Bathing Your Newborn

It has been a while since I have done a post specifically aimed at new moms, so here is one just for you – tips for bathing your newborn.

As you know, a newborn is completely helpless and you have no choice but to do everything for them. Bathing is one thing you may find difficult until you figure out how to do it.

For starters, you can’t give your baby a tub bath until the cord stump has fallen off, so until that happens (anywhere between 8 and 20 days after birth – 8 to 10 days is average, but some do take longer – Scarlett’s took 17 days) you will have to make do with a sponge bath.

You may find it easiest to give a sponge bath on your bed, or perhaps on a table or changing table. I always liked the bed because then I could sit during the bath. First gather the items you will need: soap, shampoo, lotion, diapers, towel, washcloth, clothes, changing pad. Lay the changing pad down first to protect the bed from getting wet, then put the towel on top. Make sure the room is warm. Turn off the fan or close windows if there is a breeze. In winter, heat the room well before undressing your baby.

Get your water in a small basin and make sure it is not too hot. Place this basin on the bed next to the bath area, or if you are ok to bend, put it on the floor. I always found it easier to keep it on the bed, though. Undress your baby carefully. Don’t yank the clothes off, but gently remove their limbs. If you have to lift something over their head, undo the snaps or stretch it as far as it will go and carefully pull it over.

Newborns will often pee as soon as they are undressed so you may want to put a cloth diaper or a folded towel under the baby’s bottom to protect the bath towel, otherwise you can leave the diaper on until you are ready to wash their bottom.

Using a soft washcloth, wet it and gently wash your baby’s face first. Then using some soap, wash the neck, arms and torso, taking care to clean all creases and behind the ears. Newborns have lots of folds in their skin, so you have to clean between them to avoid rashes, irritation or infection. You will have to gently pry their hands open and clean between the fingers as they gather an amazing amount of lint and dirt.

Next take the diaper off. If there is doo-doo, clean it away with wet wipes, then wash with your cloth and soap. Make sure you avoid getting the cord stump wet. Last of all, wash their legs and feet. Dry your baby well, gently patting instead of rubbing. If the skin is dry, apply some baby lotion, gently massaging it in.

Once the cord stump falls off, you can use a baby bath tub for baths, or you can take your baby with you into the regular tub or shower. You may not get yourself too clean, but perhaps you could have someone there to help you and they could hand you the baby after you wash yourself.

Logan at 10 weeks – his first tub bath.

If you are using the baby bath, make sure to support their head, neck and torso the entire time, and never ever lay them down in the tub on their own. The chance of drowning is there so don’t take the risk. Get everything you need together before you put the baby in, and if you do forget something, ask someone else to get it or take baby out.

Unless you have one of these tub supports. Even then, never leave your baby alone in the tub.

For hair washing, simply use your hand to wet the hair, add a drop of baby shampoo, rub gently, then rinse. If you are giving a sponge bath, use the washcloth to wet the hair, add the shampoo and rub, then rinse with the cloth. Newborns have such thin hair that a drop of shampoo is all you need.
If you have had a cesarean delivery, I recommend that you either have the tub at a level where you don’t have to bend, such as on a table or bed, or put it on the bathroom floor and sit there. You shouldn’t be lifting after the delivery, so you will need help to fill and move the tub. Or you can use something to scoop the water in and out of the tub, or just stick with sponge baths until you can bend comfortably.
 
It is important to dress a newborn warmly after a bath, and wrap them in a blanket too, as they can get chilled easily. You may find they will nap right away afterwards, so it is good to plan bathtime before naptime.
 
 
Do you experienced moms have any other tips to add to this list?

Missing My Babies Babyhood

Last night I was thinking about something: My youngest is now 15 months old, and I am beginning to miss having a little baby in the house.


Myself and Logan at 4 months.

In the past 5 years, I have either been pregnant, pregnant with a toddler, or had a small baby and two toddlers. Now I have a preschooler, and two toddlers. I guess 15 months is still a baby, but she talks so much and runs and plays with the other two that I see her more as a toddler than a baby. When the other two were her age, each time I was already pregnant again; now I am not. It feels different, not having a little baby or expecting one.

While we won’t be having any more, part of me would like one, just because of the special feeling a newborn brings. I don’t want the pregnancy part – never did like it – nor the delivery part, but I would love the cuddle-with-a-newborn-and-smell-that-newborn-smell part again. I loved watching them sleep, dressing them, carrying them. Though I know at those times I was always worn out from middle of the night feedings, long days and little sleep, all that is forgotten and only the good memories remain.

Lila at 5 weeks old.

I’m enjoying seeing my kids grow, seeing them older and learning new things. There was a time when I thought all I would ever have was babies and never-ending diapers. But I do miss their babyhood. It went by so fast. I find it hard to believe that it was only 5 years ago (next month) when I first got pregnant. It doesn’t feel like that much time has passed.

Would I ever want another baby? Well, I know I would never want another pregnancy. After the last one I felt so worn out. My body felt drained and void of energy. I knew another one might knock me flat, so we opted for a tubal ligation. We also felt three kids was as many as we could properly care and provide for right now. They came so quickly, so close together, each one unplanned.

Daddy and Scarlett at 4 weeks.

But another baby? Maybe, just maybe. Another 5 years and we plan to move to another country to settle permanently. Maybe then, adoption would be an option. Or maybe fostering. I don’t know. Right  now isn’t the time but maybe the future will be. Just maybe I will again be able to smell that newborn smell, cuddle a tiny body close to mine, again experience having a little baby in the house.

Or maybe it won’t happen and I will have to wait until (eek) grandchildren arrive. (Makes me feel old just saying that, ha.) However it happens, it will be special, and the memories it will bring will most likely make me teary-eyed.

Isn’t motherhood wonderful?

What do you miss about your children’s babyhood?

Baby Needs, Part 1

Shopping for your new baby before it comes is lots of fun. There are so many things out there that you could get, some important and necessary, others that are nice to have, and yet others that are perfectly useless yet are sold as something you just “have to have”. How do you this important job of preparing for your newborn without ending up with a lot of clutter and an empty wallet?
 
The secret lies in having a list and a plan.

Before you enter that shop with all those adorable baby items that call to you, take some time to plan. Are you setting up a whole nursery, or just a corner of your own bedroom? Are you expecting one or two or more babies? Do you know the baby’s sex? What is your budget? Sit down and make a list with these questions, plus any more you may have, then make your list.

But if this is your first baby, you may be clueless about what you really need right away, what can wait until later, and what you won’t need at all. Below I’ve written some lists of things you will want to get before your baby comes, based on my personal experience.

Equipment: Immediate
– Crib – Even if you plan on having your baby sleep with you, get a crib from the beginning. That way, you can put your baby there during nap times. Especially as they get older, it is safer for them to sleep in a crib to avoid falls off your bed.
– Car seat – try to get one that you can use past the newborn stage so that it will last longer.
– Stroller – very useful if you plan on lots of outings. Some have detachable carry seats for newborns. When you get it, think about how you plan on using it. Strollers come in varying qualities and strengths, so think about if you will use it for long walks, carrying groceries (like I do), exercising, or just short strolls.

Equipment: Later
– Highchair – You won’t need this until your baby is able to sit up, somewhere around 6 months or so. With Logan and Lila I used a booster seat that has a detachable tray and it ties on to a regular chair. Lila is still using it now and Scarlett has a regular highchair.
– Walker – I’ve writen what I think about walkers here.

Equipment: Optional
– Carrier – this is very useful and practical when your baby is small and light. You can use it indoors or out. There are many styles to choose from.
– Bouncer – a bouncer is nice for the first few months when you need a place to put your baby and they can rock in it.
– Changing table – this can be useful if you have back problems and bending is difficult. Some also have a bath attachment. I never used one. Instead, I changed the baby on my bed and gave them sponge baths on the bed until I was able to bend.
– Bath tub – I used one once I was able to bend post-delivery and hold the baby up. It is also useful for when baby is able to sit up alone and play, especially if you only have a shower stall. Of course, you could also use a regular tub and a bath seat instead.

Clothes
Babies grow rapidly in the first six months of life, so if you are able to get used items instead of new ones, you will save a lot of money. Don’t turn down offers from friends and relatives. Buy on discount if you can. Baby clothes cost as much as adult clothes, but will use them for less time than you would, so only buy new what you absolutely must. Also, buy unisex unless you already know the baby’s sex.
With all my kids I had people give me clothes. When Logan was born I had nothing, but within the first week, bags started showing up from all over the place. Lila was the most well dressed. She had so many clothes that she outgrew many of them before she had a chance to wear them. I’ve had to buy the most new things for Scarlett, but I also saved whatever was still nice of what Lila had outgrown. Do hang on to things if you plan on more kids. It will save you money in the long run.
Some of my personal favorite clothing items for babies are one-piece items, jumpsuits, pajamas, etc. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and practical. Always think practical when buying baby clothes. Think comfort.

For your newborn you will need:
– Onesies – in hot weather they are a complete outfit and in cold weather they are a layer of warmth. Buy cotton cause it breathes better than polyester. You will need a good amount on hand, especially if you are using cloth diapers.
– Pajamas – get the ones that snap up with the covered feet. Newborn ones often have an extra piece at the wrist to cover the hands, or else they come with mittens.
– Mittens – a few pairs. They are not just for warmth, but to keep baby from scratching himself in those early weeks when the nails are still fused to the finger and you can’t clip them.
– Warm hat – needed for newborns and those born in winter.
– Socks
– Booties – for extra warmth

These are the best items for newborns. Save outfits with tops and bottoms for when they are older.

To be continued… click here for part 2

Hospital Adventures

I’m enjoying this time I have to relax, rest and recover. As a busy mommy who hardly ever has any time “off”, it is nice to not have to do anything except care for the baby. Of course I couldn’t do anything if I wanted to. I just don’t have the strength. Inside I’m dying to get the house clean and in order, but my body is quick to remind me that I can barely walk from my room to anywhere else in the house. Movement is still painful so rest is my only option.

So let’s see. Scarlett is now 6 days old. Those 6 days seemed so long before they happened. I had to check in to the hosptial the night before the delivery as it was scheduled for early morning and I had to be prepped beforehand. Glad and I went to check in the evening of the 12th, leaving the kids home with Nana. Halfway there she called to tell us that Logan was freaking out. We had left them watching a video and the plan was that Glad would return to put the kids to bed, but it seemed he might have to go back sooner. She said Logan was mad, hitting the computer, throwing toys, biting Lila and hitting her. I had expected a reaction to my leaving but not this. We couldn’t go home though so she had to deal with it. Later she told us that Logan finally fell asleep. He hadn’t napped so being tired didn’t help anything.
I checked in and was told to wait a while as my room was being readied. Glad felt it best to go home for the kids’ sake, so I waited. After a while they told me to wait in the general ward until my room was ready. Time was ticking and they still didn’t come to show me my room. About 2 hours later the sister in charge called me in and told me I couldn’t stay if I didn’t have an attendant. She wasn’t very understanding as I explained to her why I was there alone and that Glad had planned to show up early the next morning. I felt like crying since no one there was willing to help me. I called Glad and explained the situation and we talked about what to do.
A short while later my doctor showed up. She normally wasn’t at the hospital at that hour, but she was more understanding and she arranged for me to be moved to a private room in another part of the hospital, since maternity was full. We had already paid for a private room in advance so they had to give it to me. Shortly after that Glad called to say that he thought it was probably best his mom stay with me for the night as the kids needed him at home. So around 10:30 p.m. they all showed up. Logan was his happy self again, having had a good nap, and they climbed on my bed and asked questions about everything in the room. In the end it was decided Glad wouldn’t be able to be there in the morning for the delivery as the kids’ happiness was more important. I did so want for him to be there but knew this plan was for the best.
I said goodbye to my babies and went to bed. At 4:30 in the morning the nurses woke me to begin the prep. I was scheduled to be in the operation theater by 6:30. It was nice to lay there without having to deal with labor pains like I did last time. But knowing I was to go in soon made me nervous. I did my best to relax and try to put it out of my mind.
By 6:30 I was moved to the operation theater. The attendants got me set up and I watched as everything happened around me. I always get very cold lying there as the airconditioner and fan are on but they turned them off when I started shivering uncontrollably almost as soon as entering the theater. My doctor and another doctor showed up, along with the anesthesiologist, who noticed my nervousness and took it upon himself to help me relax by explaining things as he did them. Having him talk to me did help somewhat but I can’t say I was able to completely relax. I forced myself to focus on everything he said. First he told me when he put the needle in, then when he was done and had me turn on my back. Then he would tell me that my mouth might feel dry and how to handle it. He even gave me a little water when my mouth got too dry.
As the baby was coming out he told me what I would feel and then he told me it was a girl even before I got to see her. This was so different from Lila’s delivery where no one talked to me or anyone else and I was left to guess what was happening. The final thing he told me was that after I saw the baby he was going to give me a sedative so I could sleep through the rest of the surgery. I was so thankful for that. I guess they did the same at Lila’s delivery but since I wasn’t told about it I was left to wonder what had really happened.
I woke up still on the table as soon as everything was over. I felt happy knowing it was all done but still felt a little sad that Glad hadn’t been there to see her like he had for the others. I was taken to my room and tried to sleep, but as the anesthesia wore off, the pain kicked in, and by pain I mean PAIN. Immense, unbearable pain! It was all I could do to keep from screaming. I remember tossing my head, pulling my hair and crying, unable to do anything else. I wanted a painkiller but didn’t have the presence of mind to remember where the bellcord was to call the nurses. I don’t know why they didn’t just give me one when I arrived in the room. Finally Glad’s mom noticed and called the nurses to give me something. I didn’t care what kind it was, I just wanted it. When it finally kicked in the relief was as strong as the pain had been. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such pain. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t experience this with my previous deliveries, until I remembered that both of them had been in the late afternoon and I had been given a sedative shortly after being moved so I could sleep for the night.
Glad had told me he didn’t think he’d be there that day, but by the afternoon he and the kids showed up. He couldn’t wait to see his new daughter. Logan and Lila couldn’t figure out why mommy was lying down and they couldn’t get on the bed with me like they had the night before. But the looks on their faces when they saw the baby were priceless. I had done my best to prepare them for the baby but they were still amazed to actually SEE a baby there. I think they thought she was a doll, she was so tiny.
So delivery day was full of activity. The next few days were all about rest, learning to nurse, begging for painkillers from forgetfull nurses, and putting up with silly questions like how many times the baby had gone pee over the course of a few hours. Really. See, this hosptial has a nursing school attached and most of the nurses are in training, so the pediatrician had given them assignments over each baby. What I don’t understand is how it is assumed that all new mothers there are using cloth diapers. I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to each of these girls how a quality disposable diaper can be left on the baby up to 12 hours as long as it is only wet. You should have seen their faces. One of them told me I had to check her diaper every 45 minutes to make sure she was peeing enough and that it had to be changed when wet. I felt like telling the school to upgrade their curriculum to include info on disposable diapers. Most of these girls are very young, unmarried, so they really have no first-hand experience with babies. It was entertaining, to say the least.
We were discharged on the 17th, her actual due date. Glad and Logan came to pick us up. I hadn’t seen them since the first day so Logan was so excited. He wanted to do everything with me all at once. He almost cried when my doctor came to change the bandage and he had to wait outside the room. He thought he was leaving me again. But finally everything was in order, paperwork was complete, and we were able to go home.
Coming home was less plesant than I had hoped. I knew the power had been off for over 24 hours, and I expected the house to be a mess, but what greeted me was more like the aftermath of a explosion. Nothing was in place, furniture everywhere, a mountain of (thankfully) clean laundry on my bed, and dirt everywhere. Nothing was clean. And to top it off, the smell of some awful fish asulted my nose the moment I walked in. I’m not sure if it was the fish itself or the seasonings, but it was bad. I don’t like fish so this was enough to make me want to run the other way in search of fresh air. Lila was there waiting so I said hi and she looked at me like ‘where did you come from’, but got all excited when she saw the baby saying ‘baba, baba’. I went to hug her and my nose died all over again as I smelled the stench of guava on her breath and the putrid smell coming from her diaper. Arrg. There was no escape.
I’ve been home two days now. I wish I had a way to magically clean the house. My usually neat, clean kitchen is upside down, laundry is in various stages of drying, and I find myself hoping we won’t have any surprise visitors. Please don’t come to my house for a few weeks until I’m well enough to clean it up. I’d be very embarrassed for anyone to see it like this.

