Saturday, January 21, 2012

        Here is an article by a mother of young children. She is pointing out that it is not easy to raise young children and that she gets irritated by older women who come up and say “Enjoy them now. It goes by so fast”. She wonders if they remember what it was like raising children. I need to be the first to apologize for this. I do that all the time. It is a little like labor. It hurts but you don’t think about the pain when it is over and you are holding the baby in your arms (and true I have never heard of a labor nurse telling someone to enjoy it because it will be over soon). It is not a case of bad memory. I remember standing in line in the supermarket with a screaming baby , gum in the hair, bed time struggles and days when nothing went right and all that. It is more a matter of perspective. Now that my children are grown, I only think of the good memories. There is no point in dwelling on the hard stuff and it all turned out all right in the end. Raising young children is hard and raising teenagers even harder (though this author has not gone there yet) but it is also rewarding. You can only to do the best you can and not take it personally when your child is not behaving like you planned they would behave. They seem to start out with minds of their own… and that is a good thing.  One should not want Stepford  Children. When your children are grown, maybe with children of their own, you fondly remember the time when they were small and it seems like it passed in no time. Well it did. It was only 2 decades of your life (out of the 5 or 6 that you have lived (she specifically mentions older women).  Yes, they are still your children, but they no longer fight to cuddle with you or look to find you first in a crowd.  They don’t beg you to play with them or push them on the swing. They no longer live in your house and you may not even see them every day. You miss the opportunity to play with them and wonder where the time went. You wonder why you did not spend more time with them when they were younger (no matter how much time you did spend with them.)  So forgive us for trying to remind you to find the joy now, yes even at the supermarket when one is running off and the other is taking all the gum out of the rack in front of the cash register and you are already late for an appointment. We remember how hard it was but we are happy that we had that little time with them and want you to know that you will be too.  You are right. Maybe we should be more sympathetic. I will try in the future. What should I say?  “I know it is hard now, but just think, in 10 years, you will wish you were back here.”???

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Safe Sleep

I want to start with a discussion about sleep. Sleep is so important to all of us as most parents of newborns realize very quickly. Each person has a unique rhythm regarding sleep and this is true for newborns. Some sleep a lot, others not so much. Some sleep through the night after 2 or 3 weeks, others wake up at night until they are 3 years old. Most infants will sleep through the hustle and bustle of the house and this is good.

Today we will stay focused on SAFE SLEEP. If you were born in the 1980’s, your mother was told to put you on your tummy to sleep so that if you spit up in your sleep, you would not swallow it.  However, in the early 1990’s, research showed that there was a significant decrease in the number of cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in societies where babies were placed on their backs to sleep. SIDS is a term for the sudden death of an infant under the age of 1, usually during sleep, often with no discernable cause. In 1994, the National Institute of Health in the United States, Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics began its “Back to Sleep” campaign, which included educating families on safe sleep practices and doing research into the further causes of SIDS.  Current statistics indicate that there has been a 50% decrease in the number of SIDS incidents since the program began. Sleeping on the back is one factor, but it appears to be a significant one, in SIDS prevention.

The recommended SAFE SLEEP environment for an infant is to sleep in a safe crib, on a firm tight fitting mattress, covered with a cotton tight fitting sheet. No stuffed animals of dangling toys or blind cords should be in the bed area. The baby should be dressed in a warm pajama or sleeper and should not need blankets or pillows or head positioners in the bed. Newborns often prefer to sleep Swaddled tightly in a blanket, which is ok as long as the baby is young enough that it cannot wiggle out of the blanket. It is also recommended that the environment not be too warm, therefore blankets are not needed during sleep.  

This brings me to the issue of CO-SLEEPING, or having baby sleep in the same bed with the parentsand or older siblings. This is an issue with two sides. Some families feel that sleeping in the same bed offers a strong connection to the baby. For me, personally, it was NOT an option. As I said first, Sleep is so important to everyone and I was not able to sleep well with a tiny baby in the same bed. I slept with one eye open, so to speak, to be sure the baby was ok. A better option for me was to have the baby bassinet next to the bed, which was close to me but not in the bed.  One time when Co-Sleeping should never occur (no matter what your personal belief is) is when any adult in the bed is in an altered state after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, including any medicine which suggest that you avoid driving. One sleeps more heavily in this condition and can roll onto an infant ant smother him/her without realizing it. It has happened. Over half of infant suffication deaths are due to co-sleeping. It is a risk you do not have to take.

A safe sleeping environment is easy to provide and has so many benefits that it is well worth the effort.
For more information, check the National Health Institute's back to sleep campaign

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What I am trying

So, I am getting the hang of this blogging. I have decided to put milestones and activities on pages based on the age of the baby. The page for the newborn is already up and I am working on what you can see and do with a one month old. I am going to post new information and comments on articles and some articles of my own in the blog part. Things related to the care of your baby.I am working getting the links right so I apologize if the links do not send you where we are trying to go.

I also need to note here about the use of pronouns. Our pronouns in English are the only things that note gender, thankfully, but that presents the problem of using he or she or it or they or some combination like his/her when speaking generally. I have decided to just use the pronouns randomly for different paragraphs. Of course, if I am relating a story about a specific baby, the pronoun will be correct, otherwise, you can adjust the "he" or "she" to be appropriate for your own baby and I will not use "it".


Ok, You have just gone through labor and delivery, always an interesting experience, and now you are handed your new baby. He probably does not look like you imagined because and he probably does not act like you expected. He is himself. Then, you go home with the baby. Now, what? One thing that surprised me was that I did not feel instantly “in love” with my little bundles of joy. I was tired and nervous and dealing with a stranger, who did look a little like me. I thought maybe something was wrong with me. Talking to other recent mothers taught me that it is not uncommon to feel  that way. It often takes a while to get to know this new little person, not to mention that you need to adjust to your new role, which can be scary. In truth, it was not long before I could not remember ever not loving this baby more than anything else in the world, but it was a process to get there. I was more comfortable with my younger child because I did not have the fear that something was wrong with me added to all the other stresses (not to mention odd sleeping hours), but still it was a process. I wish someone had told me this was normal before I had my baby. The problem is that you forget this feeling soon afterwards (like labor pains,) and forget to tell other mothers that it is ok.  Fathers probably go through a similar experience but are even less likely to talk about it.

Your baby responds to you from the first and interacting with the baby is the best way to learn what she is like. Studies have been done that show that a newborn may recognize her parent’s voices, possibly even before birth. Researchers measured babies’ responses to their mother’s voice and to the voice of another  woman reading the same thing by measuring their heart rate. There was a difference in response indicating that the baby recognized the mother’s voice.   Another study showed that a baby recognizes her mother’s smell. When presented with a pad with breast milk from her mother and one from another woman the baby reacts more strongly to her mother’s. Your baby knows you and wants to interact with you and that is the best thing you can do in the first week. Look at her face as you feed her and as you talk to her, talk to her in a gentle voice about anything you want to, hold her in your arms, carry her as you walk around the house and soon you will know this little person better than anyone else.


Mizuno, K. and others, 2004, Mother-Infant contact after delivery resulting in early recognition of own mother’s milk. Acta Paediatrics 93 (12): 1640-45