[Episode 16] Newborn "Skills" (What to Expect from a Newborn)

After waiting for it for months, your baby is finally here, but it does not come with a manual.

In Episode #16 of "Moms Talk with a French Accent," NY Holistic Pediatrician Dr. Varisa Perlman and La Petite Creme founders Fanny & Cecile give you the tools to understand and recognize the "skills" that are involved in their first few weeks of life.

(full text transcript below the video)


Moms Talk with Dr. Varisa Perlman [Episode #16]: Newborn "Skills" (What to Expect from a Newborn)

Cecile: Hi.

Fanny: Hi, everyone.

Cecile: Bonjour, and welcome. Hello, hello. This is Cecile.

Fanny: And Fanny from La Petite Creme.

Cecile: We are going to wait for a few more people to join. Hi. Hello, Varisa. So today we're going to be joined as usual by our favorite pediatrician and holistic coach, Varisa Perlman. Here you go. Hello, hello. Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining. The volume up so we hear the conversation. Hi.

Fanny: Hi.

Cecile: Hello.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Hi.

Cecile: Hello and welcome. So we are here on Episode #16 of our series, Moms Talk with a French Accent. So we're the French, we have the accent. And we are covering today the topic of newborn and newborn "skills". I'm sure everybody noticed the quote-unquote around the skills that we put on the agenda. So we'll wait for a few more people to join.

Hi, Emilien. We have Fanny's husband in the chat. Hey. [laughs] Hi, Emilien. Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining. We're so happy you're here on this Wednesday afternoon. We are located here in Miami, Florida, and we know we have people logging in from all over the country. Newborn and newborn skills. Let's go around quickly and maybe introduce ourselves for people who don't know us.

Fanny: I'm Fanny. I'm the co-founder of La Petite Creme, and I'm a mom of two kids—a daughter who is going to turn five and a son who is going to turn two.

Cecile: Very close to the newborn age.

Fanny: Yeah. [laughs]

Cecile: And I'm Cecile. I'm the other co-founder of La Petite Creme. I'm also a mother, I'm a doula, and I am an engineer. So a little bit of everything.

Hi, Jess. Thank you for joining. So yeah, I'm here to talk about the beauty of motherhood and babyhood and discovering that new baby, and excited to be here.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And I'm Dr. Varisa Perlman. I am a holistic pediatrician and now working as a holistic health coach and working with these two wonderful ladies whose families were in my practice in Miami Beach. Someone remarked it's number 16. I feel like we just started doing this, but there's so many things to talk about so we just keep going.

Cecile: We do. And we've been having great feedback from our audience on the value that we bring. So that's super exciting. And we are adding even more value as during the discussion today, we're going to have a giveaway of your favorite La Petite Creme product. So, Fanny, do you want to show us what we're going to be winning?

Fanny: We're going to give away our starter bundle. So you have everything to start the product at home. You have the convenient pump for your diaper station. That's the lotion that you use at every diaper change to keep the rash away. You have the small one for your diaper bag and also the travel version of our diaper balm and the pad that you use the lotion on.

Cecile: So you have to keep listening, and then at some point, we're going to ask a question and whoever answers that question is going to be entered for a draw which we're going to do right here during this live, and then we'll send you these beautiful bundle so that you can use it on your babies. So continue watching as we go through the conversation.

So, newborn skills. And it's fantastic to have you, Dr. Perlman, as you are the master of newborn. As Fanny said, she had two kids, I had two kids, so we only have four different versions of babies that we've been exposed to on a regular basis, but you know babies in and out. So what do we mean when we talk about newborn "skills"?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So just out of curiosity, when you talk about it, tell me why do you say "skills" like this? Is it so scary? Is that what it is? That even now, when your kids are older, you're like, "I don't know what that was I had then." I had a newborn. I was caring for a newborn. Did I have "skills"? I don't know. [laughs]

Cecile: [laughs] To me it's more like what do babies do? Because I know I mentioned that in previous episodes, but before I had my own children, I had very little interest in babies and very little attraction for them. To me, they were more like a blurb that came out and it was something to check off your list. I'm like, "Yeah, I had kids," like the evolution, like, okay, that's done. But I didn't quite know what a baby would actually do. So it's more like what to expect from a newborn and what is normal, I would say. But what is within range and what is to be expected from that thing.

I don't know, what you think about when we say newborn "skills" and why the quote-unquote?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes.

Fanny: So newborn skills, I will put on newborn skills emotional because I think newborns are like sponges. That's something that we don't think about when we think about newborns, but newborns are very alert and responsive to emotion. I used to work in a hospital and for the baby who doesn't have the chance to have a mom and a dad, who was let off for adoption, those kids were like—that was amazing how they reacted because they were silent. And for newborns, they were silent because I think they knew that nobody was there for them. So for me, that's very something that I'm aware since I work in the hospital.

