Thursday, June 22, 2017

15 WEIRD Things You Might Not Know About Newborn Babies...for the First Time Mom

Newborn babies are WEIRD. No, really...they are. They are cute and adorable and cuddly and sweet and precious.....and weird. I think I went into motherhood with a fair amount of knowledge about babies just from babysitting for years and because many of my friends already had kids, so I was prepared for a fair amount of the weirdness. But there were some things that still threw me for a loop and left me constantly Googling sentences starting with the phrase, "Is it normal for my baby to...." because there were so many weird things my baby would do. As a first time mom, you're already feeling slightly unsure of yourself and your parenting abilities, and so when something weird comes up, it can make you think something is terribly wrong with your child...or at the least, a little bit anxious.
As a mama of two boys, a 2 1/2 year old and a 10 week old, I'm seeing all of this "weirdness" for the second time around, and it made me think about how many first time moms out there are probably freaking out over some of these things that my calmer second time mom mind knows are completely normal. So, since I'm trying to get back into blogging after a long hiatus, I thought I'd write a little post about this topic while all the newborn baby weirdness is fresh in my mind!

15 Things You Might Not Know About Newborns...for the First Time Mom

My 10 week old was 7 lbs 4 oz at birth, but was
6 lbs 9 oz by the time we left the hospital 3 days later.
After you have a baby, one of the very first things they do is weigh your little bundle of joy. Whatever that number is will be considered your baby's birth weight, but don't get too attached to that number. By the time you leave the hospital, your baby may lose up to 10% of his or her body weight. But no need to worry! It's totally normal. All the extra fluid they have been swimming around in for the last 9 months is to blame. However, the "goal" is for your baby to be back up to birthweight by his or her 2 week checkup. So as soon as that baby is born, nurse nurse nurse or feed feed feed!
This is gross....I know.  But it's all part of life with a newborn!
  I am still haunted by the sounds that came out of this tiny baby
when he let this one rip... Ewwwww.
Newborn babies are LOUD….and I dont mean just their cries. They gurgle and groan and gulp and sneeze constantly, and their burps and poop blowouts can truly rival those of a grown man. One time I literally almost threw my newborn across the room because he was sitting on my lap and released a blowout poo from his inner depths that totally vibrated my body and scared the everliving bejesus out of me! Not even Pampers Swaddlers could contain that explosive poo. (Pic included for your viewing pleasure. Lol!) I can't tell you how many times I've blamed hubby for sounds that came out of my newborn.  
Me: "Babe....seriously!?" Hubby: "It wasn't me! I promise!! It was the baby..."


While we're on the subject of noises, let's talk about baby breathing. It's WEIRD. And sometimes downright scary to the first time mom. Babies have breathing patterns that are very irregular. They will breathe very shallow rapid breaths, then take a pause, and then breathe slower. They may pant and make weird whistling noises. And because babies have a lot of mucus, they can have a rattling sound when they breathe that sounds downright awful. They can even snore when they sleep! Most of these things are not causes for alarm, but if you are ever in doubt, it may be a good idea to contact your pediatrician just in case.

Video of my little squish at 1 month breathing with that freaky rattling 
sound. I showed this to my pediatrician and she wasn't
concerned. She listed to his chest and his lungs were clear...just
said to use the bulb syringe to try and suction him out as much
as possible to get all that mucus out!

Listen to those snores!!
They get hiccups….ALL THE TIME! This continues for months, too. It's just one of those facts of life your little squish will have to deal with. Some babies are bothered by them and others seem totally unfazed. But there is one trick I've learned to help kick the hiccups to the curb.....Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water! A few ml of that magical stuff nips a case of hiccups in the bud about 90% of the time.

Oh the poop... Before you become a parent, you don't really think much about poop. And after you become a parent, poop is on your mind constantly and is a frequent topic of conversation. Newborn baby poop is NOT anything like grownup all...THANK GOODNESS! And it varies based on whether baby is breastfed or formula fed. A breastfed baby's poop is bright yellow (sometimes green) and a runny, creamy, or seedy consistency. A breastfed baby can poop as often as after every feeding, so up to 6-10 times a day! Whew. But it is also normal for them to poop only every few days. A formula fed baby will have poop more in the brown color spectrum with a consistency closer to peanut butter or clay.
And while we are talking about poop here..... a baby's first poop, called meconium, is going to FREAK YOU OUT! This usually happens in the hospital, so usually the nurses will give you the 411. But if you change your baby's diaper and notice his poop is black, thick, and sticky like tar, don't worry. He isn't dying. It's just meconium. Just know you'll need a few more wipes than normal!

