When it comes to being a new parent, we need to ask a LOT of new questions. Sometimes, we feel like we should already know the answers, so we feel dumb for asking. Well, there really aren’t any dumb questions for new moms. None of us are expected to perform perfectly, or even semi-well, at any task right away. In fact, I’m pretty sure when it comes to parenting, the majority understanding is, “Keep the baby alive, that’s basically all that matters until you get your crap together.”
Here are some of the most common questions I see new moms ask. Most are ones I’ve asked as well, so don’t feel dumb for not knowing–you aren’t alone!
Can morning sickness come back?
As if “morning” sickness wasn’t bad enough taking over your whole first trimester (and even longer, for the unlucky ones), yes, it can come back in your final trimester. That’s because the baby is now so big, and your insides are so squished, it makes sense you’re feeling nauseous again.
Does losing my mucus plug mean labor is coming soon?
It could. But it might not, either. Losing your mucus plug, or “bloody show” as some women refer to it, can happen before labor begins, but it doesn’t necessarily mean labor is going to start any time soon. Some women report labor starting within hours of losing their plug, some (like me, with my first) lose it but labor never starts naturally, some women never notice their plug getting lost in the toilet, and others (like me, with my second) don’t even lose it until in the hospital.
Will I need more than one car seat?
This is one I didn’t even think of until my first was 6 months old. There’s the infant car seat most moms get, and then when your baby gets too big for that one, you transition to a convertible car seat. Some convertible car seats allow from newborn until booster so you can skip the infant car seat if you want. Just remember: it’s now recommended to rear face until 2 years, if possible.
My newborn sleeps SO much! Is this normal?
Yes. He was nice and comfy in your womb for 9 months and just got pushed out a tiny hole into this strange world. Let him chill, and be grateful for it, because soon you’ll be begging for him sleep again!
How often should I be feeding my newborn?
Whether you feed on demand or stick to a schedule, newborns generally need to eat every 2-3 hours if breastfed, or 3-4 hours if formula fed. Though sometimes it can be more than that! Remember that sucking is form of comfort for babies, and your little one was in your warm, cozy stomach for 9 months, and now they’re in this crazy cold world. Stick with it—as your baby gets older, he will be able to go longer between feeding sessions and frequent feedings will help establish your milk supply.
Can my newborn overeat?
No. For at least the first month, your baby will eat around 8-12 times a day. Breastfed babies tend to eat more often than formula babies because breast milk digests quicker than formula.
Breast milk or formula: which is better?
Feeding is better. Doesn’t matter how, since your baby will get all the nutrients he needs from either.
Do I need to give my baby water as well as breast milk and/or formula?
No. Your breast milk or formula contain all the nutrients your child needs. When they reach about 5-6 months, doctors begin suggesting you add solids, but in the meantime, don’t worry about feeding your new baby anything but that liquid gold.
How do I burp my baby?
We usually know the prop-on-your-shoulder method for burping, but there are a few more positions you can try if that isn’t working and your baby is still gassy. Try laying your baby across your lap on his belly and patting his back. Or you can try sitting them on your knee, leaned slightly forward with your hand holding his head under his chin and patting his back. If that gas bubble is still being stubborn, sometimes laying baby down and running your hands down his belly or in circles can help move the air around so when you pick him back up to resume patting his back, he’s able to burp easier.
Can I take (insert medicine here) while breastfeeding?
Here a few common medicines that are safe: Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine (like Sudafed—but be careful because decongestants can decrease milk supply), and Progestin only contraceptives. While your body is producing antibodies to fight your illness, those same antibodies are being passed to your baby through your milk and helping your little guy stay healthy. If you require medicine for your sickness, ask a doctor if it will affect your baby and if you can have a list of common medicines you might need to take while nursing.
How do I dry up my milk?
Many moms swear by using cabbage leaves in the bra, while others turn to the list of things we are told not to use because it will dry up your milk, like peppermint oil and decongestants. A tight fitting bra will help as well. Moms and doctors also suggest trying to wean your baby off the breast instead of cutting cold turkey. While you can try stopping all at once, this increases your risk of becoming engorged and having further problems. Slowly taking away feedings will decrease your milk supply and make it easier to dry up completely once you choose to. When you get down to cutting that last feeding, hand express or pump just enough to relieve pressure. Eventually, your boobs will catch on, I promise.
How often should my baby poop?
It can vary. Some babies poop a ton, and others not as often. Newborns tend to poop 10-12 times within 24 hours, but some go less. That number significantly drops as they get older and some babies start going multiple days without pooping. As long as your baby is eating normally, having several wet diapers, gaining weight, and doesn’t seem abnormally fussy, he’s doing just fine.
What is a normal and healthy poop for a baby like?
Breastfed babies tend to have runny, yellow poop that is sort of seedy in texture. Formula fed babies may have slightly thicker poop, almost like a paste. And older babies who are eating solid food will have grosser, thicker, and smellier bowel movements. When it comes to what’s normal for baby’s stool, I tend to refer to THIS helpful, though gross, article (with pictures, fair warning).
Can I give my baby cow’s milk before he turns one?
Starting your baby on cow’s milk a few weeks before he turns one isn’t going to harm him. Midnight on your child’s first birthday isn’t some magical moment where all of a sudden, any barriers of being able to drink cow’s milk have been broken. Just remember to watch for constipation, since cow’s milk can have that affect when babies first switch.
What should I be asking?
Between the lack of sleep, confusion, and stress (and joy) of having a new baby, sometimes we just don’t know what we should be asking our doctor at the check up visits. Write down any questions you have as soon as they pop into your mind. That way, at your baby’s next appointment, you can ask. Then end with the question, “Is there anything else I should be asking about?”
There are plenty more questions I asked my doctor, family, and experienced friends that I was SO sure had sounded dumb. But I’m glad I risked sounding unenlightened if it meant I received some peace of mind about how to help my child (or myself).