1. Do I have to breastfeed for an entire year?
Breastfeeding for 12 months, and exclusively for 6 months is what the Academy for Pediatrics recommends. In the beginning it seems like your life revolves around breastfeeding, but remember at around an average of 6 months, your baby will start to eat solids. So you won’t be constantly consumed by breastfeeding all the time.
“But a mom should stop breastfeeding if she realizes that she’s no longer enjoying it, even though it has myriad benefits,” says Erica Brody, M.D., director of pediatric breastfeeding medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. Some mothers go even longer than a year as well, there is no wrong choice.
I became an exclusive pumping mom pretty early on with my second child, but if you decide that breastfeeding has become too much, this is always an option.
2. If I drink a glass of wine do I have to pump and dump?
You actually don’t need to dump anymore. If you get engorged while you wait for the alcohol to leave the breast milk you can pump and dump a little. I never pumped and dumped. I would pump my alcohol filled breast milk, freeze it, then sell it. That’s a whole other subject though. lol. 😉
Author of “Everyone Drink Up: this holiday season, there is no reason to pump and dump.” a nursing mom herself, explained “that it’s hard to drink too much while breastfeeding. Even if you fed your baby right after drinking four glasses of wine, she explained, your baby would end up with a blood alcohol level similar to the one her mom would have after drinking an eighth of a Bud Light.”
For reference it takes about 2 hours for alcohol to leave the breast milk according to Academy of Pediatrics. One glass of wine after 30 minutes would pass a fraction of a fraction of a percent of alcohol to baby.
3. What is considered a fever that I should worry about?
Most parents don’t realize that most fevers are not something that should cause alarm, a fever means the body is fighting off whatever shouldn’t be in there. Baby’s body temperatures fluctuate, so it’s actually not considered a fever until it hits 100.4 degrees (38C) after 3 months of age, and of course you should always check with your pediatrician. But it’s not something that should cause you stress unless it hits 104 in a baby over 3 months.
If you have a baby under 3 months of age with any fever you should definitely call your pediatrician right away.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be given to reduce a temperature and allow your baby to sleep, but always contact pediatrician about proper dosage for age.
4. Do newborns actually get days and nights mixed up?
Oh yeah, and it sucks big time. You are so exhausted, and because you aren’t mixed up it’s hard to sleep during the day, and they just want to party all night.
One of the things that helped me was in the daytime try to have as much natural light coming into the rooms, or go for a walk outside. At night, it is sleep time, speak slow and soft, don’t tickle their feet or belly (I know, it’s hard). Try not to make eye contact, and get PJ’s on slowly in a dark room.
5. Do I have to sterilize bottles and pacifiers after every use?
I am that mom that literally would lick the dropped pacifier and put it back in my baby’s mouth. I know that is a big no-no.
No one has time to sterilize after every feeding especially if you are a mother to multiple children. I would sterilize every other day with those super easy microwave bags, bye-bye time sucking, hot water, sterilizing on the stove. This isn’t the 1950’s. These bags are the best and easiest thing ever!
I would rinse with soap and water, and make sure that you DO NOT drop any bottle nipples in the drains of the sink. I have heard of a healthy baby dying when the nipple dropped into the the sink drain, because so much bacteria goes down our sinks.
6. How much clothing does my baby need to wear?
The rule is for your baby to wear one more layer than you, unless, you live somewhere like Arizona on a 118 degree day, then a onesie will suffice.
If you are wearing a shirt, then a jacket then your baby should be wearing a shirt, a jacket, and also have a blanket tucked over.
If you have them in a baby carrier against you then this doesn’t apply, but remember to keep their little feet warm. I always see people with their babies against them with the baby’s naked feet sticking out on cold days.
7. Can you spoil a baby by holding them too much?
NO! A toddler yes, a teenager yes, a baby, definitely not. Babies are meant to be held, they cannot be held too much. In order for a baby to grow healthy intellectually, physically, and emotionally it needs constant attention and love.
