Honest women will tell you that breastfeeding can be challenging, especially at first. While 3 out of 4 new moms begin nursing after giving birth, about 67 percent are no longer exclusively breastfeeding at three months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help keep you on the good end of those statistics, here are some of the more common difficulties you might encounter, along with ways to overcome them.
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.
Wow. How do you ever get anything done once they’re *crawling*? I can’t get away with leaving Tucker in the swing at all anymore; unless I’m sitting in front of it playing with him. Since he still only naps in 30-50 minute chunks (with some wake-ups in the middle) during the day, it’s harder and harder to get work done and also jump in the shower.
Of course, he slept 12 hours last night. So there’s that.
In the weeks before your due date, you’ll want to gather the necessities, such as bodysuits and diapers. Pack an organic cotton bodysuit or sleep sack in your hospital bag for baby’s going-home outfit; they’re cozy and allow you easy access for diaper changes. Stock up on newborn-sized diapers; your baby will use eight to 12 of them a day.
Well! Talk about final count-down time... We’ve gotten to the point when an email to Ben asking if he can think of anything else I should add to the registry completion order elicits “A Baby!” in reply. And while I’m still not at that “get this child out of me, stat” phase, I’m certainly getting more uncomfortable by the day. I blame the return of nasty humidity, though I’m grateful that we celebrated our joint-birthday weekend with fabulous weather reminiscent of my home state, Oregon.
Don’t expect your baby to be able to see much when she makes her arrival. “A newborn’s vision is very poor—between 20/200 and 20/400,” says Los Angeles pediatrician Cara Natterson, M.D., author of Your Newborn Head to Toe: Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby’s Health Through the First Year (Little, Brown and Co.).
New parents obsess over the contents of their babies’ diapers, but most of it is normal. In newborns, it can range from one thick, pale-yellow bowel movement per day to more liquid but grainy bright yellow squirts after each feeding, says Andy Clark, M.D., a pediatrics expert on JustAnswer.com. Here’s the first month’s poop scoop:
Breastfeeding is a good—no, great—thing. But as the saying goes, good things don't always come easily. Marathon feeding sessions, engorged breasts and sore nipples are some of the challenges you might face, especially in the first weeks, when you and your baby learn the ropes and your milk supply is established.
Feeling less than motile now that you’ve had your baby? It’s par for the course. “Constipation is so common that it’s rare for new moms not to experience it,” says Mavis Schorn, Ph.D., C.N.M., director of the nurse-midwifery program at Vanderbilt School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn. Anesthesia administered during labor, and narcotic pain medication given after, can cause the sluggishness. And if you had a Cesarean section, your bowels may be in full revolt.
Here’s one part of new motherhood you might not have thought about: what to do if your baby poops in the tub. As unpleasant as the prospect may be, it’s wise to have a game plan, says Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu, M.D. “It’s common for babies, especially newborns, to have a bowel movement in the bath,” she says. “The water is warm and soothing, which causes the intestinal muscles to relax.”
I’ve received quite a few emails lately from parents wondering about bonding. Readers want to know: is bonding a specific thing, moment or process? If you don’t do it immediately after birth, do you lose your chance? Does everybody bond or only women who breastfeed? What if you have a c-section? What if you don’t feel it when it happens? Can you fake it?
Your newborn spikes a fever. Or, your 1-year-old wheezes heavily after tasting peanut butter. Suddenly, after a call to the pediatrician, you’re heading to the emergency room. It can be frightening, but there are ways to prepare, such as researching which local hospitals have urgent-care pediatricians on staff. Here’s what else to know before you go:
“From the time you are born, your body is bombarded with thousands of different microbes, some of which can cause illness,” says Jon S. Abramson, M.D., professor and chairman of pediatrics at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a member of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts for Immunizations. “Vaccines protect infants from these serious diseases.”