Caring for Your Newborn

Many people think that you have to have all the right tools and latest gadgets in order to welcome a little blessing into your home. In fact, the free baby magazines at the hospitals are filled with advertisements for things like bottles, breast pumps, clothes for mommy, baby chairs that make music and motions, lullaby crib fixtures, designer nursery themes, and more. A new mom may ask herself, “What do I buy first?” With so many options, all of which look so tempting, how do I decide what to get.

First, I would say to take a deep breath and think about what you do have: two loving arms, a gentle voice to sing lullabies, a warm body to keep baby warm, and a built in food maker. What more can your little one want??? Plus, you will find that all of the “must have” items marketed towards your “mother’s heart” can quickly cause a clutter. And, before you know it, the $300 crib is selling for $25 at your garage sale two years later! I remember how, with every child, I asked my husband to put together our crib and bassinet (for the first few weeks before the baby goes to the crib). After our last child, I finally sent it away to storage and will probably sell it. We never used it!! Babies love to be close to their mother! Is it any wonder? Just look again at what you possess. Although most mothers do not prefer to keep their babies next to them when they sleep, I have found that my children valued being allowed to be a baby. Even today, they are still very affectionate to me and sympathetic to other little ones. My children love to be around me, no matter where I am. We talk all day long and learn about life together. I believe that much of this stems from the comfort that they received before they could talk. You don’t have to follow what all of the leading “experts” are saying about caring for an infant. Instead, do what comes naturally. You were made to carry the baby and you have the intuition to understand your baby’s signals. There will certainly come a time when you will need to teach your children what is right and wrong and lay down rules that they need to obey. But, for now, they are just learning the basics: eating, eliminating waste, and taking in all of the fascinating new sights and sound around them. Take time to smile at each other, bond with siblings, and play.

For Baby

A few items your baby will probably need:

Sling such as Moby Wrap or a Maya Wrap
Calendula tincture – use on cord to help it dry out and speed healing
Homemade Diaper Rash Ointment

Diapering Needs

At this time, or at least before age 3-5 months, you may want to begin infant potty training. You will need 8-12 t-shirt gowns that open at the bottom, a small bowl or BabyBjörn Little Potty, 12-20 cloth diapers (covers are only needed when you leave the house), and many little flannel blankets in case of accidents. There is ample information online regarding infant potty training (also referred to as “Elimination Communication” or EC). I have used a combination of elimination communication, cloth diapers, and disposables. I have used Mother-Ease cloth diapers for almost five years with my children. I also sell these…email me for more info. When we travel or are on an extended vacation, I use Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Diapers. EC is good when you are home, but I found that I got a little too stressed out when I was distracted with outside projects, and I couldn’t stay “tuned in” to my baby. It’s OK to do a combination of both or whatever you have time for. EC can also be used only when baby wakes up. They, like adults will usually “go” then. So, that also a good way to start.

Staying home

When we had our first child, I still thought that I had to go places constantly and stay “busy”. Now, I tend to believe that the best place for young ones is in the home for most of the time. The home is the “nest”. It is familiar and affords you the luxury of being close to your basic needs like bathtubs and food, and it has less germs. Too much time in an unfamiliar setting can tend to stress out young children. It’s much more fun to get to know your children than to be on the go all the time. Besides, this is the time to relax. You have just had the marathon of giving birth, and your body needs a rest. Plus, you need to save all the energy you can before your baby becomes an exploring toddler! So, as the old-folks say, “sleep when they sleep!”…and don’t feel guilty!

Family Adjustments

You can go to two opposite extremes when a new baby is born.  Many women are so enthralled with a new baby that they forget to include the rest of the family.  This is most common with a first-time mother.  She forgets that she was a wife (and maybe mother) first.   Her husband may have to take the back seat while she extends all of her love to the newborn.  Another extreme, is that the couple defers many of their responsibilities to a “care-giver” and continues life as normal.  They may frequently stay out late at social gatherings, be gone most of the day, they may even go on vacations without their newborn.

The first thing that you need to realize is that you are going to have to learn to serve instead of being served.  This may be new to many people, but, I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive”.  As a wife, you will have to remember to continue to bless your husband.  Continue to do the things he enjoys, like back rubs (who doesn’t like back rubs???) and intimacy once you are healed.  He is your first love!

Also, let your newborn spend as much time with brother and sister as possible.  You can all sit together on the couch and read, go for walks together, and let them hold the baby.   Let them know that it is their baby too.  You are a family and now you have one more to love on!

And, for your baby, include them in what you do.  They are going to be with you for a long time!  If they always feel that you are pushing them away, how will you ever bond?  Despite what others will tell you, you will have to adjust your life and your schedules around your children.  Everything will change.  But, what’s wrong with a little simplicity: home, relationships, homemade food, slooowwing doowwwwn???

In conclusion, enjoy your baby.  Be prepared, but keep it simple! You are a mother and you know your baby better than anyone else!

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

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