Caring for baby

Caring for baby

It’s funny the assumptions that all the baby books make and I can see how easily some new parents could begin to doubt themselves in the face of all this overwhelming “good parent” advice.

For example, the baby books say you shouldn’t give your new baby a bath more often than every two or three days. The assumption is apparently that you’d want to bathe your baby on a daily basis.

Um, so how long can you go without bathing the baby? Not that we want to neglect her or let her get all yucky, but frankly she’s not rolling around in the mud and it’s nearly all we can do to make sure she’s fed, has her diaper changed, and sleeps a little bit. Melanie is wiped out from nearly no sleep, while I’m getting only a little more than she is, I’m trying to do the heavy housework (and failing miserably) and trying to put a very late magazine together. (Oh and look for a new job.)

Now, appearances to the contrary, I’m not complaining. If I was asked whether I would trade Isabella for a full night’s sleep and peace of mind, the person who asked me would get a pop in the nose for even having the temerity to ask such a stupid question.

Getting back to my original point, the baby books all seem so calm and reassuring and project an air of domestic tranquility, just like those videos we saw in the birthing class. I’m not surprised the reality is different—I had mentally prepared myself for it, having plenty of friends and family with kids of their own—but like I said I can see how some new parents can be overwhelmed.

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  • The first one is the hardest. Every baby after this will be easier.  Really.  I stressed so much with my first, and I think the baby picked up on my distress and followed suit!

    Experience is the best teacher, and when the newness has worn off and auto-pilot takes over, you’ll both be able to look back and laugh a bit.

    As for baths – do whatever seems appropriate to the situation and throw the baby book in the corner.  Some days she may spit up a lot or load a lot of diapers and may really benefit a gentle bathing which hopefully will be soothing for all.  Other days – let it go.

    God bless – it WILL get easier from here.

  • Hi Dom, Congratulations all round. If the weather doesn’t get too hot “topping and tailing” baby is usually fine for a few days, but if the weather is very hot and baby is chubby watch that all those lovely creases and folds stay clean and dry. I had eight children (5 c-sections) and had very little help even in the early weeks, so I did what I could and no-one died! Having said that, most of them enjoyed the tub after about 3 or 4 weeks so I found giving baby a bath could cheer up the whole family on some occasions. Keep smiling and God bless all of you.

  • You don’t need to bathe the baby often at all—- just make sure that her bottom gets nice and clean when you change diapers.  What’s a newborn going to need it for?

    And I can’t believe nobody’s said so, but:  Easiest way to bathe a baby is to let her take a bath with Mom or Dad.  It’s cuddly and sweet and relaxing and not as scary for the baby as being in a baby bath, which just feels slippery and unsupported and gets cold too fast.

  • Ah, you beat me to it….our babies hated the bath in the early months, so my husband would put on his swim trunks and sit in the tub with them!  They were much calmer that way! smile

  • Remember, dust protects your furniture.  wink

    You’ll have to give the baby a bath after the first big diaper explosion.  If Melanie is breastfeeding, it’ll be a wonderful experience.  When it happened to us, I laughed so hard I fell off the bed.  We used up a whole tub of wipes.  And that was just on the baby.

  • One downside of breastfeeding is that most babies eat so often, so you feel like that’s all you ever do! I know this is horrible but one of mine cried for five months and the only way I could sleep was having him in the crook of my arm while in bed… I never moved and I got much needed sleep since I had to return to work after one month (nights, husband home while I was gone) in order to not lose my bartending spot. Bathing… I did it every day in the kitchen sink with one of those huge baby sponges. Took two minutes and they never had diaper rash plus they loved the lotion rub down afterwards. All those little chubby nooks and crannies! I miss babies!

  • I also say throw out the experts’ books. After having had six children, I’d say we got more useful information from hanging out with other people who have children.

    We also bathe our youngest (5 months) in the kitchen sink (no more often than every second or third day)…

  • Good ol’ Dr. Spock – I remember looking up “crying” in the index hoping for some answers to why my first was doing what babies do !

    Also, too much info is a dangerous thing – you start thinking every rash or symptom is something it’s not and become a crazy person (at least I did).

    Just trust your insticts and you’ll be fine. And know they grow up and go to college and leave. Those baby days seem like they’ll never end but they are over in a flash. Enjoy every minute !!

  • I’ve got just two little ones but here’s my two cents:

    1) Frequent bathing is not very necessary but you might notice that the baby sleeps better after a good bath … this goes for 1-2 year olds too.

    2) Remember that mommy needs to sleep when the baby sleeps, that goes for 4am as well as 4pm.

    3) Stick to your guns on the breast feeding even if mommy runs into soreness issues … on the flip side don’t be afraid to use a little formula now and again (another trick for getting the baby to sleep). My wife actually knocked off the breastfeeding for a few days to heal up a bit and then just went right back to it.

    4) I must admit that my wife and I spent quite a few nights on the recliner chair with the baby sleeping right on top of us. The “books” seem to universally hate the idea of “co-sleeping” but, except in the USA, “co-sleeping” is basically universal on this plantet.  Remember that little one just rode 9 months inside mommy, they’re really used to “being close” at all times.

    So, if you don’t have a “lazy boy” I suggest you wip out the credit card and get one immediately.  Believe me, you’ll become quite adept at bottle feeding with one hand and working the remote with the other, you’ll get your $$$ worth.

  • I couldn’t resist this one:

    We owned a Dr. Spok book as it is a good quick reference to childhood illnesses .. but as far as general parenting … even Dr. Spock admitted to “raising a generation of monsters.”  The lives of Dr. Spocks’ own chidren provide sufficient testimony to his unsound parenting methods.