As a mother, I experienced things beyond my wildest dream taking care of my child. From re-reading my maternal & child books, mind-blowing know-hows for new moms, and my family & friends’ advice, these are just too much! Now, expecting another bundle of joy, a baby girl, do I need to prepare more this time? If so, how exactly should I prep?
Gifted with initiative, mothers can always decide what is good and bad for children. One friend told me having a baby boy is “convenient” than a baby girl while my other friend begged to differ. After fact-finding, I realized there is not much of a difference between the 2 sexes except to some research findings to date and although studies show “significant” differences between boys and girls there are no justifiable reasons to treat them unlikely. So whether more prep is needed or not, being aware of the changes and challenges to come is the best way to prepare for this bliss.
Foremost, whether a new mom or not, the first few weeks of our newborn are the hardest. Struggles are part of the changes moms must face and I want to say keep going as it will get better in time. Then the good times will mark than the bad times.
Just a quick review, be aware of the following regardless of gender:
Dressing a Newborn
Always remember to keep your baby warm. Rule of thumb, dress your baby in the same layers you’re wearing, plus an extra 1 layer for warmth.
Umbilical Cord Care
Keep the umbilical cord area around the cord clean and dry, at all times. Use only cotton and warm water if it’s dirty, otherwise leave it alone. Avoid using alcohol or antiseptic unless advised by a pediatrician.
Be sure to allow air to reach the cord stump until it falls off on its own (avoid using tight clothing).
Try “top and tail” bathing until the umbilical stump falls off, this will help the healing process. Use warm water, check the water using your elbow in case it’s too hot.
Make sure the flannels, soap, and towels are within your reach since you need to hold your baby at all times. Then as you finish bathing, pat your baby dry with special attention to all her skin folds.
Don’t be alarmed by “considerable” peeling, redness, or flaking of baby skin between the first few days after birth, this is all normal.
Moisturizers may help and as much as possible, stick to your brand so your baby’s skin won’t need to adjust to different products.
Your baby’s tiny fingernails are very thin and sharp. Surprisingly, nails grow fast! You may need to trim nails twice a week.
Avoid snipping the fingertip skin, call your baby’s pediatrician if the skin around the nails gets red, inflamed, and/or hard.
Cute Baby Stuffs
The nice-to-have items are generally similar for both sexes except for the adorable accessories, toys, and pink stuff associated with girls. Moms must always remember how this stuff is serving their purpose and if our baby is comfortable using these.
Another thing, babies grow fast especially during the 1st few months so get a grip and stop buying so much baby stuffs especially clothing. Might as well re-use the well-kept old stuffs we have from previous child.
- Gather all the important basic must-have in a baby bag for immediate use.
- Timely check the baby bag to make sure everything is just one grab away.
- Few first-aids & meds to prepare for emergency. E.g. Paracetamol, antibiotic ointment, antihistamines, ice pack, self-adhesive bandages or band-aid, tweezers, digital thermometer, and the like.
Girls Are Easier to Deliver
The British Medical Journal published that male babies really cause more problems during labor. Don’t be surprise to know that on average, baby-boy labor is more than 6 hours while baby-girl labor is less than 6 hours.
It was also found that women who carried male babies had more fetal distress, and more likely to require assistance during delivery.
Caesarean Section Is Less Common for Girls
Naturally, we hope for a short labor, delivery with no complications, and manageable contractions. But it doesn’t always work out that way, as needed a C-section may help us bring our baby out to this world.
Although the % of C-section deliveries has increased throughout the years, sciencedaily.com says that C-section is 20% more common for male babies. This is true in my case, I needed C-section for my son in 2019.
A C-section is the surgical delivery of a baby, done by obstetricians (doctors who take care of us pre and post-natal), this involves making incisions in our abdominal wall and uterus.
It is generally considered safe, it does have more risks than normal vaginal births, but this helps women at risk for complications and can be a lifesaver during an emergency.
My Baby Girl’s Anatomy
Besides the obvious difference between the male and female reproductive systems, don’t be surprised to see your baby girl’s swollen labia. It’s due to her extra fluids and will get to its normal size within 10 days says Dr. Geller of Baby Center. This is normal after birth, don’t freak out.
Did you know that between 2-10 days after birth newborn baby girls may have clear white breast discharge and/or bloody vaginal discharge? Yes, it’s perfectly normal. This is our reproductive hormones passed on to our baby.
She is getting rid of bloody discharges thru pseudo menstruation, your baby’s first and last menstrual period for another decade or so. Inform your baby’s doctor if these discharges don’t go away in time.
Also, part of her normal development is exploring her genitals, yes, not only boys play and explore their bodies, girls do it too.
A question like “why do mine is like this, yours is different?” is unavoidable. As grown-ups, let’s be honest and do our best to explain this not-so-complicated fact to our curious little one (LO).
Breast Feeding & Gender-Specific Milk
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology notes that breast milk contents are different when produce for male or female babies. Males have higher muscular content than females, they require more fat and protein which presumably help them grow bigger and faster.
Per medela.com, baby boys drink more than baby girls but don’t worry, as long as we have enough milk supply while breastfeeding our baby will decide his needs.
As to when the production of milk becomes gender-specific is still unknown to date. Some research says it happens in response to infant sucking similar to the mother’s amazing ability to produce specific antibodies when the baby is sick.
