Things They Don’t Tell You About Baby’s First Year

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When you bring your newborn home, you likely will receive a LOT of advice and information. I’ve become expert at weeding out the good info from the supremely unhelpful info (sleep when the baby sleeps? What, like for ten minutes at a time? When are you supposed to eat?) I’ve even learned to weed out the information your baby’s doctors and nurses give you. I’m not saying to ignore the things your doctor tells you, but some things will work better for your family (i.e. my doctor wanted the newborn in the room with us for six months. They got kicked out within two.) I’ve compiled a list of things they forget to mention in the midst of all of the baby info overload.

Baby Leprosy

They call this cradle cap, which sounds like something cute with a bow. Do not be deceived. It’s actually baby leprosy and extends well beyond their cap. Your baby will change, seemingly overnight, into a crusty, dandruffy, acne covered mess. You’ll think he’s molting. You can use the hospital scrub brush to scrub these giant flakes off but beware. If you scrub too hard, baby’s hair might fall out. Chances are this hair would be lost anyway but you don’t have to hurry it along like my husband did with Jack. My pediatrician recommends using Head and Shoulders for cradle cap. It actually does work, only don’t get it in baby’s eyes!

They Have Freddy Kruger Nails

One night, in your baby’s first few weeks they will go to sleep, face smooth (or covered with acne, whichever). In the morning they will wake and you’ll be sure Freddy Kruger has come to them in their dreams. There will be small cuts and scratches all over their face and bald little head. Their sharp little nails are nearly impossible to cut and when you do manage to cut them, they seem to be sharper than ever, able to cut glass let alone fresh newborn skin. You can try the baby mittens but they’ll be chewed on and pulled off within minutes of laying them down. You can inquire about getting them declawed, but that’s considered inhumane for kitties so you likely won’t get anywhere with that.

They Are Stronger Than They Have a Right to Be

Have you ever wrestled an infant into footie pajamas? They straighten their limbs and refuse to bend for love or money. Trying to stuff them into full body suits is quite like trying to clothe a reluctant cat. Try to sit a slightly older infant on your lap and they won’t bend at the waist. Once they get a small taste of what freedom is like, they try to escape your lap at any cost. Why? They can’t go anywhere. They don’t walk or crawl, yet they seem like they have places to go and people to see.

They Have Donkey Kong Arms

Between three and six months your baby has very little control over what happens with their arms but they are constantly moving them. We call this stage Donkey Kong Arms. They thrust their arms up and down, much like the gorilla in the video game. Watch them grasp a toy only to bop themselves in the face with it. They bang on their belly drums with reckless abandon. Once Jack banged so hard on his belly, he burped himself! After six months they will start having marginal control but you’ll still have to watch for rogue baby fists that might pop you right in the eye.

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Their First Poop After Starting Solids

Oh. Holy. Mess. Just wait until your baby’s first poo after an evening meal of green beans and oatmeal. If you’re easily disgusted, might I suggest you con your partner into changing that particular hot mess. Suddenly, your sweet little baby is having poos as big and smelly as your kindergartener’s. You’ll have to get used to it eventually. I would just put off that eventuality as long as possible.

They Will Be Mobile Before They Can Crawl

If you think you have time for baby-proofing, think again. One day you’ll set your baby safely on his blanket in the middle of the room and when you return, he’ll be no where to be seen. He’s rolled across the room and is chewing innocently on a Matchbox car. You wonder how he managed to move twelve feet from his blanket. He can’t crawl. He can’t walk. He simply morphed into a pill bug and rolled.

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This list is by no means complete. Every baby is unique, but these are some of my experiences with newborns and young infants. It’s amazing to watch them grow, week by week. What was just a helpless little lump so recently, suddenly becomes this tiny person, full of personality with a gummy smile.

 

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