Blog 11: “This is NOT your Grandma’s Pregnancy”
Written By: Abby Custer
There’s something about pregnancy that seems to bring out all sorts of unsolicited advice among people. And while most of the time that advice is well-meaning, it can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when half of the time, these “words of wisdom” seem to contradict themselves. For instance:
- *Lay your baby on his back to sleep vs. Always lay your baby on his stomach
- *Don’t hold your baby too much, you’ll spoil her vs. You can’t spoil a baby
- *Don’t give your baby a pacifier before 3 months if you are nursing vs. Always offer a pacifier
What’s a girl to do? With the constantly changing research, it can feel like you need to host an episode of “Myth Busters” to find out what’s fact and fiction. And while it would be nice to leave the hospital with an owner’s manual, it doesn’t quite work that way. Over time, research has changed quite a bit. The following recommendations are based on a newborn (a baby less than 28 days), and have nothing to do with what your friend, grandma, or next-door neighbor says is best:
- *Feed your baby (whether nursing or using formula) every 2-3 hours, so he or she eats 8-12 times during a 24 hour period.
- *Put your baby to sleep on his or her back, because this reduces the risk of SIDS.
- *Try to rest/sleep when your baby sleeps. The first few weeks will be exhausting, with your baby waking to feed often, and your body needs to recover physically and emotionally.
- *Bathing your baby once or twice a week is plenty; otherwise “spot” clean areas such as around the mouth, chin, and groin daily with a warm (not hot) washcloth. Continue sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off.
- *When your baby is awake, bond with him or her through skin to skin contact, talking/singing, rocking, tummy time.
- *Always take your baby’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. If it is higher than 100.4, call your doctor immediately because this could signal an infection. And even if there’s no fever present, but you sense that something is off, or your baby isn’t eating properly, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.
- *Don’t be afraid to ask for support! Bringing a new baby home is very exciting, but it’s also completely normal to feel overwhelmed and even sad, especially as your hormones adjust to all of the changes in your body. At Compass, we are here to lend a listening ear, offer educational support, and assist in any other way to help with your transition home.
You’ll likely feel overwhelmed by the constant flood of information out there; however, there’s one more fact that I hope brings you some peace – while some advice is imperative to follow for safety reasons, the best judge of how to care for your baby is YOU. And you don’t need to feel any level of guilt about that.
Please don’t think that I’m suggesting you should ignore every piece of advice that you are given along the way. We all need that person (or people) to turn to for support, encouragement, and even random late-night questions that we can’t shake (i.e. “Is my baby’s poop really supposed to be that color?!”) Some of the best advice I have been given over the years has come from seasoned parents. But I do want to encourage you to limit your intake of advice to those you trust, and I also want to encourage you to have confidence in yourself. There’s something really amazing that happens when you become a parent; you automatically gain this set of knowledge and awareness of what works best for your baby. I can’t really explain it, but it Just Happens. And even if you feel like your instincts aren’t naturally kicking in, remember that there are people out there (including those of us at Compass) who can help. God has created you for this purpose and time in your life, and you can trust that He has given you all the tools and knowledge you need for this journey. Books, the internet, and words of advice can be wonderful, but they are no comparison to the peace that you will find when you lean into Him. You got this.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
New York Times – Newborn Baby Care Basics: What to Know When You Leave the Hospital By Melinda Wenner Moyer