It does not go by so fast. People who tell you "it goes by so fast" do not have babies or small children at home. It goes by so slow. But you know what? That's good! There's more room for error! Be grateful.
They're up all night to get lucky. Because their stomachs are so small, newborns need to eat roughly every two to three hours. This means they wake frequently. This means they wake you frequently. Thankfully, babies do have some good qualities: they smell good, don't cheat on their taxes and look good in hats.
Sleep deprivation is the worst. It's awful. It's revolting. It causes confusion and memory loss. And it physically hurts. It's like a really bad subway smell on a hot day -- but in your brain. That said, blame everything and anything on sleep deprivation for as long as you possibly want.
The phrase "maternal instinct" stinks. Here's a quote from a popular website about it: "Once you give birth... feelings you never expected to have will surface as part of the process of becoming a parent." Once you give birth, feelings you never expected magically surface? Is a switch flipped during delivery? And what if you're a new parent who didn't give birth? Does this mean you're screwed? No. Sorry. Maternal instinct is, literally, for the birds. If you bond right away, terrific. If it takes much longer, so be it. Either way, one day your kid will still want to borrow your car.
Hold your baby as much as you damn want. You can't spoil babies. You can, however, spoil teenagers. "My Super Sweet 16" is proof of that.
Breast is best but... Is there anyone reading this who doesn't know, by now, that breast is best? We get it. We've heard. Breast milk rocks. There is no chemical composition available anywhere that can ever replicate what we lucky women can make ourselves for free. But even though it looks ridiculously easy when other people do it, breastfeeding is not ridiculously easy. So please be prepared and be patient. Breastfeeding can be difficult at first. And at second. And at third. It can take a lot of effort and practice and help to get it right. And sometimes breastfeeding doesn't work out. Or it doesn't work out for long. And -- newsflash for some of you reading this -- it's OK.
It's called childREARing for a reason. It's unbelievable how often babies can poop, especially since they don't even drink coffee. The frequency or color of babycrap® (yes, that's a registered trademark) doesn't really matter. As long as the stool's soft, not black or white, and blood- as well as mucus-free, there's nothing to freak out about. Well, there are things to freak out about -- global warming, for example -- but not your baby's poop.
Get out. Babies are small. This works to your advantage in so many ways. First, it would be hard to give birth to one if they were big. Second, it makes diaper changes easier. Third, it means that babies are portable so you can take them almost anywhere. Yes, even to a bar.
Get support. This is important for your boobs and this is important for you. Seriously a) you're going to need some good bras whether you're nursing or not and b) you're going to need some good people with whom to talk, lean on and commiserate. Join a new parents' group or class as soon as you can because -- don't forget! -- your baby is portable.
Get help. Nine to 16 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. Nine to 16 percent. It's so common. Why don't we talk about this more? If you're reading this and feel you might have symptoms of depression or anxiety, please don't feel alone -- because you're not. If you feel depressed, overanxious, overwhelmed or are worried that you may have trouble taking care of yourself and your baby, call your doctor or reach out to a loved one right away.
Don't be too hard on yourself. Do you love your baby? Are you doing the best you can? Has anyone contacted the authorities? If you can answer "yes," "yes" and "no" then pat yourself on the back because it's going well so far!
A study published in the journal Infant Behavior & Development revealed that the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" has little to do with reality. When 253 college students were asked to rank photos of the same individuals as infants and young adults (without being told who was who), there was no relationship between how cute the students found the babies and how attractive they found the grown-ups.
No, really, it's true. It doesn't matter how many times you've heard the shout "Mine!" -- research shows babies can sense fairness at 15 months. During one study at the University of Washington, 47 babies observed videos of an experimenter distributing milk and crackers to two people. When one recipient received more food than the other, the babies paid more attention. That means they had expected a fair distribution. The researchers also found that babies who did notice unfairness were more likely to share their own toys.
OK, so they're not exactly psychic. But a recent study from the University of Missouri found that babies just 10 months old are starting to follow the thought processes of others. Yuyan Luo, an associate professor of developmental psychology who conducted the study, tells The Huffington Post, "Babies, like adults, when they see something for the first time -- when something is surprising -- they look for a long time. It shows [they recognize] something is inconsistent." It's called the "violation of expectation," she explained. When babies are surprised by something or notice something unexpected has happened, they tend to gaze at that thing longer. In Luo's research, babies watched actors consistently choose object A (such as a block or a cylinder) over object B. When an actor then switched to object B, the babies stared for about five to six seconds longer, meaning they recognized the change in preference.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Treat all people the same. We're all equals. These are sentiments parents strive to teach their kids from a very young age. And they should. Starting, like, immediately. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found that babies at three months begin showing a preference for the faces of people of their own race. But not all hope for equality is lost. The same study showed that babies who are exposed to people of all different races are less likely to develop bias at such an early age.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that five-month-old babies can identify an upbeat song as being different from a series of sad, slow songs. In other words, they are happy. They know it. They will clap their hands. Or stare longer, as the case may be. The experimenters showed babies an emotionless face while music played. When they played a new sad song, the babies looked away. When the music pepped up, the babies stared for three to four seconds longer.
Babies have a sense of morality at six months old, say Yale researchers. During the Yale study, babies watched a puppet show in which a wooden shape with eyes tried to climb a hill over and over again. Sometimes a second puppet helped him up the hill, and other times a third puppet pushed him down. After watching the act several times, the babies were presented with both puppets. They showed a clear preference for the good characters over the bad ones by reaching to play with the good puppet.
Dr. Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia, who studies how babies perceive language, found that if a mother spoke two languages while pregnant, her infant could recognize the difference between the two. And they don't even have to be spoken out loud. Werker's research found that infants four to six months old can visually discriminate two languages when watching muted videos of someone speaking both.
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