Parenting comes with responsibility. Moms have to make all kinds of decisions for this little baby for the next 18 years minimum. That's a lot to think about. What if mom does something wrong or makes the wrong choice? In many ways it feels rather sink or swim as a new parent because the first day, month, and even year are full of decisions regarding our baby that will shape her for the rest of her life.
Of course some decisions are bigger and more important than others. But we are lying to ourselves if we don't admit that some of the choices we make in just the days after our baby is born will impact him in twenty years. That's a lot of pressure.
Basically every new parent feels overcome by emotion. We have to adjust to this new little member of our family. We have to make tons of decisions from what type of laundry soap we plan on using to if we plan on vaccinating or not. Even the most decisive, educated parent feels a bit unsure. We don't know what our child will want since babies obviously don't talk. We can't be sure that we're making the right decision. So we go with our gut and hope for the best.
20 Breastfeed Or Bottle-Feed?
We have two options when it comes to feeding our newborn: breastfed or bottle-fed. We can try to breastfeed, and it might not work out. We might plan to use formula but get the hang of breastfeeding over the first few weeks. As long as our baby is fed, there isn't a wrong choice.
According to MayoClinic.org, we should feed baby on demand. It is likely over the first few days and weeks that baby's schedule and needs will change so we should feed her as she wants. This is especially true for breastfed babies but applies to both.
We may give our baby breastmilk via a bottle because we like to know exactly how much she is getting or are preparing to return to work. We may do a combination of pumped milk and nursing so that dad can feel included. We may just use formula because we have no interest in nursing or are unable to.
19 Will You Post Baby Pics Online?
As ridiculous as it sounds, we do have to decide what our baby's social media presence will be basically from birth. Will we use Facebook for a birth announcement? Do we plan to keep loved ones updated and share pictures via a social media platform and do we want to keep baby private? It's certainly a first world problem and sounds rather silly and frivolous, but it is part of our lives now.
Social media can be great for staying connected and sharing, but it comes with some real dangers especially when it comes to our children. Parenting.com recommends 8 pictures of our kids that we shouldn't share on social media such as bath time or when our baby is sick/injured. According to Parenting.com, we shouldn't share personal, private information such as locations or schools for our kids. These seem like no brainers, but are important reminders for new parents.
18 When Do You Take The Baby Out In Public?
One decision we have to make is when we find it appropriate or necessary to take our newborn out in public. Minus doctor appointments, new moms have been trying to protect baby from germs by keeping them home. Some new moms take a different approach or simply cannot stay home with baby for that long and take baby out in the first few weeks or even days. We have other children who might have activities that we can't miss. Sometimes we just cannot stay cooped up for that long without going insane.
There is no perfect time to take baby out. Parents.com suggests that we avoid large crowds like shopping malls until baby is about 6 to 8 weeks old. This leaves it up to our discretion what constitutes a large crowd or how well we can shield baby from the general public and their germs.
17 Will You Introduce The Pacifier?
According to MayoClinic.org, the best time to introduce a pacifier is between 3 to 4 weeks old when breastfeeding is well established. Some moms opt to use them right from birth. Some babies never take a liking to them. Pacifier usage has its ups and downs that make it a parental decision that doesn't really have a right or wrong answer.
Pacifiers can cause nipple confusion during the early weeks of breastfeeding which is why some moms avoid them. Pacifiers may also cause dental issues if used too long. They do however lessen the risk of SIDS if used during nap time or bed time. They offer a distraction for baby and can soothe him as well.
16 Should The Baby Take Vitamins?
Between breastmilk and formula we would think that baby gets whatever vitamins he could possibly need. Some parents do give their babies vitamins in addition to breastmilk or formula. Vitamin D is the most common vitamin that is supplemented during the first four to six months of life. According to KellyMom.com, vitamin D supplements are recommended in cases where baby is kept indoors mostly or does not get enough sunlight.
Babies should be getting everything else from mom's milk or from formula that is needed in the first four to six months of life. That may not always be the case though and that is often when doctors suggest adding a vitamin to mom's milk.
15 Where Will The Baby Sleep?
According to the AAP and Parenting.com, it is suggested that the safest place for baby to sleep is in the parents' room but in his own crib/bassinet/etc. Basically the baby should be on a separate surface from his parents. Some parents believe it will allow both mom and baby to sleep better being close to one another. This works for comfort, but is also helpful is baby wakes to eat as mom won't have to get up and go get baby.
Some parents have baby in his own room from the beginning. It will prevent having to transition in the future and will hopefully allow everyone to get a better night of sleep. Some believe that baby will wake less if mom is not in the room.
