Many a teacher will tell you that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
Well, you know what? I think there’s some truth to that. Although also, some questions can be quite rude and offensive. For example, I’ve heard about strangers asking new moms (who have obviously JUST had a baby, and have said baby with them) when their due date is, implying that they look pregnant. That’s a pretty stupid question.
But when it comes to an actual quest for knowledge, about wanting to know more and do better at the task at hand by seeking guidance from others, I honestly don’t think any question could be “dumb.”
But when you’re a new mom or dad, it’s an easy time to start second-guessing yourself. When you could be following your instincts, you find yourself turning outward for answers. Where you could be using your common sense, you think instead (perhaps in a sleep-deprived state) that no answer is valid unless you’ve read it in an official parenting book.
Well you come to realize after a bit of time as a parent that it mainly involves using all the skills you’ve already been working on your entire life, such as reading people’s moods, providing basic necessities like sleep and food and comfort, and watching out for basic hazards.
Keep all that in mind, and don’t feel bad if you’ve found yourself asking one of these 15 dumbest newborn questions ever.
15Is Yellow Bad?
Baby skin looks a lot like other human skin. Sometimes, it can appear rather more translucent and pink, but otherwise, the color is much like yours or mine (sans years of sun exposure, of course).
Anyone who’s had a baby before knows that no, things aren’t quite right if the baby looks yellow. They also know that no, it’s not always really a big deal in the end, and yes, it is rather common, as well as yes, there are things you can do to address the problem. They know that the answer to the question “Why is my baby yellow?” is “Jaundice.”
The yellow tint may also be seen in the whites of the eyes. It means that there is too much bilirubin (produced when the body breaks down old red blood cells) in the blood.
A doctor will perform tests to diagnose the extremely common condition, which often clears up on its own but should be monitored.
14Is This Safe?
I actually still somewhat commonly see posted pictures of cribs being used with bumpers, those fabric barriers wrapped around the inside of the crib, creating a barrier between the hard bars and the little baby.
And I think the reason for the confusion is that as late as a few years ago, adorable coordinating bedding sets for babies were still being sold including these bumpers. And if they’re sold as part of the mass-produced pack, they’re okay right? Nuh-uh. Ask your child’s doctor, and, almost guaranteed, she’ll tell you that you don’t want to be putting anything in the crib because it increases the risk for suffocation.
Teddy bears, blankies, and yes, bumpers may look cute, but they’re not considered safe for tiny babies.
(Later on in your child’s life, there’ll be a time for lovies and tuck-ins.)
13She Can Sleep Like This, Right?
I’m not sure, quite frankly, how you could ever miss this one on your journey toward parenthood. That’s how commonly and strongly this message is sent. It’s even printed on the breasts of many swaddlers and sleep sacks these days, plain and simple: Back is best.
And now, you’ve read it here, and you won’t ever find yourself asking the question, “Is it okay to put the baby down for sleep on his stomach?” – because you already know (you’re welcome) that the answer is no.
This is one of a set of official guidelines for preventing sudden infant death syndrome, most commonly referred to as SIDS.
This topic should be taken seriously, and any questions and concerns should be immediately brought up with your child’s pediatrician (as with all things health-related, of course).
12How Much Do I Need To Baby Proof?
Brand-new parents my scurry around in a frenzy unsure what they need to do to “baby proof,” or make their home safe for their newest addition. (And yes, you do need to start thinking about his before or very soon after the baby arrives, because you will blink an eye and they will be crawling around and exploring EVERYTHING – largely by putting it in their mouths.)
A common question and area of inadequate knowledge seems to be, “Which things are choking hazards?”
Um, anything that can fit in the baby’s mouth and might potentially get lodged in the airway. No joke. That’s really what you must consider. And isn’t it kind of obvious?
But if you need additional guidance – as many parents to newborns do – ask yourself a smart question: “Would this fit inside a toilet paper roll?” If the answer is yes, it is a choking hazard.