“A challenge of the newborn is getting to know that the world is somehow reliable and trustworthy, that his or her basic needs will be met,” says J. Kevin Nugent, director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston and a child psychologist.
Responding to baby’s cues “isn’t a matter of spoiling,” he says. “It’s a matter of meeting the child’s needs.”
To be spoiled you have to be able to understand manipulation, baby’s do not understand this yet.
8. Is it normal for my baby to spit up all the time?
A lot of parents assume spitting up is linked to infant reflux, but not necessarily. It is actually quite normal to spit up in about 2/3’s of healthy babies. Usually, they outgrow it by age 1, and you can help with this by feeding them smaller meals.
On the other hand, if the spitting up is accompanied by screaming, and extreme fussiness it might be an issue. Read more about infant reflux here in my post 7 Signs You Have a Baby With Infant Reflux and 3 Tips and Tricks for Relief.
9. What do I need to do to care for my baby’s umbilical cord?
On average the umbilical cord falls off around 8 days, some less, some more. Until that day, which is the best day ever, because those little black nubs are so annoying, you just need to keep the nub and area clean and dry.
Do not tug on it to get it to fall off quicker, and clean it with rubbing alcohol, but not too much.
Also, if you happen to snag it, feeling like the worst parent ever, you aren’t. We have all done it. So after you stop crying, just clean it up and make sure to keep the diaper rolled down a little.
10. How long after the birth of my baby can I have sex?
There is no set standard but most doctors tell you 4-6 weeks regardless of how you delivered. The following 2 weeks after birth you are at your highest of having a complication.
“A woman’s uterus takes about six weeks to return to normal size and for her cervix to close back up. The physical timeline for a woman’s body to heal “down there” is pretty much the same, no matter how she gives birth.” says Healthline.
Rule of thumb is to generally wait until you are cleared by your doctor and then when you feel you are ready. With my second I had a 3rd degree tear, about 30 stitches, and could hardly sit down. I waited to have my first “cattle-prodding the oyster ditch with the lap rocket” session until about 3-4 months.
11. Breastfeeding is not working out and I have tried everything what are my other options?
Remember, breastfeeding is hard, it is not something that comes natural to baby or mom. Most moms stop because of latch issues, or the irritation caused simply by just getting your nipples use to the constant use.
If you haven’t already check out the La Leche League. They are a non-profit all about helping breastfeeding moms and babies. They are great.
It is said that the irritation will subside by 2-3 weeks, but sometimes this is just not the case. Before giving up breastfeeding completely and going to formula there is another option, which I know all too well. Check out my blog post 7 Ways to Master Being an Exclusive Breast Pumping Mom, for all your pumping options and questions answered.
12. Which formula should I be using?
Doctors recommend using a cow’s milk based formula. If your baby doesn’t have an issue with this, great, but cow’s milk is hard for any baby to digest. There is the sensitive options for gassy babies, then there is the gentle ease option for babies that are more sensitive than the sensitive formula even helps. Then there is a soy option, and a very expensive milk-free, soy-free option.
If you are having trouble with the costs of formula, check out your local WIC office.
My daughter has a dairy intolerance so when I was breastfeeding I had to completely cut dairy out of my diet, and then around 7 months we started supplementing with formula and had to use the soy formula because any formula with milk in it made her and our lives absolute hell.
Read more about a day in the life of a dairy-free pumping mom in my post My Bed Routine with Baby… PLUS Dinner as a Dairy-Free Exclusive Pumping Mom.
13. What do the different colors of baby poop mean?
For a detailed guide to baby poop color meanings check out my article What Are the Different Colors of the Baby Poop Rainbow and What Does Each Color Mean?
14. What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning or BLW is the method of letting your baby decide when they are ready to start solid food. If your baby seems to perk up during mealtime and is reaching for food, they may be ready. Prepare some baby safe foods at your family mealtime, and see if baby decides on what they want to eat.
