No….I am not having a new baby….however, I have two friends that have just had babies days apart! A new baby is such an exciting time! It doesn’t matter if it is the first child, or the fourth, each baby brings new challenges and new blessings!
One thing you can count on with EVERY new baby is an abundance of advice. I am here to give you more. Having had four babies myself, I have heard some very strange bits from very precious people that had good intentions. Here are a few common sense tidbits I have learned.
- Not every baby has colic. I had always thought it funny when my firstborn would cry, and “Sister Good-intentions” would ask if he had colic, because he would always cry when she held him. While colic is a real condition that is difficult to deal with, he never had it. He simply wasn’t comfortable when she held him, for whatever unknown reason. If he was crying, it was always due to the same culprits. He was tired, he was tired of being held, he wasn’t being held in a comfortable position, he was hot/cold, he was hungry, he had gas, he had some other discomfort (sometimes whatever outfit he was in), but most often he just wanted his pacifier.
- Just because the baby feels a little warm does not mean he/she has a temperature. My second child, also a boy, presented interesting challenges when it came to his body temperature. It was always elevated. He wasn’t a sickly baby, he was quite the opposite. He was just hot -natured from the get-go. When we bundled up the first born, he stayed that way. Not this one…the first thing my second little blessing would do would be to free his arms, no matter how many times we tried to bundle him up, as though he were too hot. As they grew older, I remember looking in on them while they were sleeping. The oldest would be snuggled tight under a blanket, and a few feet away, the other would be sprawled out like there was a heat wave, blanket kicked off to the corner of his bed. In the early newborn appointments I asked his pediatrician about this, just to make sure it was “normal,” and she assured me it was. If you have concerns, then I recommend doing the same. A simple phone call can ease a new mom’s worries.
- Babies cry. A lot. I had a dear friend whose newborn seemed to cry an awful lot. “Mom” was so beaten and tired from not getting enough rest. Nursing a newborn, and taking care of a toddler was wearing her out. As we were talking, her baby was asleep in his carrier, and she started messing with the blankets and things around the baby, then the baby began to fuss and cry. She said,”See? He’s just always crying” One thing I noticed about the baby, though, and I have noticed it with other mothers also. If “Mom” is a naturally nervous, or fidgety type person, the baby senses that. They can tell when mom is nervous, or worried, and they will react to that. If mom is more relaxed, the baby will sense that also, and will in turn be more relaxed. The most important thing to remember is that your newborn has only one means of communication. “Baby Dumpling” can’t tell you if something is wrong, or, “Everything is okay, I just want to be left alone.” Until they are about a year old, or older (for most) they can’t tell you what they need or want. With each child, you have to learn them. Instinct will be your best friend. But again, if it is a troubling amount of crying, ask your pediatrician.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. This may seem like common sense, but there are new moms that have a belief that their house must be in perfect order 100% of the time. This, my dear friends, is a myth. Especially for the nursing mom. Your body needs rest, and that is top priority. Mom can’t take good care of the baby if she isn’t well herself. “Dad” can’t nurse the baby, but he can wash the dishes, and tidy the house until mom and Baby Dumpling reach a more regular schedule. And it will happen. Rest, Mama, rest when you have the opportunity. If “Dad” isn’t available to help, call a family member or friend. I can assure you they would rather help you than to see mom or baby suffer from lack of sleep. The first few weeks are hard, but they will not last forever.
- Breast feeding is best but if you can’t do it, it is okay. Nobody told me this. I had so much trouble breastfeeding, the pediatrician was actually relieved when I chose to switch to formula. I felt so guilty. Everybody knows breast feeding is best! But the truth was, my baby was 9 lbs and 7 oz at birth, and by the end of his first week I was feeding him every two hours. For whatever reason, he just wasn’t getting enough, and I was getting no sleep. He had to stay overnight because of jaundice. Feeding helps clear that up, but he just wasn’t getting enough. Once I switched to formula, he slept better, jaundice was no longer a problem and I actually got to sleep some. It was the right choice for our circumstances. What about bonding? Well, with bottle feeding, you still hold your baby, therefore you are still bonding with your blessing. The advantage is, that Daddy can too. Breast feed if you can, but if you simply can’t, please, don’t feel guilty. You, and your pediatrician will decide which is best for both of you.
The first few weeks are tough, on all moms. But oh so worth it. A book that I found very helpful is “The Portable Pediatrician: A Practicing Pediatrician’s Guide to Your Child’s Growth, Development, Health and Behavior, from Birth to Age Five. Yes, it is a long title. It is a thick book. But very helpful. Just remember, there is no book that can replace your relationship with your pediatrician. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is why they do what they do…let them help you.
Most importantly, above all else, pray for God’s wisdom. Not just with your newborn, but with your toddler, preschooler, elementary, tween, teen, and adult child. Parenting is constantly changing, and growing. Parents need wisdom and guidance every step of the way.
Now, go hug your little (or big) blessing. ~Marrilla