Parenting by Mark Chandeysson - Part one of four – Diapering

Diapering will be the first real parenting experience after the blessed event.  Once your little bundle of joy is calmed down and napping, just minutes old, you will hear a fart noise.  Rule #1 – babies don’t fart.  It is always poop.  Do not immediately change the baby.  Wait because there is always more.  After 2-3 minutes you can investigate.  Place the baby on a large bath towel on the floor.  This is safer and cheaper than a changing table.  A concave changing table mattress can be purchased cheap and prevent rolling and head banging.  Undo and push the onesie up under their arms out of the way.  Prelay two or three wipes in strategic places around the baby.  Grab a new clean disposable diaper.  Pull it and fully stretch out the new diaper’s elastic which only works if pre-stretched. Set it close by. Undo diaper and inspect.  Once the diaper is folded back from between their legs, grab both ankles in one hand with index finger between the ankles to prevent the ankle bones from hurting each other.  If the front flap of the diaper is clean, use it as a wipe to make one feeble attempt to wipe the bulk of the poop down and fold against the back of the diaper.  Even though closed, leave the diaper there as it provides a disposable surface to put dirty bottoms back down while you compose yourself.  Grab one of the strategically placed wipes and wipe away.  There is no technique here. If the baby is a boy, this is when they pee on you, on themselves, the wall, the cat. Apply cream - a chemical barrier – Desitin or Blamex to hiney.  Use the tubes.  A little dab il do.  A thin thin coating almost like white washing the hiney.  This barrier will prevent irritants in the poop from turning the hiney pink.  Pink is a sign of irritation – don’t use more cream. Just see Rule #2  And Do Not Use Powder.  Rule #2 – Change baby often.  Diapers are an investment in your baby's hiney.  Change before naps, change when they wake up from naps, change when they make an audible (fart), change when they make a visual (face turns red), change right before late night feedings.  Probably no less than 14 changes in 24 hours.  Have a complete changing station upstairs and one downstairs to limit running up and down.  You will be doing that enough as it is.  Naked time is not advisable for newborns.  Take a quick photo and then diaper them back up before bad things happen. Have fun.

Parenting - Part two of four – Feeding

Feeding will likely be the next thing you experience with your new baby.  With patience, perseverance, and pain (the 3 Ps) you can arrive at a point where breast feeding is a magical bonding experience with your baby.  But remember Rule #3 – Beginning breast feeding is depressing.  And with post birth hormones crashing about in your body, feeding difficulties can lead to emotional feelings of rejection.  But there are things you can do to increase you chances of success.  First contact your hospital’s lactation consultant.  Second – there are conditions where babies are not good at breast feeding (called “tongue-tied” - I kid you not). Ask your doctor if things don’t improve in a day or two.  Third – Rule #4 – Newborns lose weight.  They are basically born water logged bloated babies.  You can feed them all you want, but when they dry out, they will shrink for a couple of days.  Don’t panic.

After 3-4 days you will be able to identify if your newborn is a picky eater or a ravenous eater.  We had both and the pros and cons are clear:

With picky eaters, breast or bottles are difficult.  It’s not like they have a wide assortment of foods to pick from. It’s either Mom or formula - nothing else! Rule #5 – Only feed babies breast milk or formula. A few tricks are:  Rub the nipple on the lips and then (best you can) the roof of the mouth.  Their tongue doesn’t do anything until after the latch.  Roof of the mouth is best for stimulating a latch and feeding.  This also achieves an important goal – it forces you to tip the baby’s head way back clearing their nose from any possible blockage.  Look at a newborns face.  Their mouth is almost under their chin.  This is for survival.  The roof of the mouth reflex enforces this survival as if they are saying “unless I’m certain I can breathe – I won’t eat.”  Next – If your newborn moves their head side to side in reaction to a nipple (the gestures No comes from babies) or while eating - place your free pinky from the hand holding the bottle on their cheek as a guide.  You can’t stop the head movement, but there’s no rule that says you can’t move the bottle with their head.  The feedback you get from your pinky allows you to follow the movement and keep the latch.  It's not cruel if you consider that most head movement while eating is simply looking around.

Even picky eaters eventually become ravenous eaters.  And then you learn that if we can “Top the baby off” you can get a better nights sleep.  Topping off is great until they projectile vomit all over you.  Our first son’s baby name was “The Puker”.  Then not only are you covered in puke, you have a hungry baby.  Our second baby was the picky eater, and never puked so when he did, it was easier to diagnose any illnesses (usually a cold).  Sick, Healthy, Whatever – “The Puker” would barf on us.  But it was worth it.  There is nothing like putting a kid to sleep “Topped off” so they sound and feel like a full canteen.  You know they are going to sleep for at least long enough for you to take a shower and get all the barf off.  Just remember that no feeding is complete until – Part three - the burp.

Parenting - Part three of four – Burping

We have progressed from the exact science of Diaper Changing to the fine art of Feeding – to the mystery that is Burping.  The field of Burping is shrouded in mystery and plagued with misinformation.  We know we must burp the baby during and after meals otherwise the baby will a) not eat enough, and b) will be very uncomfortable.  But how?  The only solution, - time.  Shake up a 2 liter bottle of Root Beer.  Now pat the bottle, rub the bottle, sing to the bottle, squeeze the bottle – the foam is unaffected.  Watch as the foam goes away on its own.  There are ways to chemically speed up the process – and your doctor can recommend something.  We used Mylicon gas drops with mixed results.  But the best solution is 2 minutes of gentle swaying with the baby in an upright position.  This can mean putting baby’s head on your shoulder or sitting the baby on your lap like a little Buddha with your hand fully supporting their head.  Either way – don’t be impatient.  This begins the critical 60 seconds where baby will either begin to settle or barf.  You need to remain relatively motionless and be prepared to catch barf.  This is why the Buddha method is preferable to the over the shoulder hold.  I have had a baby (who will remain nameless but who’s name starts with Cooper) barf down my back through my pants and into my slippers.  Don’t do this.  After the full 2 minutes without a nice burp, you can continue feeding or move on to other things.  Not all babies burp, and not all babies burp every meal.  Davis never burps.  He is a methodical eater.  You hardly ever hear a sloppy gulp or gasp while he eats.  As a result, no burp.  After 2 minutes, and you're convinced baby need to burp, gentle pressure can be applied to baby’s back to provide a squeeze of sorts.  But you are treading into unknown territory.  You are circumventing the natural order of things.  You may be rewarded with a burp, a barf or you may squeeze other things out of the baby.  Your mileage may vary.

Parenting - Part four of four – Calming - The Fourth Trimester

Part four is completely counterintuitive.  Trust me.  Once baby is changed, fed, burped and checked for the proverbial Lego in the diaper (Part five) we would expect the baby to sleep or explore their new parents and new world – not so.  Newborns are still having trouble adapting to life outside the womb.  Give them a break – Perform these 5 simple steps to recreate a noisy, bouncy, happy womb and babies magically calm.  Don’t question – Just do.  Or in this case “dudu”:

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