11What Do I Do About The Nails?
Now, we’re not saying that trimming or filing teeny-tiny baby fingernails is the easiest thing in the world – not at all. But we are saying that maybe it’s a little obvious, if you think about it for a second, what needs to be done if a newborn is scratching its face when it doesn’t quite have fine control over those little flailing arms.
“How do I stop my newborn from scratching herself?” is a question with an easy answer.
What would you do if your own nails were too long or too sharp? Why, trim or file them, of course!
And if this isn’t practical or possible, well then you’d probably be sure to separate said long or poky nails from anyone’s face. Newborn baby hands can be covered with tiny cotton mittens to help and prevent scratching from occurring. Some PJs even come with flaps you can fold over the hands.
10Why Is She Crying All The Time?
Asking someone else, “Why is my newborn crying??” is probably a very common question, but it’s one that, sorry to say, you’re probably going to have to just learn to figure out on your own.
And it gets easier, so don’t worry about it. Rather quickly, you’ll probably be able to discern what each look, stretch, yawn, and whimper conveys, be it hunger, sleepiness, boredom, overwhelm, discomfort, or more.
Many parenting books – or final chapters of pregnancy books – actually include a checklist to run through when a baby is crying. The idea is that you do what you can to test if each item is what is troubling your babe, and if you’ve made your way through the entire list and that little creature is still wailing, well then you start all over again back at the top.
9What Size Do I Buy?
No one knows exactly what size your baby will be when he or she is born. I’ve asked and been asked, to be sure, though, what size clothes to buy in preparation for bringing home baby.
Inexperienced parents or expectant parents just want to feel prepared and assume that there’s some standard way to figure all this stuff out, I guess.
Here’s a thought I’ll share with you on the topic that might help you out, though. Not all babies ever fit into size Newborn clothing. And you do NOT want to be trying to squeeze a rather limp newborn into a onesie or footed romper that is too small. It can be daunting enough to dress them at first as it is.
Knowing this, maybe it makes more sense to register for or buy primarily the next size up or larger? The few newborn items you have will likely fit for something like a week.
8Am I Going To Spoil Him?
This “dumb” question might have a basis in the stupidity (actually just mistaken beliefs) of some people from generations of yore. Apparently, certain individuals have been made to worry, and therefore ask the question, “Am I holding the newborn baby too much?” or, more specifically, “Will I spoil the newborn baby by holding him too much?”
This should be the last of your worries. Newborns need you to hold them, comfort them, and establish a strong parental bond. They are quickly coming to associate your site, sound, and smell with safety and comfort – and that’s kind of a (really) big deal.
Hold your newborn. Sing to her. Talk to her. Look her in the eyes. Show her things. Explain what you’re doing. Everything you do to interact with your baby is helping her to learn and develop.
7Can I Only Breastfeed At Home?
Especially in a nearby land of urban sprawl and smog, people spend a LOT of time in their cars. Whether it’s commuting to and from daycares and offices or going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, Americans, especially, put some serious mileage on their vehicles every year. And when a baby joins the family, that’s not likely to change.
But there will then be a tiny mouth to feed something like every two hours in the newborn stage, and it will not likely be convenient for a family to pull over, make a stop, or postpone a journey around the appetite of its tiniest, newest member. In fact, new parents may find themselves asking, “Is it okay to take them out and breastfeed them in the car?”
Um, NO. Would it be safe (or legal) for you – or for anyone – to ride in a car for any amount of time without wearing a seatbelt?
6Does She Still Need A Car Seat?
Sorry to say, but sometimes, you’re going to have to pry those exhausted new-parent eyes open and actually read an instruction manual. Quite a lot, in fact.
Questions about which heights and weights and ages are appropriate for each stroller, seat, contraption, and toy will abound, and the hard fact is that each and every one is different, so you’ve got to hunker down and read the fine print. If in doubt, why not contact the product’s manufacturer? I know you’ve constantly got a tiny phone / computer in your pocket (if you’re like many modern Americans, anyhow).
