Tip #15 Is it possible to spoil my newborn by holding her too much?

January 26th, 2012 → 11:36 am @

In light of my 4 year old starting school and me not being ready to let go of our now useless buggy – I thought it was appropriate to continue with this next tip/question.

Is it possible to spoil my newborn by holding her too much?

Someone described the first 3 months after birth as being like the 4th trimester.  It’s a great way to look at it.  Your baby is learning to live outside of your tummy – she needs time, comfort, you.

These first months were my favorite – I loved holding my newborns, loved carrying them close to me in my wrap, loved having them fall asleep on my chest while I was laying on the couch. I don’t believe that you can spoil a newborn. We still have very huggable kids. Even our 8 year old boy loves to cuddle And the kids love to hug each other.  Maybe due to all of that cuddling they got as newborns?  Or maybe we are just really really lucky.

Here’s the answer that I wrote in my book:

No. Remember that your baby has just spent 9 months in a very comfortable, warm and safe place. It’s natural to hold your baby a lot and keep her close to you. I do not believe that it’s a good thing to let your baby cry for long periods so that she can get used to being away from you.  Your baby is used to hearing your heartbeat and to smelling you. Enjoy these first months – before you know it you’ll be begging your child for a hug…

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Thought I was ready…

January 21st, 2012 → 11:38 am @

As I’ve mentioned, my youngest has started school. I have been waiting for the tears and they haven’t come. So I guess that makes me ready for the next phase right?

However, knowing myself a bit, I find this suspicious. I usually have to cry when I make transitions, and a lot.

Tonight. There I was.  A friend of my husband’s was visiting with her 2 year old son. We were just ending diner when she mentioned that she needed a small buggy. I spontaneously said: You can have ours. We don’t need it anymore.

So I went to get the buggy and as I was taking it down from the hook, I could feel the tears starting. I pushed them away thinking – great – I can give it to someone that can really use it.  I put on a smile, showed her how it worked, how small it was, and to always tell the airlines that it fit in any overhead bin (really does!). She kept asking me if I was sure. I kept saying that I was.

All of my buggy memories started coming back. It’s been everywhere with us.

Then they came. The tears. They came and came. I hid in the kitchen trying to get a grip. Didn’t help. I could hear that she was getting ready to leave so I called for my youngest daughter.  I asked her (through my tears) if we could give the buggy to the little boy. She’s usually really happy to give away things if it’s to someone she knows. Of course, she picked up on my tears and started crying and said no. It was still her buggy. (I’m sure if I hadn’t been crying that this conversation would have been different)…

My husband came into the kitchen to see what was going on and found us together.  I told him that I wasn’t ready. Then I told his friend the same thing and she hugged me for it. Said it was so beautiful to see me crying over the buggy (???) and told me to promise to keep it forever.

Now, I may not do that, after all –  it’s a 10$ buggy from Zellers – in fact it’s my second, as the first one broke.  But I will wait.

I’m actually not ready yet.

(pic of The Buggy coming soon…)

Blog &Daily Life &My kids

Tip #14 What is Colic?

January 19th, 2012 → 11:39 am @

My son cried every night from about 10pm to midnight for no apparent reason. I can’t actually remember when it started and ended but it was about for the first 3 months.

We decided to call it “colic” as we couldn’t find any other reason for his crying. He was fed, burped, in our arms – the rest of the day and night he was ok. I could not handle this at all. Luckily, my husband was able to take over at this time of day – he held him, walked with him, let his son know he was safe and not alone. I, on the other hand, had earplugs in and was under my covers feeling extremely helpless and guilty for not being able to “fix” this.

Then one day it stopped.

Here is the answer found in my book:

Colic is a kind of cramp like thing that about 20% of all newborns get.  Some experts think it has to do with the digestive system (gut is immature) not being fully developed but it’s only a theory. Colicky babies can cry suddenly for minutes or for much longer (hours), usually at the same time of day and often in the evening.  There is very little to do for this but staying calm is very important.  Babies can feel our stress.  There are some “anti-colic” remedies on the market that you can look into that sometimes help but generally you’ll have to wait it out with patience.  As long as your baby is eating and sleeping enough you shouldn’t need to worry. It can be hard for a new mother to deal with excessive crying so ask your partner to take over. Colic is usually gone by 3 months of age.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Moms can’t get sick… Or should we?