They are sponges. So if you are stressed, I think they feel that stress and they start to react by crying, not sleeping well. So for me, the big thing is emotional. And after that, I will put all of the reflexes that they have from birth, of course, like every reflex that the newborn has and also the primal instinct. They will find a way to feed themselves. If you lay your kids on your chest, they will crawl. And yeah, so I would put that on newborn skills for my kids.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So that was such an interesting answer set because from your point of view, Cecile, you're like, "What do they do? I don't understand. How am I supposed to bond? This thing has literally exited my body." And you're just looking at it. You're like, "Who are you? I don't know."

Cecile: Where's the manual?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. [laughs] I don't understand. The alien has arrived. It's definitely not an unusual feeling. And then for Fanny, Fanny really could see a lot of understanding and light in them. And I think that both are actually true at the same time. I think they're a little scary, but very emotive aliens. I mean, they truly are. [laughs] They are this being that literally comes into the world and you are now tasked with taking care of them.

And I think that a lot of times, there's a fear to that, but there's also a bit of joy because you understand that you aren't supposed to know everything. This isn't a clone, like another human adult has come out of your body. Thank God. [laughs] But this is a totally alien being. So what that means is that if you feel lost, you are not wrong. You are not crazy. And if you don't look at it and be like, "Oh my God, I've bonded so much with this being," you are not wrong either because it's a very stressful, hard period.

We've talked about that before. Some of the things that Fanny says that she felt guilty she didn't feel this immediate love. And I said it wasn't that you weren't in love with this being, you weren't in love with being up all night and changing poopy diapers all day and having someone screaming in your face. Who falls in love with that? So I think that a little bit of grace has to be understood.

I love the quotation marks because even myself who is a pediatrician, I'm supposed to know all these things, but when that individual being is in front of you, the story is always different. The book is always different. And you know, that's okay. That's all right.

The reason why I set that up is because we have to understand, especially the first three months, is the period that when I'm thinking about newborns, is the time of when they are in the fourth trimester. We've used that phrase before, where they're still kind of womb-y. Like if you threw them back in the womb, they might be actually okay with that, right? Because things have just started to work.

So even as simple as taking their first breath, they're literally blowing up the balloons that are in their lungs, all their little alveoli. Those things have been deflated the entire time while they were inside of you. So there are a lot of new parts to their body that haven't quite developed that they are still growing. The wiring is not there. So all of the ways that the weird things, like the way that their hands and their feet turn blue—not the mouth, right? We're not talking about the mouth, but the hands and the feet turning blue, that's because the wiring is not quite there. The blood vessels are not quite there. They're still kind of getting pulled through.

The fact that they Moro, that Moro reflex, that's because the neurological system hasn't quite finished the whole wiring. So you're like, "What am I getting? This is a dud. This baby can't even really do things." But in many ways, listen, that's how it goes. We're not like deer who just jump out and start walking. We have a lot of work in progress.

The gut, that's why the gut's kind of funky so much in the first three months, because the wiring—because the guts are completely powered by the wiring—not really great. So instead of being like a nice peristalsis it calls, in the gut, it spasms. So that really does lead to a lot of that colic behavior. Things don't move through very well. Gas doesn't move go through, the food doesn't go move through. They're sensitive to a lot of things.

So how are you supposed to have a wonderful experience the first few months? Because you're dealing with something that is still in progress.

Cecile: Okay. That's very good to take a moment to realize that because at least from my point of view when I had my baby, I thought the work was done of building it, as far as the mechanics of putting the pieces together. I never quite realized until now that it was still building itself as it was outside of me. And had I known that back then, I would have probably been a lot more patient with that baby and with myself to know that the moment where nothing happened, it's actually a lot is going on.

Fanny: Happening on their body.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Right? A lot. That being said, I have to tell you, I've seen little babies be a minute old, like being at the delivery, and they look, they open their eyes, and they are looking through me. I mean, they are so bright. I think that that's the thing is that—and I agree with Fanny—these little beings, they're on fire. I mean, they are literally absorbing the world. They're just computing from the minute their eyes open.

And when you realize that, you start to just really appreciate the grandeur of what is being created. You have this whole ecosystem that has literally landed in your lap. And it's just trying to make sense of the world. There are some things that have informed them when they were in the womb so just to kind of start out from the womb.

During the day, as we all know generally who have been pregnant, they're quiet, they're sleeping generally, right? And then at night, especially as they got bigger, you feel the kicks. You feel the movement, and you're like, "Why the hell are you doing that?" I actually don't know why they sleep during the day and they're up at night. But the reason why that's relevant is that when the baby comes out, they're still in Thailand, as I would like to say, they're still jet lagged. So night and day, they're not so sure.

When we used to come back from Thailand, my mom would break our jet lag, not very subtly, by literally during daylight hours, hitting us every two hours, especially if we would fall asleep. And we go, "Oh," and she goes, "Okay, go back to sleep." [laughs] And we're like, "What was that? Why did you do that?" But she was trying to make it so we didn't go into the deep REM sleep that really happens by hour four.

