“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
Deuteronomy 30:6, ESV
PRAYER: Dear Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thank you for the symbol of circumcision. I know it is just an outward sign of being a member of your physical family, but I pray that you will circumcise our hearts as well. Cut away any impediment that might inhibit spiritual productivity and fruitfulness. Whether Jew or Gentile by birth, may we all become the spiritual seed of Abraham by our rebirth through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
THOUGHT: Many male infants are circumcised in the hospital; some on the eighth day; some never. Whether or not you choose to circumcise your son physically, pray that he (or she) will live a life set apart for God.
ACTIVITY: If your baby is circumcised, protect him from any extra activities for a few days while he recovers. Be sure to keep a coating of infant antibiotic ointment on his penis until the circumcision has entirely healed, and stretch the skin gently several times a day to keep the new skin forming at the incision site from adhering to the head of the penis. Follow your doctor’s orders carefully, and be sure to give your son lots of cuddle time, singing him lullabies or other reassuring songs such as “Jesus Loves Me.”
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
Psalm 51:2, ESV
PRAYER: Dear God of mercy and truth, please wash us from our sins daily and make us pure and holy. Help me to be ever watchful as I bathe Baby. May she always be safe from drowning—both in water and in sin!
THOUGHT: From nine months of floating in womb-sized Jacuzzis, babies should be naturals at aquatic sports, but some shun bath time because they no longer feel comfortable and secure. Keep your bathing area toasty (pre-heat with a space heater if necessary), make sure the water temperature is warm but not hot (a rubber duck that turns color according to temperature is helpful), have all your grooming supplies, towel, and fresh clothing ready beforehand, and keep a supporting hand and eye on your little swimmer at all times.
ACTIVITY: As soon as her navel is healed and your doctor approves, give Baby the pleasure of a short, daily bath. This cherished highlight of the day is more than just about getting clean; it’s time for Baby to explore her potential for motion and improve her balance…to relax and experiment with water. If your tiny athlete becomes distressed about bath time and your spouse is available to help, try getting into the tub with Baby for reassurance. If all else fails, there are a plethora of well-designed bath seats and recliners to make bathing more secure while still allowing some freedom of movement.
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
PRAYER: Dear Father of mercy and God of all comfort, please help Baby to be patient when he suffers. May I be quick to pray with him for help when there is trouble—whether it’s at the doctor’s office or anywhere else! Please help us to trust you at all times—in both happy and scary situations. I don’t understand, but I believe each trial you allow will accomplish something good, both in our lives and in the world around us, and I rejoice in that hope! Thank you for loving us and for your promise to be with us when we turn to you for help.
THOUGHT: Our hearts feel such pain when Baby suffers in any way. Nevertheless, we need to surrender to God’s sovereign plans for us and make a conscious choice to place our hope in Him and praise Him through every test. May we always be thankful to worship a God who is willing to be God in our lives and invites us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us (I Peter 5:7)!
ACTIVITY: Pray with your baby snuggled in your arms. Pray with him every day…not only when things are going well, but also—and perhaps especially—when he’s suffering in some way. Hold him securely, as if you’re giving him a gentle hug, then softly pat and rub his back while you pray. You might also sing some reassuring song to him, such as:
This is my Father’s World
“This is my Father’s World, and to my listening ears,
All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s World, I rest me in the thought,
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, His hands the wonders wrought.”—Reverend Maltbie D. Babcock, 1901
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”
PRAYER: Dear LORD, who is our maker, thank you for making us! Thank you for allowing us to worship you as our God and creator. May Baby learn from infancy to sing your praises and adore you! As a physical family, may we also be firmly rooted and grounded in a “church family” where we can experience love and spiritual community.
THOUGHT: In order to give your baby optimum opportunities to grow and become flexible, she needs to be in a variety of warm, safe settings during the day. As soon as your doctor approves, start taking her to church. If you begin from infancy, Baby will quickly learn to enjoy her larger circle of friends and become more comfortable in social settings. Don’t be overly concerned about contagious diseases. Nursing babies have some immunity from breast milk, so encourage (healthy) visitors, and take her on outings.
