1st Time Mom Questions Answered : The Newborn Edition Part 1
1st Time Mom Questions Answered : The Newborn Edition Part 1
My once upon a time newborn twins are now 4 years, 11 months, 1 week & 2 days old.
1) When will my baby’s umbilical cord fall off, and how should I take care of it until it does?
One of my twin girl’s cord stump fell off 6 days before her sister, so it does vary. Typically, between 10-20 days this cord will fall off of your baby’s abdomen. Some would average it closer to 1-2 weeks, usually no earlier than this and for sure by the 3 week mark. Do check and make sure there is no foul odor or discharge indicating a possible infection while waiting for this event to take place. DO NOT yet bathe your newborn, which means immersing your baby in water (first bath). Keep the area clean and dry until it is off. Then baby can have full tub baths. Until that time, keep baby clean with damp cloths and/or sponge bathing, avoiding that one area completely. It is encouraged that you use rubbing alcohol to clean the area 2x’s per day until it falls off. Once it is off, 1st real bath here we come!
(My twins were 7 days & 13 days. Just an example.)
2) Should I wake my baby to feed him if he isn’t waking ‘often enough’ on his own?
I know they say ‘let sleeping babies lie’, but sometimes, especially in the case of premature or lower birth weight babies (under 6 lbs.), they may not wake up often enough to take in the much needed calories that are required for ample growth. If you have a small or pre-term newborn at home, you may wish to wake him or her every 3 hours for a feeding to ensure that she is getting proper nutrition. Larger babies that eat a lot during their day-time hours will likely need fewer feedings during the night and may sleep for longer stretches. In such cases this is OK.
In breastfed babies, they usually feed more frequently because of the sucking process, the fact that your body is near and it soothes them to sleep often before they take in as much as a bottlefed baby does, and the only way to tell how much a breastfed baby is actually taking in is by the frequency of their wet & dirty diapers. So yes, there are times when a newborn should be woken. You can try feeding him or her in their sleep. Sometimes they need not fully wake to take in an ounce or two of milk. This was the case with our twins. We’d always feed the other twin that was not waking to eat, and she always suckled and swallowed.
3) How do I know when my baby should start solid foods?
Things used to be different. Nowadays doctors are starting infants on cereal as early as 3 months of age and more solids only days after that. Some babies show signs that they need more than their formula or breast milk. They don’t seem full enough, they are waking too often, not seeming satisfied. They may start mimicking their mouth to move like yours does while you are eating, and they may even try reaching for your food for themselves.
Babies truly do NOT need solids for extra nutrition until 6+ months of age. Formula and breast milk are perfectly fine for total nutrition until at least that time, and some even say beyond that point. But nevertheless, doctors are pushing this earlier and earlier. If you feel your doctor’s instructions are not best for your baby on this subject matter, go with your gut. We were told to start at 3 months, and we started with cereal closer to 4 months. It still felt early. This may make your baby feel more satisfied, and he or she may sleep longer stretches, but not necessarily. Do your homework first.
Do listen to the advice of your pediatrician first and foremost, as far as don’t just start your young baby on solids yourself. There is some controversy on babies consuming solids too soon and possible ill health effects. Allergies, eczema and things of this nature. Whether it is proven as fact, truly linked 100% I do not know, but Allie did have eczema and occasionally gets a bit, but nothing like it used to be way back when. I definitely was blaming early solids at the time, by all of the reading I had done. Who knows though? I guess we will never.
For breastfed babies it is best to feed the 1st solids in the evening hours. This is when your milk supply will be at its lowest, and it will ensure a fuller baby belly and possibly longer sleeping hours. (If you are lucky!)
4) How do I help avoid diaper rashes on my newborn, and how do I treat it if it happens?
Every single mom, no matter how much care you take, will see a diaper rash at one point or another on their newborn’s bottom. Little hineys that need to be diapered 24 hours per day are going to get rashes from time to time, some more than others. But you can help minimize diaper rashes by applying a thin layer of diaper cream with every diaper change. Not all moms do this, but I have had great success in avoiding rashes by doing this and by making sure to change my newborn(s) frequently. That is also key. Babies who sit too long in wet diapers are far more prone to getting rashes.
If you feel a wet diaper make sure to change it promptly to help avoid the majority of rashes. Regardless of if you believe in putting on a tiny amount of cream with every change, you should at least put it on in the evening before bedtime, as babies get changed less and may be sleeping in a wet diaper for a period of time. More so than during the day. Take this course of action, and you won’t see many rashes on your baby’s bottom. If you do see one don’t feel bad. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. Newborn skin is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to the elements, and every baby is different. Do what you can and follow the advice above for a clearer bottom.
(I recommend Desitin Maximum strength, personally.)
5) When does my baby recognize me?
We expect our baby to come out of the womb longing for mama, instantly recognizing her visually and in every way really. It’s only partly true. After 9 months inside of your body they absolutely remember and are soothed by the sound of your heartbeat while laying on your chest. They do recognize your voice that they heard on the inside of you every day for the better part of a year, and they can smell their mother’s scent, even across a room.
Newborn vision is quite poor during those early days and weeks of life, so visually they can’t see all that much, and they haven’t seen you before anyhow, physically. But your voice, your smell, the sounds in your body they definitely do know and recognize and are drawn to right off the bat. As far as dad is concerned, it seems that no matter how much baby has heard his voice, it can’t compare to the frequency and intensity that the baby or babies have heard yours. So despite our belief that babies come out knowing daddy to, it actually takes 15-20 days for them to clearly recognize dad’s voice. Shh, don’t tell him 😉 !
A second edition to this topic of conversation is coming soon. Enjoy and remember, 1st time motherhood is the most special time in life. A time with no disturbances, where you can just truly enjoy and immerse yourself 150% in your precious baby. Don’t let one wonderful moment of this pass you by! Being a perfect mother is a non-existent fantasy. Even the 10th time around you won’t be perfect so don’t expect too much of yourself. You will learn more as you go and grow along with your baby. Just absolutely enjoy him (or her). It goes by far too fast!
Whether one or two at a time :-P.