Speedily marching towards toddlerhood, taking one step at a time. My baby recently turned one and my heart can’t take this. The year whizzed by like a speeding train. So fast that you could barely get a glimpse of what’s inside each passing window.
It’s been a rewarding experience, but I would be lying if I said that it’s been all rosy, and easy. I don’t know what a few hours of uninterrupted sleep is anymore now. And I often curse my younger self for haven not taken advantage of it when life was in a party mode. As someone who loves to write, I had always planned on maintaining a pre and post pregnancy journals. But when it was time for me, my mind went numb. Except for recording the milestones and penning a few poems I have barely written anything. Both because I was too lazy and also too tired. The little moments that I would get for myself I would hungrily use them to relax, doing absolutely nothing. And I don’t regret it, because bouncing back right away had never been one of my goals. I let my body and mind take the lead. And surprisingly I started feeling like myself much sooner than I had anticipated.
Here are a few tips from my experiences. However, listen to your child‘s pediatrician first and foremost.
1. This one is for all the new and expecting mothers. please don’t remain fixated on timelines and milestones. Every pregnancy is different and so is every baby. Some start teething earlier than others, some start rolling earlier and so on and so forth but in a larger scheme of things as long as your baby is healthy and growing well these things don’t matter. Your baby will be examined at all pediatric visits, so don’t Google and worry unnecessarily by a little delay especially if your pediatrician isn’t concerned. Age range for each milestone is often wide. For eg., some babies may start rolling at 4 months and some may start as late as 7. So my advice would be to wait till month 7. I was a frantic first time mother and was fixated on this particular milestone, and my baby actually never learnt to barrel roll, he just started sitting up one day and our focus automatically and at once shifted.
2. Don’t be a hoarder. Newborns outgrow things quicker than you can imagine so your cupboard full of newborn clothes might not even be put to use completely before you’ll have to upgrade to a bigger size. My advice would be to invest in good quality swaddles, overalls and onesies. And if you want them to sleep soundly keep your newborn swaddled until they start showing signs of rolling.
3. Tummy time is a must. Start soon after your baby’s umbilical stump falls off. It helps in head control, strengthening shoulder and neck muscles, preventing flat spots and also may soothe a colicky baby.
4. Engage with your kids from early on. Talk to them as much as you can. Read to them. Be funny, be goofy, make faces and soon enough they’ll start copying you.
5. Your newborns will really enjoy looking at high contrast objects. So buy some black and white flash cards, picture books, colourful rattles, and interesting activity gym for them.
6. If your baby regularly spits up after every feed, burp them not only at the end but mid session as well, and keep them in an upright position for at least 20 minutes after each feed. Also avoid over feeding. But of course feed them every two hours even at nights unless your child’s pediatrician suggests otherwise.
7. Some babies especially those born a little early may still have lanugo i.e. new born body hair. Don’t let it stress you out. They usually tend to fall on their own by the time your child turns 4 month old. Avoid using home remedies because they may irritate your baby’s skin.
8. Don’t try to feed your baby anything other than milk until their half birthday. No matter what people in general say, Mother’s milk or formula is complete food for babies for the first six month of their life.
9. Keep your babies skin nourished and hydrated at all times. Use baby lotions or creams, especially in winters. Massage your baby with olive oil. But be gentle.
10. Keep your baby clean, change their diaper often to prevent rashes and also give them enough diaper free time by using cloth nappies.
11. Take them outside, let them interact with nature.
12. Avoid using talcum powder for babies. It’s unnecessary and causes respiratory issues.
13. Don’t take sterilization of baby products lightly, especially milk bottles and pacifiers.
14. Follow safe sleep rules if co-sleeping. Newborns don’t need pillows, soft toys and blankets to sleep soundly. Just swaddle them properly. And for babies who have started rolling, make them wear comfy pyjamas during bedtime. Maintain the room temperature to what is suitable for babies.
15. Mamas, don’t forget yourself in all of this. Eat well, take your vitamins, and rest whenever you get time. It’s normal to get overwhelmed and get baby blues, but that generally settles in a few weeks, however, if it lasts longer than what’s supposed to be normal don’t hesitate in seeking help.
Lastly, If you are the father reading this. Hi there, congratulations! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful phase, and now make sure you take some load off of your wife’s shoulders. Divide the night time duties, like If she is feeding, you change the diaper. Device a mechanism that works for you both. Postpartum period is especially tasking for a new mother. She doesn’t only go through changes physically but also mentally. She absolutely needs enough rest, nutritious food, a calm environment and a supportive partner and family. Always remember only a healthy mother can raise a healthy child.