If I should cry when you bring me home from the hospital, please understand that this is how I communicate with you. I'm not trying to be difficult, but there are so many things that are so new to me now, and the only way I can tell you anything is by crying.
For 9 months I lived in your tummy and everything was safe and warm and I just existed- - happily. I didn't feel hunger; I didn't have to feed myself; I didn't have gas pains; I didn't feel the sensation of "pee-peeing" or "pooping". I heard the continuous sounds of your heart-beating so gently, so reassuringly. I didn't have to adjust at all; I didn't have to learn anything at all.
Now, so many things are different. But I have very few needs right now, so please be understanding.
Sometimes I will cry if I am hungry. Please try to anticipate when I'll be hungry and be ready for me. If you're breast feeding me-which is what I love most-you don't have to worry. Your milk is always warm and I can drink as much as I want. I will stop when I have had enough; you don't need to worry about the number of ounces I am getting. It is so warm being held right up to your body and your nipple is so much nicer than a plastic one. I'll probably be feeding in the beginning 10-12 times a day, which is about every 2 hours. And it can take me about 30-40 minutes to nurse, so you really only have about 1 hour between feedings. I know this is pretty exhausting to you but it feels so good to me. Your milk also tastes much sweeter than a cow's milk and your nipples are much easier to suck than a plastic nipple is, so please do your best to let me breast feed. Don't forget, let me finish one breast, and then burp me before you put me on the second one.
If you decide to bottle feed me, or if for some reason you cannot breast-feed me, don't worry; I will understand, and I will still love you. My doctor will tell you how much to feed me and how often, but make sure you burp me frequently. The cow's milk is much thicker than breast milk; for you it would be like drinking whole milk versus water. So I need to be burped frequently, so I don't get a tummy ache.
Sometimes I will cry if I need my diaper changed. My little bottom is so sensitive now that if " pee-pee or poop" stays on me for even a short time, I can easily get a rash and it is so very painful. When you change me, I would really like you to use a warm washcloth instead of a cold wipe. And don't forget to dry me off before you put my diaper back on. The warm washcloth feels so much more soothing and when you dry me off, it helps prevent a diaper rash.
Sometimes I will cry if I am tired and cannot sleep. Please make sure you have the right environment for me. For example, I like to listen to soft, gentle lullabies; I like to be rocked; I like constant, low-level background noise; I like to be warm; I like to be wrapped snugly in a blanket, so I cannot move my arms or legs much. (Remember how snug I was in your tummy? That's what I need now to feel safe and secure and make my transition into this world easier.) My doctor or nurse will show you how to wrap me up.
Please try all these things with me. If I am still crying, and you can't seem to figure it out, please call my doctor. It may be something more serious. I might be allergic to something; I might have something wrong with my body; I might even be colicky.
But remember, first and foremost, I need a lot of hugs and kisses and gentle talking to me. If people are yelling at each other or fighting, I get very scared. Loud noises will frighten me as well, and naturally I will begin to cry. I need to feel that this is a loving place to be. I need to feel that I mean more than anything in the world to you, because you are my everything.
If you shower me with love and affection and anticipate my needs and do your best to put me first (at least now when everything is so new), we'll have such a wonderful time together. I'll be happy and not crying; and I'll be able to sleep better (which means you'll be able to sleep better too).
Please make me feel like I mean everything in the world to you,
YOU ARE MY WORLD
©1997 Lisel Fahl Perselay.
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Lisel Fahl Perselay, Biographical Sketch
As a new mother, Lisel Perselay attended various parent education courses offered by Overlook Hospital's Parentcraft Division, in Summit, NJ, as well as their Mother's Exchange Program, which she highly recommends. When these articles were published she was a "working mom", with AT&T Corporation. She was also a member of The Mother's Center of Central New Jersey and the Westfield Day Care Center Auxiliary. Lisel has a Masters in Business Administration. She and her husband and their two daughters have resided in the Westfield/Mountainside area for over 10 years.