January 16th, 2012 → 11:41 am @

In the last month, I have swallowed more cough syrop, taking more tylenol, inhaled more nose spray and sucked on more throat things than I have in the last 5 years. I’ve even had a week’s worth of antibiotics and no drinking. Yes – it’s been that kind of month…

And now – I’m camping out with a bruised rib despite all of the above. Who knew that coughing could bruise a rib. I thought they were bones – hard and un-bruise-able. hurts like hell… Luckily my nice doctor gave me some strong painkillers and I’m functioning again with a big smile on my face.

Because really, a sick mom is still a mom.  Some things are supposed to function all the time. us. And when we don’t – disaster. Kids don’t understand, husband tries to help but strong woman thing gets in the way. Life doesn’t work. It’s not like we only have one role to fulfill or get a replacement for. We are meant to have strong bug free bodies. We (I) take for-granted that we (I) can do everything all the time. I don’t plan for sick days. I don’t plan for not physically being able to do things.  (And yes, I know that, in the big picture, I am very fortunate.)

I mean I try to eat healthy foods, go out with friends, take my vitamines, exercise, but this year, that hasn’t been enough.

And how does one really recover?

- Spend one week in bed. Really?

- Take it easy… uh ok…

Having said that – it’s a great time to learn about letting go.  The mess, let it go… Diner time, let it go…. Arguing with the kids, let it go… Exercise, no go. Laudry, still clean underwear? let it go. No excuse needed to sit on the couch and watch tv.  And lucky me, the painkillers I’m on are ok to combine with a glass of wine. Thank God!

Hmmm… this is actually sounding like not a bad deal.

Mom’s should get sick more often!!!

Blog &Daily Life

Tip #13 What can my newborn hear when she’s born?

January 9th, 2012 → 11:43 am @

In Holland, babies hearing is generally checked by a nurse that arrives at your house, usually at a very inconvenient time (I mean, when isn’t during that first week at home with a newborn???) with a sound machine. All of my kids tested positive for good hearing so I’m not sure what would have happened if that hadn’t been the case.  She was in and out in 15 minutes and that was the end of it.

However my youngest daughter Julia did have trouble hearing sometime around her 2nd birthday, though it may have been earlier.  I just added up her “not talking much” and “hard to understand” to being #4 and communicating in other ways.  The specialist checked her ears and saw some red (I’m sure he used a more medical term which I can’t for the life of me remember at the moment) which he said could be causing a change in hearing. He said that he would re-check after the summer as ears often cleared up after a good old fashion dose of heat. And they did. Her speech improved but she’s left with a number of sounds that she just can’t pronounce very well.  The old habits are hard to get rid of.  She is bilingual, English and Dutch and I can tell you that there are some seriously strange sounds one has to learn to speak the Dutch language! Still – she’s getting there with the help of a speech therapist.

The funny thing is that she speaks perfect French…

Here is the answer from my book:

Newborns can hear pretty well though the middle part of their ears are still full of fluid. Their ears are still in an immature stage. Because they heard your voice in the womb, they are apt to respond to you more than others. They also respond better to high pitch, clear and loud voices which is why we tend to automatically speak loudly and clearly when talking to our baby.  In many countries babies have their hearing checked before leaving the hospital. Double check that this was done in the first weeks as a delay in recognizing and treating hearing problems (even delayed by a few months) can lead to speech delays.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Tip #12 What can my newborn see at birth?

December 19th, 2011 → 11:50 am @

Here’s the answer from my book.

