From time to time I get questions from friends and readers.
For first time moms they are all extremely relevant.
1. When it is cold out, what should we dress the baby in at night?
Well reader, winter is coming. Ideally, rooms should be kept at about 72-73 degrees. When first born, a swaddle and a onesie outfit are fine. Once wrapped up babies will produce enough heat for warmth. If the house is a little too cold, a hat on the head is helpful for keeping warm. Once the baby is old enough and moves out of the swaddle, footie pajamas are fine (and adorable).
2. When breastfeeding, how long on each breast would you recommend?
There is no set time for this one. And it definitely fluctuates over the first few months. In the beginning, I suggest (this is what I did so by all means, you do you) 20 minutes on one side, a burp, and then 20 minutes on the other side. After about a month this will drop to 10-12 minutes each side, and then it will drop to 5-6 minutes each side.
As your breasts get better at producing and as the baby gets better at sucking, s/he will become more efficient at feeding. In the beginning it is a miserable, awful, no fun time for anyone (in my experience). But once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peesy.
I was a RIGID scheduler, so I would freak out when Anna didn’t stick to the 20 minutes/10 minutes “OH MY GOD IS SHE STARVING HERSELF? WHY ISNT SHE EATING?” I downloaded a nursing app “BabyNursing” and that helped calm me immensly. It was also helpful in tracking growth spurts and nap times.
3. How do I change her diaper without turning on all the lights in the middle of the night so that it doesn’t irritate her eyes?
Sorry friends. There is no getting around this. My only suggestion is to maybe order some low-light lamps? I have these in my office and they are very low light. They are enough for you to see changing table, diapers, boob, etc.
4. Are certain bottles better than others?
Meh. This depends on what type of Mother you are. I am a firm believer in all bottles are the same and all babies need to eat. I had a baby that had breast aversion after she learned about the bottle, but she got over it real quick. So, they are all fine.
But if you want some suggestions, we used Dr. Brown’s which Phil preferred because it allowed for slower consumption. We also used Medela bottles–they came with a breastfeeding storage kit. Either way, the baby ate.
5. How do we introduce the dog to the baby?
I can only give what we were told. I don’t know if it was the best thing or if it worked for us (considering D tried to pull Anna out of her bassinet twice on her first night), BUT…we were told:
Mom should labor in a shirt that dad can take home while still at the hospital to give the dogs something to get used to smelling.
Bring things that smell like the baby to the house.
When returning to the house return as a family. No grandparents, no aunts, no commotion (explain below).
Whomever the primary care taker is (in this case me), come into the house by yourself for 30 minutes. This gave the dogs time to readapt (MY PERSON IS HOME! AND SHE HAS LOST WEIGHT!). It allowed me to love on them and have special bonding time.
Dad comes in with the baby. Leave the baby in the car seat and let them smell her. Do not freak out.
This didn’t work for us so well because we weren’t discharged until 8 pm at night and we were hungry and tired, and I’m having PTSD thinking about that night already.
But, I do agree with coming home as a family together. This way the dogs won’t think that the baby is a guest like other people who come and go. They will learn very quickly that this person is their person. I don’t know if the 30 minutes at home was necessary. Maybe a few minutes? 15? Or hey, take 30! You just had a baby. You need your space and freedom! Take a shower. Do whatever. This is your last shot at freedom for a while.
DO NOT FREAK OUT ABOUT THE DOGS AND THE BABY. I REPEAT, DO NOT FREAK OUT.
We kept telling them to get off, and leave her alone so they never really got the chance to smell her, so when we finally did fall asleep..they were all “Here’s our chance! Let’s smell/eat/lick.”
Hopefully that answered any and all questions! Stay tuned next Monday when we have more!