So during the daytime, even though a lot of people say, "Don't wake up a sleeping baby," especially the abuelas, everyone's like, "Oh my God, don't wake them up." They say that because their ass isn't there with you at 3:00 in the morning when the baby's like, "Oh, I'm up, it's so fun, I'm having such a great day," and you're like, "No, no, it's not day, it's night." And you're like, "Why?"

So you hear abuelas say, "Oh, but I let them sleep all day. What a beautiful baby, they slept all day." Yeah, no. The first time around, you're like, "Oh my God." The second kid, you're like, "No, no, get away from me. I'm waking up my kid," because the sleep deprivation is very real. So during the day, I'm a big fan of waking up every two hours, wake up, try to feed, go back to sleep. I don't need them to stay awake for a long. I just need them to come out of it. And then at night, I let them go three to four hours. And then if they reach their birth weight at two weeks, I let them keep going.

And this is a great example of a way that we're taking what happened in the womb and then trying to adjust them as they come out. So there's all this idea of adjusting them. Another example is the fact that the uterus sits between the great vessels. So there's a lot of noise. Shoo, shoo, shoo, right? So sometimes, it's interesting because we are so confused during the day, everyone's running around talking, it's during the daytime and it's loud and the baby's sleeping. And you're like, "Why are you sleeping?" It's because that noise, they're actually used to. So that's another way that the newborn kind of is unexpected. You know, it's unexpected.

The poop that you see, all that dark meconium because they haven't been pooping in the womb. It's just stuff that's sitting there. So when they pass it, you're seeing about 10 months’ worth of schmutz that's been kind of settling in there. It's thick, it's black, it's tarry. Just to put a plug for your product, the oil will take it off beautifully because the oil will take it right back. And then it progresses. Then it goes into the browns and then the greens and then the yellows.

So getting rid of that, again, all we're doing is taking this little being and we're just turning on the switches everywhere. [laughs] Now your gut's gonna work. Now your lungs are gonna work. It's actually amazing to watch that unfold, but it's a dynamic, chaotic system. That's why everyone does "this", right? Because in a dynamic, chaotic system, how are you supposed to keep track? How are you supposed to adjust?

And on top of that, which we don't talk about much, your body is also like, "What the hell was that?" We were good, we had this baby in us, you've shifted. Your fluid is all over the place. Your body's like, "What happened?" Your baby has been taken from you, this whole feeding system which is being fed through your placenta is now leaving you. The shifts are unbelievable. They make a big deal. "Oh my God, this actor, he gained 30 pounds for his role. What a hero." And I'm like, any woman would be like, "Whatever. Whatever. I don't even know what to tell you."

I had this woman I just spoke to yesterday, and she's had 10 pregnancies. 10 pregnancies. And I was like, "How does your body know what to do?" But it does. It does. But it's still a process.

Cecile: It is. Yeah.

Fanny: Yeah.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Right? So the newborn, I can't help but say, "Well, yes, the newborn," but the chaos is also you. So that's why all of it seems kind of kooky.

Cecile: So you mentioned some good points there. And we're just going to remind folks, say hi to everybody who joined in the meantime. We're talking about newborn "skills".

Fanny: Let us know in the comments if you have a newborn at home or if you are about to give birth or how old is your baby. That would be helpful for us.

Cecile: Yeah, and if you have any particular milestone or any particular skill that you're curious for your baby or any particular skill that you noticed in your baby. But in the few that you already mentioned, we hear that as part of the maybe milestone or stepping stone to see what we can look at because sometimes we don't know what we're looking at, like the wiring of the brain, what does it look like when we're facing a baby.

You mentioned, so the poop is a very good indicator of what's going on inside. And for Fanny and I who are deep into the poop business, we made our own career around it.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I think you have to get a t-shirt that says, "Poop is our business." [laughs]

Cecile: [laughs] Yeah, that'd be a good one. We'll get people jealous of that one for sure.

But poop is very tied to the rest of the system. If the poop goes well, everything seems to be going well. And while it might not be true for the cognitive system and all that, it is linked to—Yeah, exactly, Coreen, you agree, poop, poop, poop. No shame in that.

So the three things that we always say that are important to all babies and the primal minimum thing are eat, sleep, poop, right? Those are the three external indicators that everything is going well. Now remember when you were our pediatrician, as you mentioned, when our kids were little, the one question you would always ask is like, "Do they eat well? Do they sleep well?" If the answer was yes, you're like, "Yeah, then it can't be as much of a problem." So I know that even to this day when you're gone and now you're in New York, when something goes wrong, we're like, "Okay, is the eating okay? The sleeping okay? The pooping okay?" Then it's something else that is just not maybe as major. So it's always reassuring. But the poop is a good indicator that things are progressing.

