You’ll notice that it has been a while since my last entry. Well I thought I could manage blogging while taking care of my newborn baby.. I was so wrong!
The last two months have been exhausting, but I’m glad I have adapted well. I’m quite sure though that there will be a lot more challenges along the way and I’m trying to stay as positive as I can to get through everything.
I guess things would have been easier if someone at least told me what to expect in the first few weeks. Sure, I was occasionally told about losing sleep but there’s so much more to sleepless nights and diaper changes.
Here are a few things that people never told me about newborns.
Okay, so some of you guys might find yourselves saying, “I knew that” and stuff, but please remember that I’m a clueless mom.. literally! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, though. So, here it goes.
All images that follow are linked to their respective sources
I’ve never taken care of a baby before so I was clueless about having to burp the baby after feeding. I was educated about this at the hospital, but what I didn’t realize was how hard it would be to get that burp out! Ethan was very fussy quite often after feeding, but what worked for me was sitting down with my back reclined and letting him lie face down on my chest. Eventually it got easier.
There are a lot of YouTube videos that can guide you with this. A basic search should give you informative results. Or better yet, consult your pediatrician.
It turns out that babies’ GI tracts are not fully developed so farting and pooping is painful for them. Ethan cries a lot when he tries to fart or poop and during the first few weeks I found myself crying out of frustration. I was not frustrated with Ethan, but with the fact that I couldn’t do much to help him. The reassurance from his pedia that this was all normal helped ease my frustration and I eventually learned how to cope with it.
When I notice him trying to “push”, I try to help him by massaging his tummy in an inverted U shape. I also apply some manzanilla to warm up his tummy. It also helps to lay him face down but I always make sure I keep a close eye on him. Another suggestion I found on the internet was to pump his legs by bringing them towards his chest.
The Cord Stump
What frustrated me about the cord stump was getting mixed information on how to clean it and care for it. The nurses told me to clean the top of it gently with a cotton bud and alcohol and to make sure it gets exposed to air. One pediatrician, on the other hand, told me I should clean the entire thing inside-out. Now of course, there’s also the advice from your elders that you should wrap it in this cloth binder more commonly known as a “bigkis“.
I decided to follow the advice of the pediatrician when I realized that there was no progress with just swabbing the top with alcohol. After every bath I carefully cleaned the stump inside-out and allowed it to breathe by not using the “bigkis” my mom bought for me to use. In two days, the stump fell off.
In the first few days after being born, babies develop these acne like spots on their face which is apparently caused by the mother’s hormones. About a week after these faded, however, Ethan developed acne all over his face and it made me worry. I always thought babies had to have pristine skin. It turns out (again) that the acne was normal, since baby skin is very sensitive in the first few months. His pediatrician prescribed a cream to apply on his face and in two days the acne cleared up. Even with prescriptions though, the acne will keep coming back until about he’s three months old.
Fragile Baby Necks
These things may worry you for the first few weeks especially if you’re a first time mom like me, but you will eventually learn to adapt. You may also find that these things plus having to constantly feed your baby will eat up most of your time, and at the end of the day you may not find enough time for yourself. I learned that it helps to take a breather and pass the baby on to another family member if you’re starting to get frustrated. Babies can sense frustration, which can make them more upset and make matters worse for you.
Despite not being told about these and many more things about babies, I’m still glad because newborns are full of nice surprises. I remember changing Ethan’s diapers one sleepless night, I was extremely exhausted because he was crying non-stop that time. As soon as I laid him on the changing pad, he looked at me and gave me a nice smile. I instantly felt all the exhaustion fade!
I guess the best way to take care of a newborn is to keep a positive attitude and ask for help when needed. If you feel there might be something wrong with your baby never ever hesitate to ask his pediatrician. People may tell you this and that is normal, but still it is better to hear it from a doctor. No one ever said motherhood was going to be easy, but every mother will assure you that it is indeed rewarding.
I hope you found my random insights useful, but please do not consider my advice over a doctor’s.
What challenges did you encounter during your baby’s first weeks? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!