Over the years, I have gotten a few calls from new moms. Though it was years ago when I became a new mom, I still remember not knowing what in the world I was doing. I literally did not know anything about babies. As a teenager, I never baby-sat and do not remember coming into contact with a baby up close and personal until I was in my twenties, and that was on a rare occasion.
Now, eight children later, I have gleaned a little insight into raising babies. I emphasize little insight. Every time I had another, I always learned something new. I know this can be a hot topic, having discovered that there are about as many parenting styles and advice for new parents as there are parents. It can be confusing and stressful when you hear so many different opinions. Therefore, I will confuse you more by answering the most common questions asked of me.
Do you put your babies on a schedule?
Yes. If I do not schedule them, they will schedule me. I do put my children on a simple schedule. It is not super rigid. I put them on a nursing schedule and a nap schedule. Why? Because I am the mom and I know they need to eat every few hours and they need to sleep. The baby might not know that, but I do. Plus, a napping baby makes a happier mommie.
When do you start solid foods?
I usually start them on cereal around four months old.
When do they sleep through the night?
Most of mine slept through the night by eight weeks. By through the night, I mean at least six to seven hours straight. I contribute this to having a nursing and nap schedule. I also lay them down when they are awake. I will rock and cuddle with them for a minute then put them to bed, so they can fall asleep on their own. I will not say I never rocked them to sleep. There is something so wonderful about holding that sleeping baby. There is actually nothing like it in the world. So, do not deny yourself that joy to try to attain a magic formula that will make your baby sleep. I do want to clarify here that I am not so scheduled that I will not leave the house if it is nap time. With all ages of children sometimes, the nap is in the car. I cannot stop all activities just because the baby needs a nap. However, it would be nice if I could stop all activity when mom needs a nap.
Why won’t my child sleep?
If your baby is having trouble sleeping. First, make sure they feel well. If you need to, take them to the doctor. I have one child that I remember marching into the doctor’s office and saying, “I don’t know what is wrong with her, but she won’t sleep, I am exhausted and I need you to fix her.” After the doctor examined her, we learned she had an ear infection. Sometimes there are things going on that you just cannot see. Many babies also have a hard time when teething. You may have a few months because of teething where they just do not sleep well. Hang in there it will get better.
I wish in the midst of raising my older children I had realized how quickly the time passes. How I wish I could hold my now 5 ft 8 in. daughter in my lap once again and kiss those chubby little cheeks, or go back in time and once again snuggle with my now nineteen year old while listening to her say her night-night prayers.
These baby days are so special. They are a gift. Enjoy them!
adapted from original posted March 2008