So you mentioned the meconium, like very almost black, the brown, the green, and the yellow. And the green, this one is important to me because that green part, I remember it vividly when I had my daughter at 3:00 in the morning, which is when all the great things happened with newborns, that I had that first green poop. And I was like, "Oh my goodness, what is that? Did I eat something? Did they eat something?" So I ended up calling the emergency line for the nurse from your office back then. They were not impressed by my green poop. I was very like, "Oh my goodness, just discovered something."

But can you talk a little bit about that green poop and what to do with it if somebody is just in that phase where the poop is going to turn green? Because that would have saved my night that night to have that piece of information.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So yeah, I think it's interesting because the thing that's a little bit tricky, the reason why the newborn stage is actually really important is because after a certain point, maybe like by three, four—I mean, I'm always gonna tell you I want fluffy, happy poop, right? You always hear me say fluffy, happy poop. But particularly in the beginning, because it's shuddering versus like undulating, you're not gonna really see, and you really shouldn't see a lot of formed poop. Everyone's like, "Oh no, they have diarrhea. Oh, it's loose." And I'm like, "I'm okay with the diarrhea."

But you are right, the two things that we look at is the color and then if there's blood or not. And probably the third thing that we look at is how they're feeling. Does it make sense? So what you want to do is understand a couple of things. So the obvious thing, if they're screaming, even if their poop looks normal, if they're screaming and they're just really uncomfortable.

I'm always a big fan of doing circles on their belly in a counterclockwise manner.

Cecile: Hold on, hold on. We'll do a demo. We have a baby. We have our fake baby, so maybe we can use that to mimic.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: There you go. That's it. Just go right on the belly. [laughs]

Cecile: Show your belly, buddy.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: There we go.

Cecile: That'd be here.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And go in a counterclockwise manner. And with your fingers.

Fanny: Two fingers.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: That's it. And that sometimes soothes some of the gas because again, as I said before, it shudders, it doesn't undulate. So that's kind of helping a little bit of that movement.

Color, a little tricky, breastfeeding versus non-breastfeeding babies. So babies that are being formula-fed, poop does tend to be a little bit on the greener side, especially if you tend to use domestic formulas. If you're using European formulas, they tend to be on the yellow side. And if you're breastfeeding, the yellow color is usually what you're looking for.

So let's assume that you're breastfeeding, and usually, your poop is yellow, generally, it's yellow. And all of a sudden, it starts to get green or there's streaks of blood. Now, streaks of blood could be a variety of things. One of the things that could be is if there's a cut near the anal area, and then sometimes you can actually see that. Maybe if they've been having really hard bowel movements and they've been pushing, that can happen.

But the more likely issue is that when you're breastfeeding—and frankly, not everyone subscribes to this, I believe it. The whole 25 years of practice, this is something I saw a lot. With green poop or bloody poop, there's a chance that the baby is sensitive to something that you might be eating. And I hate to kind of—I know breastfeeding has so many things that are difficult, I'm just adding to something else that makes it difficult. If you are eating dairy or if you're eating sugar—or there's sometimes others, but those are the two main culprits of it, maybe a new probiotic or something that's changed—that can actually change the color of the stool. If you're not drinking enough fluids, that liquid—which is I kind of want that liquid—becomes thicker. So it becomes more and more like peanut butter.

You and the baby, you thought you and the baby were connected before? It's gonna get more when you're breastfeeding. Your connection is all together. So that green poop could have been related. Now, if it's a lot of blood, obviously that's a totally different conversation. It's something that is requiring the emergency room. But between green and gassy poop kind of leads me to believe.

So for you, Cecile, what did it end up being?

Cecile: Yeah, it was my food. But the massage did help a lot. Also, I think as I was breastfeeding and it was a shift on, I was giving a little bit of each breast being like, "Oh, they need to have both." And then you taught me that I had to do longer on one breast that they could get to the fatty part and not just the top superficial-

Fanny: Sugary.

Cecile: -of sugary. So once I switched also that, it made it easier. And it's amazing how quick the change is once you find the right balance-

Dr. Varisa Perlman: That's it.

Cecile: -of like, "Oh, now the poop is okay," and the cycle is actually pretty small, pretty short between the change and the results.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes, thank you for reminding me about the foremilk and the hindmilk. So the foremilk will give you more of a green gassy, and then the hindmilk will give you a thicker, the yellowish. But assuming that one breast is about 10 minutes, I generally point the first half as being the foremilk and the second half being the hindmilk.

That being said, I have seen a lot of other—where someone's 15 minutes and they're still on the foremilk. Sometimes they'll pump and they're like, "I still have foremilk." And so we have to make some kind of concoctions [laughs] between their foremilk and the hindmilk to try to make it work. But it is a variety of things.

And again, this is a lot of overwhelming information. You're sitting there with a baby and the baby's crying. I remember, so my kid would get constipated. And I remember, you know, it was 3:00 in the morning, the baby was three months old, and I'm just leaning over them going like crying. And the baby's crying, I'm crying, and my husband, he turned me around and goes, "Aren't you a pediatrician?" [laughs] I'm like, "Yes, I'm a pediatrician." I'm in the ER. I had to present it as if it wasn't my kid. Because as a parent, I was freaking out. I was freaking out.