When do you stop using the infant insert in the car seat? How big is too big for that Jumperoo? How long is it safe to keep this seat rear-facing in the car? These and many other questions will likely be asked.
5Do Babies Eat Three Meals A Day, Too?
I guess not everyone really has it figured out how often and how much they should eat, so maybe that’s part of the problem here.
But wild animals and very young children both seem to instinctually eat or request food (or milk…) when they are hungry and stop eating once they are full.
But don’t feel bad if you have ever asked, “How often should they eat?”
You may not have understood yet that even a newborn baby has its ways of telling you when it is hungry. (Watch out for hunger cues such as rooting around, sucking, fussing, or crying – though fussing or crying don’t always mean hunger.)
And it is actually true that it’s good to know that newborns eat just about every two hours, and that this is from the start of one feeding to the start of the other. Any concerns should be brought up with the doc.
4How Do I Change A Diaper?
You know, I actually had only ever changed one diaper before I became a mom – and I think it might have even been when I was pregnant and realized I better get some practice in.
Though this was silly, because it’s really not that hard.
We understand, though, if like me you wondered, “How do I change a diaper?”
My husband and I actually took a local new parent class in preparation for the birth of our first baby, and one of the topics covered was how to change a diaper. But this is how the demonstration went: The teacher asked for a volunteer who had never before changed a diaper, had him come to the front of the class, and told him to change the baby doll’s diaper. He did. And that was that.
If you can figure out how to put a diaper under a butt, fold it up, and affix tabs to close it, you’re golden. (Side note, when changing poops, always wipe front to back, especially for girls.)
3Should She Be Sleeping This Much?
Let’s see, how in the world do you figure out when and how much you should sleep?
If you answered, “When I’m tired,” well then good for you!
Perhaps expectant parents just want to feel better prepared with what to expect when they ask, “How often should the baby sleep?”
But tiny humans that they are, babies will sleep when they are tired.
At first, during the newborn stage, they will just shut their eyes and start to snooze, whether they’re breastfeeding (okay, actually especially as they finish up breastfeeding), being held, riding in the car, or just chillin’ at home.
It’s funny to think, but parenting books and instructional pamphlets provided to new parents really do often include such golden advice as that a baby is ready for sleep when he or she does things such as rub his or her eyes.
2How Do I Know If He Has A Fever?
The first thing a doctor or an advice nurse may ask you if you call in worried that your newborn is ill is whether or not your little one is running a fever.
And you, being a frazzled and tired new momma, may say, “How do I know if they have a fever?”
No joke. And even if you do realize that the answer to this winner of a question is that you must use a thermometer to take their temperature, you may not know exactly how to go about that when it comes to a newborn.
Because it can be pretty impossible and inaccurate to use an oral thermometer (held under the tongue to get a body temperature reading) with a newborn, many new moms choose to include on their registries or purchase ahead of time thermometers that can get accurate readings from the forehead or under the arm. Check with your doc for how they recommend you take your baby’s temp and don’t hesitate to call or go in if you think something’s wrong.
1She's Sick! What Do I Do?
I think I’m guilty of this one, in a way. It’s where you worry and worry that your little one might be fighting a cold or some type of infection, but all you do is worry.
You might keep asking your husband or partner, “Do you think our precious little newborn baby is getting sick?” throughout the day or a few days, but never pause to actually carefully assess the situation – by taking the baby’s temperature.
When the body temp is high, it’s a sign that the system is working to kill off whatever bad guys, so to speak, are in there causing the illness.
Another reason I’ve felt stupid asking myself or my hubs if our brand-new baby is getting sick is that I know that often, it will just be a common cold, if anything, and that there’s really not much I can do about it. I’m already making sure she’s hydrated and well-fed and well-rested, and I know the immunities in my breastmilk are passed to her, and that’s already doing a lot.
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