Lets get real.
Dealing with a baby is the easiest thing in the world. That might be the first time you read or hear that, but it’s true. If you follow your most raw instincts of humanity you’ll manage to satisfy the simple needs of a baby and learn how to better do it in no time. The basics for a baby are food, cleanliness and tender loving care. Logic will lead you to all other ways of providing safety and comfort.
Dealing with the family of the baby on the other hand should be something every pregnant woman receives therapy for since the moment she discovers she’s having a baby. The baby’s hot, the baby’s cold, the baby’s hungry, are you feeding the baby again?, the baby needs socks to survive, the baby likes this/it this way; everyone will share their opinion about how to take care of the baby and everyone will know better than you. People will develop obsessions (the baby’s socks, the baby’s head…) and they won’t notice that they are coming to conclusions about a baby that YOU take care of. Everyday. All day long. If there is someone who knows your baby and who feels what the baby needs, it is you. Never forget that!
It never hurts though to be well informed, I read as many tips as I could before giving birth and now I look back in wonder at how relax and calmly I took care of my newborn all by myself. (Manfriend worked long hours, he was must helpful with the house and the food. If it wasn’t because he cooked I would’ve died.)
So here are my two cents of caring tips in case they help another first timer.
– Our pediatrician recommended that we held baby J in our arms in an upright position for at least fifteen minutes after feeding and burping her and OMG what a difference that makes for her burping! I suffered so much during the first weeks because she didn’t released gasses after falling asleep and I just kept burping her forever. I started giving her those fifteen minutes after burping her normally and she just releases gases on her own. Apparently it also helps to “empty” or settle the digestive system after feeding, which is also helpful to relieve acid reflux.
– Toys that prop up on their own will be SO HELPFUL. Babies reach an age where they want to be entertained at all times. A couple of weeks ago I dressed baby J while holding up a toy that danced and sang above her head the whole while. I think I sprouted an additional arm and didn’t even noticed because I was buttoning up her clothes. So, when you are burping the baby, while sitting down in a sofa you can prop up a couple of toys on the headrest behind you. While you are burping the baby, they can look at the toys. Magic.
Also, toys that hang, like those made for car seats are awesome. You can hang them in the crib, the playard and they are lifesavers in the car.
• I prefer thin wash cloths for bathing. The meatier the cloth, the rougher it is on the baby’s skin and to clean the little creases of the baby something thinner works better, it’s just more manageable.
• For a newborn, I recommend using a nail file instead of a nail clipper. I read a lot of mommy blogs who stated the same thing. One of my in-laws is a nurse though, and she wanted to clip baby J’s nails when she was about a month old because everyone knows better about the care of the baby than a first time mother. (NOT PEOPLE. NO.) She clipped only one thumb nail, along with a piece of skin. Lets just say that I’m the only one that touches my baby’s nails from that point on.
• If you are going to change your baby in your bed (maybe because that’s were you are going to live for the first month) I highly suggest using a portable changing pad. You can use a towel or a baby blanket, but with a newborn, you’ll end up spoiling five of those each day and you won’t be able to do all the laundry in about two months so, it’s not convenient. I’m not even going to share how many times me or my bed got pooped on, but if there was a competition I would win.A changing pad can be folded when it’s not in use and throughly cleaned in a couple of minutes when it gets dirty. By the way, sometimes the baby will poop and you are going to change her because you think they are done and they are not done. It will happen. Always use something when changing the baby in a bed or a sofa. Or in a store so you don’t have to use the stroller so it doesn’t get pooped so you don’t have to scrub it in a public bathroom while your baby cries and strangers try to soothe her and in the end you have to go home anyway even after four diapers because everything is pooped including you and you can’t buy things you really need like food.
• If you live in a place with rapidly changing weather, like me (hello people from the caribbean!) sometimes it’s tricky to choose what to dress the baby at night. Or at least it is for me. It’s hot during the first hours, but then in the morning it gets cold and I can’t choose two outfits. Layers are convenient, at least a couple of pants and long sleeve onesies are necessary to remedy any hot/cold nights. Or days even.
• When we (baby J and me) were released from the hospital I was given a congratulatory care package that included a desk organiser. It’s nothing particular, it contains three compartments that fit diapers, utilities and toiletries. It’s been on my nightstand saving my life every night, specially when I’ve needed to move everything to another room; I don’t have to fish around for everything I need, I just pick that up and go. Highly recommend using something similar. It’s particularly awesome if it folds, but anything that helps you sort stuff will do.
Remember: the second month will be completely different from the first, and the third from the second and so on, so enjoy every stage as it comes!
Have a great week!