5 Things Even Experienced Mothers Forget Each Time Around

Mazel Tov! It’s a girl! Ok…now how do you do this again?

 

I echo the feelings of Renee Muller. Writing a cookbook is truly like having a baby. It takes nine months of work, from when you start working earnestly until the manuscript ships off to print (even if all the recipes have been developed and collected ahead of time).

As you’re writing a book, you say you’re never going to do this again. That you must have been crazy to agree to take this on. Never going to feed your family six different variations of a dish in one night and make them taste and rate each one. Never going to think about what you ate in a day and realize you had three bites each of twelve different dishes, but not one sit-down meal. Never going to spend the whole day cooking, but then when you’re husband asks if there’s anything to eat, you say “Nothing!” because, after all, it’s all for a photoshoot (at least there’s dinner immediately after a photoshoot)!

But, then, after you give birth…er, I mean, after you go to print, you say, “That was fun! Look at the result! Such a cute baby/beautiful book! Let’s do this again!”

 5 Things Even Experienced Mothers Forget Each Time Around Mazel Tov! It’s a girl! Ok...now how do you do this again?But there’s a big difference between books and babies (besides for the obvious…one is made of paper). Each book pretty much follows the same procedure each time. Every baby, though, is different (and even if the first five were exactly the same…the sixth can be totally different!).

I sat down to read “Baby’s First Year: The Jewish Mother’s Guide,” about a week before my due date. At first, I was a little skeptical. Is there information about babies that every Jewish mother doesn’t already know? Then, I read Rochel Istrin, RN’s bio…including her role as a nurse at the nursery of Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak where 1,000 babies are delivered monthly (!!!). Ah, yeah. I suppose she knows quite a bit about babies. Quite a bit more than the average Jewish mother.

About a week later, when I was holding my brand new baby, I felt empowered…now, for the first time ever, I knew more…more than I had ever thought to ask…including all these things I completely forgot from the previous time around (because we do forget…!).

Here’s some of them:   

Her skin looks blue. Is that normal? This time, when my daughter was born, I knew exactly what the nurses were looking for when they examined her for the first time. The color of the skin. The baby’s heart rate. The baby’s response to stimulus, her muscle tone (does she move on her own?), and breathing. I liked knowing that even though her fingers look blue, that this is normal right after birth, and that the color changes minutes later.

 

Can the baby see? “Aunty Vikki [that’s what my nieces and nephews call me], can the baby see?” Honestly, I would have had no idea what to answer. But now I did know. Newborns can see in black-and-white about 10 inches in front of their face, so they definitely get to know mom. By four months, a baby’s vision, including the ability to see colors, is fully developed and they can see things far away as well.

 

Which burping position is the best? My husband claims it’s best to lie the baby down and sit her up on her lap. I like holding a baby over my shoulder and rubbing and patting her back. I feel like it’s cozy and nurturing. You know what? Both methods are good (including a third method I learned about in the book, where the baby lies on her tummy). No more fighting over which way rules.

 

How do you swaddle again? Yup. It doesn’t matter that I did this perhaps a dozen times a day for a few weeks with my five previous children. To figure out how to wrap my new baby in a swaddle blanket, I went to the book and relearned using the cute step-by-step photos. Find the instructions here on Between Carpools.  

 

Is she warm enough? Before my daughter was born, I went shopping for velour stretchies. I had never had a winter baby before (and I had no clue that it’s impossible to put a newborn inside a winter coat). During spring and summer, I never had to worry about my baby being too cold. Typical undershirts, cotton clothing, and a nice swaddle did the trick. But now it was December. How can I tell if she’s cozy? I felt reassured that Baby’s First Year explains that it’s normal for a baby’s nose or hands to feel cold. Extremities usually feel cold, and that it’s not an indication that the baby is cold. Rather, she advises, “slide a hand under your baby’s undershirt and feel his chest and tummy. If they are toasty warm, then the baby is warm enough.” Whew.

 

What do you forget and relearn each time around? Share your baby experiences!

 

This post is sponsored in part by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications. All opinions are our own.

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Victoria Dwek

Victoria holds a B.A. in English Literature from New York University and a M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She’s the editor of Ami Magazine’s Whisk and is an obsessive cookbook writer (with six to date). When she’s not writing, she’s busy entertaining her cuties, all aged 10 and under.

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