Stages in a newborn baby’s development: getting to know the world outside its mother’s tummy
My dear friends from the blog,
Are you doing fine? We hope so, because for us everything is great. Giuseppe is very healthy and I have been able to breastfeed him a little. Well, I will be back within 22 days, when we leave the maternity ward.
As I told you before, we were discharged on September 22. Since I didn’t have any milk, we went directly to the Military Police Hospital’s Milk Bank to ask how they might help us. Once there, lieutenants and colonels welcomed us very warmly. We were lucky there weren’t many people around and lieutenant Ilenilda could pay us a lot of attention. She massaged my breasts, but since I was still anxious and a little stressed with everything that had happened to us, my milk hadn’t come. She suggested I should drink a lot of liquid during the day, apply hot water compresses on the breasts, and sleep whenever the baby was sleeping. A tip for future moms: go to the Military Police Hospital’s Milk Bank in the last month of pregnancy so they can evaluate your breasts and give you tips on breastfeeding. In my case, my breasts’ nipples are flatter, making it difficult for the baby to catch them. Clear all your doubts before your child is born, because it really brings a wealth of surprises.
I scheduled two visits at home with the lieutenant so she could teach me to correctly grab the nipples because Giuseppe was finding it difficult to catch them, since he got used to being fed with serum through the tube. Nowadays it is quite common that babies find it difficult to grab their mothers’ breasts, but we must persist because they are arriving in a new world and we have to teach everything to them. The lieutenant treated me for two days and I always returned to the Military Police Hospital. We spent eight days practicing breast catching and stimulating my baby until the colostrum came up. I was overwhelmed! But Giuseppe, since he is such a glutton, did not have the patience to wait and he blushed of anger. After that, I offered my breasts to him and complemented his diet with NAN milk.
Giuseppe’s 1st week at home was full of adaptations: he was getting to know me and I was getting to know him. I think that was a difficult stage because my baby hadn’t got used yet to his new world. But during that week I learned to identify some points: from 6 to 10 PM he became very irritated, it seemed he was extremely hungry, and he cried a lot. I called the pediatrician who assisted us at the maternity ward, but I couldn’t talk to him. Then, while guessing he might be having cramps, a placed him prone on my belly, but he wouldn’t stop crying. I tried to lullaby him into sleep, but nothing happened… I asked my mother to go to a drugstore and buy a medication another pediatrician had prescribed a few months ago, but I didn’t have the courage to give it to him. Many things went through my mind because I couldn’t identify what was all that despair for. I was extremely worried and so I thought about offering more food to him, and BINGO: he was really hungry. Since he already was 1 week old and my breast milk had not come yet, we would have to increase the food complement’s dose, and follow to the letter the NAN milk insert instructions (when he left the maternity ward he was taking 30 ml of NAN and the packaging suggested it would be ideal to feed him with 60 ml during the 1st week). Nobody had told me about it. I learned it in practice.
Another very interesting point is the quantity of diapers we have to change every day. During that 1st week, Giuseppe soiled more than 10 diapers a day. After that I realized he was pooping less. It was the first warning that something was going wrong. Since I had an appointment with the pediatrician in that week, I wrote some questions down, including this latter point.
During the pediatric appointment, I handled a list of doubts and the physician made everything clear to me: since I still did not have enough breast milk, I would have to follow the instructions suggested on the can of NAN, but we changed from NAN PRO 1 milk to NAN COMFOR, which is better for babies with constipation. We can use a glycerin suppository in case the baby fails to poo for more than 24 hours. But it is not necessary to introduce the suppository, you just have to do that famous “tickling,” and that is already enough. During that appointment, Giuseppe was already weighing almost 4 Kg, the weight of a 10-day old baby, and he was just seven days old. The physician gave us a request for neonatal screening tests, and also asked us to return within a month. I booked all the tests: for the ears, which is performed in the very maternity hospital; for the feet, done at a Laboratory; and for the eyes, with an ophthalmologist.
