This post was sponsored by our friends at NAPS™

Is parenting easy? Can we get a ‘hell no’?! As parents, we have questions…many, many questions (hello, feeding, sleeping, milestones, etc.). Unfortunately, we have found out that there are freaking millions of answers to these questions. Overabundance isn’t always a good thing (especially for poopy blowouts).

NAPS logoAs part of your pregnancy and parenting journey, it’s important to find that source of support and education as you will have questions along the way! We’ve helped tens of thousands of parents and here are the most commonly asked questions! We hope something resonates with you and helps YOU as a parent.

New Parent What if I go into labor… but like, don’t know… will I miss it?

Try not to worry: it’s VERY unlikely that you would be in active labor and not know! WHY? When you go into labor you will experience contractions. In the early part of labor, the contractions can feel very mild, and irregular, almost like cramping. For some women, these are uncomfortable, but they don’t describe them as painful. I always like to think of labor as a ball rolling down a hill. It’s slow to get started but picks up speed as it goes down. That’s like labor: as you get more active, your body will pick up speed, the contractions get longer, stronger, and closer together and the cramping becomes painful. The best advice I can give is: in the beginning, you will probably be able to talk during a contraction… when you’re more active, you’ll have to stop what you are doing, stop talking, and just breathe!
We talk about labor…and much, much, more…in our Pre-Baby Bootcamp check it out!

I’m breastfeeding… how do I know my baby is getting enough?! It’s so hard because I can’t measure what’s going in and out and I’m a data/numbers person!

For sure, this can be hard for my moms who like some hardcore data, excel sheets or charting. Breastfeeding isn’t really objective – you aren’t perfectly measuring how much is in your breasts and how much is going into your baby’s belly. While an element of this is getting comfortable with breastfeeding, part of it is learning to trust the system. To gain that trust and reassure yourself when you’re breastfeeding, start taking note of the things you can observe and ask yourself these questions….. How does your breast feel when you touch it before a feed and right after? Is it a bit softer? YES? Baby got milk. When your baby is latched, and they are sucking, can you hear swallowing? YES? Baby got milk. What does your baby look like before a feed and then after? Fussy, ravenous and tight body and hands? Soft body tone and satiated after the feed? YES? Baby got milk. Is your baby-making wet and dirty diapers as they should be? YES? Baby is getting milk. Is baby gaining weight every time you visit the pediatrician or when your lactation nurse comes to visit and weighs baby? YES? Baby is getting milk. Is your baby happy, eating, sleeping well, and overall thriving? YES? System is working! Breastfeeding is hard.. And it can be a mind f*ck. Especially as baby’s get a bit older and become more efficient eaters, or only take one side. Sometimes they take a break between sides. There’s a lot to embrace! But, you will get comfortable with it over time and trust yourself/the system and your baby. PLUG lactation visits.

New Parent with baby in strollerWhen can I leave the house with my newborn?

It’s very common for my moms to feel a little anxious about getting out once the baby is here. That being said, I recommend to all of my moms that they get outside with the baby, once a day! Even if it’s a walk around your block. I say that knowing that a short trip around the block is easier to try and actually DO something with a newborn. It’s freaking overwhelming to feed the baby, get them ready, pack the bag, get the stroller… etc., and the window of opportunity to actually get something done with a newborn feels TIGHT.

Veteran parents, am I right? By the time you feed your baby, change their diaper, get yourself ready, pack the diaper bag, and drag the stroller down and out for the walk it feels like you now have an hour or less to do what you wanted to do before you have to feed again. I’ll never forget just running to Target with my first as a newborn. I breastfed her, changed her diaper…but then she still seemed hungry, so I fed her the other side. I had packed a diaper bag. Definitely didn’t shower, but threw a bra on. Put her in the car seat to leave… oh, she pooped, back out of the car seat for another diaper change, and then finally get in the car to drive to Target. And now I’m like.. OK.. Target is 20 minutes away, I’ll have 30 minutes to shop, then I have to leave because it’s 20 minutes home, so I can be back for the next feed. LOL. It’s always a juggle. But don’t not live: make the window work. Do something shorter or simple to start, and eventually, you’ll be comfortable feeding and changing your baby while you’re out, so you don’t have to go back in again! Start with a simple walk and build up!

When can I sleep train my baby?

Sleep training is a loaded phrase and it can mean different things to different people there are a million different ways to “sleep train” your baby. So let’s simplify this. Sleep training is teaching your baby to sleep through the night. Sleeping through the night, to us, at NAPS, means a baby that goes to bed at the same time every night, can put themselves to sleep and stays asleep for about 11-12 hours overnight without needing a feed. If this baby wakes up overnight, they are able to soothe and put themselves back to sleep. Around 5 months of age, we know that baby’s are developmentally changing their sleep cycles to mimic our adult sleep cycles – meaning they can sleep through the night without needing those calories, they can connect sleep cycles and elongate naps. This seems to be the sweet spot for parents to embark on sleep training if they have a baby that is still getting up to feed overnight. Can you do some forms of sleep training sooner than 5 months, YES. Is it okay to have a baby still eating overnight at 5 months? YES. Can you wait to sleep train until your baby is a bit older? YES. Do all babies have to be trained to sleep? NO! Most of our NAPS babies drop feeds naturally overnight and get longer stretches with time, never needing to be formally trained for sleep, by following our curriculum inside of Nurture by NAPS.

As a parent, you’re going to make 1,000 decisions a day- some hard, some easy. Figuring out who to turn to when you have those questions shouldn’t be a hard one. Take the time to find that person or people that are knowledgeable AND reasonable. We’re here to help with our Mom Survival Groups, courses, calls, and more! Whether you find it from us or others, it’s all about the support and guidance to help you find your right way to parent!

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Meghan Block
Meghan was born and raised on the South Shore and attended college in Boston. After college, she married her high school sweetheart and followed him to Charleston, SC, and Groton, CT, where he served as a submarine officer in the United States Navy. Military life was an adventure, and after six crazy years of service (and two babies later!), the pair decided to move *home* to the South Shore in 2016 and put down some roots. Meghan is the proud owner of Boston Moms and work-at-home mom to William, Benjamin, and Caroline, born in 2013, 2015 and 2019. She loves meeting new people, encouraging moms, celebrating motherhood, and supporting small businesses.