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I'M HERE: AT THE HOSPITAL
I hope you made a checklist to remind you what you'll need at the hospital. Daddy can't be running out to partake in some last minute shopping because who only knows what he'll bring back. Besides, you're going to need his help at the hospital. If you planned ahead you'll find it easier to relax and enjoy the moment. Remember that anything you've forgotten isn't nearly as important as just enjoying the miracle of my arrival.
Weary, weak, worn-out. Does that describe how you feel? It's OK to be tired, you've been through a lot. That's why you have to take every opportunity to get a few moments of shut-eye. You'll feel much better once you catch up on your sleep. I tend to get a little cranky myself when I'm tiredà. I know it's hard to believe but it's true.
Let's start with the basics. If you are using disposable diapers, remember that the tape goes in the back and the pattern goes in the front. (Could they make it any easier?)
I know it's convenient to have baby-oils and powders on the changing table. Did you know some of these items could be harmful to me if I swallow them? Don't tempt fate û keep these things out of my reach because they look like fun and interesting toys to me. Note to adults: Cornstarch can be very harmful if ingested as well as baby oil. Keep them out of my reach.
I'm glad you're going to breastfeed me because of the many immunities you're passing on. While commercials and movies may make it look like a piece of cake, sometimes it's not, so don't get discouraged: We have a long time to get it right and it's the best thing for me.
Don't wait too long between nursing times or pumping times because you can cause your milk supply to dwindle if you don't express your milk regularlyùus babies usually need to eat every two to three hours in the beginning. Think of it this way, breastfeeding is a matter of supply and demand -- the more you nurse the more milk you will make.
BOTTLE-FEEDING & EATING
When preparing formula with water, you should use cold water and let the tap run for two minutes. Old water pipes may contain lead and this will lessen the chance of lead contamination. Now I am not saying we have lead in our pipes; I am just saying to exercise caution. A little caution never hurt anyoneànot that I know of anyway.
WAIT! Did you test that bottle before giving it to me? You need to shake out a few drops onto the inside of your wrist to make sure it's not too hot. It should be warmà. Not hot! Make sure you shake the bottle before giving it to me. Hey, I'm not asking you to prepare a seven-course dinner. This is a gourmet meal to me.
When I'm starting new foods you need to give me one food group at a time to make sure I'm not allergic. The doctor will guide you through this and tell you which foods and how long to do this but I think you should feed me my veggies first. If you start me off on those yummy fruits then I'll never eat those veggies. If you're going to raise me to enjoy all kinds of foods, you're going to have to outsmart me û if you can!
GAS AND BURPING
When feeding me, it's a good idea to try and burp me approximately every 1-2 ounces. You don't want to see how unhappy I'll be if you give me the entire bottle and then try to burp me. Note: As I get older I will be able to drink more before you burp me. Don't forget to burp me when I've finished the bottle as well.
Sometimes when I'm crying you might rush to feed me, when what I actually need is to burp. If you feed me when I'm gassy it'll only make me feel worse. Let me help you out: "Waaaah!" means I'm hungry. "Waaah!" means I'm gassy. See the difference?
Don't panic if I have a temperature. I am going to get sick. Unfortunately, you are the one who will have to deal with me. If I have a fever, I'm fussy, can't sleep or if I'm too tired, (confusing huh?), call the doctor. The doctor will tell you whether or not to worry. Panicking doesn't help me, I'll recognize that look on your face and then were both done for. Note: You should always call the doctor if I have a fever or you are simply worried about me. Play it safe!
Never lock me in a running carà but if you do by accidentà PANIC! (Although you've read this book and you know I should never be left in the car, accidents happen.) Give an extra set of keys to a few different friends or family members or hide a key in the house.
TAKING CARE OF MY PARENTS
Mommy, are you feeling a little strange? I bet you're thinking you should be feeling at ease now that I've entered the world. That's not always the case. You have something raging through you called hormones. These can cause mood swings and postpartum depression. If you are worried about how you are feeling call your doctor immediately.
Even if your hormones aren't affecting you, you might feel like you're having an identity crisis. You've gone from driving a sporty car to a minivan and you've traded your designer bag for a diaper bag. It will take a while for you to adjust to "mommyhood," but you willùand you'll be great.
