Having random behavior these days means being unpredictable, or no rhyme or reason. So on that note, here are a few ‘random’ (but useful topics) relating to NewBorns. what So with such eclectic weather, let us also discuss an eclectic hodgepodge assortment of miscellaneous sundry ‘stuff’ regarding the infinite topic of brand new babies, as let’s face it … babies can be as varied and unpredictable as our Labour Weekend weather!
It can be hard to know what the right warmth of clothing is to put on ourselves during any season … let alone what’s right for our babies. But the golden rules are:
- Non-Crawling Infants: One more layers than adults when inside, and two more layers when outside plus a hat that covers their ears. So, if you’re wearing a t-shirt and sweatshirt … then inside Bubs needs a singlet, stretch-n-grow and cardy; and outside Bubs also needs a shawl and woolen hat. [Special Note: Neonates less than six-weeks-old, especially under 48 hours old, are exceedingly vulnerable to rapidly loosing body heat, even from simply breathing in cool air, and newborn hypothermia can have serious repercussions.]
- Crawling Infants: About the same number of layers as adults when inside, and one extra layer plus hat when outside.
Babies are frequently born with incredibly long fingernails, so you will need to trim them pronto, because with their flailing arms, the nails can become lethal weapons on themselves. It really doesn’t matter if you use nail clippers, nail scissors, special baby nail cutters, an emery nail-file board, or the old-fashioned original Mother Nature system of mum gently chewing her baby’s nails down – it’s just a matter of getting the job done … and from experience, it’s easiest done when Bubs is asleep.
Your LMC or the hospital midwife should show you how to bath your newborn – but do know that in the early days some neonates can abhor being bathed, so if Bubs is screaming, just realise you’re not necessarily doing anything wrong. Once you’re home, it can be really nice to have a bath or shower together with Bubs, which a newborn can tend to have less aversion to.
You would want to use soap-free or 5.5pH baby-washing liquid, a little gauze cloth flannel, and also available are novelty bath temperature thermometers, with about 38°C being perfect (that was the temperature Bubs was swimming in all the months inside your womb).
Afterwards remember to thoroughly dry between the creases and under folds of skin – and a vegetable oil is ideal for baby massage (my favourite is cold-pressed almond oil, though olive oil is fine too).
Newborn Pee-Pee & Poo-Poo
Newborns should produce their first urine within 24 hours of birth, then because their kidneys and bladder are so tiny, a very young baby can wee up to 30 times a day! But generally speaking in the first weeks, you should expect about 6-12 wet nappies daily.
Infant urine should not be dark, bright yellow or have a strong smell, as these are signs of dehydration, which can have serious consequences for a neonate. If Bubs also has a sunken fontanelle, dry mouth, is refusing feeds, vomiting, irritable, lethargic or unresponsive – then you need to take him/her to your LMC, GP or A&E at once.
Within 48 hours of birth a baby should produce its first tar-like stool called meconium (amniotic fluid debris). Then by the 4th or 5th day their stools should have become golden karitane-yellow. It is normal for a brand new baby to produce 4+ stools daily (which can be as small as a brown patch the size of a large coin, or about a teaspoon of mush).
After the first 1-3 months, it can be quite normal for a breastfed baby to excrete just once every 1-10 days, and so long as the stool is soft (not small, hard, dry lumps) then the baby does not have constipation. Also, the occasional “moss-green” guacamole-like stool is also absolutely okay, so long as it’s not accompanied with vomiting. (Note: Formula-fed babies typically produce a light-bright curd-like stool.)
Noisy Twitching Jerking Sleepers
A bizarre thing to see in a newborn can be their twitching and jerking, even in their sleep, or how their whole body has a startled jump when you pick them up. But that’s all normal. When newborns are put to bed tired (and not overtired) they sleep very solidly, especially during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, where they can appear to be stirring (with lots of wee fusing noises, little jerky movements, and strange facial expressions), but actually, they’re deeply asleep.
Newborns can also be incredibly noisy during their sleep, with loads of coughs, snuffles, sneezes, grunts, burps, hiccups and farts! And if you’re a light-sleeping adult, pretty soon you can find your own sleep-deprivation (which is not good for parenting a baby) starting to create a distraught desire for undisturbed sleep.
The bottom-line of sleep-deprivation, is that its consequential reduced levels of the brain neuro-transmitter serotonin, and subsequent high levels of stress-coping hormone cortisol, jointly set-up any human-being to break-down. Add into the equation the sometimes substantial physiological recovery from childbirth, sore breasts, and the daunting 24-7 responsibility of parenting a newborn … well cumulatively any woman has the potential to experience a hideous postnatal depressive disorder.
So yes, we can all desire the Madonna-like closeness of sleeping with our beautiful baby nearby – but if the price is a drastically sleep-deprived mother, then this is not conducive to great mothering. So, if your newborn is a noisy sleeper, and you’re a light sleeper – just know you might both be better off in separate rooms.
All our babies are so wonderfully diverse … a gorgeously random mix!