Childcare Demystified - Keep Your Sanity
You CAN Enjoy Your Baby... Common Sense Tips To Keep You Sane!!
I was a brand new mom full of awe and trepidation when I first met Dr. Denmark.
She must have sensed my anxiety...
Her encouragement was, “You see that little squirrel out in the tree? She has never been to a doctor or read a book, but she knows just what to do for her babies. She feeds them, keeps them clean and comfortable and away from people. It’s not as complicated as people might make you think!”
A child is a precious gift, divinely given. Nothing is more helpless than a newborn, who is completely dependent on his parents’ care.
Hi, I’m Madia. I have eleven children and one of the greatest privileges of my life was to know Dr. Leila Denmark. She practiced pediatrics for over 75 years and was my mentor for 32 years.
I can hardly express how much she helped me, both with the children’s medical issues and family life challenges. I would love to share what she taught me with you.
Begin Parenting Before Birth
At the moment of conception, a new child is created; and his health largely depends on the health of his parents and his mother’s nutrition during pregnancy. A life of dissipation and addiction will inescapably and sometimes permanently affect the baby within. Mother is surely “eating and drinking for two” so she must beware what she puts in her body.
Addictions to nicotine, alcohol, snuff, narcotics, and even caffeine will interfere with baby’s health. Consuming too many dairy products can cause anemia in mother and affect her child. Mother should put away that which is harmful and consume only what is healthful out of love for her baby.
If a woman who has been involved in substance abuse finds out she is pregnant, the answer is not abortion, for her baby is already a living person, created in God’s image. Instead, she should resolve to abstain from harmful substances and get help. Love for her pre-born child can often bring great change in a woman’s life.
Pregnancy can potentially give birth to two new lives: baby’s and mom’s!
A healthy newborn is sleepy, happy, hungry, docile, cuddly, but—wow—what lungs! The advent of an infant into the home can bring a frenzied, sleepless, and trying time or be a precious experience filled with peace and wonder. A few principles of child care can make all the difference.
New parents need wise counsel so that mother, father, and baby get off to the best start possible.
Dr. Denmark says...
"When I was a young doctor, I used to meet with new parents at the hospital after the baby arrived. Often grandparents came, too. The first thing I said to the mother was, “This baby has come to live with you, not you with the baby.
"He needs to be trained into a system. If you were building an important business, you’d have a system, and building a human being is the most critical thing on earth. You’re going to die one day and leave this little creature here. If you haven’t built him a way of life, somebody’s going to kick him around. That’s the reason our jails are so full today. Those people didn’t have a chance because they didn’t have parents who taught them a way of life.
"The day that baby was conceived, everything was in one cell: its height, color, disposition, its whole life. If you took care of yourself during pregnancy—didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or drink too much milk—at birth that baby is all it was meant to be. Now, if you don’t feed him right and look after him properly until he’s eighteen years old, he can never reach his full potential. This little baby has to have a system. There should be a time for everything.
"You will have everybody on earth telling you how to rear your child. I’m telling you, your mother-in-law’s telling you, all your neighbors are going to tell you how to do it. Listen carefully to what everybody says and respectfully reply, “Yes, ma’am; yes, sir.” Then go home and do just what you think is best."
Positioning Your Baby
Infants should always be placed on their stomachs for the first five months. This advice may sound contrary to what others are saying, but Denmark was insistent that babies are safer, healthier and happier on their tummies.
“I’ve practiced medicine for over 75 years, and have never had a crib death. I tell mothers ‘The minute that baby’s born, don’t ever leave it on its back except to nurse it’.”
Dr. Denmark showed us how to make up the baby’s crib so his face would not be buried in blankets, and towels layered under the crib sheet would absorb any spit up. The tummy-sleeping position worked wonderfully for all eleven of my babies!
(Read Dr. Denmark Said It! for more information on positioning and crib-making)
Schedules and Demand Feeding
Demand feeding or feeding every two hours round-the-clock is often recommended for newborns. Many assume that demand feeding simulates the more “natural” and wholesome habits of the animal kingdom and human mothers that lived long ago.
Dr. Denmark claimed that this assumption is wrong. Having grown up on a farm, at the turn of the twentieth century, she observed first-hand that animals had a rhythm to their eating habits based on their particular digestive systems. Her own mother, a farmer’s wife, would never have had the time to nurse on demand.
Her mother did not live at the frenetic pace many modern women tend to fall into. She took time to relax and nurse her babies. However, without modern refrigeration and labor-saving devices, a farmer’s wife was too busy to nurse every time baby squeaked. Feedings had to be spaced so necessary chores could be completed. All family members needed their rest at night, so baby was trained to the rhythm of a happy, active household.
Exhausted and Depressed Mothers
Demand feeding is likely to produce exhausted and depressed mothers, colicky babies, and chaotic homes. A good routine of eating and sleeping is vital for the health of the child and for family harmony. Milk meals need to be spaced sufficiently to allow time for the infant’s stomach to empty before adding more milk.
“The stomach is a small sack, and the food has to remain in the stomach and be mixed with the hydrochloric acid and pepsin and be digested before it is expelled into the gut to be mixed with the bile and pancreatic juices.
“After this process of digestion, the food is absorbed to supply the needs of the body. If we continue to add milk to the stomach, without giving the milk that is in the stomach time to be digested and expelled, the stomach has to expand more and more. (The stomach does not expel milk into the gut until it has been digested in the stomach.)
“With the constant adding of new milk, there would never be a time when all the milk in the stomach would have gone through the process of digestion; but the old would be mixed with the new. The only thing that could happen would be for the stomach to expand to accommodate all that was put in, or the undigested milk would have to be passed into the gut, or the baby would have to spit up to get relief.”
Feeding a child every time he cries creates a serious problem.
Upon returning from the hospital, a mother should put her newborn on a consistent schedule of eating and sleeping. This routine does not simply benefit parents or promote parental convenience.
Scheduling is best for baby! Training a child to eat and live on a sensible routine is not only fundamental for his good health. It enhances the child’s ability to live a productive life and promotes character development. The infant learns during his earliest days that he cannot expect to have every perceived need gratified instantly.
The consistent routine builds a sense of security. He learns that he can depend on and trust his parents to meet his true needs at the appropriate time.
Recommended Schedule for Newborns:
Feed breast milk or formula; allow baby to sleep in an open room. Raise the window shades and leave the door ajar if there is no danger of a toddler
harming the baby.
Bathe (as needed).
Feed and put down for nap with door and shades closed. Assure quiet.
Feed, leaving the room open.
Feed and play with baby.
Feed. Change diaper; check to see if baby is all right. Do not pick the child up or feed him until 6:00 a.m.
For more information on feeding schedules, positioning infants, sleep training and other fundamentals of childcare order your copy Dr. Denmark Said It! today.