Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: advice for new moms

Normally, I don’t think of myself as an advice columnist. In fact, after observing my family in action, people rarely ask me for parenting advice. The other day, however, I received this urgent e-mail, and I couldn’t help but respond:

Dear Ruth,
Please help! I’m eight and a half months pregnant with my first child, and I haven’t done any research! I work during the day. My evenings and weekends fill up quickly with baby showers, doctor’s appointments, crib assembly, and phone calls from people who ask, “Hasn’t that baby come yet?”
The middle of the night would be a perfect time to fit in some parenting research as I am usually up until 3 a.m. from the indigestion and insomnia. But by that time I am too tired to be productive and I end up playing solitaire or watching YouTube videos.
I really think the baby might come out someday, and I’m going to be clueless about what to do with it!
I’d really appreciate any advice you have.
Desperately Unprepared Mom-to-be

Dear Mom-to-be,
You’ve come to the right place. After reading my share of parenting literature, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the available information can be summarized in approximately 400 words. To assist you and other time-crunched expecting mothers, I’ve compiled all of the advice you might get from books, magazines, mothers-in-law and well-meaning strangers, and summarized it in a concise, convenient format.

Never-Fail Advice for New Moms
Whatever you do, don’t let the baby into your bed. Sleep with your baby, while following all the co-sleeping safety requirements. Let the baby sleep with you until someone gets sick of this arrangement, then teach the baby to sleep in her own bed. Put the baby to sleep in her crib and bring her into your bed in the middle of the night. Just pick one method and stick with it. Be flexible about sleeping arrangements. Always breastfeed your baby on a schedule. Let the baby feed “on demand.” Use formula. Breastfeed while supplementing with formula. Use formula while supplementing with breast milk. Don’t let the baby nurse for comfort. Let the baby nurse for any reason. Stop breastfeeding after 12 months. Breastfeed the kid until he speaks in complete sentences and tells you he’s no longer interested. Introduce solids at four months. Wait until six months. Sit down to a family dinner every night. Feed the kids early so you can enjoy an adult meal after they’re in bed. If you carry your baby around all the time, she’ll feel secure. If you hold the baby all the time, she’ll come to expect it and you’ll never be able to put her down. Play with your child as much as you can; she’s only little once. Don’t play with her too much; she needs to learn to entertain herself. Space your children close together so you can get the intense baby years out of the way. Space your children far apart so you can have a break between babies. Large families are fun. Just have one child. Three is the perfect number. An even number of children is ideal. All you need for a baby is a car seat and some hand-me-down clothes. Necessities include a crib, stroller, pack-n-play, high chair, bouncy seat, swing, exersaucer, front carrier, sling carrier, backpack carrier, bicycle trailer, bath seat, wipes warmer, video monitor, full layette, monogrammed towels and coordinated nursery décor. Cloth diapers are economical and good for the planet. Go easy on yourself and just use disposables. Use both. Observe your baby closely and hold him over the toilet when he needs to go. Be sure to potty train your kid when he first shows signs of readiness, or you’ll regret it when he’s in pull-ups at age four. Lay off and let your child be the one to initiate toilet training.
That’s it! Just follow these guidelines, and you can’t go wrong.
Good luck.

No comments: