I read a lot, in general. So of course when I was pregnant, I was excited to read books and blogs and learn new things about pregnancy and babies. However, I was disappointed because all the books (hahaha, “all the books”; I read like three) and blogs have the same old information. Fetus size compared to food. Complications. Morning sickness. Weight gain and nutrition. Call your doctor when. Blah blah everybody knows this already! Tell me something new! Tell me something that I really need to know!
Here are a few things about pregnancy and newborns that I wish had been in the books and blogs! Maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there.
It’s possible to have a twin pregnancy without major complications.
A multiple pregnancy is automatically categorized as high-risk. Lots of shit can go wrong with more than one bun in the oven, for the buns as well as for the baker. (Haha!) When we learned that I was carrying two wee ones, I assumed that a) I would get super giant super quick, and b) I would have problems and go on bedrest etc. However, neither of those things happened. As the weeks went by, I continued being surprised at how uneventful my ‘high-risk’ pregnancy was. I kind of felt bad about having it so easy, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are a lot of women out there (and I’ve met some) who did indeed have a lot of serious complications, and this is not meant to dismiss them or their experiences in any way. I just wish that it was made clear that it doesn’t end up that way for everyone. Everyone should be prepared for issues, but it doesn’t have to be a given or an assumption, if that makes sense. We got lucky.
Pregnancy can cause congestion and therefore snoring.
I read this tidbit in one book–I don’t remember which one–and I was surprised. The reason was increased something or other–more pressure, more fluid, something like that. I thought it was interesting and I was also surprised it wasn’t in the rest of the books with the other classic symptoms. By seven months if not sooner, I had started snoring at night! I was so embarrassed but at least I knew why it was happening. Didn’t make it easier on my husband, who ended up sneaking out to the guest room when it got to be too much. But he was (generally) understanding about it not being my fault and only being temporary. (And it was. By a week or so after babies, the snoring stopped. Thank goodness.)
New babies sleep a lot.
I sort of knew this maybe, in the back of my mind. But nowhere was it made explicit that newborns sleep almost literally all day long. Not counting feedings, of course. But they are hardly ever awake. No one told me that!
Related: Newborns are boring.
They sleep all day and eat every few hours around the clock. But that’s it! Not very interesting at all. You will be very tired but not exactly busy. You can’t do anything fun unless it’s in one or two hour chunks between feedings. You could read a lot, if you had the mental wherewithal. But if you’re like us, you’ll veg on the couch like zombies and watch a lot of television. This is a great time to watch an entire series on Netflix, Hulu, or DVD. Don’t forget your laptop. But be aware that no one else is up in the middle of the night, so Facebook gets boring. Could be a good time to write subpar and silly blog posts though! 🙂
Diaper rash is not a rash.
I felt really stupid about this. I assumed that anything called a rash would look like an actual damn rash! But diaper rash is more like redness and chapped skin. My MIL was here when the babies were six weeks old and told us that they had some diaper rash. I had no idea! We had the ointment in the changing table, because I’d read about the good brands and that it’s important to have, so we got to treat it right away. But I had no idea what to look for! Duh!
Bibs are important right away!
At the family baby shower I had last summer, I must have received close to twenty tiny bibs. I thought that my aunts and cousins were getting me set up for the messy eating stage with baby food and such. It took us over a month of spitty babies in dirty onesies to figure out to put the bibs on the babies now. Talk about DUH! The bibs do catch a lot of the spit up and prevent some of the outfit-soiling. Of course, just as often, the spit up rolls right OFF the bib and onto US.
Not all babies are fussy.
I read the book Happiest Baby on the Block, as it was highly recommended by several people and one of our childbirth classes. I read about the 5 S’s and felt like I was more prepared for our babies, though I was scared of all the horror stories–hours of screaming babies and exhausted, frustrated parents! I think I assumed that all babies do that. Happily, our babies didn’t. Not all babies have colic or scream. Ours, in fact, didn’t really cry at all for most of the first month. We did find the shushing extremely effective when they would get upset, and of course we swaddle them. But we never needed to ‘escalate’ to the other S’s. Thank goodness.
Babies *can* sleep.
There are also a lot of horror stories of babies who never sleep. Who wake up throughout the night, even between feeding times. Who have trouble going to sleep or being soothed back to sleep. Again, because of the prevalence of these stories, I think I assumed and was afraid that all babies did this. I was dreading months of never getting any sleep at all. Ours actually sleep pretty well already, and according to the twins group I belong to on facebook, plenty of other babies do too. Frankly, I think everyone is quiet about this because we don’t want to make anyone feel bad whose babies have trouble sleeping!
It really is fine to wake a sleeping baby/babies can be scheduled.
This is one of the cardinal baby rules–‘don’t ever wake a sleeping baby!’ This is the first baby rule broken by people with twins. It’s total bullshit. Another rule–baby experts insist that newborns can’t/shouldn’t be on a schedule. Again, bullshit. Ours were on a schedule from literally day one, in the hospital. (This is the case with most if not all the twins I’ve ever heard of.) It wasn’t a firm schedule at first in terms of the same time every day, but damn straight we woke the one or both babies when it was time to eat. And they’re great with it. Not to say we don’t feed them a little ‘snack’ when they are clearly hungry, but the feedings have always been three to four hours apart. And they eat great and have been growing like adorable, chubby little weeds!
All baby seats/bouncers are not the same
I remember hearing several recommendations for a Rock N Play. I thought it was just a bouncy seat. At one of the big consignment sales, I found two bouncy seats and figured that was good. No no, not so! Turns out I bought a bouncer and a rocker, and they are NOT the same as a Rock N Play. Our tiny babies were way too tiny for the bouncer and the rocker, but they were just fine–and very happy–in the Rock N Play. It was really helpful for them to sleep in the RNP because the incline kept them from spitting up. (Andy figured out in the hospital that they needed to be kept at a little incline for 15-20 minutes after eating so they wouldn’t spit up all over themselves.) We’d had them in a co-sleeper, which of course has a flat surface. Moving them to the RNPs made a big difference. They’re still in them now, at three months. We’ve just introduced them to the bouncer and the rocker, and they seem to enjoy them. The vibrating function is new to them, and they seem to like sitting up in the rocker.
We got all of these used, by the way. If you have twins, you should invest in at least one of each of these, but don’t buy new. Check craigslist and your local twins club. Ours has a great classified section–that’s where we got the Rock N Plays and our co-sleeper.
A bouncer has stationary legs and springy legs attached to the seat. Most of them have a vibrating function. The seat is very inclined. The babies can kick a lot in this seat, which in turns makes the seat bounce–very exciting.
A rocker seat has rocking legs and a vibrating function. The baby sits up much straighter than in a bouncer, so he can look around at the world instead of just the ceiling. (Although our babies continue to be entranced by ceilings everywhere, so.)
The Rock N Play is much taller than the other two and folds up. The seat is inclined, and of course it rocks back and forth, which is very soothing. I think the seat also kind of envelops the baby, which is another soothing feeling. This one does not vibrate.
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Anything you found out the hard way that should have been in the pregnancy/new baby books?