Babies need a LOT of sleep. Their wake time is very short….as little as 20 or 30 minutes when they are first born and still only 1-2 hours at a few months old. And they don't always just fall asleep when they are tired. Before becoming a mom I thought that if a baby was tired, he would just go to sleep. Not so. Many babies fight sleep. They need to actually be "put down" to sleep for naps. Having a nap routine like swaddling and turning on a sound machine can help cue baby it is time for rest. And I can't stress the importance of a schedule enough. If you want to even think about sleeping a more than 2-3 hour stretch at night in your baby's first 6 months, get your baby on a routine/schedule. It makes a HUGE difference!

Did you know that babies CRY??! Oh...wait… probably did know that. But did you know that they cry a lot? And sometimes you aren't going to be able to figure out what is making them upset. You feed them, you change them, you hold them, and they are still crying. Sometimes babies just go through fussy periods. It doesn't make you a bad mom and it doesn't mean you aren't meeting your baby’s needs. It is normal for a baby's cry to make a mom feel anxious, because every mom wants their baby to be happy and well cared for. But in order to keep a level head, you have to really be mindful of trying to stay calm and collected even when baby is inconsolable. When a baby cries for a prolonged period of time, it's easy for any parent to get very stressed out, upset, anxious, worried, and even angry.  But keeping your cool is important. If you go into parenting knowing and understanding that there are going to be times like that, then you are more likely to be calm when it happens. Do whatever you can to calm the baby and if there is nothing else that works, try this WEIRD trick! Contrary to what the video states, it does take more than 5 seconds...but it seriously WORKS! Thank you Dr. Harvey Karp!  

And if ^^^ doesn't work and you're about to lose it, it is OKAY to set baby down in a safe place, walk outside and take some deep breaths and collect yourself, and then come back in. 

8. BABY ACNE's a thing. Babies can get a freaking teenager. Your beautiful bundle of joy is born so incredibly perfect with flawlessly soft and silky newborn baby skin….. and then around three to four weeks their face breaks out like a 14 year old boy. Don't fret. It's totally normal. It's called baby acne. Both my babies had it bad by one month. It's kind of sad when you want to take pictures of your baby and they are rocking out pimples like a high school freshman, but it will go away. There are many supposed cures for it. I found using Mustela Baby Face Wash helped tremendously to clear it up. Others swear by coconut oil. With that said, I would not recommend using Clearasil or Noxema on your baby. Bad idea....

Within their first few months, many babies' scalps start to flake off. Yep… babies can get dandruff too. It's called cradle cap. And it's kind of gross....I'm not gonna lie. But thankfully it's harmless. Both my babies had this, too, around a few weeks old. Thankfully I found a treatment that worked and kept that old cradle cap at bay, never to return. First, get a baby hair brush. Rub your baby's head with coconut oil and massage it into their scalp. Then, take the baby brush and comb through their hair and across their scalp, brushing out as many flakes as you can. When the brush gets caked up with flakes/oil, just clean it off and keep going. Then wash your babies hair as normal. You may have to do this a few times over a period of a couple days. Just keep putting coconut oil on, brushing the flakes out, and washing their hair. I did this about 2 or 3 times with b both babies and never saw a flake again!  

Babies have lots of nooks, crannies, and crevices for things to hide! Spit up hides in their little neck folds and if you don't wipe it out, it starts to smell....bad! Nothing spoils that sweet baby smell worse than smelly spit-up neck. They also have more earwax than you could ever imagine something that small could produce, poop hides in their little thigh rolls, and don't even get me started on lifting up floppy baby balls to find bits of poop under there and getting into all the crevices on little girls. It's a full time job keeping their private parts clear of poop. Just have a lot of wipes handy and be prepared to play "Where's Waldo" with bodily fluids.

