Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A few easy reminders for new mommies

So you are almost gonna have a baby and are already having nightmares? Or you already have a little cuddle in your arms and still cant figure out what hit you? Eternal days of bad hair day, when your hair screams in agony for a little touch of shampoo and that soft conditioner, or even for a basic hair comb? When your maid is better dressed than you for weeks on end, your dress made new each day with fresh polka dots of spilled baby food or traces of thrown-up milk? When your once-beautiful eyes are encased in stubborn dark circles, the paint on your finger nails is flaky and you have almost forgotten how a perfume, or even a deo, smells.....

Admit it....we have all been through such days one time or the other, that is, we, the mothers.....fathers still have the option of looking at a sleeping baby early in the morning and leaving for office even before the angel actually wakes up, and then returning near baby's night-sleep time....It is almost always the mothers who have to be, well, a mother, almost one hundred percent of the time, even those mothers who go out into the corporate world! And they still haven't officially declared being a mommy a job!

There are many things that create confusion and cause frustration, anger and tears for a new mother. But making a few changes on our part and keeping a few things firmly in mind will help us distressed moms from being frustrated-mommies to becoming yummy-mommies...I have experienced the same too and I can safely share with you that keeping a few of these in practice does actually help.

As simple as this may sound, now that you have a new-born baby at home, everyone, starting from parents, to in-laws to neighbours, to strangers in malls and flights and anywhere for that matter, will turn into doctors overnight. Each person will have a different solution to baby’s cough, cold, crying and food habits. It is not only confusing for a new parent to be faced with so many different choices coming from the so-called reliable sources, but it is also highly unadvisable to go in for just any home remedy without consulting your baby’s pediatrician first. Though such advice may be well-meaning, convey politely that you do appreciate the help, but in the end, it is baby’s doctor whose advice is final.

Some new mothers are not able to feed baby right after birth. This could be due to various reasons.
A) You may have had a C-section, in which case you need to be in full rest for at least 24 hours before you can feed your baby.
B) The baby might not be able to suckle and hence cannot feed.
C) You might be experiencing sore nipples and hence unable to feed.
D) Post-natal depression is also responsible for mothers not being able to lactate.

There may be still other reasons, but in each case, the one thing to remember is, do not get anxious. The more a new mother stresses herself, chances are, the less she will be able to lactate. Try to lighten up your mood by thinking of the new life that is there with you.
If you are experiencing hardness in your breasts or swollen nipples, take a cotton cloth and warm it, then place it over the area that is paining. Rub lightly with tender hands. Repeat the same till pain is less.
Sometimes, lactation starts after repeating the process for a few minutes. The first milk, or colostrum, is the most important for a new-born baby. Consult with your doctor and if you are not in a position to feed directly, arrange to store the colostrum in a bottle to be given to baby.
If you are still uncomfortable, do not delay that meeting with your doctor.

This is one of the most important and basic rules of parenting, one that will help you not only in the first few months of motherhood, but all your life. No matter how determined you are to be like one of those perfect parents staring out from the endless cute commercials, never losing their cool, always smiling with an infant in their arms, truth is, you will lose count of the number of times when you might feel like banging your head on the wall. Every parent goes through this phase and it is nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. The way to handle most of these moments is to try and remain patient. Babies can sense when their parents are hyper and this in turn makes them more scared and hyper, thus causing more crying and crankiness. If the situation does not improve, try taking the help of your spouse for a while.

Nights with the baby are full of feeding and nappy changing. So sleep when the baby sleeps. Even though you may feel like finishing off your day-to-day chores while the baby is sleeping, it is best to catch those precious winks and be fresh for baby when he/she wakes up, rather than keeping the house clean and shining and being in a foul temper with your infant. If you get less sleep, it affects lactation and hence baby gets lesser nourishment. Invest in a domestic help.

When you were pregnant, you were eating for two. The same applies even now. While you are lactating, your eating habits should be pretty much the same they were while you were expecting. Baby will draw all its nourishment from the breast milk, hence it is important for lactating mothers to have a well balanced diet and avoid spicy and greasy food, as it can cause acidity in baby. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol as long as you are lactating, though some doctors okay alcohol after the initial stage. Check with your doctor before hitting the bottle.

It is proven that babies are allergic to cosmetics. For the most part of their day, as well as nights, babies are either in their mother’s arms or in close proximity. Wearing strong perfume, having nail paint on your fingers that can chip off while you are making mashed food for baby or while baby tries to suckle on your finger, using lipstick that can get transferred to baby's skin, glass bangles that can cause cuts in baby, even beads and pendants around your neck and dangling earrings that can cause cuts or be accidentally swallowed by baby, all these are a potential health hazard for your little one. Avoid as much of these as possible. Try and pull back your hair, as many babies develop rashes and allergies due to constant rubbing with hair on their skin. If you carry your baby most of the time, opt for fabrics in pure cotton, as these are comfortable for baby and will not cause any allergy or discomfort to the tender skin.