And so I always joked that I did my residency and my kids were my fellowship. That's where you really learn how do you raise a baby. So those times are really intense. But it is never wrong to like—the good thing is that you were paying attention to the poop. And it is never wrong to ask your healthcare provider and be like, "Hey, what's going on?" They may not get excited and send you to the ER, which is not what you want anyways, but it is very real to be like, "There's been a shift. What is the cause of that shift?"

I always say Chinese medicine, they're like, "Hi, good morning. How was your poop today?" Chinese medicine has always felt that poop was important. So I think it's really relevant.

Cecile: Yeah. Another aspect of that is the sleeping. I think we had an entire episode on sleeping because it is one of those major key points of development for babies. What is to be expected? What is to be paying attention to in those first couple of weeks as far as sleeping? So you mentioned the-

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Sleep cycle.

Cecile: -rhythm of being in Thailand, I love this analogy, I use that a lot. But besides that, I think it's something with what can you observe in the sleeping to know if it's good sleeping, bad sleeping? It's something that they're closing their eyes probably that they all sleep the same. Anything on that is good to pay attention to for development.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. So besides adjusting the sleep cycles, one of the things that is a phrase that I would say to a lot of people, there's a lot of this like, "If the baby's crying, they're just trying to get your attention. Don't pick them up." Okay. So maybe if you're sleep training an older baby, that's fine. But in the beginning, I don't subscribe to that. This is still a very primal moment.

Fanny: Yeah, totally.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: It's a primal moment, and they are trying to say something to you. And whether that be, "The diaper is bothering me," "My stomach is hurting," or sometimes, "I'm hungry." The "I'm hungry" is very interesting. If you're bottle feeding, I always try to pause each ounce, take it slow, get a good burp. And if you're breastfeeding, I've had moms where the baby literally won't be put down. The baby won't be put down. And everyone's trying to ascribe it to "Oh, they're just being spoiled." When they are a week old, there's no spoiling. This is just a baby that's like, "I'm just trying to survive, lady. [laughs] I'm not trying to play you. I will play you very soon, but I'm not going to play you right now. I'm just trying to survive."

So to me, the connection, and we talked about how you're so connected when you're breastfeeding by what you eat. But it's also by what you don't eat. If you are not eating enough fat and protein, you are going to leave the baby hungry. And honestly, the body is smart. The body will not let you sleep if it's hungry. Let's just have faith in that. If the baby doesn't sleep, there is a chance the baby is hungry.

That being said, of course, when you're breastfeeding, just pause every three to five minutes to make sure the baby's not overeating. But generally, I take a moment within the chaos of all the questions and this crying baby and everything going on. I ask the mom, like, "What did you eat today?" Not always a good answer. [laughs] I don't always get a lot of food.

And a lot of times, I had this one mom, she was kind of a little lost. It was a 4 o'clock appointment, so it was end of the day. And she basically was like, "You know, I cannot eat. I haven't eaten anything all day because I cannot put the baby down. You see how it's like this weird cycle? And I was like, "You can't put the baby down because the baby is hungry because you didn't eat." I'm like, "So somewhere along the way, you need to eat."

She came the next time. She said she went home and someone had even cooked her a roast. She had food, but she just didn't quite get to the fridge or warm it up. And as she was eating, milk was just coming out, the baby was eating. I mean, it was kind of like, it's a vending machine. What goes out has to come back in. You have to fill the vending machine.

Cecile: For sure.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And sometimes when you have that baby who just won't sleep well, I find that to be the case through a lot of stages, whether it be a toddler, sometimes even a teenager. I'm always asking questions of like, "Are you eating enough?" Because your body will wake you up if it needs more food. It's very smart. So just something to plant in your head when you have that kid that you've done pretty much everything you could think of maybe besides eat dinner, and that baby's up.

Fanny: And also, on the sleep that I noticed with my kids also is when you have a big, busy day with a lot of people or a lot of interaction, they usually don't sleep well. I don't know if their brain is still processing, but they have trouble to fall asleep. That's really an issue.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Well, you know it's interesting because we talk about the really little newborns with all the noise and everything like that, and sometimes that's why they have a lot of the womb sounds. They almost need some of that sound, right? But what you're talking about, especially as your kids get a little bit older, but just in general, you have to be aware of sleep hygiene. And this is a concept that's really emerged in the last 15 years. What does your home look like in those hours when you're trying to indicate to that baby that it's time to go to sleep? If all the lights are on, the TV's blaring, all this stuff is going on, your kids might be wired from the whole day, but they also need to kind of tell their brain, it's time to slow down. It's time to quiet down.

Same thing with in the middle of the night, when you wake up and the baby wakes up, and you're gonna change the diaper, you're gonna do a feeding, no need to open all the lights. [laughs] No need to do all these things because the baby's like, "Oh, it's daytime." They are taking cues from you. So really trying to get everybody on board to the day and night makes sense, is a lot of that sleep hygiene that you're alluding to. And I think that can actually help everyone start to simmer down their brain as well. And then their body just follows.