Baby Girls Sleep Better
The American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) defines a “good sleeper” as a baby who wakes frequently but can get himself back to sleep. The State of Sleep report of thebump.com found that girls actually get more sleep than boys.
Baby girls get extra sleep of 4.5 hours on average and sleep longer in the morning.
Challenging Diaper Change for Girls
I know we are making sure our LO is comfortable, safe, and away from any infection so we must understand how proper diapering is done. Experience wise, it’s relatively easy to change soiled nappy for boys except at times when squirts of pee can go over our face, bed-linens, floor, and even our baby’s mouth.
For baby girls, this task requires patience, and understanding the basics is a must (thanks to all the nooks and crannies our baby girls have down there). Diapering is for me 1 of the trickiest job a new mom does but with practice, we’ll know that keeping our children clean and dry is simple regardless of gender.
Girls’ urethra is shorter compare to boys and when exposed to wet and dirty diaper for longer hours, risks of acquiring urinary tract infection is high. Suitable cleaning is required when changing diapers.
Always remember to wash and/or wipe the genital area from front to back. This is to avoid bacteria from the behind to get into the urethra and cause urinary tract infection to our precious LO.
Early Potty Training Than Baby Boys
According to Heather Wittenberg, a child psychologist, girls tend to complete potty training earlier than boys. That’s because girls, on average, tend to be more advanced in physical and language development—skills, the key to successful diaper freedom.
My 2 years and 4 months son started potty training and after many failed attempts, I decided to let my son set the pace. So far he is now at “Mama I need to pee” stage and I’m happy for his achievement.
My colleague, who has 2 girls and 1 boy, said that potty training her girls went easy, but her son’s training went tortuous. True enough, according to whattoexpect.com, “while most girls start toilet training anytime from 22-30 months, boys can take 3 months to even a year longer than girls to achieve all of the skills experts say they need to be diaper-free forever”.
Our Girls Are Tougher Than We Thought
On the report of thejournal.ie, Irish researchers found that newborn girls have higher survival rates than their male counterparts as to fighting off acute infections—the answer to why is found in our chromosome structures.
Females carry 2 copies of X chromosomes while males carry an X and Y. The X chromosome contains more genes responsible for fighting diseases. Girls have an “innate genetic advantage” in effectively responding against infection and disease throughout the human lifecycle.
Also, a protein called IRAK1 contributes to immunity against infections, and research shows that a higher rate of this protein is found in girls. This being said, girls are less likely to succumb to inflammatory diseases than boys.
Other Points About Having A Baby Girl
- She is our “mini-me.” Don’t be surprised to find our little girls digging our closets, trying our shoes, and wearing our style.
- Innate empathy. Girls care deeply about people’s emotions. The Scientific American says this is due to the brain differences in boys and girls. Study shows that girls recognize emotions and better interpret facial expressions than boys.
- Our little girl’s brain is wired to tune speech intently than boys, so it’s not surprising to know girls speak a bit earlier than boys but know that boys will catch up in due time.
- The APP says that boys are likely to be physical and active, girls more likely to be verbal and calm. Boys gravitate towards risky behaviors even at an early age, not that girls are risk-free; it’s somehow reassuring that girls are into less risk-taking activities.
- Children are great imitators; boys copy their father, and girls model moms. Mostly, girls will copy everything moms do, so be mindful and keep those cosmetics and personal care away from her reach. Besides saving a lot, this act will also save our little ones from exposure to chemicals.
- Dad is our little girls’ superhero and first love. It is said that the “father-daughter” relationship is vital and powerful. As Prof. Linda Nielsen said, “The father has the greater impact on the daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the males in her life.” How dads treat both his baby girl and his baby’s mom can help her feel safe and secure in her future relationships with boys, including her future husband.
- Our baby girls turn boys into men and men into gentlemen. Suddenly while holding his little girl, daddy’s world changes.
- Researchers reported that girls get better grades than boys do at all ages, including math and science.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is an ultrasound sex prediction always right?
The sex of our baby is only 100% sure at birth; however, with the improvements in ultrasound technology, the identification of fetal sex in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters is also 100% sensitive accuracy. As early as 18-20 weeks’ age of gestation, a standard ultrasound may be done.
Which gender kicks more during pregnancy?
To date, science has not proven who kicks more during pregnancy, whether boy or girl. My colleague who has been pregnant with both sexes said she felt her son’s fetal movements more than her daughter. A study found that the notable difference between fetal movements of baby boy and girl was that there were more leg movements in boys at all stages throughout pregnancy.
Are daughters better than sons?
This is a question with no correct answer—females demonstrating higher levels of empathy than males. Daughters become more responsible than sons, especially when their parents are old. Studies also suggest that women are more nurturing than men; behold, our little girls will take care of us in our old age.
I know that experience is the best teacher but keep in mind “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” so the best way to get ready is being aware of the challenges to come.
Both mother and baby are resilient – moms have the final say as to what is good or not and babies are intelligent humans, let them grow wonderfully on their own.
Baby’s developmental milestone is always unique, so don’t compare. What might be true to us is not the same to others. Babies of the opposite sex may display the stereotypes of how different they are but know that there are no proven reasons to treat them differently.
Mommy, enjoy the little things and the cuteness to the fullest, cope with everything else one day at a time, babies grow fast more than you think.