Before your child is born, you’ll be convinced you’re ready for the new baby challenge soon to come. You’ve probably read all the books, been on thousands of websites and heard loads of advice, solicited and not!
Then your child is born and all hell breaks loose! Between the sleep deprivation and leaking boobs, even the smallest challenge is enough to drive you crazy. Why is his poop green? Is sterilizing the pacifier 36 times a day enough? Am I holding my baby enough?
New moms figure that their concerns are trivial and mostly hold their tongue only to realize later that all women ask themselves the same questions, but almost always never get the answers. Do any of these sound familiar?
#1 I’m tired of breastfeeding, do I have to go on?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for 12 months, exclusively for the first six. A mother should stop breastfeeding if it’s not enjoyable or if there are complications.
#2 My pediatrician said my baby needs to feed every 3 hours. Some sessions take at least an hour! What should I do?
Your doctor means three full hours from the start of one feeding to the start of the next one. Take heart: While nursing can seemingly take forever at first, it speeds up over time. “Within a few weeks, your infant should be done within 20 to 30 minutes,” says Dr. Krych. If not, he’s likely sucking for comfort rather than nutrition, in which case it’s time to unlatch and give him a pacifier (if he wants one).
#3 Do I have to sterilize bottles after every use?
In a perfect world, yes, but this isn’t realistic for most parents. Wash the bottles after every feeding and leave them in water to sterilize overnight. Good hygiene and frequent hand washing are more important than sterilizing.
#4 My mother-in-law says I’m spoiling my baby by holding him too much! Is she right?
Babies are meant to be held. It’s fine to have your infant attached to you all day, but during the night it may cause problems. Babies who are used to being held find it hard to sleep independently or soothe themselves back to sleep when they wake up at night.
Let your child learn how to put themselves to sleep. Put them in the crib, drowsy but awake.
#5 Is it possible my newborn doesn’t know the difference between day and night?
Absolutely! Take your child out in the sunlight in the morning and keep lights dim and low in the evenings. It’s up to you to set your baby’s internal clock, they have no idea what time it is.
#6 What does sleeping through the night mean and when can I expect it to start happening?
Newborns have no concept of night and day and must wake frequently to feed because their stomachs can hold no more than one teaspoon. By 6 months many babies can sleep up to 4-5 hour stretches, but most still wake often for feeding and comfort. After a few months of good sleep, babies often have a sleep regression at around 9 months. This is due to their advancements in language, mobility, and the onset of separation anxiety.
By the time they’re one, many babies can sleep 7-9 hour stretches if they have been night-weaned, but if you’re still nursing at night (as many families will do well into baby’s second year) baby will still wake to feed.
#7 The term sleeping like a baby doesn’t apply to my child. Will it ever?
Babies spend up to half of their snooze time flailing their arms, kicking and twitching and making sucking noises. This active sleep is believed to be critical to brain development so relax, it’s quite normal. When your child is about 6 months old, they’ll start to sleep ‘quietly’.
#8 Can I wake a sleeping baby?
If your baby isn’t gaining weight as he or she should, your pediatrician may recommend waking her to feed at regular intervals. By 6 months, you can wake your baby from a long nap to keep her on schedule so that she goes down more easily at bedtime.
#9 Is green poop normal? He only has milk!
Sure. So is brown, light yellow, and seedy mustard. These variations in hue depend on whether your baby is drinking formula or breast milk (and, in the latter case, whether her bowel movement comes from fore milk or hind milk). You can ignore the color unless it’s white and chalky, thick and black, or red. If you notice any of that, you should call your pediatrician.
Don’t worry about how many times a day your baby poops. A better indicator is at least 6 wet diapers daily. This indicates your bay is well-hydrated.
#10 If I drink wine, do I have to pump and dump?
Alcohol flows into your breast milk soon after drinking it and takes at least 3 hours to clear your system. If your child needs to feed before then, pump and dump to prevent engorgement then feed your child with formula.
#11 Why should infants wear a hat at all times?
They shouldn’t. A newborn’s head is larger than the rest of the body meaning they may lose heat faster, but this isn’t enough to reason to always wear a hat 24/7. If it’s cold and you’re going outside, by all means, put a hat on your baby.
#12 How many layers of clothing should my baby have?
One more than you have. It’s that simple.
Did we cover all the bases? What other questions do you have? Share them with us!
For more articles about health during pregnancy read our other articles:
first published at parents.com