Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Babies and "The Baby Smackdown"

By: Alex Holmes

Everywhere I look right now I see pregnant people and new babies. Spring has definitely sprung! My lovely sister is beautifully pregnant with a boy (who I am going to strongly resist trying to kidnap once he's here), my brother is going to have the first girl in our family very soon, and pretty much every other person on the street is either pregnant or pushing around a new baby.

There are TONS of tips and tricks out there for new parents and I always try to avoid overloading new parents with too much advice since they usually get that from everyone. Having said that, I did manage to get through newborn-hood with triplets with my sanity still in tact so I think that feat alone lends me a little credibility in this area. (Warning squeamish boys: I am going to talk about breastfeeding at least once.)

My go to pointers for new parents are always these:

  1. Trust yourself. Even if this is your first baby and you never got around to reading that stack of parenting books you will still figure it out...I PROMISE. If you trust yourself and your intuition then the rest will work itself out. My outlook on parenting books and parenting advice (my own included) has always been to remember the parts that appeal to you and take the rest of it with a grain of salt. No one is going to report you if you listen to your music loud in the car while pregnant even though "What to expect.." said it was against the rules.
  2. RELAX. You as the parent have the most influence on how the early days with your baby (or babies) will go. If you are relaxed and try to remain calm through trying situations then your baby will more likely stay calm or calm down quicker. If you do find that it seems like the stress really is too much for you then consider bringing it up to your doctor because a couple weeks on Zoloft could be just the thing you need to get over the hormonal highs and lows and enjoy your baby the way that you want to.
  3. Don't suffer if you don't have to...there is no award for having the hardest time with your newborn and there are so many things out there that make common baby issues a thing of the past and can make your life SO much easier. Colic/tummy troubles? If it is just normal baby issues and not something more serious then give that baby "Gripe Water" at every frickin' feeding if you have to. It is all natural and safe and works miracles, I always used Wellements brand but they sell other brands at most grocery stores and pharmacies. Bottle feeding? Dr. Browns...'nough said. If you or your baby are having trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding because of any latch issues then before you give up (or just come to terms with being in pain every time you feed) try silicone nipple shields. If the problem is pain from irritation then these put a protective barrier between you and baby to ease discomfort but are thin enough to still allow for a natural experience. If the problem is anything to do with the "latch" then this helps resolve almost all common causes. The point of those tricks are just to tell you that if you are struggling with any issues with your baby there is probably a simple solution out there and you don't need to suffer. 
  4. Finally....The Baby Smackdown...It's called that because no baby that I have encountered can resist it. My MIL learned the baby smackdown on her last visit from Seattle with my SIL, BIL, and niece.This move is for babies that think they don't want to sleep. "Momma says it's time to sleep!". You will need: A rocking chair, soothie pacifier, big receiving blanket, and a stronger will then that 10 pound person which is easier said than done. Swaddle baby, arms in, in a VERY snug swaddle. If you do one of those wimpy, fall apart swaddles then your baby will win this battle. Sit in the rocking chair and get the little baby snuggled up tight in the crook of your arm so that you can wrap your arm around to hold in the pacifier. Don't look at baby, hold in the pacifier, start rocking...and I mean REALLY rocking, pat babies' back, and do the "Sshh, sshh, sshh" sound. If your baby isn't asleep in 15 minutes then there is probably something wrong like a wet diaper or a gas bubble OR your baby is superhuman and you should be very worried and start looking into X-men schools. If you not into using pacifiers then use a finger or nothing if your baby doesn't need it. 
The most important tip is absolutely Number 1. If you have that then the rest is just lagniappe.

I hope you can take something from this and make your precious time with your new baby more enjoyable.

Me and My little cuties when they were 2 1/2 months old.

Thanks for Reading.


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