First Time Parent

Book notes for "First Time Parent", by Lucy Atkins

Quick review:

Good, practical, UK specific information. Presume the author has read
the Attatchment Parenting "Baby Book" based on some of their ideas.

Questions raised:

Many, this was a good overview, but need to look much deeper into
feeding, sleep, education, etc.

Insights, lessons learnt:

Some good information in the highlights below. No overriding principles
espoused, just pragmatic, practical advice. Worth re-reading a month
before birth.


IS: Six cotton vests (long or short sleeved depending on season) Six to
ten cotton Babygros Six pairs of socks (stretchy towelling ones tend to
stay on better-booties are generally pointless as they fall off teeny
feet) Two to three cardigans (easier than jumpers) A couple of cotton
hats A warm, all-in-one, padded suit for outings if you have a winter
baby Loc: 64

For many of us, the first 'hello' is not as we'd expected. There is no
lightening-strike recognition, no heavenly choir, no soft-focus twinning
of souls. Most of us, after giving birth for the first time, are
exhausted, shocked and mind-blown by the whole experience. And most new
fathers are reeling too. That it can take a while for 'baby love' to
kick in (and it will, eventually) says nothing about your capacity to be
the world's greatest parent. Loc: 178

if possible you want to keep her there, skin to skin, for at least the
first thirty minutes of her life. Studies show this really helps
mother-baby bonding, reduces crying and helps breastfeeding. It's really
worth putting this in your birth plan as it may not automatically
happen. Loc: 188

You may be discharged as little as six hours after an uncomplicated
birth, but most of us leave hospital about twenty-four hours after
giving birth vaginally and three to five days after a Caesarean. If
there are any complications, you may have to stay longer. Loc: 244

Investigate the possibility of a single room: it costs anything from
拢30-拢500 depending on your hospital, but having one means you get peace
and quiet-and your partner can stay too. Loc: 248

And, most importantly, tell her-repeatedly and grovellingly-how proud
you are of what she's just done. Whatever happened in that labour room-a
planned Caesarean, drugs, tongs, suction devices, ten hours of her
yelling abuse and battering you-at this point she needs to know you
think she's amazing and that you love her more than ever before. Make
this your fallback position for the coming months. Loc: 263

One in ten babies need special care at birth, and the vast majority are
fine (forty per cent of twins and over ninety-seven per cent of triplets
spend some time in special care). Loc: 270

She can see your face clearly if it's 20-25 cm (8-10 in) from hers, will
respond with a raised heart rate when she does, and will probably make
eye contact. She may even mirror your facial movements-try sticking out
your tongue at her. She can recognise her parents' voices. She can
probably recognise her mother's smell. She has an inbuilt set of
reflexes. She'll: ? grasp anything put into her fist ? suck and swallow
? take a 'step' if you hold her up with toes touching a surface ?
'startle' (the 'Moro reflex'). If she hears a loud noise, she will throw
her arms up suddenly, as if stopping herself from falling. ? root for
the nipple. If you stroke her cheek with your finger or breast, she'll
turn her head, looking for the nipple. Loc: 308

Another new-parent surprise is that newborn boys and girls often have
swollen genitals and breasts. A tiny amount of milky discharge may come
out of the nipples, and girl babies may even have a bit of bloody
discharge from their vaginas. This is all caused by the mother's
hormones circulating through the baby at birth; it is totally healthy
and stops after a day or so. Loc: 339

In the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, sticky secretions that
your baby has swallowed during the birth can get stuck in her throat,
making her choke and sometimes turn blue. If this happens, put her over
your knee, face down, and give her a firm slap between the shoulders to
clear the airways. Loc: 342

You will still look at least six months pregnant once the baby is born.
It takes six weeks for your womb to shrink back to its normal size and
texture. Loc: 408

One good rule is always to say 'goodbye' before you leave him with
someone. Even if you are just popping to the loo, say, 'Bye-bye, Mummy's
coming back in a minute.' It may make him cry more in the instant, but
if he knows you'll always tell him when you're leaving, he won't be
constantly anxious that you're going to sneak off when his back is
turned. Loc: 1279

Breastfed babies tend to gain weight, perfectly healthily, at a
different rate from formula-fed ones-usually quicker in the first couple
of months, then slowing up around two to three months. When this
happens, many health visitors suggest 'supplementing' feeds with
formula: this is the quickest way to scupper your breastfeeding. If your
health visitor suggests supplementing feeds: Ask if she is using the
Child Growth Foundation's Breast from Birth chart-if not, ask her to get
hold of one. Loc: 1372

'BABY-LED WEANING' This weaning 'method' is the increasingly popular
brainchild of Gill Rapley, a health visitor for twenty years. Many
parents swear by it as the route to hassle-free, non-fussy eating. The
basic idea is incredibly simple. At six months a baby is developmentally
ready to pick up, chew and swallow real food. Therefore, all you need to
do to wean your baby at this stage is to sit her in a high chair, lay
out appropriate foods, and let her get on with it. Loc: 1561

The key to weaning (and indeed feeding your small child generally) is
the exact opposite of everything you've learned elsewhere in this book.
It's simple: never show you care. A small baby will pick up on your
anxiety about her eating. Bigger babies (and children) will even learn
that-at last!-they have power. Pretend to be completely blas茅 about what
your baby eats even if you have to go into a padded room and scream for
ten minutes after each attempted mealtime. Do not fret, get cross or
cajole: just breezily remove the dinner if, after ten or fifteen
minutes, you are getting nowhere. Get down from the table. Try again
later. Loc: 1644

If you're pur茅eing your nearly one-year-old's meals-unless there's a
good medical reason to do so-stop. You're aiming to have a happy,
non-fussy, self-feeding baby who eats like a regular human being. This
is not the way to do it. Loc: 1667