A few weeks ago I posted the first part of this blog, answering the questions I had a year ago about taking care of a baby. And now the rest of my mom-of-a-5 1/2-month-old answers:

    • How often will the little guy eat? And what is formula? My theory right now is, formula means Wally can get up at night when the baby’s hungry. If that’s right, I’m good with that.

    Bah….mmmm….wha ha………….Oh, excuse me. I was trying to hold in my laughter. Girl, you have no idea what you’re getting into! Awwwww. You’re pretty. Okay, to answer your (actually good, but also laughable) question.

    If you plan to breastfeed (I hate that word. It gives me heebie jeebies. But “nursing” is even worse. My sister suggested “have the baby on the teet,” which is my favorite for its general silliness, which leads me to believe there is no great word for this–from now on I’ll refer to it as HYBOTT), most literature suggests that you do not supplement with formula, especially at first. You will read books upon books and articles upon articles that will give you advice, and here’s the conclusion you’ll draw: if you’re going to breastfeed, it’s a huge commitment. And it does not involve your husband getting up at night. But it’s also free, and best for the baby for many health benefits, and as a bonus it helps you burn 500 calories a day. But for the most part, you either are going to breastfeed or give your baby formula, and likely not both. (You need to establish and keep up your milk supply, and skipping feedings doesn’t actually work into that plan very well.)

    So how often does he eat? Well, if you opt to HYBOTT for the early months, he needs to eat every 2-3 hours from the start of a feeding to the start of a feeding. And more frequently at the beginning if he’s colicky and that’s the only way to calm him down. So let’s say it takes you a half hour to feed him because your guy likes to take his time…you will have a one and a half hour break, if you’re lucky, and then you’ll be feeding him again. Around the clock at first. So, like I said, a big commitment, but you will likely also enjoy this time to take a break with your baby. Perhaps more on HYBOTT at a later time. For now, I’m sorry I laughed at you. It’s just that your naivity was so cute.

    • Can you hug a newborn? My hunch is that you can’t. You just hold it.

    You were right, you can’t really hug a newborn. Hugs are difficult when they are just little lumps. But you will love this lump so much that you will find a way for every touch, pat, squeeze, and holding to be a hug. And before they can hug you back, they will learn to use their hands. They will reach up and play with your face with their soft little hands when you rock them. And with every little petting of your cheek, you will know that they’ve felt your hugs, they know what you mean, and they would like to say thank you and hug you back, in their own little way.

    • When does he start to get teeth, stop being a lump of a thing and hold his own head up, crawl, walk, make vowel sounds, make sounds that could be swear words, say mommy, and start doing chores like scooping the dog’s doo doo?

    He will start to get teeth sometime between 4 and 11 months, or something like that. But he will drool and stick everything in his mouth for 2 months before a tooth actually breaks through.

    He will stop being a lump around 5 or 6 weeks…just about the time you’re wondering if your fusspot will fuss until he’s 25, he will look you in the eyes, recognize you, and give you a big old smile. He will proceed to talk, find his hands and figure out how to use them, and laugh at your dog-eating-bubbles impersonations. It will all happen when he’s ready for it to happen.

    And every step forward will surprise and fascinate you. Most will delight you. (I say most because Wally Ben just learned how to demand things by screaming. And he gets higher and higher pitched every day. I feel like soon he’ll just be opening his mouth, and I won’t hear anything, but the dogs will leave the room in terror for how high pitched it is.) Through it all, though, you will love it, because it is such an incredible experience to watch a person become a person. And even more incredible, you’re watching your person become a person. So enjoy every second! He will be five and a half months before you know it!