Top 10 Things I wish I Knew About the Newborn Period

By: Gloria Miles

Typically, parents look forward to the birth of their child. There are apps to see how the pregnancy is developing, but also includes an air of “countdown” within its tone. At the end of the pregnancy, especially the last month, waiting can feel excruciating.

All that being said, the newborn period is wrought full of surprises. After daydreaming of tiny baby feet, little onesies, and being able to hold one’s little baby…it’s no surprise that for many there are surprising elements (and some not so pleasant ones) in the postpartum period.

Here is what I wish I knew before the birth of my first child:

  1. It’s okay to not like your baby.

    I know that sounds weird, maybe even mean. But it’s true. I think this is important to realize. Some nights, when you’re sleep deprived, baby isn’t latching well, your nipples hurt, your baby is crying, when this whole parenting gig is feeling overwhelming…it’s okay to look at that sweet baby and not like him or her. It’s okay to wonder what you were thinking. Great parents need breaks. Great parents need sleep. Great parents need to walk away from their baby for a few minutes to grab a breather.

    The newborn period is hard! This is a huge period of change. It’s important to recognize when you need help. My suggestion: hire a postpartum doula! They really are a godsend.

  2. Prepare to be late…to everything.

    Leaving the house for the first time seems overwhelming, it is overwhelming, the very first time. Suddenly, you have to remember a diaper bag, maybe bottles and formula, you have to safely strap the most floppiest, squishiest thing into a car seat. Give yourself a lot of grace and time. And just realize you’ll be late to a lot of things in the future.

  3. Get used to bodily fluids.

    Pee, poop, spit up. You’re basically a human wet wipe. …you get used to it. Somehow it’s a little less gross when it’s your own little human getting it on you. Or you’re too tired to care.

  4. Baby teepees don’t work…
    Someone gifted me these little baby teepee things that were supposed to be placed over a baby’s penis. The purpose was so there wasn’t any accidental baptism of the parent with infant urine. Those things slid off my kid’s penis almost as soon as it was placed on there. My suggestion? Use a wash cloth and place it over the area. Or just refer back to number 3. Also, change boys from the side. Then at least the changing table will get it.

  5. It’s lonely.

    It’s a little lonely, for both parents. I think it’s important to prepare the partner for the newborn period as well. Postpartum doulas can also help support him or her during this period of transition. It’s a little isolating when a partner goes back to work and suddenly there’s just you and baby. It’s also lonely for the partner in that they “lose” you for a bit. A family of two has become three, and the third requires so much time and attention. Eventually, a new normal will come, but in the beginning, partners can sometimes feel neglected.

  6. The newborn period is a season.

    This season of your life is temporary. The first month or two is usually the bumpiest.

Meconium: Tips and Tricks for the First Few Days of Baby Poop

By: Gloria Miles

Everybody poops. They even wrote a book about it! Clearly, this part is not a shocker. What can be a shocker are those first few days of baby poop.

It's baby poop. Newborn poop at that. How bad can it be?

First, let's talk about what it is: meconium is the baby's first stools. It's made up of amniotic fluid (your baby was swallowing amniotic fluid for weeks before he was born), lanugo (fine hair that used to cover your baby...the earlier your baby was born, the more he still has on him), mucus, bile, and other cells that were shed. Basically, it comes from everything that was swallowed prior to baby's birth.

It's black (well, really it's greenish-black), sticky, tar that will not scrub out of anything. Okay, it does scrub out, but it takes a little bit of elbow grease. And I'm not talking about some meconium (mec for short!) not scrubbing out of a receiving blanket. That stuff holds tight to that sweet little baby bum as well.

Do you know how many wipes I wasted the first few days of my first child's life? My wallet still weeps at the memory.

Okay, so what can you do to make this little chore a little easier?

  • Oil your baby's bum!

    Seriously. Slick that little baby booty down with any oil you have handy: olive oil, baby oil, coconut oil (though that might not be as convenient as a liquid oil), whatever is easiest. What this does is create a slippery barrier so that poop slides right off with one wipe.

    You can carry oil easily in a spray bottle or a little tupperware container in your diaper bag (not that you should be traveling much those first few days). Easy peasy!
     

  • Use wash cloths, not baby wipes.

    Some people find it easier to wipe with a soft wash cloth and warm soapy water, rather than a baby wipe (or wipes). This is a great tip for when you forget to oil your baby down.
     

  • Skip the cloth diapers for a few days.

    Use regular disposable diapers until baby's bowels start processing the food he is eating. In a few days, you'll find that your baby's stools start changing color. Breastfed babies will have stools that start getting greener and eventually will turn  yellowish-orange seedy mixture that is super easy to wipe up and wash off of cloth diapers.

    Note: I realize that some women actually use cloth from day 1 and have no problems with it. However, these women use sorcery and probably fold fitted sheets like champs. If you're like me, don't feel guilty about skipping the early days of cloth diapers.
     

  • Don't change diapers.

    You're bleeding, leaking breast milk, a little sore, and trying to sleep when you can. Delegate diaper changes to your partner, family members, and/or friends. (Or a postpartum doula!!)

    This is probably the best "hack." I highly recommend this one. You'll get your chance to change a thousand diapers eventually. Pawning off a few changes won't hurt anyone.

I hope these tips make diaper changes a bit more convenient. Parenthood, especially the newborn period, is all about finding short cuts where possible! Let me know if you used any of these tips and how they went for you! Or add your own short cuts to the list down in the comment section. 

 

Gloria Miles is a Navy veteran and mother of 4. She wears many hats as a doula, Certified Aromatherapist, and student. She is currently working towards obtaining a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management, with an end goal of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife. When she is not blogging or hanging out with her family, she enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and mud runs.