It’s strange that babies are such mysteries to us when they've been around since, you know…the beginning of man. I know for me, I had no idea what I was getting into when I had my first. Here are a few things I wish people would tell one another, because it would make that newborn stage much easier!
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- What breastfed poop looks like. A friend of mine old me that a couple she knew who adopted a baby via surrogate trashed all of the pumped breast milk that the birth mother had provided for the baby. The couple had no idea what breastfed poop looked like, and since the baby’s poop looked like diarrhea after drinking said breastmilk, they decided the milk was harming the baby. I was stunned! They threw out oodles of nutrients for the baby, simply because they had no clue what breastfed poop looks like. Not only is breastfed poop mustard yellow-colored, it also can look like there are seeds in it. Another characteristic: often times it smells like yogurt. #Exception: there are plenty of mothers who have had to adjust their diets due to their baby being allergic to something they are eating and passing onward through breastmilk. This is not what I’m talking about in regard to breastfed poop! That’s a completely different scenario. (And if you are one of those mothers struggling through this, I'm so very sorry!)
- Exclusively breastfeeding doesn’t prevent your period. In my case I breastfed and pumped for both of my babies and my period returned after four months. Turns out that was the same time it returned for my sister, who exclusively breastfed all of her babies. My period came back four months postpartum and then I got pregnant two months later! (It was planned.)
- Babies don’t know how to nap/sleep. I’d like to know the bozo who came up with the “sleep like a baby” saying. Because it’s simply not true! (And many new parents can attest to this.) The truth is, babies are not born with a circadian rhythm (that develops well after birth) so you’ll have to teach them how to nap and sleep. Here are some tips (ignore number 2 since you're dealing with a newborn) that will help.
- You can gain weight from breastfeeding/pumping. I’m one of those women who didn’t gain much during pregnancy, but put a ton of weight on when I was breastfeeding/pumping. Our second little guy was a hearty little eater (he drank upwards of 40 ounces a day!) and to keep up with him, I pumped a lot and that in turn made me ravenous. I’m happy that I was able to provide for both of my sons and I wouldn’t do anything differently, but it did come as a surprise since I heard so much about breastfeeding being a calorie burner.
- Your down there can heal and snap back! I don’t know why I thought that after having a vaginal birth, everything would remain…stretched out. Not so! In fact, it’s amazing how much the female body heals after childbirth. I had a second degree tear with my second baby and got stitches and for about a month/6 weeks I continued to bleed and it hurt. But just two months postpartum I was fully healed and cleared to resume intimacy with hubby.
- There are new approaches to treating and preventing food allergies. This is less about the newborn stage and more specific to the time baby is transitioning to solid food. I’m one of those people who was terrified I would have a child with a peanut allergy. You know, one of those deadly allergies that is all-consuming and causes a lot of upheaval. With my first son, I learned that instead of the old method of non-exposure, early exposure to leading allergens can prevent food allergies in kids. I used this approach for both of my sons. There are several options, but we used the Ready, Set, Food mix-in packets, beginning at four months. I made sure to use these packets until both of our boys were a year old. So far: no sign of allergies!