A doula explains some mysterious but normal newborn behaviors

If  you are new to the world of babies, there are some mysterious but normal newborn behaviors that you may not know about. Get familiar with this list and you won’t freak out when your baby

Brand new baby by papaija2008

Newborns have many behaviors you might not realize are totally normal infant behavior. Photo by papaija2008 courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Poops. And not just once, but many times a day if he is breastfed. Normal newborn behavior. What goes in must come out! (And yes, it does look like cottage cheese and mustard mixed together if you are breastfeeding your baby.)

Fuss a bit before he poops.This is a normal newborn behavior that is not necessarily gas but rather a sign of a brand new, functioning, but still immature, digestive tract. Wait a few weeks and it will likely disappear. Doula Hint: You can help your baby by holding him close against your warm shoulder and rubbing his back or tummy GENTLY until he poops.

Wakes up, the second you put her down. Doula Hint: Consider safe co-sleeping or co-rooming. You’ll all sleep better. Or swaddle your newborn baby for sleep to help calm the startle reflex she was born with. Doula Hint: Babies need to be deeply asleep before you can put them down, even if they are swaddled. Wait for 15-20 minutes or so or until you can move the baby gently and get no response. Then you can try putting her down. Be aware though, it’s normal newborn behavior for her to NOT want to be alone. (Congratulations: your baby is already a smart survivor who knows she needs care and how to demand it!)

Spits up. If your baby spits up after a feeding, try burping him early in the feeding rather than waiting until the end. If you get an early burp, most likely you won’t get one later on.Doula Hint: It may look like a lot came back at you, but most times, it’s not really all that much. (Splash a tablespoon of water on your shirt to see just what I mean.) If your baby regularly spits up large amounts, talk to your pediatrician, or see a lactation consultant to resolve potential oversupply issues.

Cries, cries, cries every time you change her. Again, totally normal newborn behavior. It’s not you and you ‘re not doing anything “wrong.” Doula Hint: get a wipe warmer. Though much-maligned as useless, for sensitive babies a wipe warmer can make diaper changes more pleasant for everyone. By the end of the first month or so your voice will begin to soothe baby and things will calm down a bit at changing time. So start talking to her while you change diapers if you have not already.

Coming next: The doula explains more mysterious but totally normal newborn behavior.

Elaine Petrowski is a certified postpartum doula (DONA) with more than a dozen years of experience . A postpartum doula is a professional,  with the mission of helping new parents to quickly gain confidence in their parenting skills. Contact Elaine at www.tendertimesdoula.com, 973-291-8200.

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