A newborn’s vision is blurred so don’t worry if your baby is a bit cross-eyed.  She just can’t focus yet so she sees shapes and forms but nothing definite. She likes contrast (black and white) and likes to look at faces.  Around 3 months the baby’s focus becomes stronger.  Between 4-6 months she can enjoy colors. By age 1 your baby’s eye’s are fully developed.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog

Tip #11 How do I clean my baby’s “new” belly button?

December 12th, 2011 → 11:52 am @

I remember looking at this piece of umbilical cord sticking out of my son’s stomach – another one of those things I hadn’t read about… We were told to keep it dry and clean and that it would eventually fall off.  Luckily it did!

Here is what I wrote in my book about it. This question is linked to Tip #10.

With warm water and mild soap. You can also clean it with an alcohol swab 2 to 3 times a day. If you notice it getting very red or puss forming or has a bad smell, see your doctor.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog

Turning 4 means starting school in NL

December 12th, 2011 → 11:50 am @

My daughter will be 4 in a couple of weeks. It’s a huge milestone in this country as it’s also the day that you start school.  We don’t have a September start for everyone. The kids literally roll in on their 4th bday.

It means that the teacher has a group of 4-5-6 year olds that work together and help each other. When a new 4 year old starts, he/she is assigned to a “bigger” kid who helps them understand how the system works. It’s like a buddy system.

The class is a combination of pre-kindergarden and kindergarden. The kids are split into “youngest”, “middle’est” and “oldest”. The “oldest” group starts getting ready for grade 1 and most kids take about 2 years to get there. Some stay longer, some leave before that time.  Grade 1 is a September start. That means, for example, that my daughter who is starting school now will likely take 2,5 years to get to grade 1 instead of a short 1,5 years. She’ll be an “older” grade 1 starter. (They like to label here…) which I think only has benefits.  Who wants a 10 year old heading to high school?

It works. I must say that when my oldest started school I found this a bit weird. Like anything unknown, I questioned the idea of having such a diverse age group in one class. Now, I think it’s a good system. The kids aren’t at all busy with getting to Grade 1. This gives the school and parents a chance to have a good look at the child in question to determine if he/she is ready for the next step without there being any stigma attached to it.

But – I did mention that my youngest is starting school. I think the consequences of this are much bigger for me then they are for her.  She’s super ready (she says). That’s what I will write about in January – when she’s officially in school.  This week she’s just “practicing”….


Blog &Daily Life &My kids

Tip #10 When will my newborn’s umbilical cord fall off?

December 5th, 2011 → 11:56 am @

I must say that I was not at all prepared for a lot of this stuff.

While expecting my first, I was mainly focussed on the giving birth part, what was going to happen to me (loss of freedom, controle etc. - I got over that the minute he was born...), my work, what last name our baby would get and a whole bunch of other non-baby stuff.

Luckily….   I already knew how to change diapers and dress babies –  being the oldest of 6 I’d had my fair share of experience – but the umbilical cord – NO idea…



Here’s the answer from my book:

I never thought of my belly button as being the thing that connected me to my mother but since I’ve had babies it has become a more awesome part of my body… Once the umbilical cord has been cut there is a piece that still hangs on the newborn’s stomach. This will eventually fall off, usually between 8-14 days, at which point a scab will form and slowly heal itself and turn into a real belly button.  Make sure to keep it dry and clean during this process. Keep your baby’s diaper off the cord (and the scab) by rolling the diaper underneath it.  Many suggest sponge baths until the cord falls off to avoid infection. If the cord does get a bit wet, gently dry it off.  Once it’s fallen off you can bath your baby normally.  If you see signs of an infection, see your doctor.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Tip #9 Are some newborns more prone to jaundice?

December 1st, 2011 → 11:58 am @

This was a question I asked when Adam, my first born, started turning yellow…

Here is the answer that I wrote in my book:

Yes, if they were bruised when they were born or if they were premature babies their liver isn’t as developed. If their blood type is different than mommy’s blood type (which is a big cause of babies’ actually needing phototherapy) or if you are breastfeeding and don’t have quite enough milk in the first days, your baby can get dehydrated which can also cause jaundice. Don’t try to figure this out yourself though, see a doctor.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog