Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.
Hello, friends! I hope you were able to enjoy a long, three day weekend. We sure did! We’ve been crashing at my parents’ house as the fumes of the wooden floors installation subside. It’s not good for baby to smell the strong varnish. I feel like our entire life is in boxes at the moment. It’s a bit of a mess, but I look forward to getting back home to begin the redecorating process!
This past weekend, we attended our first baby care class. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if we would be the only ones. I was pleasantly surprised with the class and I’d like to share the tidbits of knowledge we acquired. Picture a room full of dolls and anxious parents all seated around rectangular tables eager to soak everything in.
Parenting Cheat Sheets
- We all have heard of the expression that parenting doesn’t come with a manual and that is most certainly true. However, it does come with all sorts of people who have written anything and everything you have ever wanted to know about effective ways to burp you baby, for example. We were given a binder with all sorts of useful information.
- One of the books that came highly recommended was Baby Knows Best by Deborah Carlisle Solomon. The book discusses how our babies do communicate to us and we just have to learn how to read the signs.
- If you have any questions about caring for your baby, just search google and something has probably been written about it. Warning: The wealth of info out there is amazing and overwhelming.
There are No Easy Answers
- Sort of contrary to the first point, we may seek easy fixes to certain questions, but parenting is not a “one size fits all” situation. What works to soothe one child will not work for another.
- Learn to be your own parent; People will always have opinions about what is best for YOUR baby. This is a hard one for me because I have found that everyone under the sun has been giving me advice. I am a great listener, but I have to remember that I will decide what works best, or actually ShuGar Boy will decide in some cases. Tuning out others’ expert opinions can be healthy if you become confused with all the advice.
Swaddling is Not a Panacea
- All the rage in parent land is mastering the swaddle; If you can swaddle your baby, then you will never have to worry about a crying baby (or at least not all the time). Hmm…..not so much. Our teachers told us that they have been finding that parents are swaddling the babies too tightly and have been cutting off circulation!
- What’s worse is that some babies need to be stretched out to assist them in discovering the world around them, instead of always being tucked in like a burrito into a blanket. Use swaddling with discretion was what we were told.
- Did you know there are at least three ways to swaddle your baby?
- Just look at this effective swaddling commercial for the Samsung Galaxy. Marketing genius!
The Power of Tummy Time
- Along the same lines as using swaddling sporadically, our teachers told us it is important to give your baby tummy time, both with mommy and daddy. This creates a valuable skin to skin bond between parent and child. We were told that our baby will crave our body scent and feel comfort around it!
- A variation of tummy time that was recommended was to have baby placed tummy down on a harder surface with a blanket under him. Tilt his head to the side and alternate so that he can enjoy two positions. You can also leave him face down since the hard surface won’t suffocate him. Do not do this on a mattress or a fluffy blanket. Pretty soon, your baby will use this position to get himself up and begin moving!
Beware of the Upright Carriers
- I was devastated when I heard this because I had put the cutest Baby Bjorn on my registry. Turns out having your newborn in this unnatural state when his spine is still developing can cause lasting developmental effects on his hips and back.
- Our teachers recommended we use a carrier that keeps the baby in more of a Mayan Hold position. This gives the baby’s spine room to grow freely.
- After the class, we removed the Baby Bjorn and opted for a carrier, like this one instead.
- One final note on carriers: Your baby will decide if he likes the carrier method or not. It may not work for all babies.
Limit Visitors in the Few Weeks or Months Post-Delivery
- This was also a hard pill to swallow. I can’t wait to share our ShuGar Boy with our world, but our teachers told us to proceed with caution. Mainly, they recommended we keep hospital visitors to a bare minimum because both daddy and mommy will be extremely tired and need time to feed baby and sleep.
- One student was so thrown by this advice because he kept saying he has a huge family. Our teachers emphasized the importance of having baby feel only mommy and daddy in those first few moments so that we can have direct skin-to-skin contact with him. They said the last thing a baby wants is to be moved around from person to person right after going through the traumatic experience of being ejected from what was his home for nine months.
- In the weeks post-delivery, they suggested also limiting the visitors because mommy and daddy will be overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and will need as much time to rest and care for baby as possible. This is so challenging so I don’t know how we will deal with this.
Mommy’s Milk is Best
- There’s all sorts of literature out there about the value in breast-feeding, but I never really knew exactly why it’s so lauded.
- Turns out, breast-feeding can provide so many powerful nutrients to your baby that can help him fight diseases and/or illnesses in the years to come.
- Our teachers told us that it has even been proven to reduce allergies in adults. Wow!
- That said, this is a controversial topic and not all mothers can or choose to breast feed. It’s a very personal choice and no one should shame a mother for choosing to not breast feed.
- I did think of one question: Why are we so anti-breast feeding in public? I haven’t thought at length about this, but isn’t it natural to feed your baby if you can do so discreetly? Something to maybe discuss in a future Mommy’s Corner!
Let Them Cry
- So, our teachers told us as much as we want to calm our babies down when they are crying, it may be best to let them just be when they are crying.
- This is how babies communicate and, although the noise may irritate us and sound like nails on a chalk board after some time, it is important for babies to know they are being heard and not being taught to always be quiet.
- I never looked at it this way; I just assumed when a baby cries, you need to quiet the baby right away.
- Of course, babies crying can mean many different things, so parents should learn how to read their baby’s cries, but sometimes they just want to “cry it out.”
Mommy and Daddy Parent Differently & That’s a Good Thing
- According to extensive research done on this subject, babies benefit from having both mommy and daddy around because each parent has different parenting techniques that help in the baby’s development.
- Mommies tend to protect their child; They seek to soothe their babies and comfort them at all times. Daddies are more “adventurous” with their babies; They play more with their kids (throw them up in the air) and allow the babies to explore more.
- Many times, moms try to teach the dads how to parent like them. Our teachers wanted us that we should let dads be who they are with our babies. This helps our babies learn to know the world in a variety of ways. Moms need to appreciate the parenting techniques of dads.
- Our teachers also told us that dad’s presence in the early stages can have a great impact in our baby’s self-esteem for the rest of his life!
I hope you enjoyed the little bits of advice we learned. Keep in mind, I am no expert at all and you may have an entirely different approach when it comes to parenting. I like to gather as much info as possible and then make a decision based on my research.
I don’t feel like I know it all after the class, but I sure feel better knowing there was a room full of parents just as clueless and scared as we are. That gave me reassurance. I will share what we learn next from our breast feeding, CPR, and childbirth classes in the next month. Stay tuned for more to come!
Do you have any parenting tips you know have worked with your baby? Is there something you learned after having your baby that challenged what you were told or read before becoming a parent? For parents or non-parents, is there anything you are dying to know the answer to? I probably don’t have the answers, but we can chat about it together!
P.S. Baby Einstein is bad news. At least for the first two years of life, we were told to keep baby away from television. It’s not good to use T.V. as a babysitter.
Photo credit: Carmen Garcia-Shusthari