If you've ever been around babies or even seen a baby in a movie, chances are you've heard of "swaddling." Even Baby Jesus is documented as being wrapped in "swaddling clothes" as he lay in the manger. But there is a reason that moms have been swaddling their babies for thousands of years. It's called the Moro Reflex, also known as the "startle" reflex. If you watch a newborn infant sleep for long enough, chances are you will see this reflex for yourself. It happens with something unexpectedly stimulates or startles your baby.....usually a loud noise, sudden touch, change in light, etc. His reaction? Baby immediately flails his arms out in a weird jerky motion, usually waking him, even if just for a moment. Why can this be a bad thing? Well, if baby is asleep, the startle reflex can cause him to wake up. Enter....The Swaddle. A swaddle is just a way to bind baby's arms tightly to his side to keep them from flailing around and waking him up. Think...a baby straight jacket. I know... I know.. It sounds like cruel and unusual punishment. But babies LIKE it! I promise. They also have just spent the last 9 months in a very tight and cramped place....your uterus. So they kind of like having that tight cramped feeling mimicked by being swaddled.
Both my babies were swaddled from Day 1 and always slept sooooooo much better when swaddled. I swaddle for all naps (unless baby falls asleep in the car, swing, etc) and nighttime sleep. I am pretty much a swaddle junkie too. I think I own every swaddling contraption there is. But different swaddles are needed for different ages/stages. Just trust me on the swaddling! (I'm actually planning on doing a blog post completely devoted to comparing all the different swaddles in the near stay tuned!)

It sounds so terrible, but don't has nothing to do with witches or the occult. But let me tell is OH. SO. REAL. and it can be brutal. And don't be fooled... It's not just an hour. It's more like 3 or 4. What is "the witching hour?" Well, it's just the nickname that has been given to the period of time in the evenings when babies are their fussiest. It can range from a slight whine/fuss for prolonged periods of time or downright scream fests that last for hours. And it's usually the kind of crying that seemingly has no cause. Baby is fed, changed, rocked, bounced, etc and NOTHING WORKS! For me, personally, the witching hour hit during that 2-6 week period. It was worse with my first baby than my second, but that could have been because I just knew more strategies to deal with it. My arsenal of witching hour tips?  
#1 - Baby wear. It's not a cure-all, but sometimes I would be holding and bouncing and rocking and it didn't do a thing, but then I would put my son in my Baby K'Tan or Moby Wrap, and he'd calm down within minutes, if not seconds. Sometimes that closeness and warmth is all they need.  
# 2 - The football hold. Google it. It works. 
# 3 - Happiest Baby on the Block 5 S Method (video linked above in WEIRD THING #7)

You may have a preconceived notion that babies need quiet to sleep. After all, how many times have we heard the phrase, "Shhhhh! The baby is sleeping!" But I'm here to tell you that babies do NOT like quiet. Just the opposite in fact. Noise is calming to them..... They have just spent the last 9 months in the womb, which is anything but a quiet place. The sound of your heart beating, blood flowing, etc is extremely noisy. Loud is normal. Loud is calming. Quiet is not. That is why one of my #1 baby registry item recommendations to new moms is a white noise sound machine. It is hands down one of the easiest and best things you can do to help your baby fall asleep, stay asleep, and just sleep better in general. Why do you think parents naturally "shhhhhhh" their babies when they cry? Shushing is just white noise you make with your mouth. Trust me. Get a sound machine for their bedroom and get a portable one for their car seat. You will thank me later.
If you pick up your baby and hear a noise that sounds like their bones popping or cracking, don't be alarmed. I remember freaking out the first time this happened with my first baby. I seriously thought I had hurt him or squeezed him too tight! But thankfully, all was well. Babies have tendons and joints that are loose, and it is fairly common to hear popping, cracking, or clicking noises coming from their arms and legs. This is hardly a cause for concern, but as always, consult your pediatrician if any noises coming from your baby are concerning or your baby seems to be in pain.

15) LINT
Now, I'm not talking about dryer lint here. I'm talking about clothing lint. Like, the little fuzzies on sweaters and stuff. Yeah....that stuff is going to end up all in between your baby's fingers and toes. How, you ask? I have no freaking idea. Here in South Carolina it is the dead of summer and the last thing that my baby is wearing are gloves and socks. Yet, alas, if you look in between my baby's fingers and toes you will find little bits of lint. And apparently I'm not alone. Even if you keep your baby bathed regularly, it still happens! Linty hands and feet are just another WEIRD thing about babies.

  I hope you've learned a lot about how WEIRD newborn babies can be! But no matter how weird they may be, no one can deny how CUTE and ADORABLE they are too! 
And.... don't forget to pass the word on to all your new mama and mama-to-be friends so they don't get blindsided by all the weirdness.

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