As much as the new baby’s arrival is the most awaited moment for a family, it can be quite overwhelming. The moment the baby arrives, it fills so many hearts with the most special joy. But taking care of such a delicate, tiny human being, can be daunting. Every move, every moment leaves the new mom wondering if this is normal. And then there is the pressure from family, friends, relatives, society and even social media, which leaves a new mom in self-doubt.
After going through this myself, and hearing and reading experiences from so many new mamas, there are a few points every new mama should know.
1. Don’t Worry About the Breast Milk Supply
Babies feed all the time. That’s what they do. And crying is the only means of communication they know. So every cry doesn’t mean that the baby is hungry. A lot of women give up on breastfeeding because they are told that their baby cries all the time, as she must be hungry. Breastfeeding works according to demand and supply. The more a woman feeds, the more milk she will produce. Supplementing with formula is only going to lower the supply. If there’s a real issue, speak to an expert first before jumping to any conclusions. Most of all, have faith. Statistically, over 70-80% of new moms turn to formula feed because of self-doubt. I am not saying that formula is bad. But if you can breastfeed, you must.
2. Don’t Fret Over Baby’s Body Parts
Now, there are two body parts of a baby, that are much talked about – the head and the legs. First of all, the baby’s head is soft because nature has made it in such a way that it can pass through the birth canal. And it takes time to harden, somewhere over a year. No type of oil can make it strong. It will soften when it has to. Simultaneously, head flattening is also a major concern, which is common because babies spend all their time lying down. Using any kind of pillow and massaging it is not needed. In fact, these should be avoided as it can do more harm than help. When the baby starts to sit/stand/walk, gravity will work its way, and the head shape will eventually return to normal.
Another one is bow-shaped legs. Babies have bow-shaped legs so that it can be accommodated in the womb. They straighten over time. I have seen people roughly massaging their babies legs to straighten them, which should not be done. Babies are delicate, deal with them gently. I have not seen any walking human being with an odd-shaped head or legs. So stop stressing about it and let nature take its course.
3. There Are No Fixed Timelines for Milestones
There is so much competition going on with achieving milestones. There is a window for everything, and each baby takes its time to achieve something. There is no first prize. Whether your baby started to sit at five months or seven months shouldn’t bother anyone. Yes, there are some babies with developmental delays, and that should be brought up with a qualified doctor, but otherwise, it’s okay. No person in this world was denied a university admission or job interview or a relationship because he/she started walking when they were in their 17th month and not the 9th month.
Don’t give in to pressure that, if someone’s baby has started sitting in six months, your child should do so too. Don’t compare your babies. We must let them grow naturally. In earlier days, babies still developed, even when there was no Internet. I am not an expert, and I fully trust qualified professionals, but if the situation is not a concern, don’t fret.
4. Don’t Rush to Start Solid Foods
Another major thing is starting solids. A lot of people are so eager to feed their child as early as three months. There is a reason why it is recommended to exclusive breastfeed until six months. Why the rush? Feeding solids earlier than the recommended period won’t make a baby fat and chubby as most would like it to be, it will merely spoil their digestion. The child is anyways going to eat food for the rest of his life. One will only have to wait for six months before starting solid foods.
5. Don’t Make the Baby Behave Like Adults
Our babies are not going to be dependent on us, clingy and breastfeeding throughout their lives. They will grow up and live their own lives. It’s just the initial years that parents cherish forever. The child is anyways not going to remember any of these. So live the moment and don’t make your baby an ego project.
On a final note, I despise the idea of baby contests. For me, all babies are beautiful and worthy of love and admiration. Love your baby no matter if he is fat or thin, fair or coloured. This moment will never come back. Don’t wait for the day, when your kid is no more a child and regret- ‘When did time go by?’ ‘Why don’t I remember the cuddles?’ That’s because you were busy worrying about his milestones! Motherhood should not be a struggle; it should be the most pious feeling.
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