Last night’s conference call, moms had lots of questions pertaining to newborns. Here’s a written article covering some of what we discussed.
Routines are comforting. Not surprisingly, most moms who call or email me suffering from some postpartum challenges are seriously distressed about the simple things.
But simple things of routine are all you long for when your world has been turned upside down by a new little baby with no concept of day or night.
A hot meal.
Clean teeth for goodness’ sake.
Clothing that does not smell of milk and sweat.
I know ladies…been there just a few times myself.
So this week I am going to share with you my routine for my children, separated by age group. So we begin with newborns…
In general, with a newborn, I stick to a three hour routine. I say routine, because for the first few weeks I like to see if baby will gently fall into the schedule without much of a push. No matter how rough the night may have been, I always try and start the day at the same time…for me, that’s 7:00am. So I feed at 7, try to keep the baby awake for as much of that hour as possible, and then backdown for a nap at 8. Naptime until roughly 10am, and the same procedure goes pretty much round the clock all day until the 10pm feeding, where I feed, bath and hopefully junior gives me a 3 hour stretch to sleep.
So to be clear, with a newborn, I feed them 8-10 times a day when nursing. In the first few days, there may be very little routine (although I still try to keep it at three hours), but I write down every feeding, every bowel movement and wet diaper to ensure adequate intake. When bottle feeding, I have the luxury of knowing how much they ate and so rarely does it take more than 8 feedings a day.
Those first few weeks, I try and stay close to home. Please be cautious with a newborn, their little immune systems are so delicate, and the last thing you want is a stay in the PICU because your newborn got RSV.
Also, I rotate how my child sleeps. One nap on the left side, one nap on the back, one nap on the right, and yes, even a nap on their bellies.
Between keeping a good routine, staying close to home, and rotating how they sleep I also want to throw in another caution about the shape of your child’s head. Babies who spend the majority of their time sleeping on their backs, in a car seat with the back of their head against the seat, in a swing (head in same position), or in a bouncy seat wind up with very flat heads. If you are at all worried about the shape of your baby’s head, please bring it up with your pediatrician. Anymore I am SHOCKED how many babies I see around town with an obviously misshapen head and the parents are mostly oblivious. I understand how this happens…bit by bit, day by day and you do not see the shape changing…but PLEASE keep an eye on this moms and dads.
And please remember…not every cry is a cry for hunger. Spend the first few weeks learning to discern what the cries mean. One says, “I am hungry…” Another means, “I am exhausted.” One simply means, “There is nothing you can do right now to make me stop…” And with that one I generally turn off the monitor and go sit outside in the sun for a few minutes. Usually doesn’t take junior too long to settle to sleep.
If any of you have questions about newborns, please add them in the comments…I’d be more than glad to share what I have learned having 14 newborns in my arms over the last 18 years!
(UPDATE…make that 15 newborns over the last 20 years!)
Looking for similar information for your 4-18-month-old? Click here.
If you have any doubts, questions, concerns regarding the health of your newborn, please seek proper medical attention. I can only speak from my personal experience. I am not a doctor.
***Statistics tell us most of the contributing factors pertaining to SIDS are things far beyond our control…things like if a child is male, african american, born prematurely, and/or consistently exposed to second hand smoke….The only contributing factor that is controllable is sleep positioning. If you feel uncomfortable putting your baby to sleep on it’s belly, then don’t. I have personally used the Angel Care monitor as an extra precaution.