15. When can I start taking my baby out in public or to gatherings?
Whenever you and your baby feel well enough. I went out the day after I left the hospital with all my kids. This is a long debated issue for most moms but you can’t hide your baby from the world forever. Being exposed is a good thing. Of course if you are breastfeeding you are passing the antibodies from you to your baby, so they are protected a bit.
Even so, always make sure that people take proper hand washing precautions. I always carried germ-x wipes, and hand sanitizer as well. Plus, never, ever, let someone kiss your baby. Even if they don’t show an outbreak or symptoms of being sick they could still pass it on to your baby.
16. My baby screams bloody murder when I try to bathe her, how can I make bath time more pleasant?
I pretty much gave my baby a sponge bath the first few days or so, until her umbilical cord came off. I mean how dirty can a little baby that lies around all day get. Eventually, the exciting day of her first bath came.
It was exciting for me but not so much for her. It was new and scary, so they are going to be pretty upset at first, but they will warm up to it just like the tummy time.
Make sure to keep them warm, no pun intended. I used this little warming towel thing to keep her warm during her bath and it helped comfort her as well. She loved this, you just keep the warm water going over it and it helps them not get a chill. Loved this thing and so did she, calmed her right down.
17. How long do I need to do tummy time and why does my baby hate it?
I know if I were stuck face planted on the floor and couldn’t lift myself up I would be pretty mad too right? Baby’s want to see what is going on around them, and at first it can seem pretty frustrating for them. Eventually, though, as they build the strength from tummy time, they will start to get a little less grumpy about it.
They say to start with tummy time 2-3x a day for 10 minutes, or you can kind of base how long on the emotions of your baby. You don’t want to them to work themselves up to the point they are just in a miserable mood for the following hours (I’ve done this and learned the hard way).
18. My baby cries all the time! Help!?
Of course, if your baby is crying all the time and inconsolable you need to call your pediatrician right away.
If you have already, and they said everything was okay. Check out this blog post Does Your Baby Have Colic? PLUS 6 Amazing Tips to Help Soothe Your Baby. I been there and I know how it is.
19. Should I wake my baby up to feed them?
Yes and no. They (whoever they are) recommend waking up and feeding your baby every few hours. But whoever “they” are must have never given birth or been a parent because personally my baby’s woke up every few hours and I didn’t need to wake them up. Trying to get them to sleep was the hard part.
Now, if you are one of those parents with a unicorn baby that sleeps a lot and needs to be woke every few hours for feeding, congratulations. For the rest of us, I would personally just feed them every few hours, and most likely they will wake up to be fed, and if they don’t, I let them sleep.
20. When will my baby start sleeping through the night?
This is a funny question, and I laugh every time I see it. Don’t get me wrong, I asked it at one point, while having clumps of my hair in between my fingers, crying. I see parents asking, “My baby is 2 weeks old and not sleeping through the night, should I let them cry it out?”
An infant does not sleep through the night. Even if you happen to have one of those unicorn babies that somehow seems to sleep through the night, they are still waking every hour and a half or so. As they get older they are suppose to grow out of this and get more regulated sleep patterns. If they mean older as 18 months, then yeah, that’s about when I got my first “sleep through the night”.
Young babies sleep 16-18 hours in a 24 hour period, and most of the time this is during the daytime. I read that it’s best to have baby in a common area while you do your normal day to day activities. With lights on, noisy, etc. This is suppose to try and keep them from deep sleeping during the day and hopefully, they fit more of their deep sleep in at night.
Well, there you have it. I think I covered some of the most asked questions that new parents ask. Sometimes, even asked multiple times, hoping for some different magical answer. I know I did. I think I will probably add more questions as I get asked them or remember them. I am also making a pregnancy questions list, so check that out soon.
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Is there a new parenting question that you had to figure out the hard way? Or a real good one I missed? Let me know in the comments below.