Cecile: Yeah.

So I think now is the time for the giveaway question.

Fanny: Yeah, for people who just joined, we're gonna give away the bundle, which is everything to start at home—the lotion and our diaper balm. So the question to answer in the comments will be what is the milestone that you are waiting the most with your newborn or you cherished the most when you have a newborn?

Cecile: What is the one step? So if you write that in the comment, one thing that you're either looking forward to or that you just went through not too recently if you have a baby that's a little older. What is the one thing that you're waiting for? It doesn't have to be newborn. One thing that you are looking forward as far as milestone.

Just a little note, our product, La Petite Creme, is fantastic for that poop you mentioned earlier, the meconium. Those moments when your baby is very old, a lot of people ask what age you can start using our product. You can actually start using it when the baby is born. So as soon as the baby comes out, we recommend to put a thin layer of our French diapering lotion on their butt so that that meconium that, as you said, is very sticky and very tar, doesn't stick directly to the skin. Because otherwise, it's harder to take out and you don't want to have your first wiping experience to be you scrubbing your little baby's bottom. So we put a layer there.

Fanny has testified that back home in hospital, that's what they use even with the premies.

Fanny: Yes.

Cecile: So it's very good for very, very sensitive baby skin, like the newborn one. And then after that, you use it every day for any kind of poopy, pee situation, anything, and it's gonna make that diapering and that pooping—Some people even report—so again, there is no study on that, but I have to tell that we have a few people who report that every time they put the lotion or our balm on their baby's bottom, they poop.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs]

Cecile: No, that's true. A couple of people mentioned that, that when their baby is constipated, they put a little bit more of the balm, like a little thicker layer of it, and then within, I don't know, a few minutes, the baby would poop. So we have no scientific evidence of any of that, but I'm just sharing because we found out the other day when a few of the parents who are using our product were together, and they all had like, "Oh, do you have that too? I thought it was just me." So if it's helping with the poop, why not? Cannot hurt.

So we have a few comments in there. Coreen said that your rainbow baby arrives in August. We're excited.

Fanny: Congratulations!

Cecile: Yeah, the bonding and the connections are really exciting. We can't wait for you to experience that. And the breastfeeding. Oh, that's another good one. So breastfeeding is a big moment, so you're gonna enjoy those moments.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I think you used the word "milestone". I was kind of thinking because milestone may mean different things to a pediatrician, but I think that a way to say it is—and even with the bonding, and even with you, Cecile, you were kind of like, "Oh my gosh, this baby." But I have to say that there are always—I felt like they were simple moments when that connection happened. Everyone kind of imagines it in many different ways, but there's gonna be a moment where you are just exhausted. You are just ready just to throw up arms to just see who wants a new baby. [laughs] Like, "Who wants to take this baby?" And something will happen and you're like, "Oh, okay, I just got paid off. I just had a moment where this baby—"

And I think that that's so important because I think that people are disappointed when things get hard. Because we have this idea of everything. And yes, breastfeeding is wonderful for some, not good for others, but yes, it's something that is a journey for everybody. And I think that what all three of us try throughout these conversations is kind of shake away the glitter. There are glitter moments, but raising babies, it's frankly a very grounding and it's a dirty and it's a tough moment, but it's actually really genuine and authentic and real.

Cecile: And unexpected. Those moments come at the least expected time.

We did a couple of those giveaways where we asked questions and while the answer should be taken right from a book of like, we say milestone, it should come on like very pediatrician-oriented, things that we check mark. And we realize that every time in the comments that we get, these are moments that we cherish, that we're looking forward to. And it's very little emphasis put on those moments. A lot on the books that are like, "What to expect with your baby? What are the pregnancy milestones?" all that stuff. It takes away a lot of the emotion. Because the emotion is really what's connecting you to the moment and what you really remember in the future.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Exactly. When you asked the question, I was asking myself the question. My kids are now in college, but those days feel like yesterday. [laughs] I mean, honestly, they feel very close. And I remember we had a lot of family with us, for better or worse, during the time of the first month, and so the baby slept the whole day, and at night. So when I speak, I speak, unfortunately, with great experience through this.

And I remember my husband and I were bringing our oldest, our first one, up the stairs, just going up the stairs to go to bed. And I knew because we just had a couple of weeks of just crying, screaming. And as we're going up the stairs, the eyes are closed. All of a sudden, one eye opens like a pirate. [laughs] One eye opens, and I remember I stopped and I turned to my husband and I was like, "I don't wanna go upstairs." He was like, "But we have to. It's time to go to bed." I'm like, "But we're not going to go to bed."

