Some More Advice

First I need to add a couple of things about the high chair. You probably already have a thousand thin flannel receiving blankets -- if you don't now is a good time to go get some, or better, find a friend (or an aunt with a friend) who has a serger, and get them to make you a bunch of two foot by two foot squares of flannel.

Once you have your pile of blankets, fold one up so that it lines the high chair under the baby. Then when the inevitable explosive poo happens you will only have to wash the blanket, not the entire high chair cover. Repeat as necessary for bouncy chair, car seat, stroller, etc.

You'll also need a rolled up hand towel to prop next to the baby in the high chair, so she doesn't topple over sideways. Like this.

Diapers

I haven't come across a brand of diapers which isn't perfectly adequate. They all seem to do the trick, store-brand or name-brand alike. Huggies are a little nicer in that they are softer and stretchier, but they don't objectively function any better. Pampers are just weird because they are scented: why? If you get on Huggies' mailing list they will send you big fat coupons on a regular basis, so you can feel a bit better about spending huge piles of money on diapers, but I'm not sure how I got on the list. Maybe just email them and ask?

Wipes, on the other hand, are not all created equal. The cheap brands all seem to be smooth and thin and useless at sponging up poop. We stick with Huggies-brand wipes when we're out, and wet washcloths when we're home, which you probably won't want to do unless you launder your own cloth diapers. Huggies are more expensive, but since you probably use twice as many of the cheap kind maybe it works out in the end. There might be other good brands out there, but I'm warning you, buy a small package to start off with because you don't want to be stuck with 200 lousy wipes.

I don't think you're using cloth diapers because you're not INSANE, but if you do and you wash them yourself, let me tell you the big secret: use Tide. There is all sorts of advice out there to have two diaper pails, or to soak overnight, or to rinse with vinegar, blah dee blah dee blah. I just stick the diapers in a pail all by their smelly selves, and then dump them in the washer on a heavy-duty hot cycle with Tide. Voila, fresh, stain-free diapers.

Incidentally, in other laundry news, most stains ever encountered by man or baby can be removed with an overnight soak in a wash basin with hot water and some Oxy-Clean. I just used it to get some thirty-year-old stains out of a hand-me-down blanket from when Blake was a baby. It's freaky-good.

Sleeping

If you're nursing, the best advice I can give you is to sleep with your baby. I've slept with both of mine and I had to nod politely through all those conversations with other mothers about being so sleep-deprived, because I'm just not. Baby wakes up, you offer the boob, baby nurses while you drift back to sleep. And sleeping with your baby is just nice. It's lovely to be able to smell her soft round head in the middle of the night.

I don't know if I would try it if I were bottle-feeding, though, because breast-feeding mothers actually sleep more lightly than normal people, so you're less likely to squish your baby in the night. Also don't sleep with your baby if you smoke (!), or if you've been drinking or taken medication which makes you sleepy like Neo-Citran. Also the baby should sleep next to you, not between you and your husband, again because of the rolling-onto issue. We have a bed rail on my side of the bed but it's just a technicality, because your baby will glom onto you like a remora. It's astonishing how quickly a supposedly non-mobile baby will make her way across a bed to the nearest warm body.

(Having said that, I still think the bed rail is a good idea. And don't put the baby on the bed between you and a wall, there's just too much scope for disaster there.)

You'll also want another one of those receiving blankets under your baby and your boobs, to catch poop and spit-up and spilled milk. It's a lot easier to change a small blanket than your entire bottom sheet.

Crying

Blake's advice for dealing with a crying baby is, do everything you can think of. Then do it again. Eventually something will work. My advice is, do all the sensible things (feed, change, burp, rock, etc) and if nothing works, take off all her clothes. Ostensibly you're looking for rashes or irritating tags on her clothes or whatever, but I find babies just like being naked.

Remember crying peaks at six weeks, so this won't actually go on forever. And if you have done everything you can think of and she's still crying (and you don't think she's sick), remember to keep cuddling her. Even if you can't make her stop crying at least you can give her comfort. (Unless you think you might throw her out the window; in that case, put the baby down (somewhere safe) and back away (maybe into the shower or something) -- give yourself a time-out.)

Another thing you might do, although I don't remember doing this with Delphine, is go out for a walk. Fresh air usually settles babies down and if she's tired the stroller will help her sleep. Our midwife told us about a 24-hour drugstore where there are often groggy parents doing midnight laps with their babies in strollers.

One thing that helped me when I felt like a lousy parent because I couldn't stop Delphine from crying was to think about people with sick babies. Blake was really sickly when he was a kid and he must have spent HOURS of his life crying, and it doesn't seem to have done him any harm. I have a friend whose baby had open-heart surgery at six months -- he must have cried so much, and there was nothing his parents could do, but he is a perfectly normal and happy kid now. So don't put too much stock in the crying -- it's upsetting to you, the parent, because it's meant to be, but it doesn't always mean something is horribly wrong that you can fix.

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