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Ten Things Parents Don't Expect to Worry About

With a newborn comes unexpected worries.

Ten finger, ten toes…that’s right up there on the list of things expectant parents worry about.  But along with parenthood comes a whole slew of unexpected worries and concerns, each one more bizarre and entertaining than the the next.

1. Is this poo the right color? Brown, black, green, beige…ah, the array of colors of your children’s poop will be a cause for concern for you over the coming years.  From meconium to the body’s response to dietary changes, most if it is all perfectly normal.  So don’t freak out when changing a diaper and getting a colorful surprise…a wee bit of investigation will probably unearth the cause.  Of course, don’t be afraid to call your pediatrician with any questions; that’s what they are there for. 

2. How often does he need a bath? Your babe gets a mini-bath every time you change their diaper or wipe down their hands and face.  Until they start crawling around and playing in mud, the ritual of an evening bath doesn’t really need to begin.  Every few days is perfectly sufficient…and make sure you get in those neck rolls!

3. Can I take the baby out of the house? It’s nerve-wracking, those first few excursions out into the world with your newborn.  Start with a simple walk around the block…get used to the two of you leaving home.  Your comfort level will increase, and soon you’ll be an old pro at packing up the diaper bag and taking on the world together. And don’t be afraid to tell those sweet people who want to hold him, “I’m sorry — he’s just with Momma right now.” if that makes you more comfortable. 

4. How long do I need to keep trying to burp? When my first was a newborn, we’d try and try and try to burp him; sometimes patting him on the back for half an hour in the middle of the night, pacing, wondering when this child would burp.  Oh, the lost sleep.  When I asked my pediatrician, they told me that just a couple of minutes in a couple of positions (on shoulder, tummy down over knee) was fine…you can’t force a burp. 

5. Is it NORMAL for a baby to spit up THAT much? It’s probably not nearly as much as it looks.  Take a tablespoon of water and spill it on your counter…you will be surprised at how MUCH it looks like.  If you’re concerned about your baby’s spitting up, of course talk to your physician for reassurance.  But babies spit up; it’s what they do.

6. Should I make people wash their hands before holding my newborn? It doesn’t hurt.  Newborns are more susceptible to viruses and bacteria, so asking people to wash their hands before handling your babe is a normal precaution.  That being said, don’t stress if someone touches your baby without having washed their hands…washed hands don’t mean a sterile environment, and as bacteria and viruses are often spread via the air, your baby WILL be coming into contact with them eventually.  Just do what you can and feel good about it.

7. Should I wake the baby for a feeding? If you’re talking about an extending afternoon nap, I might wake the baby so they will be awake in the evening and go to sleep better that night. But if you’re talking about the middle-of-the-night I say - NO!  Oh my word, NO!  As long as your baby is growing at a healthy rate and there aren’t any concerns in that department, let your baby sleep.  When they are hungry, they will wake up and let you know.

8. My baby keeps scratching her face…what can I do? Those newborn nails are often very soft, and quite difficult to keep trimmed close enough to prevent scratching.  Use clippers created especially for babies (some even have built-in little magnifying lenses) and trim every couple of days.  If this still isn’t sufficient, there are little mitten-like covers that you can put over baby’s hands to keep their faces and eyes safe. If you’re like me and the clippers freak you out a little, just bite the nails off while you’re breastfeeding for the first few days until you feel more comfortable. 

9. When can I start “wearing” baby? Well, that entirely depends upon the type of carrier.  There are slings appropriate for newborns, and others that require baby to have neck strength and head control.  If baby-wearing is something you are interested in, you don’t need to wait until your babe is older.

10. My friend told me I should {fill in the blank}, but I’m not sure it feels right.  She’s had three kids, should I listen to her? Even trusted friends with the best of intentions can offer advice that doesn’t fit with your personal parenting style.  You may only be a parent for a few short days or weeks, but you DO have your own personal parenting style; you’re just in the process of discovering it.  So trust your instincts…this is your baby, your family, your parenting journey.

Being a new parent can sometimes feel like you’re all alone on an alien planet.  But, remember…you’re not.  Those moments when you feel most alone or concerned actually connect you with other new parents around the world, today and throughout  history.  We’ve all been there!

Did you have unexpected worries with your baby? Things you didn’t know you didn’t know?

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