My wife and I are first-time parents to a healthy and gorgeous baby girl, born last Thursday, December 27th. After a difficult labor, the doctor made the call to deliver Caroline via a cesarean section. Four days later, the hospital evicted us. Now what?
The amazing nurses who cared for both my wife and my daughter gave us some good training on the side, but the advice we received from them and others was all over the place. We had no structure, and upon arriving at home, our ignorance bit us in the proverbial ass.
Our first night alone with the baby was absolute hell. After hours and hours of trying, we could not calm Caroline to save our lives. Feedings, diaper changes, pacifiers, and gliders were failing us. I was confident that we lacked the skills, but just as clueless, my wife insisted that we call the person who we had identified as our pediatrician, but had yet to meet. An on-call doctor from her office returned our 4:00 AM call, and asked my wife to take Caroline’s temperature. The cheap Baby’s R Us rectal thermometer that we received at a baby shower indicated a temperature of 96.5, and per the doctor’s instructions, we were off to the emergency room. Of course, upon arrival, we learned that Caroline was just fine, and never to rely on crap devices for taking a baby’s vitals.
Anyway, we had our first appointment with the pediatrican the next day, and of course, it was us, not Caroline. Dr. Hines did not suggest; she demanded. This lady has a stellar reputation in our community, and my view is that we should do as we’re told. Anyway, I thought I’d pass her commands on to any and all who might benefit.
Please know that some of these instructions are customized for an 8.5 pound baby girl who was exactly one week old at the time of the visit. That said, here it is…
* When putting her to sleep, lay her on her back.
* Make sure that she is sleeping on a hard surface.
* Temperature of the room where she sleeps should be 68 to 70 degrees.
* For a newborn, body temperature over 100 is an emergency.
* Vaginal blood is normal and okay.
* Snorting/sniffling is normal and okay.
* Hiccups, including full body hiccups, are normal and okay.
* It’s safe to feed her when she has hiccups.
* Feedings should be no more frequent than two hours apart.
* Do not go more than four hours without feeding her. If she is asleep, then after four hours, wake her up to feed her.
* Do not use the bottle as a pacifier (i.e., do not feed her more frequently than two hours apart in an attempt to calm her down).
* Feed her between 1 and 2.5 ounces per feeding.
* All popular formula brands are fine. One is not necessarily better than another.
* Do not give her water.
* Do not giver her juice.
* Try to keep her awake for 20 to 30 minutes after each feeding.
* Do not let other children hold her until she is at least two months old.
* Do not bathe her until her umbilical cord stump has fallen off in two to four weeks (in the meantime, we can use a damp wash cloth--no soap--to clean her face and neck).
* After the umbilical cord falls off, only bathe her for a maximum of two minutes in lukewarm water using Dove soap.
* IMPORTANT: Make sure that all caregivers (grandparents, aunts, uncles,…) get both their annual flu shot and whooping cough vaccination. Whooping cough is back and, although relatively minor for adults, it is fatal for babies. If your Mom, for example, claims that she doesn’t need the vaccination because she was vaccinated as a child, don’t believe her. Dr. Hines says to insist.
I’ve been off the grid for a while, but I hope that all of my fellow Kossacks had a great holiday season!