Babies who are deprived of a loving touch for long periods of time have lowered immunity and don’t thrive as much.
“Every mother would naturally want to spend as much time with her infant as possible. But for moms who are unable to do this, getting the help of a newborn care expert or baby nurse can be a big help in ensuring their baby’s optimum health and development. Furthermore, a newborn care expert can teach parents valuable knowledge on proper care for their baby, so that they are able to continue giving quality care to their child beyond the three-month period,” said Ruby.
Want to meet the baby whisperer? Ruby is coming to the Philippines to give a workshop on special techniques to make newborns calm and happy. Happening in Iloilo (November 6) and Manila (November 13), said workshop is expected to be a great source of knowledge for any and all involved in infant care. For ticket reservations call 0919-802-4027, 0999-002-1616 and look for Jane or email [email protected] We asked Ruby to share with us some expert advice that parents can immediately use in caring for their babies. Here are some useful tips that she gave us:
Handling baby properly
- First of all—and this is very, very important: Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your baby. Anyone else who handles your baby should also make sure to wash his or her hands. Babies are still building their immune system, so they must be protected from exposure to dirt and germs.
- When carrying or cradling your baby, always keep his or her head and neck supported by your hand to avoid injury.
The Five S’s in Calming a Baby
Making an effort to calm a crying baby is one of the most powerful instincts that a mother (or father) has—but more than just instinct, it takes knowledge and practice to succeed in helping an infant relax and sleep. Read on and learn.
The 1St S: Swaddle
A baby spent nine months snuggled in the blissful, warm space of mommy’s womb. But when a baby is born, this safe, comfortable place is taken away. Suddenly a baby is out in the open, exposed to so much stimuli. No wonder he or she gets cranky!
Help baby regain some of the old snug comfort by swaddling him or her properly. Swaddling is the foundation of successfully calming a baby. Proper swaddling involves keeping baby’s arms wrapped snugly, straight at the sides. Baby’s hips, however, should be loose and allowed to flex.
Reminder: Don’t keep baby swaddled all day—only do that when baby is fussing or being lulled to sleep. Also, don’t cover your baby’s head and don’t let him or her overheat. Check from time to time to see if the swaddling has unraveled.
The 2nd S: Side or Stomach Position
The best position for a sleeping baby is having her lie on her back. But when a baby is fussy, that’s the worst position when trying to calm him or her. When calming a baby, hold him/her on her side, on her stomach, or over your shoulder.
The 3rd S: Shush
It might surprise you to learn that babies don’t need total silence to fall asleep. In the womb, the baby is used to hearing the blood flowing through mommy’s body—yes, take a pause and think of how awesome that is. To calm a fussy baby, you have to make a shushing sound—a bit loud or even a bit harsh (the sound of the blood flow from inside the womb is pretty loud). There are special “white noise” recordings that you can order online, designed to recreate this blood-flow sound, too.
The 4th S: Swing
Imagine living inside your mom’s womb again—it would be a jiggly existence right? She’s walking, going up and down stairs, moving about the house doing chores, laughing at a humorous film or comedy talk show, etc., while the baby is inside her. A baby is used to jiggling and bopping around.
To calm a baby, carry him or her properly—gently but securely—and make rhythmic, monotonous, jiggly movements. The motions should be tiny and fast—like a shiver—about an inch back and forth. That’s while you’re trying to calm baby down. Once he or she starts to settle down and stop crying, switch to a slower, broader, rocking motion. Always support baby’s head and neck when you do this. Safety reminder: never, ever shake your baby in anger or frustration.
The 5th S: Suck
The final step in calming baby down is letting her suck. Letting baby suckle on your breast or a pacifier triggers profound relaxation and allows him or her to achieve a deep, tranquil sleep. (So you can relax, and even sleep, too!)
Extra tip: It might seem like odd advice, but a parent should match the intensity level of a baby’s fussing. So, if he or she is crying loudly and fussing intensely, be sure to swaddle him properly, make a vigorous, loud shushing sound, and do some serious jiggling (again, jiggling must be like a shiver—don’t ever shake a baby). Only switch to slower, broader motions, and make soft sounds when baby pauses from crying and screaming, and is settling down.
- We should never get tired of giving this message: breast milk is still the best food for your baby. Your milk is the perfect food for your baby, giving him all the needed nutrients and even antibodies that will help fight off infections and illnesses.
- Breastfeeding has benefits for moms, too. You may not feel it, but breastfeeding burns calories and helps shrink the uterus. This means you’ll get in back in shape faster. Some studies also show that breastfeeding helps prevent breast and ovarian cancers.
- How often should you feed your baby to make sure he or she is getting enough nutrition? Your newborn will nurse about 8 to 12 times per day during the first weeks of life. A newborn baby usually gets hungry every 1-3 hours, so be ready to breastfeed “on demand”. As time goes by however, baby will feed less often and sleep longer.
If you have more questions about baby care, check out the information about Ruby’s upcoming talks and seminars that we mentioned earlier. You may also send her an email ([email protected]) for inquiries.