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There is a Notorious B.I.G. song from back in the day that I used to love. I mean, there are a lot of Biggie songs that I used to love, but something about “Ten Crack Commandments” was extra dope to me. I thought it was clever, honest, and Big’s flow was crazy. Listening to it made me feel gangsta, too. I’d be nodding my head like, “yeah, never let ’em know your next move. Tell them, Biggie!” I was definitely about that life. Not really. But it was fun to pretend!
Anyway, the song starts out with the lyrics:
I’ve been in this game for years, it made me an animal. There’s rules to this sh*t, I wrote me a manual.
Can I tell y’all something? I know Big is talking about selling drugs in this song, but this part right here? These opening lyrics? This is exactly how I feel about being a mom. My daughter is about to turn eight in a couple of months, so yeah, I have been in this game for years. Mama Knows It All is basically a manual for moms. Biggie and me? We’re “finger gesturing to eyes” right here.
The rules, however, have changed. Baby care is much different now than it was the last time I had a baby! Terrence and I went to a class the other week and learned that the hard way. I walked into the classroom with my head held high, ready to take home the valedictorian title. By the end of the day, my mouth was wide open and all I could do was shake my head. Biggie said the game made him an animal? Well, being out of the game and learning how much everything is different totally had me feeling like a chicken with its head cut off.
After I got over the shock of how much I didn’t know I didn’t know, I went back over the notes we took. Here are some new school things we learned during our six hour baby care class.
You don’t need to put lotion on your baby’s skin.
This goes against everything that I’ve ever known. Apparently, however, babies have perfect skin that will do exactly what it needs to do when it needs to do it. If you DO use lotion, it should be fragrance free lotion and made especially for wee ones.
Don’t use diaper rash cream.
Okay, I have to admit. My mind was all the way blown with this one. The nurse who taught our class encouraged us to use warm water and disposable dry cleansing towels to wipe our babies. She said that if they get a diaper rash in the first 3 months, we should be going to the doctor and let her determine what kind of cream to use.
Soap and water is better than hand sanitizer when you’re at home.
If you’re at home and you have access to it, soap and water is much better than sanitizer when you’re handling your baby. We learned that the sanitizer cleans all of the little germs but can leave the big, more problematic ones behind. Of course if you’re out and have no choice, sanitizer will do.
Babies don’t need a full bath every day.
I’ve always believed this, and have had people argue me to the moon and back about it. Babies aren’t doing anything to need to get into a bath every single day. Wipe them down and keep it moving. I’m glad the instructor cosigned my belief about this.
Let your baby sleep in your room for a year before putting them in their own space.
Now, I know this can be a polarizing issue, but the instructor’s suggestion for this made a lot of sense. She said that the probability of SIDS goes down when your baby is in your room because your breathing helps to regulate their breathing. That bit of info is enough for me to get ready to get used to having another roommate.
Don’t put gloves on your baby’s hands unless they’re going in the cold or snow.
Babies are learning so much every day, and one of the most important ways they learn is through their senses. When you cover their hands to stop them from scratching themselves, you’re hindering their opportunity to test out that sensory muscle. That’s where the next commandment comes in handy.
Bring a nail file to the hospital when you go give birth, and plan to file your baby’s nails every other day at least.
I can’t remember filing Ayva’s nails EVER. I always used the nail clipper, and I certainly didn’t do it every other day. I don’t even know that I did it more than a few times each month! Maybe I was slacking, but now I’ll be on the lookout to make sure baby boy’s nails stay groomed.
Try to nurse exclusively (no bottles) for at least the first month.
I did this out of laziness with Ayva, but I’m glad to know that this is a practice that’s being encouraged in baby care nowadays. Sure, Dad may not get to feed the baby if there are no bottles, but between burping, changing diapers, and facilitating tummy time, he’ll be a’ight. The thing is, babies can get confused when you switch from breast to bottle too early. By focusing on the breast, you can help them start great eating habits during a really critical time of growth. (I know everyone can’t and/or doesn’t want to nurse. No judgement here!)
Wait a little while before you start pumping.
Since you aren’t going to be using bottles, there’s no need to start pumping. The best way to regulate the production of breast milk is through baby’s eating habits.
If you’re going to use a pacifier, don’t introduce it until the second month.
My great-grandmother was so opposed to pacifiers that I never introduced one to Ayva. I don’t know if I will give Baby Boy one or not, but if I do, it’ll be later. Just like bottles, pacifiers can confuse babies—and their parents. If a newborn is crying, they need something to be done, not just to be pacified.
Isn’t it crazy how much is different? Just like my taste in music has changed (although I can still get with some Biggie…just not every day), so has taking care of a baby. Good thing is, I’m all set with a brand new manual for this baby care game.