Orion’s vision seemed to be better than is expected at that age. He really spent a lot of time gazing at certain things, especially the black metal spirals that are inset in our headboard and make a contrast against the lighter wall. He also loved looking at the pictures I had hung over the changing table. I didn’t think of it when I put them together, but they are perfect for a newborn because they are black and white. The changing table has become one of his favorite places to hang out. He is also definitely attracted to orange and red. Oh yeah – one other black and white thing he liked to look at was the heating/AC vent on the ceiling above our bed. That was another way I knew he could see farther than the 8 inches that is standard for newborns.
We were able to hire a doula to stay with me during the week. At the end of 2 weeks off for Ron, he was planning on taking at least another week off. His boss decided they were desperate for him to come back and offered to pay for full time help for the next 4 weeks! We got some references from Octavia and chose a woman named Fanny Brown. She was perfect for us because she was willing to do whatever we needed and even has 3 dogs of her own at home. Our puppy, Kona, was just over 6 months at this point, so we needed somebody who could deal with that energy.
One of the first things Fanny commented on was how Orion would suck on his own fist for comfort. Supposedly babies are not supposed to start doing that until they are about 3 months. He did like getting swaddled though as most newborns do. Ron didn’t think he did, but we had just never done it right. Fanny showed us how to do it so his arms were held better and it definitely made a difference for sleeping. Newborns tend to wake themselves up because of the way they jerk their arms and they end up sticking their hands in their faces. One problem though was that he was pretty much too big to be swaddled in the standard size receiving blanket! Fanny knew of a certain brand that was bigger, so we got some of those and had some success for awhile.
Fanny also taught me a number of other tricks – some baby related and some not, such as:
Use a Q-tip to apply cream to the babies bottom – sterile for him and no mess for me.
Viva paper towels are amazingly absorbent and make great changing table accessories, especially for boys…
Put your sponges in the dishwasher to sterilize them. Gets rid of that yucko stink they always get right away.
Tuck a receiving blanket very tightly around a baby right after you put them down to sleep in a crib - this makes them feel like they are still being held.
There is a little bit more that relates to the first few weeks, but I want to get another entry in so I will save it for next time.