1. You will talk a lot about poo, trust me. But you will understand for yourself why it is actually an important topic when you get your sweet new baby. The first 2-3 days after birth, your baby’s poo will be almost black. It is called meconium and it is very normal, a good sign actually. In the next days, it will turn into greenish-brown to bright or mustard yellow. Depending on what they eat, babies might not poo for many days in a row in the first weeks. Here is where you should talk to your health visitor or midwife.
2. We live in Germany and here we have the possibility of getting help from an “aftercare midwife”. I highly recommend you check this in your region and see what the options are for you. I helped me personally to overcome some of the otherwise normal insecurities that come with being a first-time parent.
It’s basically a midwife that comes to visit you and the baby right after you come home. She helps a lot with the breastfeeding part. I mean I really had no clue that a few drops of breast milk were enough for a newborn in its first day and that you most likely have to milk yourself a lot to get that out.
Breastfeeding might really be stressful at the beginning, especially if you are not producing sufficient milk. But there is a lot of support for breastfeeding here. The midwife checks the baby’s development, from poo, weight gain according to average expectations, to belly pain and fever. She also tracks the mom’s body recovery. In Germany, health insurance covers her for services up to 16 visits, that I could spread out through the first 9 months or even during my breastfeeding period.
3. Oh, and although breastfeeding might be best, baby formula is really good as well. If your baby gets nutrition and love, he will be happy and you will see it. We did a mix of the 2, everybody is happy. Yey.
4. Do ask for help with the household, from family, friends or even friendly neighbors. At least 10 to14 days after birth, while your body is recovering. Ours were really happy to participate in household chores and it really helped us as well to enjoy to the fullest finally having Luna home. Remember
“it takes a village to raise a baby.”
5. Crying is your baby’s way of communicating. No need to panic when he cries, just try to keep calm. Despite the fact that it is hard, with all those hormones in your body. Check if he is hungry, cold or too hot, farty or maybe just tired. Plus, I bet you’ll soon spot the difference between a real cry and a whining.
6. Babies need food every couple of hours, but there will be slight variations to this. Always talk to your midwife or pediatrician if you feel something is wrong, but also don’t stress if he is not gaining loads of weight in the beginning, it is quite often the case. If you’re changing an average of 5 wet diapers a day for your baby, that is usually a sign that you are both doing great.
7. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and eat good, nutritious food while breastfeeding. Some iron reinforced foods would be really good as well.
8. Always make sure the diaper leg cuffs wrap around your baby’s legs and bottom, to help prevent leakage.
9. Burping your baby after each meal is extremely important, so don’t skip it. We sometimes did this even for 5 to 10 minutes in a row in order to get the air out. If you don’t do it effectively, that burb will travel all the way to the other way out. And with more discomfort for both baby and you.
10. However good you burp the baby, colic will happen. We found this position to be the most effective in helping our baby pass gas. Gently rubbing her back while holding her like this helped most times, especially in the nights when she would wake up crying because of the belly pain. Other things you can try are massaging the baby’s belly up and down with some oil. Or moving both his legs either up and down or by creating circular motions with them. And prepare to laugh at some impressively loud baby farts.
11. Always call the doctor if you are worried your baby might not be ok, no matter what hour it is. We had to find out the city pediatric emergency number on the spot during a fever, so maybe it is worth checking that out in advance.
12. Many babies like to be held in a swaddle because apparently, it gives them the feeling of being in mom’s womb. You should definitely research ways to swaddle a baby and try some out. We personally wrapped our baby like a burrito. And called the baby “burrito” for a while.
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13. Don’t overdo the clothing, infants should not sweat. However, if babies have cold hands and even hiccups, it could be a sign that they are not warm enough. So give your baby something thicker, close to the skin and some baby gloves. Wrap them up burrito style. You can also use a warm bottle or a warm cherry pit pillow, they both worked really well with our baby.
14. Try to resist the urge of buying super cute baby clothes for 0 to 3 months old babies. I seriously know how cute they are, but wait till you see that your family and friends think the same. Because they will love getting some snuggly and super cute outfits for your little one and it will most likely be in sizes 50 to 62. Your baby will grow so fast she might not get the time to properly try out all of the new stuff you got her.
15. Zippers are truly the best for baby jumpsuits or sleepers, so something like these Carter’s Footed Sleep and Play is what I recommend you get more of. These ones have super good materials and are super affordable, plus the fact that they are footed is super useful since you can avoid socks which tend to get lost in bed very often. Avoid buttons at all costs, especially those that close in the backside. This is something I observed that our fidgeting 1-year-old strongly dislikes, so buttons will probably work better much later on.
