When I gave birth to my first child I was on cloud nine. It was so overwhelming that I was not able to absorb the feeling of being a mother. The feeling of motherhood actually sunk in when the real troubles began. I was completely worn off, rushed to the doctor at every issue, felt irritated when doctor declared every emergency situation (emergency for me) as a small and regular issue. So was this a major issue or a regular thing- how will I know? How will I know when to panic? I was not an expert on raising babies. Well, I learnt with time and experience. As a matter of chance, recently two close friends gave birth to babies simultaneously. They were going through the same phase. Like a troubleshooter I was forever on instant messaging answering their queries. Their questions were so similar and regular (as the doctor said). So I thought I will make a note of FAQ’s for all new mums and mums- to- be. I may not be an expert or a doctor but with two kids I have a double degree in ‘Mommyhood’ so sharing my experience for the benefit of all.
1) How will I know if it is Colic pain? Having a colicky baby is very stressful for parents. If your child is crying inconsolably for 2-3 hours at a stretch and this is recurring then you can get the baby checked by a doctor for colic pain. There is nothing to be worried about. Colic is a common occurrence and it might start when baby is 2-3 weeks old. A colicky baby is as healthy as a non colicky baby. Mostly colic pain occurs during late evenings or mid night. So parents who have no idea about it are left frightened.
2) Why does my child cry inconsolably? New born babies cry inconsolably at times. Mothers do not need to panic. Always remember the rule of thumb- your feelings percolate to your child. So try and maintain a calm demeanour at all times. Coming back to the reasons of persistent crying, following could be one of the reasons-
- Hunger- infants sleep while feeding, so they are hungry after short span of time.
- Colic pain
- Sleep- Some babies fight with their sleep and cry a lot.
- Nappy change required
- It is a good idea to use anti colic feeding bottles
- Keep anti colic drops handy
- Breast feeding mother can adjust her diet.
- Make ’Burping’ a ritual after every feed.
- Try swaddling the baby. Changing the position or atmosphere can also work for you.
3) When can I start solids? Mostly doctors advice to start solids after six months of age. Although I have seen some mothers starting very small quantities of liquid diet after 5months. This liquid diet can be daal water or thin rice starch. One can hear different suggestions and unique versions from friends and family about when to start solids and what should be first food for baby. To avoid unnecessary confusion it is best to follow the doctor and do your research beforehand. Initially the idea should be to develop taste so don’t worry if the baby is taking very small quantities. Whenever a new food item is added to the diet of baby then Colour and consistency of stool changes.
4) How will I set the sleep pattern of my baby? That’s a tough one. A new born baby takes his own good time to settle to this day/night routine. Each child is unique so first and foremost never compare your child with any other child of same age. Comparison is a futile exercise and you will just end up being frustrated. A simple thing to do is after 2 months is stop making any extra efforts to put the baby to sleep. Do not draw curtains to stop sunlight and do not make the room lights dim during the day. Also do not maintain pin drop silence. Light and noise help the child differentiate day from night. Otherwise how can we expect a new born baby to know the difference on his own?
5) Till what age should I massage my baby? Massage till the baby enjoys it. There is no point going bonkers over this massaging routine. I have seen mothers massaging a howling baby so rigorously as if they are kneading dough. A gentle massage is a good way to bond with the child but it should not be done forcibly.
6) Why does my child have rashes on body? Babies also suffer diaper rashes which can be treated with a gentle diaper rash cream. It is advisable to keep it handy. Applying coconut oil on affected region also helps. I have tried it on my babies and it worked well in summers. Most of the new born babies develop neo natal acne which is in the form of rashes, red blotches, pimples, or red spots. This is nothing unusual and you can contact your pediatrician for a medicinal cream. Most of the times these rashes will go on their own. Babies also have a dry and scaly scalp. Again you can use a mild shampoo on Doctor’s recommendation. These issues are harmless and do not cause pain to baby. My daughter had red baby acne on her cheeks. I visited all the possible doctors in the first five months and thankfully all of them said the same thing- RELAX.
7) Why does my child have excessive hair on ear lobes and body?
New born babies have excess hair growth on cheeks, forehead and back. They generally fall on its own. Applying ubtans and rubbing the hairy skin might result in abrasions.
8) When does teething start and what are the symptoms?
- Teething can start anytime between 4-12 months. Common symptoms of teething are
- swollen gums
- biting/sucking everything
- rubbing their ears
- inconsistent feeding pattern and
- unsettled at nights.
Massaging the gums with a clean finger soothes the pain.
9) When will my baby achieve important milestones like sitting, crawling, walking etc?
Your baby will eventually achieve all milestones till there is any medical complication which is highly unlikely. So stop fussing and start enjoying the childhood moments as this time won’t return. My older one started walking without support at 1.5 years while younger one was adept at walking at 11 months.
10) Will pinching my babies nose make it pointed?
Avoid doing it as you might cause damage to the developing nasal bridge. It might have long term repercussions. Nose takes its proper shape in few months.
11) Why do some babies have so much flatulence?
Flatulence, bloating and hardened belly are caused by gas. There can be multiple reasons for this, one major reason is that babies have an immature gut which is developing gradually.
- Always burp the baby after every feed
- Be cautious that baby does not suck in air while feeding.
- Change in formula milk or introduction of solids can also cause it
- Try making the baby lie on his stomach for some time during the day to release gas.
- Gentle massage can be done to relieve the baby of the discomfort.
12) Is my baby being fed enough?
If your baby is happy and gaining weight then he is being fed enough.
13) What is postpartum depression in women?
Depression is common in women after childbirth. It is caused due to hormonal imbalance. One can feel the baby blues in the form of change in appetite, change in sleep pattern and behavioural changes.
New Mommy, may God give you loads of strength and patience. Happy Motherhood!