You have a free pass to be a terrible hostess for the first few months after your baby is born. Have your husband firmly explain to his parents that you are exhausted from staying up all night; they’re welcome to visit from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., or whenever your patience is at its peak, but after that, you’re going to crash. At 5:01, yawn, mumble something about leaky breasts (that usually gets the men to skedaddle) and head off to your bedroom with the baby. If they insist on staying, your hubby can say, “Great! We haven’t had a chance to do a thing around the house.
For the first time in 3 ½ years, we have started setting an alarm every morning. No, we don’t have a 6 am plane to catch. And no, Leo hasn’t started sleeping until 9 when left undisturbed. If he sleeps till 7:15 it’s a luxuriously late morning. And while I wish I could say we’ve turned over a new leaf at the 24-hour gym, it’s definitely not that. We are allowing a clock to blast us out of bed at 6:45 every morning in hopes of kick-starting better mornings. It seems you have to get up early to get the upper hand with a 3 ½ year old.
Everyone is fussing over your new baby, but you need some TLC, too—especially in your tender nether regions. Amy Murtha, M.D., of Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., offers these post-delivery self-care tips:
Taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help; so may the following:
The key to hydration at any age is to keep the quantities of liquid very small. Don’t allow your child to take sips (or gulps) of water or an electrolyte drink; rather, give only a teaspoon every five to 10 minutes or so. When he is able to hold this much down, increase his intake to two teaspoons. Yes, he will be thirsty and unhappy, but if you allow him to take sips, he’ll get tablespoons of the fluid and throw up again.
Too much fluoride can permanently stain a child’s teeth, so before you supplement, determine how much your baby is getting from all sources (including your local water supply and infant formula), then talk with your pediatrician.
In a word: regression. When the new baby arrives, much of your focus will be on her diapers—specifically, the pee and poop in those diapers. It can be hard for a toddler to see so much attention being paid to one family member’s elimination habits at the same time he’s supposed to be growing up and giving up his “nappies.”
It could be yeast (aka thrush), a fungus that grows in warm, moist areas such as a baby’s mouth
or diaper area, or on a breastfeeding mother’s nipples. To diagnose it, try gently scraping it off with your fingernail. Leftover milk will come off fairly easily; yeast won’t.
My first-line treatment for yeast is to mix 10 drops of grapefruit-seed extract per ounce of water. Apply this to your baby’s tongue (and, if you’re breastfeeding, to your nipples) every two to three hours for at least a week. If this doesn’t work, see your pediatrician.
Is it terrible? No. Will you be the first couple to have sex with a baby asleep in the room? Definitely not. The fact is babies (especially newborns) can sleep through anything, including the sounds of sex. But if the idea bothers you, try to be quiet and quick (this means lots of foreplay) or change your location. Experiment with having sex in other places in your home (kitchen, bathroom, closet, etc.).
Very common: At least 1 in 50 babies has these dimples. In fact, I see them every few months, and my advice is always the same: Do nothing at all, but watch for any discharge or swelling. If you do notice either of these, your doctor will want to make sure your child doesn’t have an infection or that a cyst isn’t beginning to form. If, on the other hand, your baby has a large dimple that is unusually colored, or that has any drainage or seems to be tender shortly after birth, your doctor will need to order tests immediately—likely an ultrasound and/or MRI.
Every fall and winter, children (and adults) are exposed to dozens of different viruses, each with unique characteristics. A few of these bugs cause mouth lesions that look like canker sores; they can be accompanied by little blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and even the buttocks—in other words, hand, foot and mouth disease. The mouth sores are the most problematic; because they hurt so much, a child may not want to eat or drink, which can lead to dehydration.
You can give your baby one of the greatest gifts possible by making the decision to breastfeed. Relatively minor ailments, such as ear infections and gastrointestinal problems, are less common among breastfed children, but so are long-term, potentially dangerous conditions, such as obesity and some childhood cancers.