14 Will You Get The Baby Snipped?
One very important and pretty personal decision we have to make when we have a son is whether or not we want to circumcise him. Many moms make this choice in the first week or so of their son's life. The procedure can be done at any age, but during the first six months of a child's life it does not require general anesthesia.
Moms choose to circumcise or not for a variety of reasons from religion to concerns about future locker room bullying. About 60% of males are circumcised in the United States according to current trends as reported by ChildrensHospital.org. This choice cannot be reversed if we do decide to circumcise. If we don't, the procedure can be done even in adulthood but it is generally more painful with age.
13 Will You Want To Pump?
Pumping goes hand in hand with breastfeeding more often than not in this day and age because sometimes we just can't be with our baby. For moms who will be away from baby for decent chunks of time, such as those going back to work, pumping is pretty much a no brainer if we are going to breastfeed. We need to stock up milk for baby and also keep our supply up. Pumping allows us to do both.
For those of us who stay home with baby, we have a little more leeway deciding if we want to pump or not. It's not exactly enjoyable and comes with extra work like washing all those parts. Though many moms are told they have to pump if they want to breastfeed, KellyMom.com states that generally is not the truth. According to KellyMom.com, if a woman doesn't plan to be separated from her baby for long periods of time she likely doesn't need to pump.
12 Which Soaps Will You Use?
There are so many options for baby's body soap, laundry detergent, and even what soap we wash his bottles in. There are options for scent, ingredients, and how natural it is. We have so many brands to pick from, and there's oddly a great deal of pressure for mom to make the right choice.
It's just soap. It seems like a big deal, especially when we are first time moms. It's even a little intimidating maybe because we don't want to make a bad choice for baby. In reality, we should know what is important to us in terms of ingredients. We should have an idea if baby has sensitive skin or not once she is born and based off our own skin. The golden rule according to BabyCentre.co.uk is to pick products that are especially made for babies.
11 Do You Want To Sleep Train?
According to BabyCenter.com, baby shouldn't "cry it out" and probably isn't ready to sleep through the night until 4 to 6 months old. We can still try to begin sleep training though in the early days by starting a routine to get baby ready for bed and encouraging sleep.
Some babies just aren't great sleepers, and some moms opt to take what they can get. Others try to get baby on a routine such as bath, book, and bed even in the early days. Though the "cry it out" method isn't suggested, some moms do give baby a few minutes to try and self soothe at night. Others rock baby to sleep or soothe baby themselves.
10 When Will You Return To Work?
When to return to work varies for a lot of reasons for most women. Are we paid for the time off? How career focused are we? What's our financial situation? Some women end up not returning altogether. According to TheCut.com, in the United States most women are protected under FMLA and receive 12 weeks unpaid and return to work after that. Some women return even earlier due to financial strains or career dedication. Some women are lucky enough to have extra time off due to company policy.
We may make up our minds about when to return to work before our baby is born, but things change depending on delivery, a NICU stay, or just how we feel once we actually have our baby in our arms. Some moms cannot bare the thought of leaving their babies. Others miss the adult conversation and stability of work.
9 Which Brand Of Diapers Will You Use?
There are a lot of moms who try to stock up on diapers before baby makes her arrival. While it is a good idea, baby can be unpredictable. Some diapers don't seem to be as absorbent. Some fit differently. Some diapers can even cause allergic reactions or rashes for baby. None of these are things we can predict before we actually meet our baby.
According to GoodHouseKeeping.com Huggies Snug and Dry diapers were rated #1 in 2018 for their list of best disposable diapers. According to the website, the snug and dry diapers were absorbent from all angles. In reality, this last is well meaning, but things like how chubby baby's legs are or how thin can impact how the diapers can move and leak.
8 What About Child Care?
If we are going back to work, we really have to be prepared when it comes to child care. We have to pick what type of facility we want to use. Do we want a nanny or an in-home sitter? Will a family member be baby's caregiver? These are choices that we should make as earlier as possible as some places even have wait lists.
We may end up finding ourselves searching at the last minute because plans fall through. We may change our minds once we have our baby or have a change in our job schedule when we plan to go back to work.
There are a lot of things we need to look into when it comes to who will be watching our baby, especially if it is 40 plus hours a week. According to WhatToExpect.com, we should look for things like safety measures, stimulation, employee and child moods, and the security of the facility. This place will be responsible for our bundle of joy so this is a huge decision.