It`s because the baby had an all zipper jumpsuit.
16. The 2 snaps on the shoulder are there so you can open them and pull down easily when poo accidents happen. And they will.
17. We wrapped both the baby crib and later the baby bed with a mattress protector and we avoided like this the diaper overflow that often happens during the night.
18. We got hand sanitizers everywhere, bathrooms and bedroom included. Especially one close to the baby changing table.
19. Most babies just love sleeping near your beating heart or getting transported around in a baby carrier. We tried 3 different types at the beginning. Our favorite was by far a cheap and super good in quality one we got from babymark.de. We had one from Chicco that Luna liked sitting in, but it was quite hard to put her in and out of it when she got bigger. We also purchased a quite expensive fabric wrap and now regret the decision. It turned out to be hard to use and slightly too loose for my mental comfort, I kept thinking she will fall out. Definitely try the wrap with your baby before purchasing it if you can.
20. Pack an extra change of clothes for the baby when you are out, or even keep one in the car, diapers included.
21. Other things to prepare and have in the house are baby nose drops and paracetamol suppositories. Babies do get sick at night and you want to be prepared.
22. The best temperature for the baby room is 20 ° Celsius or the equivalent 68 °F.
23. Music. A beating heart Youtube song calmed my baby to sleep really fast during her first months. And the Gladiator theme song helped put her to sleep. But you can experiment with your nursing songs and you’ll immediately get a sense of what your baby likes.
24. Co-sleeping or no co-sleeping? Really, you can sleep as you wish and how it works for you. I slept with baby Luna during the night and sometimes during the day for the first 5 to 6 months. During the day we put her to sleep in the baby crib after feeding her and she slept there by herself. With 6 months she moved to her room, in her own bed and it all went well for us.
25. Rocking the baby was also a great way to help her nap during the day and get some free time. This Fischer Price Moonlight Meadow Cradle ‘n Swing worked wonders for us. The side by side movement would always get her to sleep plus during the day she would even just stay there and giggle at the animal movements and at her reflection in the mirror.
26. Uhm, about all that sleeping. Although I personally didn’t do it every time, sleeping when the baby is sleeping is probably a really good idea.
27. You will be tempted to jump at every little sound that your baby makes, but really try to resist the urge and wait for at least 30 seconds to see if the baby stops. It will pay off and most likely you’ll get a baby that can also soothe itself.
28. If nothing works, a warm bath turned out to be extremely effective for sleep most of the time.
29. Massage your newborn with baby oil, it has so many benefits. You can check YouTube for some example videos. There are even ladies who provide baby massage as a service, so you could book a session and learn some techniques. How cool is this job, really!?
30. I purchased an abrasive file and used it to shorten Luna’s nails while distracting her with something else. It prevented repeated scratching and my fear of using scissors on her when she was really small. So if you feel the same, just know that it helps.
31. The best temperature for the baby bath is 37 to 38 degrees Celsius or 100 F. If you feel like you really don`t want to process and remember this information, a baby bath thermometer will help you with that.
32. Taking the time to slowly put the baby in the bath for the first time, gently and eventually assisted by someone experienced. I’ve seen babies with bad first bath experiences and they were water adverse for long. This can really be a factor of stress for you both for the future, so it is really worth considering.
33. We exposed our baby to people and everyday noise and loud conversations from the beginning and she turned out to be a relaxed and sociable baby in just a few months. So I definitely recommend bringing over friends or family or paying them a visit.
34. Let dad do stuff for the baby. Specifically, ask him to take over when you need a break. It’s really ok. However, it helps to remember that almost anyone who receives consecutive negative feedback when trying something new, will end up stopping that activity. So let him do things for the baby even if it’s bad at first, or just not how you do it. Remember, you are a team.
35. Say no if you feel like it. This is the last and the most important tip in my opinion. Really, learn to do what is best for you and your family. Unannounced visits? Insistent calls? People who arrive later than you discussed? Tell them politely you can’t see them as they wish and be specific about when they should contact you, all according to your baby’s schedule. Don’t put your child into stress because other people change plans or don’t respect your time slots. Learn to say no every time when you know you might end up in an uncomfortable situation where your baby is tired and moody. Eventually, you will realize that saying yes to unwanted plans takes time away from your family and brings unnecessary stress.
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