New Parents

Choosing a paediatrician can sometimes be a nervous decision. There are many great doctors but who do I want for my child? We suggest the following in weighing your options:

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  • Consult a trusted friend who is already a parent to get a referral;
  • visit the office and meet the doctor and the staff; and
  • try to find out if your paediatricain will be accessible outside of office hours.

You should try not to base your decisions solely on your conveniences, like how close the office is to you or whether it is cheaper than another practice. We are not saying choose us, but rather, do your research and make an informed decision. Choose what you think will be best for your child.

Here are a few tips for the early months we hope you find useful.

Nursing
Your first few weeks can be a challenge. Your baby wants to eat and you want to sleep. Your breasts may be sore and the baby may not be latching on so it is tougher than you thought it would have been. Here are a few tips:

  1. Ask for help. Even before giving birth, speak to friends who had a good nursing experience. If you are doing a Lamaze class, make sure you pay careful attention at these sessions.
  2. At the hospital, don’t be afraid to ask the nurses to help when the baby wants to feed.
  3. At home, you’ll be tempted to drop everything to feed the baby the moment you hear a cry. We suggest you take care of yourself first. Get a glass of water and a book or magazine to read and ease your bladder as breastfeeding can take a while.
  4. If your breasts feel engorged or you feel you need help to improve the flow of milk, try using a warm wet washcloth to gently massage your breast.
  5. If your breasts are sore after nursing, try a cold pack or a bag of crushed ice or frozen peas.
  6. If you want baby to eventually take a bottle, introduce it after breastfeeding is established.

Sleeping
Chances are, if your baby is not eating, he is probably sleeping. Newborns can sleep as much as 16 hours per day but this may happen in short bursts. This means that you end up having to wake up a lot more often than you are used to. What may follow is sleep deprivation. Some tips to help you out:

  1. Don’t obsess about being tired. Your job is to care for your baby so try not to be angry about it. You are going to be tired so it’s better to be just tired than to be tired and angry.
  2. Take shifts. Work out a system with Daddy or Grandmother or whoever else around you to rock the crying baby to sleep. Don’t develop the “it’s-my-baby-so-I-must-do-everything” syndrome.
  3. “Sleep when your baby sleeps”. Take naps together and if it’s not your shift use the time to sleep.
  4. If your baby has trouble sleeping, try to “pat” them to sleep.

Soothing
No amount of baby talk will let you know what she wants when she cries. But trial and error will eventually get you there. Here are a few tips for when your baby is fussy?

  1. It has been recommended that the key to soothing fussy infants is to mimic the womb. Therefore, swaddling, shushing, and swinging, may be effective in helping them to relax.
  2. Music may not make your baby as smart as you would hope, but it can certainly be effective in calming them.
  3. Keep them warm. Newborns are used to warmth of a womb so be mindful that even a diaper change could make them grumpy.
  4. Innovate. When all else fails try to be creative with your own inventions and tell others about it if it works.
  5. Try to relax. Sometimes a baby is fussy because the mommy is fussy. Take a soak in a warm bath or do whatever you know will take the edge off and get you relaxed.

Getting Daddy Involved
Daddy, who was helpful through your pregnancy may now seem at a loss now that baby is here. It may be up to you Mommy to take that initiative and hand the baby to him. Like you, he can figure things out so let him try. Here is how:

  1. Encourage them to try. First time Dads especially may be fearful of doing wrong, so hesitate to try. Give them responsibilities little by little and the confidence will come.
  2. Time the time-off well. Within the first days after birth you may have a lot of relatives around to help, so Daddy’s time off can be most effective after the relatives leave.
  3. Designate responsibilities. Like anything else, it is important when everyone understands their roles. Daddy may be responsible for diapers and for waking up every other night. Whatever it is, try to make sure the responsibilities are clear.
  4. Don’t be selfish with the baby. Don’t just hand off the baby to Daddy when she is fussy. Daddy may enjoy holding her when she is in a good mood too.

Staying Sane
You are sure to get drained at some point in time. Whether it’s the baby’s constant crying or Daddy’s difficulty to wake up and help, or your mother-in-law’s calls every day (smile). You will have to find ways to take care of yourself:

  1. Try to ignore confusing advice. Try to filter and make your own decisions as in the end, you are the parents so it is up to you.
  2. Try to forget about your usual house duties. The house may not be as tidy as you like it but it’s a small sacrifice for spending time with your new born.
  3. Accept help. Don’t turn down offers to help you with anything that will give you time with your baby.
  4. Don’t be afraid to give instructions. You will have friends who want to help but don’t know how.
  5. Ask for help for the bigger jobs. Changing a diaper takes two minutes. You’ll need others to do time-consuming work like cooking and going to the supermarket.
  6. Reconnect with yourself. It can’t all be about time with the baby. Take some time to remind yourself of you. Take some breaks to check in on work or catch up on a book you were reading.

Out and About with Baby

  1. Call for backup. On your first few outings to a public place don’t be afraid to take a nanny along or your sister or your veteran mommy-girlfriend.
  2. Choose your stops carefully. If you are on your own, try to minimize your stops and avoid stops that could be inconvenient for you such as places without easy access for strollers.
  3. Keep your diaper bag packed as you never know what you will need.
  4. Keep a spare. Your diaper bag will be packed with lots of baby stuff. But what about you? If you are going to be away from home for a long period, a change of top may come in handy for you.
  5. Chaos is not so bad. Embrace the change of plans when they come, as they will.
  6. Remember, everyone else got through it so you will too.

Adapted from: Parents Magazine: Your Newborn: 30 Tips for the First 30 Days