ACTIVITY: When you’re at home, change Baby’s location often. Try putting her down for a nap at one end of her crib after one feeding and then at the other end after another feeding. However, in the evenings, you might want to reserve one position as a signal that it is “bedtime” rather than “naptime” or “playtime.” Also, try keeping an eye-catching toy within about 1-2 feet from her eyes when she wakes up, so she’ll have something interesting to study.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:22
PRAYER: Dear Jesus Christ, thank you for our precious baby. It’s such an amazing thing to see this tiny gift…so complete as a human being and yet so unformed in character and physical maturity…just a promise of all that he will become. I am painfully aware that as his biological parent, I am an imperfect template! Not only has my child inherited some strengths, he has inherited some weaknesses. Please help us learn to live with our frailties and overcome problems by trusting you as our Lord and Savior. May we completely embrace this living hope!
THOUGHT: Keeping Baby’s tender skin in good condition can be a real challenge, especially if he’s inherited one of the many common skin problems. Keep an “attitude of gratitude” while caring for Baby’s skin. Make it fun by talking or singing while you wash and medicate him (if he needs any lotion or ointment).
ACTIVITY: For added healthy stimulation of skin tissues, pat Baby’s arms and legs and massage his tiny hands and feet. Using a milking-the-cow motion with your hands, gently squeeze up each arm and leg toward the torso. Take your fingertips and rub with gentle, circular motions on Baby’s temple, then run your fingers slowly past his eyebrows, sliding your finger tips down the bridge of his nose and around the sides of his nostrils and the outer corners of his mouth.
“Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4, NKJV
PRAYER: Dear God of all Comfort, please comfort us when we are sick, and help me to be a compassionate and understanding comforter for Baby. Please heal us, but also help us to be patient under stress.
THOUGHT: Blocked milk ducts often come from being overtired and stressed or if Baby is sick and not nursing with normal vigor. Although blocked ducts are very painful, applications of heat, massage, and rest will usually unclog them in a day or two of continued nursing. If Baby has a stuffy nose, be sure to keep her warm and try running a humidifier. Also, consider getting one of those wonderful semi-circular cushions (such as a “boppy”) to help keep Baby securely on your lap even when you’re nursing while sleepy.
ACTIVITY: Sick times are good bonding times if Mother and Baby are able to relax and rest together. If you aren’t too sick, just holding Baby in your arms can be a comfort to both of you. It’s never too early to let Baby rest in a swing with some gentle music playing or to enjoy the sensation of a rocking cradle. Just make certain that her neck is always well supported either by one of the convenient, commercial support systems available or by rolling up receiving blankets and tucking them around her head to keep it upright.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
PRAYER: Dear God who is our creator, thank you that everything works together for good to those who love you…even hiccups! Thank you that the hiccups of life don’t last forever. Please help us learn to take all our problems—big and small—straight to you for a cure.
THOUGHT: Hiccups can often be stopped in an older child by letting him eat a teaspoon of sugar, but that would choke a baby. Vigorous nursing or a little warm water from a bottle can sometimes do the trick, and if you’ve taught him to drink from a bottle, it will help prepare him for a babysitter in future! If you haven’t already started your baby on a bottle, why not try him today with a little warm water?
ACTIVITY: Deep concentration sometimes helps stop hiccups. Maybe this would be a good time to practice letting Baby grasp your two index fingers (secure them with your thumbs) and hang on. See if you can teach him to hang on tightly even if you start to lift him up a half an inch or so off his blanket (just enough for him to start supporting a bit of weight). Don’t try this unless Baby’s resting on his back on a soft surface, and make sure you don’t lift Baby’s head completely off the ground.
(P.S.—Not every baby is really exemplifying each condition or idea, but I love pictures of babies, and I’m hoping the pictures bring you added pleasure! If you’re willing to let me share any pictures of your kids as infants, please let me know! Thank you. 🙂 )