7 Follow A Schedule Or Wing It?
There are two types of people. There are those who plan, schedule, and follow routine. Then there are those who fly by the seat of their parents or wing it. We often take one approach or maybe a mixture of the two when it comes to parenting.
One popular approach to scheduling is the eat, play, sleep routine. According to TheMilkMeg.com, the schedule looks like eat, diaper change, play, and sleep. This must work for quite a few women and their babies since it is a rather popular trend.
A great deal of babies do not conform to this schedule. Some babies, especially those that are breastfed, fall asleep eating. They want to eat more than this schedule would allow. Most babies go through cluster feeding where they basically eat and sleep.
6 What About Vaccines?
Vaccinations are a hot topic when it comes to new moms. We are typically offered one vaccine for baby in the hospital and then they can begin routinely at 2 months. That means that we need to do our research and make our decision regarding what we want to do when that time comes.
According to the CDC, vaccine-prevented diseases are less common due to the popularity of vaccination. In recent years though, many more people are questioning, delaying, and even refusing to vaccinate their children. As parents, these choices are our rights. But they are serious decisions that should be made after we have done some serious research.
5 How Often Should You Wash The Baby Clothes?
Babies come with laundry, so much laundry. There are blankets, burp rags, multiple changes of clothes, and maybe even cloth diapers. One thing that we likely have to adjust when we become parents is how much or how often we do laundry. Will we wash baby's stuff with everyone else's or separate?
Babies seem to require more outfit changes daily than most supermodels do at photoshoots. They get messy. Romper.com suggests that most parents either do it one of two ways. We wash baby laundry daily or do it all once a week.
Such tiny humans pile up a lot of laundries quickly with their diaper blowouts, spit up, and drool. How many outfits we have for baby on hand probably factors into how much laundry we are doing.
4 What Are You Going To Binge Watch?
New babies come with a lot of late nights. We spend so much time feeding baby during that first month that it is a good idea to find something to watch. It's a great time to start that Netflix series we've been putting off for months. According to ScaryMommy.com, Gilmore Girls is at the top of their list for shows for new moms to binge watch.
These shows will help keep us awake when our eyes feel like they need clothes pins to stay open. They'll provide some entertainment in those wee hours of the night when our wonderful husband is snoring away. Depending on how long we have for maternity leave or how well our baby sleeps, we will probably end up watching a few series.
3 Which Ball Will You Let Drop?
Babies take up a lot of our time. It's likely that we are going to have to reorganize our priorities, better manage our time, and probably even lessen our load. Whether that be book club, a spin class, or staying up on the recent Grey's Anatomy something is going to get dropped. We can only juggle so much.
It happens in our house too. Some days we have a pile of dishes or mound of laundry because we finally got the baby to sleep but it was in our arms. We shift our priorities from the perfect house to a happy baby. Some parents, as reported by Parents.com, went from a deep clean once a week to every two to three weeks. It happens. As some would say, our kids are only little once but the chores will always be there.
2 Who Does Which Chores?
Babies come with a lot of work and responsibility. During those first weeks as we try to get into a routine, we likely divide up the parental responsibilities for things like laundry, baths, diapers, and feedings. We would think in a perfect world that we would split chores down the middle, but that isn't always realistic. For one, dad doesn't have the anatomy to feed the baby or pump if we choose to breastfeed.
According to Fatherly.com, there are about 136 household chores and splitting them 50/50 isn't always the best course. They suggest that we pick which chores we like best and least and divide more that way as to avoid someone feeling like they are still doing the majority of the work.
1 What About Visitors?
When we have a baby, everyone and their mother wants to come visit. They mean well, but sometimes we just need rest. Sometimes we don't want the germs or the invasion of privacy during a rather intimate time. How we plan to handle visitors once we get home is something that is usually up for debate.
We may think we'll want an open house policy, but then we're sleep deprived and buried in laundry and just want to be left alone. Some women welcome the company while others want to use the time to bond with baby. According to the PregnantChicken.com, there are a few ways to handle visitors during this time. One way is to go to the people that will likely overstay their welcome. Their best tip though was to only invite in those that we feel comfortable enough to say "shut up" to. Honestly they aren't wrong. We're emotionally, probably still figuring out breastfeeding, and exhausted. We aren't in the mood to be fake and polite.
Resources: Childrens, KellyMom, KellyMom, Romper, BabyCentre, ScaryMommy, Parents, Parents, Fatherly, Parenting, Chicken, Babycenter, Mayo, TheCut, GoodHouseKeeping, WhatToExpect, Parenting, Milk, Mayo, CDC