Indianapolis Newborn Photographer | Raw Sugar Photography
I’m not a doctor, or a nurse, nor do I have any medical training at all, so take this how you will, but there are 8 things I have learned to be true after birthing 3 babies and photographing hundreds. Though there may be a few exceptions, you generally can’t argue these facts with me.
1. Sleep begets sleep. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but the more your baby sleeps, the better your baby will sleep. I hear some parents say they try to keep their babies up for as long as possible before bed to “wear them out.” It actually does the opposite. Newborns up to age 4 or 5 months can generally only stay awake comfortably for 1-2 hours, after that it’ll actually be more difficult to get them to sleep because they become overtired. I highly recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth for more information on why this is.
2. Babies need to suck. It’s a real medical thing, Google it. Whether it be your boob, a bottle, their fingers, or a pacifier, it comforts them and therefore will comfort you. I also can assure you there is no such thing as nipple confusion. Pacifiers are one of mankind’s greatest inventions, use them and teach your baby to use them. I promise you, your baby will never prefer the pacifier over your boob, but it will give you a break when baby just needs to suck. I had to “train” my 3rd baby to use one because some don’t take to them right away, but once she figured it out, we were both a lot happier.
3. All babies love to be swaddled – tightly. I know, your baby hated it, but I swear, he really didn’t. They may fuss for a minute initially, but if the swaddle is done correctly, your baby will soon calm down. I highly recommend the book or DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block. It explains how to use the 5 S’s (suck, swaddle, shushing, side-holding, and swinging) to calm your baby. I love the Summer Infant SwaddleMe velcro swaddles, they allow you to get the arms really tight, while allowing their legs freedom to move.
4. You cannot spoil a newborn. If your baby cries, hold them. If he’s hungry, feed him. If she sleeps best in a swing, let her. You cannot create bad habits for a newborn for one simple reason – your baby has no memory. So, until your newborn gets to around 3 months of age when they start remembering things other than the sound of your voice and the way you smell, do what works best for you.
5. Breast is best, but formula is fine. I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, but an even bigger advocate of doing what’s best for your mental and emotional health. I was formula fed and am a healthy, intelligent, functioning adult, and if you choose to formula feed, chances are your baby will be too. Breastfeeding can be hard (I only lasted 5 weeks with my first daughter,) but if it’s important to you, I encourage you to exhaust all options before giving up. Once you get past the first few weeks it gets much easier and it really is so rewarding. There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby grow on milk that your body produced just for her. I can’t say that enough, if it truly is important to you (and if it’s not, that’s totally fine,) don’t let anyone discourage you. See a lactation consultant, go to a support group, talk to other BFing moms, try to make it work IF you want to. That being said, if for whatever reason you can’t breastfeed or choose not to, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. It is your choice, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
6. Every phase lasts a relatively short time. I know it feels like your baby will never sleep through the night, or wants to eat all the time, or won’t stop crying – it will change, and soon. I know it seems like forever when you’re knee deep in it, but in the grand scheme of things it’s such a short time and you’ll get through it. I remember with my first, weeping from sheer exhaustion, holding and swaying her for hours on end between the hours of 5-9pm while she screamed, I thought my life was over. But, a few months down the road it was over and we all made it. I’m not saying it gets easier after that, but it does change. Very few “phases” last long, and before you know it your kid is making their own breakfast and heading into 3rd grade. I will never tell you to enjoy every moment, because a lot of those moments really do suck, but just remember it won’t last.
7. You don’t need all the stuff. Companies love to capitalize on new parents, you’re a gold mine. You want the latest and best for your baby and you’re willing to pay. You know what? You’ll use that $400 high chair between the ages of 6-24 months. 18 months. I swear the $50 one will do just fine. “Ooohh… this swing has an iphone dock, it rocks, vibrates, has an essential oil diffuser, and can be converted into a stroller.” Seriously, the garage sale one will do the trick. All the gadgets, the gear, the toys will be used for such a short time, it’s silly to spend a fortune on them. Big business and social media has tricked us into thinking we need all this stuff, but as long as you have a bouncer or swing (a place to put baby other than your arms,) a car seat, a stroller, a pacifier, and a swaddle blanket – you’re golden. Want to know where to spend your money? A stroller and car seat for obvious reasons – safety, and they take a beating from all the use, and furniture and photography – these are things that can be passed down from generation to generation and you want them to stand the test of time.
8. Your life will change. As much as you promise not to be “that” mom, the one who bribes her kids with candy, the one who sticks them in front of the TV to get a few minutes to herself, the one who has on pajama pants when she runs her kid to preschool, the one cancels plans on her kidless friends because she just can’t hang like she used to, you probably will do one or more of these things. Having children doesn’t have to define you, but it will change you no matter what. Embrace the change, abhor the change, whatever. Again, see number 4, it will all change again soon.
Welcome to motherhood.
Raw Sugar Photography specializes in newborn, baby, maternity, child, family, couples, and engagement photography in Indianapolis, Indiana and surrounding areas, including but not limited to, Fishers and Carmel.