A parenting blog on tips, tricks and baby health information for moms and dads everywhere, that will guide you from the first positive pregnancy test through introducing siblings, nursing and toddlerhood.
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There are an endless number of things I wish I knew before
becoming a mother to my son, Riaan. Things your own parents may have forgotten and that
the classes won’t tell you. Here are some pointers that every parent should
know about your newborn:
1.It’s called “Labor” for a reason!
2.Take it one contraction at a time, and
seriously, take the drugs. You have grown a little human being inside of you;
you are already a hero!
3. If you are being induced, there is a higher
chance of a cesarean section, but stay calm and try and rest when you can, as
your stress hormones will inhibit the labor process.
4. Your baby is adorable (at least to you) no
matter what it is covered in.
5.Trust the nurses, they are your greatest resource.
6. Place your husband next to a couch, just incase
he wants to collapse (or, in my case, lie down to catch his own breath in
between your pushes).
7. The first few days are the hardest, but if
you’re planning to breastfeed, stick with it, I am grateful everyday that I did
not supplement no matter how much I wanted to sleep. (Formula will delay your
milk and make it all the more frustrating for you and your child.)
8. The first month hurts, even when you are doing
it right, but it keeps getting better.
9. Spit up happens.. and happens, and happens! If
your baby is gaining weight well, it’s just a laundry problem.
10. If your baby falls asleep feeding, it may seem
easier not to burp the baby. Do it anyway (at least hold your baby up on your
shoulder for a few minutes), it’s going to be that much harder to put them back
down when they wake up screaming with gas.
11.Being able to lie down and feed is a gift! As is all the calories you are burning.
12.By 4 months, make sure you stop the feed after
the baby falls asleep or you will have to train your child to sleep without
sucking (and won’t get as much rest either).
13.Why bother with an annoying sleep bra, when you
can stick nursing pads under your t-shirt?
14.If you plan to pump and feed instead of bearing
all in public, introduce a bottle around 3 weeks, late enough to avoid nipple
confusion but early enough that your child won’t refuse.
15.Babies cry- A lot! Doesn’t mean that you are doing it wrong, it’s just
their way of complaining (to themselves) when they need something. Eventually,
they will know you are listening and will communicate differently.
16.To Activate Calming Reflex: Swaddle,
Side/Stomach (lying position, must be supervised), Shush (it really
works),Swing, Sucking. (As per
Dr. Karp’s “Happiest baby on the block”).
17.If you can, meet their needs as they see it.
Stay on demand, your baby will be sleeping through the night before you know
18.Nap when they nap! You keep hearing this and
initially I wanted to write thank you notes, do my nails, fold the laundry and
every thing else I couldn’t do while holding my child, but do that when someone
else is home and just nap while you can (and eat and bathe).
19.It makes no “common” sense that they need more
sleep in the day to stay asleep at night, but they do. An overtired baby won’t
sleep easily and will keep waking up. Put your baby down to nap when you think
they are sleepy.
20.A sleep routine at night does help – for
example, massage, bathe, nurse, book, walk/rock/ burp, put the baby down in
their bed to sleep. We do the
entire routine to lullaby music.
21.Try and put them down when they are drowsy but
if it doesn’t work for you or your child, try again later.
22.Four-month sleep regression is a very real
thing! Do whatever works for your baby, and it will pass. For example, we kept
nursing back to sleep when he woke up, and he started sleeping through the
night again in 10 days.
23.Unless you smell poop, skip the diaper change at
night. Keep at it in the day though, to keep the diaper rash at bay. (The wetness indicator is yet another blessing.) 24. To prevent diaper leaks, go up a size, not down! If it's filled with gas though, it's going to leak anyway.
jaundice is common, if the doctor tells you not to worry, ignore the yellow
eyes and forget about it.
cap does not improve with oil! Use the oil to scrape off the scalp, but it
actually gets worse with oil.
newborn’s eardrums have the width of cardboard, and keeps getting thinner (like
cellophane), this means he will get more and more sound sensitive as he grows.
While he sleeps through everything initially, that will not last long.
is really painful, for you and your little one. Tylenol is a savior but just
rubbing your baby’s gums with muslin and your finger works quicker than
those chubby little thighs after vaccinations; it helps the muscle recover
never too early to read to your baby! They will enjoy it just because you are
the one reading to them. The pictures become eventually become fun for your
baby too (my son tries to grab the pictures in the books).
31.A soft Mickey (or Minnie) mouse is the perfect toy – the contrasting colors will keep your baby engaged.
32.Play, sing and talk, it may seem
pointless initially but there’s nothing cuter than when you finally get a response
time, tummy time, and more tummy time (supervised of course)!
and baby gyms are a great way to keep your baby engaged, especially if you want
to run into the shower.
your little one is wiggling and rolling around, you will need to watch them
like a hawk.
can never have too many bibs or burp cloths.
37.There’s nothing more satisfying than
being able to swaddle your baby tight, until he gets his hands out anyway.
Trust me, buy the ready-made swaddles. It’s worth having to buy a second set
when the first set is outgrown.
you have a little spitter like I do, you can find creative uses for the
unstitched swaddle cloths. I use it as a bib for myself!
a swaddle cloth home from the hospital so that your puppy gets used to the
scent of your baby even before you are home.
difficult to divide your attention, and you will often be advised to ignore
your pet when your baby is sleeping (so that they don’t feel like they only get
attention when the baby is not around), but I chose to do the opposite. I gave
Coco even more attention when my baby was awake even if it involved just
keeping my feet touching him or one arm around him while nursing.
them respond to each other and be excited to see the other is a joy all of its
42.Be careful, your little one is going to
want to pull that fur.
photographs as often as you can, as it will be harder as they stack up.
you are working on albums, print pictures on a regular schedule so thatyou remember occasions and can make
note of them.
stories, or keep pictures for your child.
an email address. You can even use this to send pictures and stories (and share
the password when they are in their teen years – my optimistic hope is that it
will make him an easier teen, but if not, you have still set up a treasure bank
of memories for your child to enjoy).
those onesies, even if you don’t use them for your next child, you can have a
quilt created or use them on stuffed animals.
For the new Mothers:
48.Your mother is irreplaceable and can be
your greatest resource if you let her.
be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
underestimate the power of information, and mommy blogs.
More to come!
P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors, this was put together during my son's 20 minute catnaps.