During Giuseppe’s 2nd week of life, he had become very well adapted. His umbilical cord fell on the 8th day (and people say it is good to burry it under a rose bush to bring luck). He didn’t cry anymore at that critical time because he was feeding better, and his cramps were over, but I bought that famous medicine called Funchicória (chicory tea), which helped to calm him down, but I did that with the pediatrician’s consent. I also did the pacifier test, but he did not adapt very well to it, thank God. We did the hearing test, and he also behaved as a grown-up. The hearing test result is ready within the hour and everything was normal with Giuseppe. That test has to be repeated within six months. In the case of the Guthrie test, Casino the pediatrician asked for the extended test, which comprises seven subtests. We did it at the laboratory and the result will be given within almost a month, but it may also be done at Apae (the Association of Parent and Friends of Exceptional Children). The interesting thing about that test is that it is called the “foot test”, but it is not performed on the foot but as a normal blood collection. The eye examination was done at a doctor’s practice with an ophthalmologist and its result was also ready within the hour. During that test eye drops are applied two times to dilate the pupil, but since my Giuseppe is a strong boy he did not cry, and continued to sleep as a little angel. This week has been very busy for us because I have also taken him to another pediatrician from my health plan (it is always good to have more than one opinion). When we went to this pediatrician he had already put out another 200 g of weight and was weighing 4.2 kg and 56 cm long (he had grown 3 cm since his birth). As soon as the pediatrician took his clothes off he had an unpleasant surprise: Giuseppe’s diaper was entirely dirty. Then the physician seized the opportunity to examine his feces, which seemed to be normal, because it was one of the points I had questioned him about. I also cleared many doubts with him and the most interesting thing was the explanation to find out when the baby is having cramps. If the baby does not stop crying, check the seven possibilities of weeping: hunger, peeing, pooping, cold, heat, slumber and finally cramps. I thought that tip was great, and I started to follow it. It is amazing!! Until now we have never reached the 7th one, which is a great sign. The physician also prescribed an ointment to prevent rashes, a medication for cramps, and told me to always keep feeding him with NAN after offering my breasts, and that we should not travel with our baby until he was 3 months old, in addition to not taking him to very noisy and crowded places to avoid contact with any kind of virus. And sunbathing for 10 minutes between 8 and 9 AM. I also asked him about the little red spots that looked like skin rashes all over his little body, and the physician told me they are normal. Giuseppe has a healthy color, his respiration is great and so is his little heart. The only concern I told him about was a “lump” Giuseppe has above his right eyebrow. The physician asked us to observe it and better evaluate it within 30 days, but he said we shouldn’t worry about it.
Giuseppe’s 3rd week of life has been much better. He has already been able to sleep most of the night, he has been moving a lot trying to communicate, his eyes already fix at a point, he has been crying less, and has acquired this beautiful habit of trembling his chin all the time as if he felt cold. The nails of his feet and hands are growing almost every day, his hair has started to sprout, he is already taking baths without crying, and has been suckling 120 ml of food complement plus breast milk from five to six times a day, and sometimes he shows a beautiful smile. His legs and head already look stronger, those cramps have disappeared, and I believe his bowel is lazy because he has only pooped once a day, but pediatricians have said that is normal because his feces are not parched. I have had an experience this week: since I had to clean the house, the best option was to take my baby outside our home because of the scent of disinfectant products. And so I took him to my mother’s home and you won’t believe it: he did not adapt, he cried all day long and could not relax, and was awake all the time. My baby really knows when we take him away from his little corner. He became annoyed and could only relax when we returned home.
Coming soon the 4th week
Well, those were the experiences we’ve had during these first 24 days of my little Giuseppe’s life. I would only like to add that despite the bad nights of sleep, of unbroken cries and after having changed many diapers, IT IS WONDERFUL TO HAVE MY BABY IN MY ARMS. Next week I’ll tell you about his 4th week of life…