Did You Know After Nine Months, Your Baby…
- has less than a 5 percent chance of being born on the projected due date?
- may cry while inside the womb?
- has skin that currently lacks pigmentation and won't gain color until after birth?
- will recognize your voice before, during and after birth?
A famous Coldplay song states: "Nobody said it was easy, but no one ever said it would be this hard."
This lyric reflects how many women feel after the first few days, weeks and even months of becoming a mom.
If you begin feeling a bit overwhelmed, remember that preparation and education is the best way to gain confidence in parenting. And also remember that you are always "learning on the job"; you will make mistakes along the way, but you will also be a better mom because of them.
To help you prepare for the upcoming months and years of parenting, consider taking parenting classes, talking with your family or friends about parenting, and even volunteering to babysit children of various ages. These will all help round out your knowledge base and experience for when your child reaches different ages.
This email will give you a few other things to think about in your preparation of being a mom.
Choosing a Doctor for Your Baby
When choosing a doctor for your baby, you have two choices: a family practitioner and a pediatrician.
A family practitioner specializes in seeing members of the whole family, while a pediatrician specializes in providing medical treatment to children. To help you make this decision, you should decide whether you want to see the same doctor together as a family or you want your child to be seen by a children's specialist.
Once you have decided the type of doctor, it is then time to select a doctor based on the characteristics that are important to you and your child:
- Credentials - Is the doctor certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP)?
- Location - Is the location of the doctor's office close enough to your home in case of an emergency?
- Availability - Is the doctor available for special visits or by phone in case of an emergency?
- Wait Times - How long did you have to wait during your first appointment? Did you get an idea if this wait was representative of the average wait time?
- Office Hours - Do the office hours adhere to your schedule?
- Payment Plans - Do the doctor's fees fit your budget, and do they allow payment plans if necessary?
You can expect your baby's first well-baby checkup to occur between one to four weeks old, depending on many factors. This will be a great opportunity for you to see how your baby is developing and to ask all of the questions you have compiled up to that point.
Your Baby's Needs
It is likely no surprise that your baby is going to require a lot of things, which may stretch your wallet pretty thin. Be sure to accept any hand-me-downs and gifts that you may be offered, as you can then buy more of something or a better one of something else.
After clothing and linens, here is a list of some of the other items you will likely need:
- Grooming Products: Soap, no-tears shampoo, baby oil, baby powder, diaper rash cream, diapers, diaper wipes, toenail clippers, brushes.
- Feeding Products: 4-ounce bottles and 8-ounce bottles, formula, breast pump, pacifier.
- Furniture: Crib and mattress, bassinet, chair (for you in the nursery), changing space.
- Miscellaneous: Diaper pail, baby monitor, baby swing, night-light, stroller, car seat.
Managing Your Baby's Crying
One activity that unites all babies is crying, so prepare to be a little annoyed, tired and irritable in these first several months. There are, however, some things you can do to help calm down your baby (hopefully!).
- Your baby cries because it is the only way he or she can affect the world at this point. In fact, it may be our first lesson in cause and effect: "I cry, and Mommy comes to me." Don't worry about "spoiling" your baby by being there. In fact, not being there for your baby can result in deep-rooted attachment issues later in life.
Fix the Problem
- Is your baby hungry? Tired? Hot? Cold? Uncomfortable? Or is there nothing wrong at all, and your baby just feels like being heard? Whatever the issue is, put on your detective cap and attempt to solve the issue. Sometimes, however, there is no issue to solve.
Comfort Your Baby
- Your baby may cry because he or she simply wants some comfort, such as holding, swaddling or rocking, and singing or humming - the list goes on and on. All babies are different, so figure out what makes your baby a happy one.
Potential Risks for Your Baby
Always keep the following risks in mind, as they could lead to potential harm for your baby:
- Always keep your baby buckled in the car seat, no matter how slow you are going.
- Never leave your baby unattended on a surface, such as the changing station or a bed.
- Never leave your baby unattended in a car - not even for a quick stop at a convenient store.
- Never leave your baby alone with a pet, as animals can be unpredictable around babies or children they are unfamiliar with.
- Never leave your baby alone with a younger sibling, as he or she could accidentally injure the baby while trying to play with him or her.
- Don't shake your baby to stop him or her from crying.
- Be sure to follow the guidelines on toys. Never let your baby play with a toy that has small pieces, strings or large padding, all which could cause suffocation.
For any questions about this email or other questions about your baby, consult your doctor.