Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 2:01 pm. About Baby Dodds, Ramblings.

Unsolicited advice to any future first-time mothers…

Since Gabriel’s birth on July 14th, I have had the chance to learn quite a bit through trial and error. I’ll share here some of the tidbits I’ve picked up, in hopes that I may save some other woman the trouble.

  • Breastfeeding is not necessarily easy, despite being “nature’s way to feed your baby.” In fact, it is downright frustrating the first week – neither baby nor mother knows what they’re doing, and this, combined with sleep deprivation and the fact that a mother doesn’t produce milk for 3–5 days after birth, makes for quite an ordeal.
  • This brings me to my next point – everyone will reassure a new mother that colostrum (pre-milk substance – thick, present in small amounts, high in antibodies, and present until milk arrives) is all the baby physiologically needs until milk arrives. These same people will assure a new mother that her baby will not “starve.” However, this does not mean the baby will not feel hunger, particularly if he/she needs a few days to get the hang of breastfeeding. If a newborn is inconsolably fussy the first night home from the hospital, and after three-plus hours of non-stop screaming – and the diaper isn’t dirty/wet, I was assured by a pediatrician that breastfeeding, followed by formula supplementation, for the first few days would not jeopardize breastfeeding capabilities down the road. This turned out to be correct.
  • If the baby is fussy, and has an elevated temperature when measured with a thermometer, make sure he/she isn’t over-swaddled or overdressed. Place him/her in only a diaper and a onesie, wait a few minutes, and recheck it.
  • For parents of baby boys – cover their areas when diaper changing until you get fast at this chore, or else consider yourself (and the baby’s cute outfit you’ve just placed him in) wet.
  • For a full-term newborn baby, I think Pampers Swaddlers are the way to go when the baby first comes home. We tried another brand of newborn diapers too, but with leakage – the Swaddlers didn’t leak, but they were a little more expensive.
  • The BabyBjorn is an awesome creation – have one handy before the baby arrives home from the hospital. You will value the ability to have a happy infant close to you while simultaneously having your hands free to cook and do laundry.
  • If your mother offers to come and assist around the house during that first week, by all means take her up on it. This is not a moment for pride.
  • Know that infants have a fussy period during a certain time of the day – Gabriel’s is in the evening. He’s not hungry, doesn’t need a diaper change, isn’t too hot or too cold – just fussy sometimes. We have started giving him his bath in the evening rather than in the morning, and it calms him down tremendously. I think he now associates the bath with feeding afterwards and then falling asleep.
  • Mothers – indulge, and buy a rocking chair. You will love rocking your baby in it!
  • Be grateful if your husband/significant other is as crazy about the baby as you are. I’m fortunate that Evan loves Gabriel so much and that he has been so supportive during midnight diaper changes and in taking him in the evenings when the fussiness starts (perhaps it’s parental bias, but G is adorable even when fussing!). Here’s to excellent fathers!
  • Your engagement ring will likely not fit after the baby is born. Find a good jeweller and know you aren’t alone.
  • The adage about sleeping while the baby is sleeping is true.
  • Don’t feel silly spending countless moments staring in awe at your baby. Mine truly amazes me, and at times, when I might have a free moment to clean for five minutes, I find myself instead kissing the top of his head or enjoying his small fingers wrapping themselves around my pinky. He is already growing so quickly, and I know how much I will miss (and treasure) this time. 

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  1. Residential Space » Revisiting Pampers diapers - Posted on March 14th, 2008 at 11:12 am.
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