5 Tips for Bringing Newborn Baby Home (Part 2)
Bringing a baby home from the hospital is daunting. In Part 2 of this series, Mighty Mommy discusses what to expect with your baby's feedings, bowel movements, sleep habits, and, of course, crying.
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Tip #1: Bonding with Baby
Let me be the first to say that bonding, one of the most highly anticipated things new parents look forward to, doesn’t necessarily happen like it does in the movies. In my case, after 6 years of infertility, we adopted our first baby and although I physically didn't give birth to her, I bonded more easily and quickly with her than I did with the 7 babies I delivered over the next 12 years. Physical closeness can promote an emotional connection, yet because I wasn’t exhausted from a delivery, I was able to hold her and cuddle with her for the first few days after her birth without being sore and uncomfortable.
When I finally did give birth a year later, the bonding experience was completely different because I had just been through a 28-hour labor and could barely move for a couple of days, never mind hold my new son and cuddle with him as I did with our daughter. Ultimately, that really didn’t matter because once I was home from the hospital, I started appreciating the quiet moments I had alone with him during the nighttime feedings, during his baths, and even while watching his 1-year-old sister pat him when he cried.
Every precious moment that you get to touch, feed, hold, or even observe your new baby can help you connect with him. So don’t be concerned if you don’t fall instantly in love or feel a strong connection during the first hours or even days. This is completely normal. Don't worry, you will form a loving bond in due time.
Tip #2: Breast vs. Bottle
Newborns eat a lot during the first few months, so don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re nursing or giving your baby a bottle all day long.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, but the decision should be made by the parents, not a result of being influenced by others. I dreamed of breastfeeding my son during my pregnancy but when the moment arrived—after 28 hours of labor—I was not prepared for how difficult breastfeeding would be for me. Every woman is different, but breastfeeding and I were not a match, despite my best efforts.
I chose to formula feed my son and he thrived. When I had my third baby, however, I gave breastfeeding another try, and I loved it. I was more relaxed and comfortable with newborns at this point, which I think made a big difference. The rest of my children were all breastfed but I don’t regret for a moment that I used formula for my adopted daughter and my firstborn son.
Keep in mind that newborns eat a lot during the first few months, so don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re nursing or giving your baby a bottle all day long. According to the pediatric center of The Mayo Clinic, a newborn eats 8 to 12 times over a 24-hour period. It may seem like a lot, but their tiny stomach can take in only about 2-3 ounces of milk at once, hence the frequency. Use feeding time to sit and clear your mind, if only for a few minutes. It will give you 1:1 time with your baby and if you learn to relax it will give you the chance to catch your breath and enjoy the present.
Make sure you check out Nutrition Diva's tips on nutrition for breastfeeding moms.
Tip #3: Soothing a Crying Baby
All babies cry. It's the only way for them to communicate their needs at this tender age, so learning how to decipher your baby's cries and respond appropriately teaches them to trust you. As that bond grows and you become accomplished at anticipating their needs before they become upset, you may even find that they cry less.
Here are the 6 most common reasons for a crying baby: