“Is This Really Normal?” We’ve Been There and Did the Worrying for You
New parents have a lot of questions, and most of them begin with, “Is it normal for my baby to…?”. We’ve been there and Googled that, so we’ve got a quick cheat sheet to answer all those questions for you. Why does my baby cry so much? Is something wrong? It’s normal for a new baby to cry anywhere from 1 to 3 hours a day. Babies cry because they’re hungry, they have a dirty diaper, they’re overtired or overstimulated, they have gas pains or they need to burp, they’re uncomfortable or they just want to be held. In other words, babies cry pretty much whenever they want to tell you something. If your baby cries for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, over a 3 week period, that’s considered colic. Colicky babies can be difficult to soothe and the crying is stressful for everyone. Happily, colic is usually short lived, and you’ll have a content, smiling baby before you know it. And to help relieve some of that discomfort associated with colic? Try one of our Organic Gripe Waters! How much should my new baby sleep? New parents are tired parents! Newborns don’t have regular circadian rhythms yet, so their sleep tends to be all over the map—and the clock. If your baby is snoozing all day and alert during the nighttime hours? Normal, albeit exhausting. Newborns also tend to have a fussy period in the evenings, go down for the night later, and enjoy a good snooze during the morning hours. This is probably not super convenient for you, but it’s normal. New babies love motion—after all, they just spent 9 months being rocked and bounced in the womb—so if your baby passes out anytime she gets in the car, stroller, or swing? Normal. If you’re having trouble getting your baby to fall asleep, she might be overtired. It’s counterintuitive, but an exhausted baby will have more trouble falling and staying asleep. Try limiting wake time between naps to about 1.5 hours to avoid the overtired fussies. New babies typically require a lot of soothing to fall asleep. The car, the swing, the stroller, nursing, swaddling, a baby carrier, and the pacifier are all useful tools for helping your little one fall asleep. Are you one of those lucky people whose newborn sleeps all.the.time? Also normal. If your baby really sleeps constantly—and some of them do—discuss whether you need to wake him to eat with your healthcare provider. Is it normal for my baby to nurse all the time? Your baby is constantly nursing and you’re wondering if this is normal, if something is wrong, or if he’s not getting enough to eat. In the first days of life, frequent nursing helps your milk come in and establishes your supply. It’s not only normal for baby to nurse frequently, it’s a good thing! It doesn’t mean he’s starving. His tummy is teeny and can only hold very small amounts of food at a time, so frequent meals are the norm. Your baby may be at the breast almost continuously during the evening hours. This is called cluster feeding and is, you guessed it, normal. It often coincides with the evening fussy time in those first months. Don’t worry about nursing your baby too much or too often. If your little one shows any signs of hunger- rooting, smacking, turning their face from side to side, go ahead and place them on the breast. We know—you feel like a milk machine, but you’re in good company with other new moms who are right there with you! Is my baby’s poop normal? You never thought you’d spend so much time thinking about poop, did you? New parents quickly become experts on poop! At first, your baby’s poop should be a dark, tarry color. It’s called meconium and lasts only a few days. Once “regular” poops begin, they’ll be seedy and mustard yellow if you’re breastfeeding or thin and tan colored if you’re formula feeding. During the first few weeks, babies often poop after each feeding, especially breastfed babies. It’s normal for the pace to slow down after 3 or 4 weeks. Some breastfed babies may not poop for a several days at a time. A green poop here and there is common. Once your baby begins to eat solids, her poop will turn brown in color and become firmer—as well as stinkier. For babies older than 6 months, Baby Move may help with occasional constipation. What kinds of poop aren’t normal? Thick black poop (after the meconium phase is over), poop with a lot of red or black blood, and white, chalky poop all warrant a call to the pediatrician right away. Will I ever feel like myself again? You’ve just had a baby, you don’t recognize your own body, you’re crying and then overcome with love and then angry, and there’s a whole lot of bodily functions going on. You’re probably wondering if you’ll ever feel like yourself again. You will! Right now, your hormones are going crazy, your mood shifts from minute to minute, and your body is still healing. Give yourself some grace. Eventually you will sleep again, wear jeans again, and be able to predict how you’ll feel. We know it seems impossible to rest when you’re caring for a newborn (and even more impossible when you’re caring for older siblings too), but as much as possible, take it easy. Let your 3-year-old watch that show and don’t feel guilty about not having a homemade meal on the table. Ask for help, and accept it when it’s offered. While some weepiness and mood changes are perfectly normal during the postpartum period, postpartum depression and anxiety are real disorders. You can check out a list of signs and symptoms here. If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, your healthcare provider can help with resources, support professionals, and medication if needed. What else has caused you as a parent to think “hmm, is this normal?”? Tell us in the comments below.
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