The Ultimate Guide for First Time Parents
I could still remember the first time I got a positive on my pregnancy test kit. My husband was still sleeping when I swung the pregnancy test kit in front of his face (with the cap covered! Don’t worry). That excitement, yet at the same time, the fear of becoming parents.
I hope this guide would help ease your fear!
Sleep. Eat. Poop. (Repeat)
I’m sure you hear this often, but I’m not sure if you know how often! Babies generally sleep, eat and poop quite often and in short intervals. How often is often? Well, it can be as often as every two hourly! For the first six weeks of baby’s life, the cycle can go every 2-4 hourly, and yes, that also means baby poops 12 times a day. If you breastfeed your baby, this is actually a norm. However, the opposite can happen too. Some breastfed child can go poop-less for days – and this brings us to the second point below.
My eldest’s record for his poop-nami stint was after 13 poop-less days! As the name suggested, it was a disaster! Of all days, his poop-nami happened while we were out. His diaper was fully soiled and so did his back! Did you know that breastfed baby’s poop stains like turmeric? We couldn’t get the stain off his romper.
Is my baby getting enough feeds?
I was one of the fortunate ones (I would like to believe so!) that my boobs didn’t respond well to breast pumps. I bought all the pumps I could get my hands on – Medela Freestyle, Medela PISA, AVENT, Rumble Tuff, Lacte, Spectra, you name it. Guess what were the maximum ounces that I could get? 0.5 ounce from each pump session. I was depressed and cried countless time at the sight of the pathetic 0.5 ounce. Nope, boob size wasn’t the issue. One of my mommy friends with smaller boobs had sufficient milk for her baby and she had a few anak susuan too!
There were times I wasn’t confident if my baby was getting enough feeds. Thank goodness I had a very supportive pediatrician. She weighed my baby before and after feeds. As my baby gained more than 0.5g after feeding, she assured me my baby was having enough milk from direct latch. I was just one of the ‘fortunate’ ones whom boobs doesn’t respond to breast pump.
Routine. Routine. Routine.
I had a DIY Confinement month, so routine started as soon as possible. If you’re in a mommy’s support group on Facebook, you’ll realize most moms shared a common fear during the last week of their confinement – when their confinement lady leaves. This is because they are unsure of their baby’s routine.
What really helps is to set a routine. Routine is like a timetable of what to do from the moment you wake up. The moment a routine is set, you’ll realize how much easier it is to manage your time. With my eldest child, routine didn’t kick in until a week after birth. After realizing the importance of routine, I kick-started routine the next day after birth for my second and third child.
Dry skin is the new norm
Your baby is in your womb for 9 months. When she’s born, she comes out from a wet environment into a dry environment. So she will go through skin peeling and her skin may feel dry as the skin barrier peels off. Don’t fret, just get a good lotion and massage her gently after bath. This will help her to relax for a longer night sleep too.
Babies like to communicate a lot – through crying (unfortunately)
Babies’ cries aren’t bad all the time – although more often than not it’s because of something ‘bad’ – hungry, need a diaper change, need a burp, sleepy, etc. You can learn about baby’s different type of cries to help you identify their cues. Check out Dunstan Baby Language.
Postpartum depression can happen to anyone, and it’s okay
People take the word depression far too negatively. Acknowledging signs of postpartum depression is important. After all, right after having a baby, you can’t get much sleep and your body might not be able to adapt to it yet. Fatigue is one of the most common causes of depression. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please don’t be shy to ask for help. Be ‘selfish’ for a couple of hours to get your much-needed rest.
Overwhelming parenting advise
You’ll get lots of this – including this article! Many nice, well-meaning people will give you their parenting advise. Being the stubborn me, I opt to go through these experiences myself rather than learning from other people’s experiences. So I always tell them this: I know you meant well but this is my once-in-a-lifetime chance of being a parent to my child. I want to go through this – even if I’m wrong – but at least they will become memorable moments in my parenting journey. Thank you, I will take note and give you the opportunity to say “I told you so”.