When I announced my first pregnancy to my boss, he dryly responded, “Congratulations. You will now worry every day for the rest of your life.” And I thought they made greeting cards for every occasion. While I would have preferred a fruit basket over a curse, his words did ring true during many sleepless nights. Moms have to stay vigilant during the day, but the night watch sometimes requires downright bravery.
When you hear the precious sound of your sleeping baby’s breathing, it’s sweet music to your ears. When you do NOT hear your baby breathing, it can keep you awake at night. You will find yourself administering your own version of The Breathalivezer just to get a breath sample.
Sometimes they are just breathing silently, but in the beginning you will constantly check to make sure your baby is safe. Putting your hand in front of a baby’s mouth to feel his breath and looking for the rise and fall of his tiny chest are part of a mother’s instinct to protect her children. Usually everything is fine, but remember to follow your gut if something just does not “feel right.” Once the baby moves into his own room, a baby monitor can eliminate the need to frequently jump up and check on the baby. Well, no, I can’t lie to you. You’re still going to freak out and constantly check to make sure the baby’s still breathing. Just try to remove the baby monitor by the time he enters college, because that’s just downright embarrassing.
RSV is a potentially life threatening strain of a cold that is dangerous for newborns, especially premature babies. I had never even heard of this disease before, and it was brought into our house by an older child with a seemingly innocent cold. If your baby’s breathing doesn’t seem right, do not hesitate to bring him to the doctor. And if any visitors have a cold, reschedule the visit for the following decade.
The current SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) ruling is to always place your baby on his back. If your bassinet does not have a strap, use newborn side pillows to try to keep the baby from rolling. You can make your own by tightly rolling burp clothes and strapping them closed. Keeping babies in the right position is challenging, since they are essentially bean bags in diapers. They slump, slide, and roll in ways that don’t seem humanly possible. You can never put a toy, blanket, or pillow in with a baby under one year old, as these are all suffocation hazards, and you cannot predict which way your baby will move.
Once a child can roll over and back again on his own, it is okay if he rolls onto his tummy to sleep. I spent many hours flipping my son over like a pancake until I learned that it was safe for him to sleep on his tummy. All of those times I could have been making actual pancakes, instead of wasting my time worrying.
Moving your baby to a crib can be scary (not for the baby, but for you). Don’t worry; the safety bumper conveniently helps the baby practice acts of defiance. He will entertain himself for hours by thrusting his legs over the bumper and crushing it with his feet. This will free up his feet enough to stick them through the crib slats and get stuck. Isn’t that what the safety bumper is for — to boost a baby’s self-esteem?
At first the baby seems so tiny and swallowed up by this monstrous cage of a crib. Wait a minute…cage? That could be a good thing. Keep your baby in the cage, because in just a matter of months he will learn how to escape, and a whole new journey begins.