Ok, I think that is all for now. Scarlett and I have had a big week and we are enjoying our semi-vacation as best as we can. I’m going to sign off now and go take a nap. See you.

Introducing…

I know you are all dying to hear the news so here it is.

Please welcome to our family…

Scarlett Kate D’souza

Born Saturday, November 13th at 7:17 a.m., weighing 3.5 kgs. and measuring 19 inches in length.

As you can see, my feelings about the baby being a boy were totally off. Oh, well. We can’t be right all the time. And I love the name Scarlett so I am happy I get to use it. Don’t let her blue clothes fool you, she is all girl. I was so convinced of a boy that I didn’t take any pink stuff with me, but it will come.

A Mommy’s Best Friend

Meet my new best friend.

Elegant and practical, I take it with me wherever I go.

Many pockets make carrying needs easy.

Top: Wallet and wet wipes (Wet wipes are good for more than diaper changes. I use them for wiping sweaty, dirty faces, sticky hands, my hands and more. I always carry a pack with me.)

Bottom: Left – liquid hand disinfectant spray, mosquito repellant cream, tissues, bandaids, antiseptic cream. (The last two are just in case. You never know what could happen when out and it’s best to be prepared.)

Right – lipstick, lip balm, keys, gum, wipes for cleaning my glasses, hand cream.

Inside: Water bottles for all of us. It is easier to carry one for each of the kids than one for all of us to share. That way they can drink what they want at their pace without having to wait for the other to finish. Extra diaper, snack box, comb, sun screen, bib, hankerchief (good for wiping sweat off your head when out)and phone. I also include a change of clothes for each of them if we plan to be out for a while.

See the side pockets?

One is for the camera and the other will be useful for the baby’s bottles. Yes, I plan on breastfeeding, but when out, it is often hard to find a private place to feed and if I’m at the playground with the kids it isn’t possible at all. So I always carry a small (4 oz.) bottle of water and another one with powder formula. That way, if the baby is hungry but we aren’t ready to go home, I just add water to the formula, shake it and we are good to go. Baby is fed and happy and I can let the kids play in peace.

I know this will happen because it happened when Lila was tiny. I didn’t use formula with Logan since it was easier to stop and nurse him. I only had him to watch and didn’t have to worry about a kid running off while I’m nursing the baby. Also, we were living in Bangalore at the time and it is cooler there so he didn’t mind having a sheet over his head while nursing, but Lila always hated it, and I can’t blame her, as it is so hot here, anything over your head makes you sweat like crazy. So I started carrying the formula for her and it saved many a stressful moment when she was tiny. This time around I know better and have planned ahead for it.

The bag itself still has plenty of space for the other things I will need for the baby: extra diapers, change of clothes, sheet, changing pad, and I could even fit in a few books and toys if needed.

Now, why do I use such a big bag? Well, the more kids you have to carry stuff for, the bigger the bag you need. But it isn’t that this bag is so big but that it has lots of outside pockets that have lots of space. See, I used to carry a purse and diaper bag, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t practical to carry both, so I switched to only carrying a diaper bag.

My first one was nice, small and compact, perfect for only one child.

Logan on his first bus trip at 4 months old.

But I wore it out from overstuffing, so when I was given this one, though it wouldn’t have been my choice, I used it until it fell apart.

Logan on his first train trip at 10 months old.

I then decided that I needed something that looked nicer but could still carry everything. I opted for a large purse. This one served me for a while but I eventually found it just didn’t open up wide enough and I’d have to take everything out when I needed something off the bottom.

Lila on her first train trip at 8 months old.

I didn’t want another diaper bag that looked like a diaper bag. I’ve realised that a mommy can still look classy and carry what she needs for her kids, so I wanted something nice but useful. I also wanted something well made, as often, because diaper bags are plastic lined, the lining will rip easily. This bag is well made and it is water resistant. It only looks like leather. I searched all over, but when I spotted this one, I knew it was the one.

That is why this nice bag is my new best friend.

Tub = Calm

It was one of those evenings.

I was alone with the kids since daddy was working. Dinner was late and they were both fussy. My only thought was to get them fed, washed, and into bed. I put Logan in the tub, went and got the baby and put her in too.

