Before Little Boy was born, I read: three books on pregnancy, one book about birth, one book about baby sleep, two books on general baby care (à la What to Expect the First Year), and countless online resources about all of it. This was perhaps a little excessive. The biggest thing I learned from this reading spree was that you can know every available detail on how to take care of a baby and still have absolutely no idea what to actually do with your baby.
Some of the information in the baby care books was helpful, some of it was clearly inapplicable to my kid, and some of it was just bizarre (do some hospitals really give you dry gauze pads instead of baby wipes?). And then there were these:
“A breastfed baby’s poop smells sweet [or at least not bad].” If by “sweet,” you mean “like a dozen rotten eggs,” then yes, I guess the poop of a breastfed baby does smell sweet. (See also: “Breastfed babies don’t need to be burped as much.”)
“Your baby will naturally fall into his own schedule.” Everything I read promised that after the first month or two, if you just kept track of your baby’s feeding and sleeping preferences for a week, his personal schedule would become clear.
To coax Little Boy onto a schedule, we had to:
- Wake him up at the same time every morning.
- Wake him from naps to make sure he ate enough during the day.
- Deliberately aim to begin the bedtime routine around the same time every night.
- Wait until he was nearly 5 months old and consistently able to nap longer than 45 minutes at a time.
“Newborns spend some of their time in a ‘quiet alert’ state.” Is this the “I’m bored but I’m too little to be entertained by anything you do and I’m not tired so I’m just going to fuss until I get hungry again” state? No?
“You don’t need to change your baby’s diaper at every nighttime feeding.” I suppose this is theoretically true if your kid doesn’t consider every middle-of-the-night meal the perfect opportunity to poop.
“One pumping session with a double electric breast pump takes 10-15 minutes.” Yeah, I wish. Thank goodness I can work while I pump.
I can’t wait to see what gems the toddler care books have in store for us. “Potty training is easy,” perhaps?