A Couple of my friends are expecting their first child this year. Well its more than ‘a couple’ of them. Looks like everyone around me decided to have baby this year. And you know what ladies, you are giving me baby fever. Seriously. On secondary note, congratulations (I am the one suffering from baby fever, so I get precedence). Now I am the experienced one here, so I do share my experience with them, hoping they all will send me some gifts in exchange (ahemm cue ladies). Am I a terrible person?
Anyway, the other day, I was talking to one of these lovely ladies, about the butterfly feeling that we get when the baby starts to kick gently (gosh I am 105 degree F right now) and I inadvertently started thinking about how it felt when I was pregnant. I sure loved that time, except for the morning sickness. This lead to me ruminating about all the cautions we took with our baby, all the drills we used to follow and how we learnt most of it from internet and after the eagle landed. So I decided to make a list of all the tiny details for my friends and for all the wonderful first time parents out there. I hope they find it useful.
Tiny details first time parents should know
- Babies grow fastest during 1st year of their life. So before you go on crazy shopping spree, rethink your shopping list. Don’t buy a dozen of clothes in size N. Your baby won’t fit in them at the age of 3 months. Buy stuff as they grow or distribute the list for example, 4 onesie of size 0-3 months, 4 of size 3-6 months etc. I have a new born items checklist linked at the end of this post to help you prepare a list of your own.
- Newborn babies love to scratch their face. Invest in mittens. But not too many of them. 6 pairs would be fine. Usually newborns tend to scratch their face because they were in your tummy for long time and are used to keep their hands near their face. Also, they have nails and trust me you would be scared to cut their nails because those nails are so tiny. By age of 3 months or so, they get used to throwing their hands in air than on their face. You can spare mittens then.
- You will be sleep deprived, probably for life. Just so you know, those cute little people keep their parents up, a lot. Be prepared. It would be tiring, you may be irritated but eventually you will build up the stamina of surviving the sleep deprivation. That is one secret super power all parents possess.
- Every cry means something different. ‘Unbelievable’….just because you said that doesn’t make it any less true. Usually babies have 4 to 5 different kinds of crying. One is for ‘I am hungry’, one for ‘change my diaper’, one for ‘I need to sleep’, one for ‘something else is wrong’, one for ‘I am feeling too hot’. I believed I would never be able to recognize the difference in these 5 types of cries, but I soon did. So would you (so don’t worry).
- Learn swaddling. It would keep you sane. This is a very important tip. Search google, watch some videos and learn to swaddle your baby. This will save your sanity when baby is in 4th kind of crying mode, the ‘something is wrong’ mode. Sometimes babies cry for no reason at all. You fed them, they had a good sleep, their diaper is not soiled and they are dressed properly, still they chose to cry. Just swaddle them. The baby has been in a small space in your uterus for months and feels comfy that way. Swaddling soothes them because it makes them feel home, safe, warm, with their mamma.
- Dressing up babies is tricky. You feel cold and put few extra layers of clothes on baby, maybe wrap the baby in an extra blanket and the baby gets unhappy about it. Their obvious way to show unhappiness is to start crying. The mom in you would have you convinced that the baby would be cold with out those extra layers but that is not the case. Same is the case with hot weather. So research about it and be prepared.
- Talk to baby to make them talk sooner. If you want your baby to coo sooner, you need to talk, to your baby. It would sound funny the first time you try to do that because the baby probably won’t react much to it and of course you would feel like an idiot, talking to a baby. But this idiocy will help your baby develop language skills pretty quick. By three months or so, your baby would be replying to you with sweet chuckling sounds.
- You need to make baby burp after every meal and they do throw up. Invest in some burp clothes or easy to wash hand towels. Babies swallow air with milk or formula (we do that too, all the time) and you need to help them burp after every meal. So you hold them up on one shoulder, perform the delicate act of balancing their head and gently rubbing or stroking their back, till they burp. Failing to get them to burp could lead to trouble for baby like giving them belly ache. Also, they do throw up milk a lot, even when lying in crib.