Suddenly there was quiet…and calm. Both kids, squished in a baby bath tub, relaxing in the hot water. I only wish I could fit in their tub. I need to relax like that.

Here is my chubby princess. Doesn’t she look adorable?

Six Weeks


Yes, my baby is six weeks old today. It is hard to believe how fast time has flown. She has grown a lot too. In six weeks she has grown 3 inches, 1/2 an inch a week. Logan did the same at this age. I used to measure him once a week for the first 10 weeks or so and each week he was 1/2 an inch taller. It was cool. This time I didn’t want to go to the trouble, but I guessed it would happen to Lila and it did.
Imagine if this growth rate continued until the child’s first birthday – after one year a child would have grown 26 inches taller than their birth height. If that were the case, Lila, who was 20 inches at birth, would be 46 inches or almost 4 feet tall by her first birthday. Yikes. And if it continued on into her second year she would be exactly 6 feet tall by her second birthday. Isn’t it a good thing they slow down?

How Could I Have Missed Mother’s Day?

Probably because I was so busy with the kids I didn’t realize until the day was half done. I was reading the newspaper while Logan was eating lunch and I found a page celebrating Mother’s Day, and it was a revelation to me. I usually know in advance when these special days are coming but this year it passed me by and I didn’t even know it.

Okay, I know you want to hear about Lila. Well, so far she is a good sleeper at night, except for waking up somewhere around 1 a.m. and not wanting to go back to sleep. I have tried putting her in her bed and letting her lie there but it doesn’t work. She loudly lets me know that she is awake and wants to be up. So I lie her on my chest and try to sleep while she stares at me. I don’t know how long she is awake for as I spend the whole time in a sort of half asleep state until I finally fall asleep. Eventually I wake up and find she is sleeping again and then I put her in her bed and I can get comfortable again. This morning I woke up to find her in my bed and I can’t remember how she got there. I must have brought her in to nurse and fell asleep while she was nursing. I sleep very soundly these days. I’m too tired to not be able to sleep.

What do you think of my cool outfit? The pants are actual newborn size jeans. I never knew they made them so small until I saw these.


Announcing…

I finally get a chance to tell you our news. The baby is here!

I wanted to have a natural delivery but ended up with the C, mainly due to my doctor’s reluctance to wait longer and she was telling me all the things that were leading up to needing a C. I truly think it could have been natural had I had the chance to wait longer. Oh well. It is all past now. I came home yesterday and now have a chance to tell you all the details.

Lila Chanelle D’souza was born on April 27th, weighing 3.5 kgs. (7.7lb), and 20 inches long. Want to see her?

Her first picture, taken by daddy. I was still in surgery.


Daddy and Lila have some bonding time in the hospital.

Logan and Lila – 5 days old.

The little princess.

Her first bed.

Logan really loves his little sister.

I think my recovery this time has been faster than last, even though this time I have had the baby with me all the time and last time I didn’t. I did have help in the hospital though. Some friends took turns spending the first few days and all the nights with me, which really made a difference, especially when I couldn’t move. Daddy had to be at home with Logan and they got time to bond. Logan also learned how to run the house as daddy had to take him everywhere he went.

They came to visit me every day and Logan got used to me being gone, but I think he finally realized I was gone and started to miss me and cried the last time he had to leave. He was so happy when I finally came with him.

Logan still has to learn how to be gentle with her. He wants to touch her all the time and I have to remind him to be gentle or else he grabs her roughly, not trying to hurt her but he doesn’t know any better. So I can’t leave her in his reach, ha.

She is nursing well now that my milk has come in. She can be so demanding when the food is slow in coming. (I think this is a Taurean trait. They love their food.) She also sleeps well, even at night, only waking twice to nurse last night. That was a relief as the previous night she had a bad night and was awake screaming most of the night due to gas pains. I had eaten the food they served in the hospital and I think that did it. I was more careful yesterday and was rewarded with a good nights sleep.

I’ve forgotten how much newborns love to sleep. Today she has hardly been awake at all. Even now she is sleeping on my lap as I type this. I’d better go tuck her in bed so I can eat.

So now you can look forward to hearing more about her and life with two children instead of one.

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