Newborn mothering

               Oh, the joys of motherhood! To beget a child is to begin on the journey of a lifetime of love and sacrifice. Having birthed four children myself, this is one area in which I have definitely grown as a woman. Over the years I have acquired the following tips for newborn mothering, which I would share with any well-bred woman who has undertaken the blessed path of motherhood.

               Be prepared for postpartum mood swings and depression. This is caused by sudden changes in hormones and a woman cannot just decide to feel better or change her attitude. The careful and responsible woman will seek help when needed. Evening primrose oil and placenta encapsulation can help regulate hormones sooner than usual, although everything should eventually balance out on its own.

               Jaundice is a common occurrence in newborns, but did you know it can actually be aggravated by the vitamin K shot? The vitamin K shot may be unnecessary for infants who have not experienced any internal bleeding or who will not be circumcised before 8 days old, the age at which the body has naturally developed its own sufficient levels of this nutrient. Home treatment of mild jaundice includes placing baby in a sunny spot to nap and nursing frequently.

               The eye prophylaxis that is routinely administered to newborns is meant to prevent eye infections and potential blindness caused by two STDs that a mother may have. If one has no STDs, then the eye prophylaxis may be unnecessary.

               Resting in bed for the first two weeks after birth will speedily heal a woman’s body. She should line up household help and meals prior to the birth.

               If the mother nurses, she must learn how to latch the baby on properly. Empty at least one breast per feeding so that the baby receives both foremilk and hindmilk. There is no secret formula to increasing hindmilk; the baby’s consumption of it solely depends on how long he nurses per side.

               An easy care routine is as follows: wake baby, feed baby, keep baby up for a few minutes, then put him down for a nap. At night, put him down directly after feeding. Eventually the wake times will increase and the times between feedings will increase. This seems to facilitate the child’s eventual adopting of nighttime sleep, although that is a trick that only an individual mother can teach her individual child. Newborns can go up to four hours between feedings. Nursing every two hours can exhaust a mother and cause her to quit nursing sooner than she would have liked.

               Most people can figure out mothering without multitudes of parenting books. Having presuppositions about how things will go, mostly about milestones and averages (like when most babies begin sleeping through the night, how long or how often they nurse, etc.) inhibits the natural instincts a mother has for her own baby.

               Dealing with crying can be very difficult. However, crying is a newborn’s only way of communicating, and one can usually find ways to lessen it by giving baby what he wants or needs. Sometimes the crying ceases in a couple minutes, so wait a little, then see if any intervention is needed. Since a newborn likes to be held closely, wrapping gently in a blanket can also calm him.

               Pacifier use can comfort a newborn when he craves extra suckling between feedings. Generally, the pacifier should be taken away by the time baby is seven month old.

               Above all, enjoy this fleeting time and cuddle that baby! He or she will never be this small again.

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