Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Raising a New Baby
In this particular photo, Julius is out to breakfast with his Grandpa Matthew--our youngest, and it does look as though he's choosing what he wants to eat from the menu. Since he's only 6 months old, I doubt that's what's happening.
Back when I had my first child at 19 I really had no idea how to take care of a baby. Oh, I'd babysat a lot but that didn't mean anything. I followed whatever instructions the moms gave me.
My baby was born 3000 miles away from where my family lived so I didn't have any of them to rely on. What I did have was a Better Homes and Gardens Baby book and believe me, I did everything that it told me to do. One of the instructions was to feed the baby every four hours.
I was a nursing mother and I followed the 4 hour rule until I finally couldn't stand the fact that the last hour my baby cried and cried. In tears myself, I called the doctor and told him my problem. He gave me a two word answer, "Feed her."
After that, within a reasonable amount of time, if the baby was dry and she began to cry, I fed her. Worked very well. Yes, I did still follow "the book" about a lot of other things and most of the time the baby and I benefited.
I didn't rely on "the book" for the next four babies--in fact I felt like an expert. Looking back though, I was way too busy to really enjoy those babies. Remember, there was no such thing as disposable diapers back in my day. Diapers had to laundered and hung up to dry. I washed clothes every day, usually four lines full. You have no idea how long all that took.
I didn't even have a dryer until my fifth child was born and my grandfather took pity on me and and gave me a dryer. I never hung up another piece of clothing on an outside line after that.
When I quit nursing I sterilized bottle and mixed formula. (No dishwashers or microwaves back then.) That took a lot of time too.
With my first baby I had no car. There weren't any snazzy strollers. I had a cumbersome baby carriage that I had to haul up and downstairs. I pushed it all over town with the baby in it--and whatever I purchased. I went to church that way too.
I hope the young mothers I know are taking the time to enjoy their babies--they should, they have more time to do it.
As a great-grandma, I no longer babysit the little ones. I do have one granddaughter who is now nine who once in a blue moon will come here after school if her mom is working. She's a delight, reminds me of me at that age--very bossy and has a big imagination. She also likes to write. And, she can use the computer like a whiz.
I'm enjoying hearing all about Susan and her "pea pod" now identified as Emily. I know Susan will take the time to enjoy this little one when she becomes a part of the family.
It's fun to write and think about something about the promotion of my next book which is what I should be doing instead of writing this blog post.