- Buy sample size baby products first, then buy big size. You get baby products in small, sample sizes as well. Everyone will tell you to buy all the stuff before baby comes. I would suggest otherwise when it comes to products that you would apply directly on baby’s skin. Moisturizing cream, body lotion, baby soap, baby oil, sunscreen etc, all fall in this category. Once you are satisfied with the product’s sample, buy the bigger size of it.
- There is something called Diaper rashes. The baby poops, you don’t realize it for some reason. After an hour you decide to change the diaper and find the surprise. The composition of ‘poops’ has components that could irritate baby’s soft skin really bad. So if for any reason baby has poop in diaper for more than 15 minutes, the skin would start getting red and eventually would flay. It is very painful for the baby. You can keep checking the diaper more often to avoid this situation. Also there is something called as diaper rash cream. You can apply it on regular basis as well to prevent rashes.
- Babies don’t cry to manipulate you. You may have read it online or some one may suggest that babies just keep crying to seek attention and are defiant. That is the case with toddlers (at least mine is). Infants cry only when there is some issue, especially six months old and younger. So please listen to them when they complain with their cute cries.
- Bonding gets easier with games and rhymes. You want to bond sooner and easily with your kid? Playing peek a boo and singing rhymes comes to your rescue. Its easy and fun. Even new born get intrigued when you play peek a boo by just hiding your face with your palms.
- Babies don’t like blankets at night. Ya you can try tucking them in the blanket. Wait for 5 minutes and they would through it away with those tiny little feet. My daughter, two and a half year old, still does that. So don’t buy too many of those cute blankets. Get some sleeping pjs or sleeping bags for them.
- Cover the pee-poo area with a cloth while changing diaper. Unless you want to get showered with pee or poo, assign a wash cloth or some towel, to cover the pee-poo area when you change diaper. Trust me, baby’s pee and poo has the super power of launching itself in a projectile trajectory, which definitely will land on you. I know its a war but only the baby gets to use weapons like pee, poo, vomits etc.
- Bibs are not just for meal time. As soon as baby starts sitting up, you will notice a continuous flow of fresh spring from their mouth. Ya I am talking about saliva. So bibs are not just for meal time, keep some extra pairs because sure you would need them.
- You can tour the hospital before delivery, most of the time. Before you decide which hospital you would like to deliver your baby at, you can tour the maternity rooms. Most of the hospitals have a touring facility, ones a week or so. Just call and check the schedule. Its a better way to pick hospital. You can ask all the questions during tour and decide which hospital you want to pick.
- You can store breast milk in freezer. You get plastic bottles and pouches at most of the baby stuff stores like babies r us. Also you can ask the nurse for milk storing bottles. They can provide you with a pack of bottles which you can use to store milk in your freezer.
- You can get some complementary stuff at hospital after delivery. If you ask the nurse, you usually can get some complementary stuff like nursing pad, milk storage bottles etc before checking out from the hospital. Just ask. If you don’t ask, the answer would be ‘zero’.
- You don’t get a flat tummy after delivery. So if you were under the impression that ones the baby is out, your tummy would be as flat as it was before, I would like to burst that bubble of misconception. After delivery, your tummy would be like you are still in 6th month of pregnancy. You would have to work out to get in shape.
- You can have prenatal multivitamins after delivery as well. Especially if you are nursing, this would help pass on vitamins to baby as well. But do consult your doctor before you decide to go on it. Also, FYI, the antibodies in your milk will protect baby during their infancy, not beyond that.
That was a fun ride, wasn’t it? Another fun activity to do by third trimester is to read pregnancy stories. It will give you an idea of what people go through, how they prepared, how they dealt with certain problems.
Here are few posts from my blog, that would be helpful for first time parents. Remember, its a beautiful journey, not like anything else you experienced before, so enjoy it and cherish every moment. It sure is inadvertently tiring but so is any other voyage. Happy parenting.
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