Bringing home a baby changes your life. Many people try to prepare for parenthood by reading everything they can get their hands on, but most guides repeat the same traditional advice.
These are 10 things about parenting you don’t know until you know, which could save you time and grant peace of mind.
1. Every Day Presents Learning Opportunities
Many parents share the same experiences, but every family is different. Even if you read every tip in the world, you’d still learn new things. You’ll experience successes and mistakes that change your perspective and make you an even better parent.
2. You Might Produce Colourful Milk
Mothers who recently gave birth could produce orange or pink milk. It means you likely have rusty pipe syndrome. This happens when blood mixes with breast milk because the ducts trapped blood during breast engorgement throughout the last trimester. It’s usually temporary and safe for your baby to drink, but you can always talk with your doctor if you have concerns.
3. Preemies Develop Differently
Preemie parents have unique learning opportunities. Your child’s care will depend on their health needs after an early birth, but they’ll likely result in a different developmental schedule. Doctors factor the preemie’s birth with their early arrival to chart their developmental milestones more accurately. They’ll discuss with you when your child will do things like sitting up on their own and talking, to clarify when you can expect everything.
4. Your Car Seat Might Expire
Getting hand-me-downs from loved ones makes preparing for your child much easier, but a borrowed car seat could pose a unique danger. Car seats break down with age and expire six years after production or purchase. Check your car seat’s age to determine if the straps and buckles will keep them safe in an accident.
5. Baby Poop Resembles Tar
Your infant’s first few bowel movements may resemble fresh tar. Dark green poop worries parents, but it’s normal. Tar poop is also known as meconium and contains everything your baby digested while in utero, like:
- Skin cells
- Amniotic fluid
The poop should turn to a normal brown color as they process their first few feeds. Your doctor can always take a look and discuss your baby’s nutrition if you have questions.
6. Some Bathrooms Have Belted Child Seats
Getting out the door with young kids is always a challenge, so what happens when someone needs to use a public restroom? Some businesses include built-in child seats in bathroom stalls. They unfold from the wall and you can strap your toddler or small child in so you can relieve yourself without holding them.
7. Childhood Eczema is Fairly Common
If your kids scratch at red rashes behind their ears, knees or between their fingers, it’s likely eczema. This skin condition affects 15 to 20% of kids and doesn’t resolve itself without lotions and lifestyle changes. Watch for redness, peeling or bleeding to see if your child needs over-the-counter lotions or a prescribed hydrocortisone cream.
8. Babies Can Experience Reflux
Parents expect their infants to wake up during the night and cry often. When they start vomiting milk and crying for hours at a time, they could be experiencing reflux. It’s a condition also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Babies have this condition when their lower esophagus muscle lets stomach contents back up into the throat because it hasn’t fully developed.
Your doctor may diagnose this condition and adjust your infant’s feeding routine or prescribe medicine that reduces their stomach acid. It depends on the reflux severity and how often it occurs.
9. Kisses Can Be Dangerous
When you bring your new baby home, everyone will want to hold and kiss them. Your doctor will likely recommend otherwise. Someone who’s recently or currently dealing with the common cold could cause a respiratory syncytial virus infection in babies younger than six months old.
Newborns don’t have a robust immune system, so respiratory viruses could inflame their lungs and airways and possibly require intubation. It’s safer to ask people not to kiss your baby around their face if they’re not feeling well.
10. Virtual Groups Exist for Everything
If you can’t find help in a parenting book, you could consider joining a virtual group. Social media sites have groups for nearly every parenting question or problem. Their posts could point to breastmilk donation sites or offer tips for taking care of toddlers who need ostomy bags. You can always leave the group after resolving your question if you’re not on social media often.
Enjoy the Journey of Parenting
There will always be things about parenting that you don’t know until you know, so enjoy every moment along the way. While you’re sorting out developmental timelines and getting surprised by an array of stool colors, your love will only grow alongside your children.
Are there any parenting surprises you experienced when you became a parent? Tell us in the comments below.