Early motherhood is awash with fears, emotions, questions and unknowns.
You, their mother, take the care of your baby seriously. You want answers, right?
I did too – I remember what it was like to Google everything and get a load of different answers.
Talk about confusing!
“How do I know what to do? Who do I even listen to?”
It’s a horrible feeling.
And so, here’s a guide to the most common questions new moms ask, with answers to those questions based on my experience as a new mum at the time, and also on best practices.
(Man, I wish this had been around when my first baby was born!)
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Do babies gums bleed when teething?
The teething process looks different in every baby and there isn’t a ‘normal’ way for it to happen. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.
Some bleeding may occur as one of the common symptoms of teething, so try not to be alarmed. It may be frightening, but it’s usually not a lot of blood.
Many babies breeze through the teething process with no problems at all. A good indication your baby is teething is to watch their behaviour.
Look out for things like excessive drooling (grab a dribble bib to help prevent chin rash), feeling out of sorts, frequent crying, high fever, ear pulling and chewing on fists or other toys.
These are all common signs of a teething baby.
Sensitive gums in babies are something you as their mother can help with.
For example, both my little ones loved chewing on my clean finger as a form of self-soothing.
You could also buy your baby a teething ring – I advise going for one which is chemical-free and made from natural resources, as the idea of my child chewing on plastic makes me freak out.
Another common sign is an eruption cyst which shows if your baby’s mouth is open. It is sore and can cause tender gums, but usually clears up once the tooth has cut through.
It can be a frustrating time to care for a teething baby but remember it’s a normal process and will run its course.
Try and help your baby as much as possible with lots of cuddles and kisses when they’re teething. It’s a tough time for them.
A clean, cold washcloth can be soothing for your baby to chew on (with your supervision), and there are several over the counter remedies available.
Speak to a pharmacist or your local medical doctor if your baby is really suffering.
Is green poo normal?
I was surprised to say the least when my newborn baby did a green poo! But thankfully, it’s normal in a newborn, as it’s part of the baby clearing out the meconium from the time in the mother’s womb.
Poo during the first week of a baby’s life goes through several colours in fact, from black sticky tar in the first 24-48 hours, then to green and eventually becoming a rich yellow colour (lovely!)
The only thing to be aware of is if the baby is a bit older – say a few months old, green poo can be a sign of a viral infection. If you’re ever concerned, contact your local medical doctor.
Is being sick a lot normal?
I actually asked this exact question 3 years ago when my first baby was born, as there was so much sick. But sicky babies are again quite common.
The reason is that the valve which shuts off the baby’s stomach isn’t that strong yet, so a little milk coming back up after a feed usually happens.
Some things which help are to sit baby upright for a while (say 10-15 mins) and burp the baby properly after a feed. This *should* help avoid a big vomiting episode.
The other thing to watch for is whether the baby is gaining weight, as this is what’s most important in the early weeks and months.
If you’re worried about the amount of sick, or you’re not sure if it’s sick, always see your health provider/health visitor or midwife for advice. The NHS site has some great information about reflux in babies.
Just for reassurance, my second baby was so sick. So so sick after every feed, and I’m not even kidding.
It even freaked me out, and I spoke to our health visitor several times about it. He only stopped being that sick when he hit the 12-month mark.
So try not to worry. It’s a common complaint in new parents, but usually isn’t anything worrisome.
Is co-sleeping safe?
I’ve co-slept and continue to co-sleep with both our babies. Our eldest is now a 3-year-old, and we’re all happy, so will continue to do so for as long as it carries on.
There are fears around co-sleeping, however, and it’s important to follow the guidelines and co-sleep safely at all times.
So to answer the question – it is wonderful and beautiful to co-sleep if you do it safely and follow the best practices.
I exclusively breastfed/breastfeed my boys, and this is how I became a co-sleeping mama.
Simply sleeping through as my baby feeds in the crook of my arm is the best thing about breastfeeding, and I never suffered that badly from sleepless nights because of this.
When do babies start to wean/want solid food?
Usually, you can start to introduce solid foods around the 6-month mark. Most babies will start showing interest in food around this time.
I never forced it on my babies as they both developed an interest in their own time.
Don’t feel pressured to start them on solids – baby’s are perfectly able to regular their needs and will show you when they’re ready.
When does my baby sit unaided?
Again, usually around 6 months, but it can be earlier or later – every baby is different. Before sitting comes rolling – that’s the first big milestone I always think! As is their first smile. Gorgeous!
What is a normal weight for my baby?
There is no normal really – it depends on what weight your baby was born at and ideally follows that trend throughout.
I personally advocate getting your baby weighed as per the guidance of your health visitor or healthcare provider, this will put your mind at rest and allow you to ask any questions you may have.
When will my baby start crawling?
Crawling can happen anytime from 6-7 months onwards, but it’s more common to have a crawler from around 9-10 months onwards.
Some babies never crawl! Some do the bum shuffle, others go straight to walking. Every baby is different, remember that. They all learn in their own time.
How do I burp my baby?
I always found it easiest to burp my baby by holding them gently upright over my shoulder (this is where muslin’s come in!) and stroking their back.
Another method is sitting them upright on your knee while supporting their head. You don’t need to be patting them on the back, the stoking action is enough and the air will come up eventually if they are in an upright position.
How do I know when to take my baby to see a doctor?
My gut feeling always told me the answers to this question. Sometimes I overreacted and sometimes not, but it’s always best to be safe. Basically, if you’re ever unsure about anything, get a second opinion from a professional.
How can I look after my mind in the early days after having a baby?
Read this post here which will help you.
It’s very normal to go through an array of emotions, fears, tears and turmoil in the early weeks and months, thanks to hormones playing havoc with your body.
Be kind to yourself and get support when you can.
How can I get my body back in shape?
The bounce-back belief is a myth. So please don’t fall for it.
Our bodies were never meant to ‘get back’ in record time, nor will your body ever look exactly like it did before children.
That’s not to say, however, that you can’t be healthier and fitter after children. You can! But it takes time.
It also takes effort and consistency to build a strong exercise regime and a healthy diet if you want to get back in shape.
Plus, I follow the guidance around leaving it 6-8 weeks post-birth to start an exercise plan, as you need time of your own accord to recover.
My advice is to focus on nurturing your baby and yourself, before focusing on getting your figure back. You have plenty of time, mama, so don’t rush it.
Enjoy the cuddle time while it lasts! Soon you’ll have a feisty toddler on your hands who won’t keep still.