I wasn’t your typical medical student. In the middle of my fourth year of medical school, my husband, John, and I had our first child, Gabe. (I always say that Gabe is so smart because he studied with me during my 2-year pediatric residency training.)
Juggling motherhood with my residency training was a challenge, but I think being a mommy also helped me be a better pediatric resident. Baby No. 2, Benjamin, came at the end of my residency.
I enjoy incorporating my real-life experiences as a mom into my pediatric practice. And now that my babies have grown – Gabe is 23 and Benjamin is 18 – I want to share what I’ve learned through the years with other parents.
So, what have I learned? Babies grow so fast. Toddlers are like teenagers, and vice versa. And the tween years are your time to breathe.
In this blog post, I want to focus on babies.
We wait 9 long months for their arrival, reading everything under the sun so we can be prepared. And then when your baby is born, you feel totally unprepared. It happens to all of us – even pediatricians.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t educate yourself as much as you can on how to care for a baby – and your pediatrician can help you along the way – but don’t feel inadequate when your baby isn’t exactly like the book says. After all, babies don’t read.
The bottom line is don’t sweat the small stuff. All is right with the world if your baby is eating, sleeping and pooping.
Don’t get me wrong. You’ll experience trouble with these things when they’re in their toddler years, but until then, this is what babies do.
For nursing mamas, make sure you rest, drink and eat well, and de-stress to help with your milk production. I know this may sound a little like building castles in the air. After all, bringing home a newborn is stressful and rest is unheard of, but all of those things are important.
You only have a short time with your baby, and it will be good for you and him.
Even if you choose formula for your baby, you still need rest, good nutrition and less stress because it’s your time to heal as well.
As soon as you can, try to get the baby on a routine. This could take days to weeks. Every baby is different, so don’t compare with your friend or relative.
Make sure your baby is eating every 2 to 4 hours. Let her sleep longer at night if she’s gaining weight. And above all, sleep when she sleeps.
Just be sure you put your baby in a crib, bassinet or pack-n-play on her back so you both get good sleep.
As far as pooping, that varies. Newborns will stool anywhere from once a day to 15 times a day, or even every 2 to 3 days. It’s OK as long as the stools are soft, baby is comfortable and eating well, and there’s no blood, mucous or hard stools.
Remember, babies didn’t read the book; eating/sleeping/pooping is good; and mom and dad need to rest, eat and drink well, and decrease their stress.