Looking for a bit of guidance through those dicey first weeks and months with a newborn?
The book Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, a guide to the first year of baby's life, is now out in its third edition. Jennifer Shu and Laura A. Jana, both moms and pediatricians, co-authored the the book from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it's filled with all kinds of practical tips and essential info for new parents.
(Take it from me: It's useful to have a trusted guide to refer to—instead of the darkest reaches of the fearmongering Internet—when you're overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and generally feeling clueless in those early weeks!)
In honor of the new edition, Dr. Shu offers some guidance on some of the biggest new-parent fears—and how to manage them.
You're afraid of hurting the baby. This is a common fear, but new parents should know that their babies aren't quite as fragile as it may first seem. "Many parents I see handle their babies very timidly in the first few weeks," Dr. Shu says. "Baby went through a complicated birth process and can handle firm, steady manipulation rather than kid gloves."
You're afraid your newborn isn't eating enough—especially if you're breastfeeding, when it can be harder to tell. But Dr. Shu says, "Pay attention to wet and dirty diapers and weight gain rather than the exact amount that baby eats," and that will tell you what you need to know.
You're panicked that you won't know what the baby needs. "Since babies can't talk, it will take time for you both to learn how to communicate with each other," Dr. Shu says. "Watch closely for baby's patterns. What does she do when she is tired or hungry? Soon you will learn to let her sleep rather than forcing her to eat when she's not hungry."
You're not sure you're doing it right. "There's more than one way to be a good parent," Dr. Shu says. So when it comes to receiving feedback from others about their own methods, try not to let it affect your confidence. "Many gather ideas from friends and relatives and even the Internet, but your pediatrician can tell you what's healthy and safe. Then feel free to use your own style and best judgment."
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