So you really want to know all about what having a new baby will be like – and you don’t want to wade through a 300-page tome.
It may be that a new DVD called “Bringing Baby Home” is just what you need.
Although it’s not the first DVD of baby directions, it’s a very complete one – covering 120 topics in only an hour. It’s also very realistic, and that’s a warning.
The babies are not the plump smooth-skinned, smiling Gerber types that prompt fond memories of motherhood. Rather, these are real newborns: slimy, red, wrinkly, with baby acne and loud screams.
(If you’re planning to give this DVD to soon-to-be parents, you might want to assess their strength of character. In fact, it might be a useful tool in health classes warning teenagers against pregnancy.)
The DVD is the work of Lianne Castelino and Andrea Howick, two Canadian mothers who met when they worked at a Montreal television station. Their aim is to show young parents what new babies are really like and how to care for them.
Castelino explained how it’s supposed to work: “The better prepared you are, the less stress you feel. It will empower you, so you have a better grasp of what to expect.”
Castelino and Howick recommend that expectant parents watch the DVD several times before the baby is born because there won’t be time afterward. After their baby arrives, they can go back to any pertinent section as needed.
Watching the DVD is a total immersion education in all aspects of baby care: what to expect soon after birth, how to hold a baby, the baby’s soft spot, nursing, postpartum blues and getting along with your partner.
Although the DVD is mostly for mothers – with an excellent and highly detailed section on nursing – Castelino said they’ve heard from fathers who found it very helpful.
Like the section on nursing, the part on baby hygiene is particularly strong, giving useful tips on bathing babies, such as to be fully prepared before you start, how to position the baby for a sponge or tub bath and to ignore the phone and never leave the child alone.
(This is also the most amusing part of the DVD. While the narrator coos about talking and singing to your child while the baby is “soothed” in the warm tub of water, the baby in the DVD screams unremittingly. That’s reality. And, in another dose of reality – “expect the unexpected,” the narrator says – the baby punctuates the end of the bath with a poop in the tub. Yes, that’s motherhood. Healthy sleep habits, sleeping positions and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are all covered.
The last section addresses postpartum issues such as: the aftereffects of a Cesarean birth, sitz baths, the postpartum blues and the resumption of sex. A therapist and a young couple with a newborn talk frankly about how a relationship evolves after the birth: how the father may feel, and how the mother can involve him in baby care.
Also carefully covered are the situations in which a baby should be taken to the doctor, including a fever of above 100.4, irritability or unexplained fatigue, vomiting or refusing to eat.
It’s exhausting to watch the whole DVD at once – a reminder of just what early parenthood is like. Expectant parents may want to try 15 minutes at a time.
“Bringing Baby Home” is available with overnight delivery for about $19.95 plus shipping costs at www.liandreaproductions.com. The Liandrea Co., which is in Canada, hopes to have it available soon in stores in the United States.
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
Published by:By Kathleen Megan, Courant Staff Writer