And it was just like one of those moments where it was just like that personality was there. We knew what was going on. And so I think that we are living in kind of like a Facebook, Instagramable moment where everyone's pulling out like, "Oh, they said this," or "They did this." Everything's cute and happy. But this was not like a cute happy. At that moment, I was like, "I don't want this baby, just bring them back. It's great. Two weeks was fantastic. Who's gonna take them now?" Those are also moments. Those are just incredible moments and you kind of get through them and you get to know your kid. So those are just as valuable as those moments that are just pretty, that everybody else kind of does.

There is such joy in the work.

Cecile: Yeah, joy in the work and on the achievement of getting through the work, right? Because it's a team effort. Your breastfeeding is one of those examples like Zac—and I hope I put the right name, zac_oce mentioned that about the breastfeeding is, it's a two-people interaction. You can do your best, but if your baby is not in it, then it doesn't work. Your baby can be trying their best, but if you're not feeling it—It has to be a shared—We have to be on the same wavelength, at the same pace, with the same desire. And then it turns into a journey together. Instead of you're breastfeeding, the two of you are breastfeeding. Your breasting, they're feeding, right? [laughs] It's the combination of two powers.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I think that the way that we try to expand is this idea of the village. Both of you have worked as doulas. Postpartum doulas are incredible when you really look at what they do. But sometimes you just need another pair of hands. You need someone to bring you food while you're breastfeeding. You need someone to feed you. You need someone to hold the baby so you can rest, so you're not exhausted. So when you do breastfeed, you're up and around.

And so I think that in some ways, I would say that it doesn't even have to be just you and the baby. Because honestly, it only succeeds if you have a great environment around you—people feeding you, bringing you food, and I think that that's the part that we're pushing into. That's the part that we're really pushing into because I think women, we are so quick to blame ourselves, to feel guilty. We're fantastic at that. We're practically gifted at that. And in the end of the day, it really should be something that the whole family unit is part of because it is such a challenging moment for everyone. And it really does bond you.

I really appreciated that I had a partner that was upset that our baby was gonna keep us up all night, that it wasn't just me that was gonna be kept up. We're gonna both be kept up at night. And we still talk about it. And they're in college and they still annoy us [laughs] sometimes in a similar way. To have the village means that you have other people to support you, both emotionally and physically.

Cecile: And on the feeding part, which I think that reminds me of one thing we had established with my husband back when I was breastfeeding is, every time I would sit to feed, he would either bring me a glass of water or food. Because that was giving him a cue of, at least at that time, instead of being like, "Are you hungry?" He would bring me something. You're sitting, you have nothing else to do. You're gonna eat or drink whatever they give you.

It was a great way also for him to feel like he was implicated in the breastfeeding. So his role in breastfeeding was to be, at that time, like, "Oh, that's my cue. Okay, I'm coming in." [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: He was basically the guy—he was replacing the food in the vending machine. As it was going out, he was placing it in. I'm a big fan of that. I'm always like, "Have a basket of food right next to where you breastfeed, water bottles." I even said at one point—I don't know if they have this in France, it sounds like a very American thing, so I almost guarantee you they don't have it in France. But you know, they have those big hats that have beer in them, and then you can suck the beer, right? [laughs] Somehow we can make that and it's connected to broth, you know? So you just suck some broth while you're breastfeeding. So you're like, "Yep, I'm just refilling the vending machine. Don't worry, I'm good."

Cecile: Whoever's watching and he's a content creator, we want to see that video. Please tag us in there. We want to take full credit for it. That sounds like a really cool one to do.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. Go on to Shark Tank to be like, We gave you the idea to have the beer hat/broth hat for breastfeeding people." Because that's what you need. You need to refill the vending machine. And when you start to understand that, that it does take a village—And I've told you guys I'm studying to be a postpartum doula in August, and I don't know quite what that looks like. I might be too old to stay up all night with a baby.

But the reason why I really enjoyed that is because I do believe if you're pregnant and you're on this feed, and even if you already have the baby, know who's in the house. Who's there to help you? Are they there to help you? Bring only people there who are there to help you because if I'm going to talk about anything about the newborn time, it is a time for you to almost like protect where you are. You don't have the energy to entertain other people. You don't have the energy to take care of other people's feelings and whatnot. You're there to allow this baby to survive and for you to survive. That should be your number one, number two, number three, number 10 priority.

Cecile: Yeah.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And that is the real talk. Those are the hardest, because everyone wants to come over, and I would love for them to drop off food and then come back in two months, right? [laughs]

Fanny: [laughs] Exactly. We want food.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Right? [laughs] Fantastic. It's been great to see you. I'll see you in two months. Because in the end, that is the time where you can protect emotionally and physically. Because I have to tell you, I've had some tough conversations with moms and dads who have a two-week-old, and everyone's yelling at them and they're getting criticized left and right. And they barely know what day it is. And it's going to affect how effective they are in feeding the baby and taking care of the baby, being present for the baby.

