The nine difficult months of pregnancy are over and finally, your little darling is in your arms. With those tears of joy, there is a new set of anxieties that now holds on to every new mother. What to expect, whom to ask and what are the solutions? Yes, the first year of the baby is most important and the challenge starts from day one.
Here are the common challenges that come up in the first year of the child and how a new parent can cope with it.
Within the first four days from the birth, there is good chance that babies get jaundice. With pale eyes and a yellowish tinge that starts from the toes, the doctors confirm that your baby has infant jaundice. You freak out, but you just have to be calm. It is completely treatable but you have to be alert.
Why does it happen?
It happens because your baby’s organs are still underdeveloped. The liver filters bilirubin from the blood and then releases it to the intestinal tract. However, a newborn baby’s liver is immature and the process is not fast enough, causing an excess of bilirubin that leads to jaundice.
What to do?
It is said that exposing your baby to sunlight helps, however it is more of an assumption and doctors don’t really believe in it. In most cases, the jaundice levels go down naturally, however in case the levels increase, phototherapy is given in neonatal jaundice. In case, the phototherapy is not effective, blood transfusion is done. Both of these procedures are pretty simple and doesn’t harm or hurt the baby in anyway. As a parent, you need to be strong and alert to monitor the jaundice levels continuously.
Even though it is the most natural process for a mom, some new mothers find the latching on difficult. Even after sitting for hours with the baby, the baby is hungry or the supply is just not enough. Don’t despair and don’t give yourself a hard time. Milk supply will increase on its own. If your baby is not able to latch on naturally, you can use the help of a breast pump. It helps in those night feeds as well. You don’t have to be around each and every time your baby is hungry. The breast milk can stay in the room temperature for a long time and can be fed to the baby with a spoon or bottle. However, the natural way is the best way. Take your time to get comfortable with it.
Is the baby well fed?
A common thing that parents believe is that if the baby is crying then he is either hungry or sleepy. But your baby is a human just like you and can cry for attention, love or even sleep and hunger. To understand if your baby is full and is well fed, maintain a gap of around 2 hours between the feed. Also, check if your baby wets 12-14 diapers in a day. The weight should also be increasing steadily. With every visit to the pediatrician, your baby’s weight will be checked and if there is a concern the doctor will let you know.
Throwing up milk
This is something that freaks out every new mom. Once you have successfully fed your baby, he throws up. But no, it’s not indigestion and nothing is wrong with him. Throwing up a little milk after being fed or while burping is common until around 6 months. Once the kid moves to solids, this problem reduces on its own. However, if the baby throws up a lot of milk then it can be a problem. Also, if the baby’s weight is not increasing even after feeding him every two hours, let the doctor know. The problem will go away with time.
Other than biting into things all the time, teething comes with its own set of problems. Right from loose motions, irritation to fever, children are just cranky, giving you a tough time. Keep a check for excess loose motions. These are minor ailments, the more you can keep your child distracted, the happier he will be.
Even in the most stressful time, the first year of the baby is filled with sweet moments. So, once your baby crosses the first 3 months or once the neck is completely stable, roll him on his tummy for 5 minutes every day. After some time, he’ll do it on its own. This small play helps in strengthening the muscles, by trying to roll back and turn the head up to look around and even try to crawl. However, don’t get anxious if your friend’s baby does this trick faster than your baby. Every baby takes its own time and that’s all the fun of it.
Thanks to neighbors, friends, and elders, there is always a raised alarm when the baby doesn’t start crawling in time. Is something wrong, proper muscle strength not happening etc. Most babies start to crawl from 6 months onwards. But then there are babies, who just skip the crawling bit and start walking completely. Yes, you need to encourage your child to walk. Spread some toys, a colorful ball at a distance and let your child reach for it. Spread a soft mat or a surface that is nonslippery for the child to crawl, fall, stand and just have fun.
Once the child moves to solids or semi-solids, the stress of breastfeeding is reduced. But now there is another challenge, what to give to your child? Start with simple foods like mashed banana, mashed mango, apple puree, carrot puree, mashed potato boiled and of course readymade baby food. Just like we don’t like all types of food, so does your baby. He will pick some, refuse some, but encourage multiple things. Milk intake should be reduced to 3-4 times a day.
Sitting up on his own
Just like there is stress when the child starts to roll over, there is much anxiety of the baby sitting upright. By 5 to 6 months, the baby is comfortable to sit up and enjoy a good time with you. To start with it may require some support but eventually, by the 7th month, the baby can sit independently. Get a nice baby chair and let the baby get comfortable with it.
This is considered as a big milestone for your baby. Some babies start walking at around 8 months while some kids start walking around 1 year. Again, there is no rush. Hold your baby’s hands and help them take the first few steps. Help them stand with a stable furniture. Walkers are also an option but it is really not required after the first 10-12 days. But never leave a baby with a walker unattended. It can lead to accidents as the baby really can’t control the walker.
So, even though as a new parent the first year can seem like a roller coaster, it will give you memories for your lifetime. Treasure each one of them. You’ll smile on each one of them later.