Things New Moms Need To Know

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Just thirty to forty years ago, there were many people who thought that baby shoes needed to be stiff and hard in order for a baby to best learn how to walk. Do you remember seeing baby shoes that were made of very stiff, white leather and came up over a baby's ankle? Many believed that those shoes were very necessary to help a baby learn how to walk, and to keep the foot forming as it should. Those shoes were often not the most effective baby shoes because, until they were broken in, the bottoms were slick and offered no traction. Those old leather high-top shoes were tantamount to placing a baby in a pair of overly-stiff ice skates.

Basic safety comes first, so the most crucial factor when looking for the best baby shoes is that the bottom of the shoes are made of a material that provides traction. Shoes that are slippery on the bottom create trouble for your child as they learn to walk. We definitely would not try to have our baby take his or her first steps on ice, and if the shoe's surface is hard and the flooring is shiny and smooth, it is a similar condition. With that in mind, if there are a pair of shoes that will work well outside of the slick sole, it is possible to make use of some sandpaper to scuff the sole up quite a bit. You will want to make sure that you rough up the sole enough so that the slick areas are gone, and this will help to lessen the chance of an accident occurring.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

While the traction the shoe gives is important, it's also important to pay attention to the flexibility of the shoe, too. Well before you put a shoe on a baby's foot, first try bending the toe toward the heel of the shoe. If it just won't bend at all, that is not a very good choice for your baby. An exception to this is if a pediatrician or podiatrist put your child in a corrective shoe or if your child was suffering from other uncommon situations that warrant specialized footwear. If corrective issues aren't a concern for your baby, concentrate on obtaining shoes that are just as comfortable for their feet as the ones you buy for yourself. While flexibility is important in baby shoes, it's also very necessary to be certain that shoe soles are still thick and strong enough to keep your baby from harm due to anything they may step on.

Another way you should consider choosing the best baby shoes is to choose ones with upper material that is comfortable to wear. If you would not find a texture comfortable, do not put it on your baby. Forgo any types of plastic shoes that will cause your baby's foot to sweat and will not allow them to breathe, and instead, select shoes that are made of a breathable material.

You will find differing schools of thought concerning whether or not to use high-tops for your baby. The best option is talk to your child's physician about their feelings on the matter and go from there. Remember that babies can be like little escape artists when it comes to getting out of their shoes, so if your baby is one of those, and you don't wish to keep putting them back on while you are out and about, the high-top baby shoes may be the better choice for you.

Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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