On being a new parent, listening to your intuition and seeking outside help
My seven-month-old daughter coughed a series of three quick coughs as I cuddled her sleeping body in my arms. She stayed asleep. Minutes later, the series of coughs returned.
I leaned over and put my ear close to her chest and listened for a “whoop” sound. Not there. Instead, I heard gurgling in her breathing. Her nose started to run a clear fluid.
My senses were on hyper-alert to my daughter’s sounds and behaviors.
That evening in bed, she coughed so much she vomited breast milk. My wife’s eyes were wild with fear as she propped up our little one. Our daughter was crying. I tried to stay calm. I took my daughter’s temperature: 100.2 °F.
I worried for the rest of the night.
In the morning we consulted with friends, posted our daughter’s symptoms on a couple of Facebook groups for parents and made an appointment for her to be seen by our pediatrician.
For days my wife stayed home giving our daughter extra cuddles and nursing plus doses of baby probiotic and elderberry syrup.
When we saw the pediatrician, our daughter’s oxygen levels registered as normal. Her lungs sounded strong to the doctor despite the gurgling. The red spots on her back were a sign of a virus and the virus was on its way out.
Our family survived our daughter’s first cold. We did it by following our intuition, seeking the experiences of friends we trust and consulting with a doctor.
Parenthood support and PBS parents
One of my jobs as a parent is to help guide my daughter through life’s transitions. I need help doing that. I count the PBSparents website among my helpers.
To anticipate some of my daughter’s transitions, I found the Child Development link helpful. It provides insights on the stages of growth, breaks those stages into categories including approaches to learning, social and emotional growth, literacy, and math, for example, and lists tips for building those skills. Having a sense of what I might expect gives me confidence and fun ideas about how to guide my daughter. For example, I found several board books in the Bookfinder section of the site that we then checked out from the local library. They’ve provided hours of fun for the two of us.
Though we won’t be celebrating my daughter’s birthday until she’s a bit older, the birthday parties tip sheet gave me thoughts about starting a family tradition, creating realistic expectations and keeping stress to a minimum.
We’re thinking about homeschooling our daughter so we clicked on the homeschooling section. The going to school section provides tips for talking with children as well as a list of subjects that children will be learning by grade level.
Our daughter is too young to play online games, but when she’s old enough, the fun & games links will be one of our starting points.
Being a new parent is both exhilarating and scary. Thank goodness for a fine-tuned intuition, the support of friends who started the parenthood journey long before us and the resources of PBSparents.