NEVER take your eyes off me when I'm in the water. Not unless you see The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Peter Pan, and Mother Goose all on the same dayàand not on or including October 31! Use a lot of caution and always hold me with at least one hand.
Always check the temperature of the bath water with your wrist before putting me in. If you still aren't sure, try your elbow. The water may seem okay when you are filling the tub but, as you know from hot water surges in the shower, anything can happen.
I'M ON THE MOVE
Crawling is a wonderful thing! I get faster every day. It's a whole new world for me and I want to see it. I'm quite the explorer and I'll follow you into every room. It's time to baby proof our home before I get into trouble.
Stabilize all furniture on wheels. I'll use furniture to try and pull myself up, and I hate it when my legs go flying out from under me. It's really hard to recover after that.
Keep me away from tablecloths so I can't pull hot food or liquids onto myself. Once I learn to pull, I will pull everything. A tablecloth looks like a blankie to me and it's simple - I'm going to keep pulling on it until I get it.
PEDIATRICIAN VISITS & VACCINES
The "D" in DTaP is for diphtheria. Diphtheria is a very serious disease. A thick coating forms on the back of the throat, making it difficult to swallow and breathe. A harmful toxin can invade my heart, kidneys and nervous system. The toxin invading these organs can lead to suffocation, heart failure or paralysis. You should know that diphtheria is something called very contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing.
Although diphtheria is a very scary disease you can feel better knowing that only 2-5 children in the United States get diphtheria every year. As there are two sides to every story, you need to know that 50,000 cases of diphtheria recently occurred in Russia. As the world is a very small place, unfortunately in only takes one person to bring this disease a little closer to home. The side effects of the diphtheria vaccine are localized pain, redness or tenderness.
"You're going to spoil that baby!" Why does every family we know including ours have a relative who thinks a newborn like me can be spoiled? I'm too young to be spoiled. When I cry, it's because I need something like a bottle, a diaper change, a burp or youà I'm not crying for a toy. Newborns can't fool you so don't let anyone think I'm playing gamesàI don't even know what a game is.
Music maestroàI mean Mother. Some music would be nice as well. If you play some soft soothing music to me then I will appreciate it and it may calm me down when I'm crying. Sing some songs to me as well. I am comfortable with familiarity. When I'm in a new environment or I feel overwhelmed, you might be able to calm me down with a familiar song, saying or toy.
Now it's time for me to practice my letters and give you some playground safety tips all at the same time (not bad for a newborn). Let me give you the ABC's of playground safety.
A is for AGE.
Did you know that as of this publishing, there are no playground equipment standards for children under two years old? That means the swings, slides and climbing equipment weren't built for me. They were built for my older friends and siblings. But, for the first time, a standard for play equipment for children ages 4 months to 2 years old will be published in 2004, by the American Society for Testing Materials
(ASTM). For now, I'll share some advice for my older friends and siblings and for you to remember when you take me to the playground when I'm a big kid.
B is for BAY.
Did you know that a park or school should only have two swings for each bay/structure supporting the swing? Old playground equipment will have four swings on a structure. Most kids I know like to walk between the swings or behind them. Make sure that the area is safe. Two swings to an area please!
F is for FALLS.
Falls to surfaces are responsible for more than 70 percent of the injuries in playgrounds. Just remember, when I'm a preschooler, I'll need twelve inches of loose fill for equipment up to six feet in height. Do you know what loose fill is? I didn't either. It's wood fiber, pea gravel, sand or shredded rubber. Don't you remember how painful it was to fall off a swing? If you are thinking of getting me a swing-set when I'm older, please put it over a foot of loose fill.
I is for INJURY.
Did you know that 40 percent of playground injuries are related to inadequate supervision? There's that percent word again. You grown-ups are awfully preoccupied with that word. You should always have your eyes on me when I'm at the playground. Not only do you need to watch for potential hazards such as damaged equipment; you need to watch for speeding targets. Hint: I'm referring to the other children at the playground. The children who loaded up on complex carbohydrates (SUGAR!) just before coming to the playground! You know the kids I'm talking aboutàthe one's who think the playground is the Indianapolis 500.
¬2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Baby Rules by Jamie Schaefer-Wilson and Jo Anne Germinario. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.