Although the US birth rate fell by 4% only two years ago, experts say the numbers might go up by the beginning of 2023. Being a new parent comes with excitement and apprehension. The mix of emotions becomes fertile ground to entertain all kinds of thoughts about the role. More importantly, new parents have concerns about the baby and how to ensure everything progresses smoothly. Below are some of them.
- Getting enough milk or not?
The subject of feeding a baby is often met with some confusion. Those tiny tots can eat indeed, but not as much as your adult stomach can contain. Perhaps, this is where the confusion stems from. Seeing those tiny bottles with measurements may seem inadequate. Additionally, breastfeeding those little mouths and not knowing whether they’ve had enough can be unnerving. Fortunately, years of medical research have shown how to ensure your tiny tot has had enough. At the end of the day, the feeding frequency is what matters most.
According to reports, a formula rich in protein is usually associated with more weight gain. This occurs in the first twenty-four months of the baby’s life. For this reason, pediatricians recommend a lower protein content formula for healthy full-term babies. In many cases, for the first three months, the amount to feed a baby is one scoop of formula with two ounces of previously boiled water. One or both breasts may be suckled during a single feeding session for breastfed babies.
Whether your baby is breastfed or on formula, certain signs can show they are full and content. They will either turn their heads away from the breast or bottle. Secondly, you will notice that they slow down at the bottle or breast. Your baby may have open palms and look relaxed and uninterested in taking any more. When you see these signs, you can be assured that your tiny tot is satisfied for the time being. While some parents opt for the clocking system (feeding every 2 – 3 hours), you can do on-demand feeding.
- Baby’s pooping habits
How many poops should a baby have in a day or week? What color should it be? These questions are pretty normal if you are a new parent. In the very early days after meconium, your baby may have two to three soiled diapers in a day. Other babies can have up to six or more in the same period! Your baby will poop every few days and not necessarily have a daily bowel activity in other situations. All these are normal and expected. Also, the color may vary from brown, yellow, or green shades.
What you should worry about is if there is a reddish tint to the color. In that case, you may have to see the pediatrician ensure all is well. You have nothing to worry about if your baby’s abdomen is not distended and they’re not fussy. It helps to bear in mind that babies have different poop patterns. Therefore, comparing with others’ patterns may not be healthy for your peace of mind.
- Missing milestones
You have probably heard and read so much about the milestones a baby is expected to attain in the first two years of life. A new parent looks forward to each, from lifting their heads, rolling, crawling, standing with support, and finally, the first few steps. You should bear in mind that the timelines for each milestone are not cast in stone. For example, while some babies start to crawl at five months, others may do so at nine months.
The most important thing is that the milestone has been reached. Admittedly, there is the issue of late developers, which is a matter for pediatricians to handle. If anything beats your mind, it is better to see the physician than assume something is wrong. In the meantime, during these first few months of achieving their milestones, parents can add a couple of baby activities. For instance, knowing when to start baby swim lessons for your tot may depend on the tot in question. If they’re active and have reflexive kicks and strength in their necks, it may be time to seek an expert opinion. Do not forget to observe all safety precautions when starting the baby’s swimming lessons.
- Spit-up or reflux?
Every baby, at some point after feeding, will have some spit-up. This is when already swallowed milk comes back the way it went down. Sometimes, it’s a dribble, while there’s a bit of force at other times. It is the same with reflux. The only problem here is when spit-up and reflux occur too frequently and prevent your baby from gaining weight. In this case, you would have to consult a pediatrician. They may test for illnesses such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). From birth up to four months, certain stomach muscles may not be strong enough to hold milk down for longer. Fortunately, these muscles get stronger after four months, which may spell the end of reflux and spit-ups.
- Is the baby having enough sleep?
Some babies love napping, while others are the exact opposite. The truth is that many parents will prefer a sleeping baby. A baby’s sleep duration ranges from 8 to 18 hours, depending on age and other factors. A well-fed baby usually sleeps longer without intermittent breaks in a cycle. A hungry baby will, however, sleep less or not at all. Additionally, a colicky baby will have problems sleeping well, which can significantly worry new parents.
As mentioned earlier, babies are different, and often, their little personalities show early. As a parent, you can ensure that your baby is comfortable. This includes ensuring they have clean diapers, are not too warm or cold, and are well-fed. You may also want to create a serene environment to improve your baby’s sleep duration. Some babies are light sleepers, and the slightest sound can wake them up.
It is normal and quite expected to have these concerns as a new parent. Hopefully, you found these points insightful and helpful.