As new moms and dads are struggling to master the art of new parenthood, one of my favorite things to do is to help them realize that they know a lot more than they give themselves credit for. They come to the hospital with stacks of books and bring lists of questions and furrowed brows to my classes. How do we learn to swaddle? How do I know when to feed her? What should I do if she sneezes? They are on the quest for a secret baby decoder ring—the holy grail of answers to all their questions. They don’t even know that they already know quite a bit about their new baby.
As I was making rounds this week, I met a young mommy who looked extremely worried. She held the baby nervously and gently rocked her. I asked her if everything was ok, as her expression was telling me otherwise. She said, “Well not really…. She got the hiccups and I don’t know what to do!” I smiled and asked her the same question I pose to all new parents who are panicked about hiccups. “Do you remember during your pregnancy that she got the hiccups? Those cute little rhythmic bumps and jumps you felt her making?” “Yes!” she said as she began to see the connection, “She used to get them every afternoon, for about 3 minutes….and then sometimes she would get them right before I was ready for bed….making it tough for me to settle down!” “See, I said…you know so much about her rhythm and personality already!” She began to smile and then looked at the clock. “Come to think of it this is about the time that she would seem to get them every day!” she looked down at the baby and smiled and then back at me.
“This is the same baby that you know so well….the only difference is –she is on the outside now! You know her sleep patterns, her wakeful times and yes even her hiccup times. And you know that with hiccups, they come and go all on their own.”
“Wow, you are right, I DO know so much more than I realized.”