So as a postpartum doula, for me, I feel like emotionally, giving people a kick to be like, know how to make those boundaries. Make those boundaries very clear because, wow, it can sure strip a lot of your energy when you are really battled about something that somebody said, something somebody was criticizing you. You just don't have the headspace to deal with that.

Cecile: And I mean, if you have a hard time seeing it as doing it—because sometimes it's hard to put your foot down and be like, "Okay, enough is enough." You could see it as an investment for your future peace as well, because those primary moments are so fundamental if you let the time do its work of letting things to settle down and have room for thinking and bonding and hugging and just eating, the basics of eating and sleeping, then it gets easier quicker, I found, than if you're trying to rush into getting your life back, and then all of a sudden never really quite get to any kind of routine.

A lot of people feel like, "Okay, now I have a baby. It doesn't mean my life has to change," and kind of like fight that feeling of having to devote yourself to another human being, which I was part of those people, I admit it. I had a hard time being like, "Okay, how about me?" I have the opposite problem, like me, me. Oh, you? Yeah, me too. But if you let that go and you accept that you're gonna give away a little bit longer of yourself for that baby, then it catches up to being faster because now you're working together instead of having to fight for you and they fight for themselves. That's the way I re-incended it for my own children.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I think that when you are trying to impose order on chaos, which is what you're trying to do, you're saying, "I wanna take my prior life and just place it on top of this. Even though this is bubbling up, I'm gonna force this on there."

Fanny: It doesn't work.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: It's like trying to walk in quicksand. You just keep swimming. Whereas if you sit and you're like, "You know what? My prior life, there's moments I'll come back to it. There are moments I'll go back to it. But the chaos, let me sit in the chaos. And let me let that come around me and accept it and say that, 'Let me see how this—This is now part of how I want to breathe. I want to breathe in the chaos,'" And be okay with it. And if it shifts, it changes, fine, go with it. Yeah, all right, that's how it's supposed to be—fluid.

When you go with that, I feel like everything flows. You can see the energy flows. And it starts even as early as conception. It starts as early as when you're thinking about having a baby. My mom would always get mad because a lot of our generation is like, "I want to have a summer baby. If I get pregnant here," and then my mom's like, "In those generations, it just happened. In those days, it just happened." She's just like—

They came from a generation that's like, "I have twins? I don't know. Maybe two babies will come out." They were forced to understand the chaos. Now we think we can control everything. But the reality is that we don't control very much. And if you just narrow it down to eat, sleep, poop, make it very basic, those are my goals for the day. My goals are not to finish this book. [laughs] Those are not the goals that you should be having.

Go down to the basic primal needs. What do you primally need? You need to eat and you need to be rested, you need to be emotionally calm, before you have the baby, exactly. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. Again, a great t-shirt. I don't know why. I'm feeling like we have a whole clothing line, a whole closet of t-shirts we could really work on. But when you do that, you just start to accept the rhythm.

And if you remember, through all of our talks, we've had 16 talks, right? We always talk about tapping into that fluid, tapping into that fluidity of life and that chaos. To me, the greatest choice, when you talk about milestones, moments, that came after I accepted that with children in my life, I need to accept the chaos. Again, another t-shirt. [laughs] Accept the chaos. Accept the chaos because the chaos is nature. Order is not nature. Chaos is nature.

Cecile: That's a good point—order is not nature, because that's an endless battle. We'll never win, right?

Fanny: No, we won't.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: No. And you talk about nature, you've got this primal beginning of a person. That's pretty natural. [laughs]

Cecile: And it's going to fight with everything. It has to just be natural.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I see that in the eyes. When I look in the eyes—I mean no shade against people who don't have children. But I look in the eyes of people who have children, there's this wearied look like, "Yes, I have had to submit to the chaos. I've given up, I'm good." Whereas you talk to people without children and they're like, "Oh, you should be able to make them do this. Oh, you should do this." And you just look at them like, "Really? You think it's that easy just to make them do? Okay." And that's the truth of it. And I think that that's the wisdom that you gain by just going with it. This is how it's gonna go.

Cecile: So on that note, I think we're going to announce the winner of our giveaway. And we'll just look at the comments real quick. We have a couple of contenders, and I think the winning is going to be—

Fanny: Coreenmoon.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yay!

Cecile: Thank you, Coreen. Congratulations!

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Enjoy!

Cecile: Thank you for watching. Thank you for everybody who entered and commented. So, Coreen, we're going to contact you after this to send you the bundle. So Fanny is going to be in your DMs to ask you about your address. Thank you, thank you.

And I hope you guys enjoyed this session about Newborn "Skills", [laughs] and we'll see you again in two weeks, same time, same place, for Episode #17 of Moms Talk with a French Accent. Bye, Dr. Perlman.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Bye.

Cecile: Bye, Fanny.

Fanny: Bye. Thank you for joining.

Cecile: Bye, everybody who was watching, and we'll see you soon.

Fanny: Thank you.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: See you soon.


Watch other episodes here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1dpfz3OiZoOwHuST-GmH9sTD0TfF3rIp

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