You just had a baby and romance is definitely the last thing on your mind right now. With a baby who needs your constant care and attention twenty four hours a day, as well as timely feeds after every couple of hours, your body and mind are exhausted beyond your imagination. Just when you think that your life has come to a standstill and you are converted to a nagging and irritable wreck, take a minute and give yourself a pat on the back for being a wonderful mom. Smile at your partner. Make for cozy times in between nappy changing and feeding. Intimacy need not always be the sexual kind. A warm hug or a caring and loving smile can brighten up the day, just when you are about to lose it. Many of us do not realize this, but during pregnancy and after the arrival of the new member, it is mostly the father who becomes the most ignored member of the house. Sharing a few loving words over a cup of coffee when your baby is asleep, will not only give you that intimacy you have been missing for so long, it will also cheer up your partner and make him want to be a more active part of baby-care, if he is not already doing it. Go for a drive with your baby and partner, text each other during the day, if you have access to a computer send him an e-card once in a while, just like that. Go out for dinner, or if that is still not a comfortable choice with the baby, order in food and have a nice lazy spread on the bed. Give each other a nice back massage to relieve the day’s tension and stress. Remember, small gestures and a few loving words is all it takes to let your partner know how much you love him and how he still continues to be one of the most important and loved person in your life. And if any husbands are reading this, one small smile to your wife or a single word of appreciation will make her feel on top of the world......

Having a baby in the house is a blessing. Though right now you might feel it only results in countless nights without sleep and days without food and a proper wash, gradually, you will adjust to the routine and start loving your new role as a parent. Having a baby can be fun in a lot of ways, though many of us forget to enjoy these precious moments and instead, get disillusioned and cranky. To make your life a little organized, try getting baby used to a routine, for food, for bath, for bedtime. Though many babies refuse this kind of a routine outright, some babies stick to their routines and start accepting the clock as early as 02 months old. You might just be one of the lucky few. Start enjoying baby activities. Bring home some baby DVDs with music and rhymes, sing along and make smiley faces at baby. Soon your baby will start recognizing these rhymes. Go to a baby store and browse among the tiny accessories and clothes. Much as it will be an outing for baby, it will be a totally new and fun experience for you as well. If you have a nature park near your home, go out with baby and point out the birds and trees. Simply going to a park with baby will also be fun. Babies love to see other babies of their own size, just sit back and enjoy those gurgles. Have fun while giving baby a bath. Put baby toys in the tub and sprinkle baby with water. There are many fun things that you can do with your baby, different parents have different methods and games that they share with their tiny tots. Start enjoying your moments with your little one and there will be lots more to life than the regular cleaning up and feeds and nappy times.
WORD OF CAUTION: All activities mentioned above should be done keeping age of the baby in mind and if it is an outing, parents should first do a background check themselves before exposing baby to something that is new for the baby as well as for them, like a particular park or a play area.

Some women get so carried away by the pressures of being a new mother, that they completely forget the basic rules of hygiene and grooming, when it concerns them. Staying and looking clean will not only take care of the hygiene issues, it will also make you feel much more cheerful, than seeing a dirty face in the mirror the whole day. Clean your face and put on some bright clothes, comb your hair and tie it up with a nice band. Apply some kohl to your eyes and you will be happy to see what a difference it makes to your confidence when you look clean and good. Wash your hair regularly as well as take a bath. For nuclear families, it might be difficult to leave baby alone and take time off. In such cases, take a nice hot bath when your partner is back from work. Occasionally, make a trip to the parlour over the weekends, while hubby dear tackles the nappies.

Continue taking the various supplements that your doctor has prescribed. Most women are prescribed vitamin and iron supplements throughout the lactation period and for some time later as well. Check with your doctor what works best for you and continue accordingly. For some women, a particular brand of iron might work better, consult with your doctor if you are having any problems after starting the medicines, like problem with motions, vomiting or dizziness. Your doctor will advise accordingly. Many women are also advised some or the other form of supplement to be taken with milk, check with your doctor. Different women are prescribed different medicines, based on their individual symptoms and health records, do not self-medicate or take medicines that your friend might be taking during motherhood.

I had a difficult time in the begining as well, but just when I thought things would never get back to being the same, our baby began to adjust herself to the new world around her, and now all three of us, me, baby and hubby, are a team :)))


And like I always say and believe in:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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