Thoughts on Confinement #5: Preparing for the long haul
In order to mitigate these problems, it is advisable for potential mothers (and fathers) to discuss their views on child-rearing with the secondary caregivers, especially if the designated caregiver will be taking over after the mothers return to work.
Personally, I found this particularly difficult as my own mother had volunteered to help me during confinement and everytime I tried to talk to her about baby-related issues, she would wave me away saying, "Aiyah, when the baby is here, then we can talk about it.". Now, I really felt that the time for discussion (or argument, as the case may be) should not take place over the cradle of a squalling newborn, so I persisted and in the end we did manage to have a proper talk.
After chatting with some other mums who have had secondary caregivers during the confinement month, I realised that most of us had to deal with similar issues. I have consolidated these issues into the following categories:
Here are some things that expecting mums might want to ponder over with their husbands and their secondary caregivers (this is by no means an exhaustive list - there are other issues that will be specific to each family):
- Will you be breastfeeding, bottle feeding or using a combination?
- Will you be expressing milk or using formula or a combination for bottle feeding?
- What kind of bottles/teats will you be using?
- If you are bottle feeding, who gets to feed the baby?
- Who gets to feed the baby at night?
- How often will you be feeding the baby?
- How long will your feeding times be?
- If the baby is sleeping, will you wake him or her for a feed?
- Do you plan on supplementing your baby's milk feeds with rice cereal, water, vitamin drops etc? When and how much?
- What will you do with the baby directly after a feed?
- What will you do if the baby falls asleep halfway during a feed?
- What will you do if the baby appears hungry but cries when put to the breast?
- What will you do if the baby has finished a feed but starts crying a short while later?
- How do you plan to put your baby to sleep?
- When will you put your baby to sleep?
- Where will the baby be sleeping during the day/night?
- In what position will the baby be sleeping?
- How do you plan to ensure the baby's comfort whilst sleeping?
- How long will you allow your baby to sleep in between feeds? Any change during the night time?
- What will you do if you put your baby to sleep but he or she is still crying?
- What will you do if your baby wakes midway through a nap and is crying?
- What do you do immediately after the baby wakes up from a nap?
- When the baby is crying, who picks up the baby first? What happens if it is nighttime?
- What methods of soothing will you use?
- Do you plan to allow pacifers, finger/thumb sucking, gripe water, medicated oil, swings, brandy etc?
- What will you do if the baby is crying but is clearly not hungry/uncomfortable/sick?
Read the rest of the series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4