Well done; how amazing; you have a New Baby!
This is where sleep becomes scarce and you have no time for your self, but the love you will feel will help ease these times and together you will start to create an intimate relationship that will become the foundation of babies emotional well being.
So now what? There are no simple answers but we will share with you some simple parenting skills to help to make life easier with your newborn baby
when you have only had a few hours sleep and you have got just a few minutes to read an article!
During the early weeks your priorities will be:
- Learning to feed your baby
- Getting some sleep
- Understanding how to settle and comfort your baby
Try to relax and enjoy the moment! Don't worry yourself about am I doing it right, it's small stuff and you will find your way.
Gaining in confidence, there is no owners manual, it is practise and you soon start to figure it out!
Baby has a lot of learning to do:
- Feeding - Breast or Bottle?
- Sleep routines
- Being handled and stimulated
- Physical & Brain development
- Settling into their little bodies
Newborn Babies are designed to be held - they feel safe and secure, but its not always practical so you can wear baby in a sling or wrap them in a comforting muslin or blanket, always remembering not to wrap them too tightly, they will cry less and sleep better. While baby is sleeping this is a good opportunity for you to grab some sleep or rest it's important for Mum to recover from the birth and having the energy to care for baby.
Where should my baby sleep?
For many parents this is an anxious decision in the early weeks, as parents are not encouraged to allow baby to sleep in the family bed for safety reasons. There are now many great options, such as baby beds that connect right up to your bed, but you can't roll on to baby accidentally. Baby Moses baskets or cribs that can be positioned near to your bed, my advise is research products as much as you can and do what works for you and your baby.
Some parents are nervous about holding their newborns, they can feel very fragile. But baby will enjoy being held close to you. Keep movements smooth and gentle, sudden movements can startle them.
When picking up a newborn baby always support their head and neck as babies can't control the heavy weight of their own head yet.
Hold baby securely, if you feel confident they will too, don't stress you will get better at this as the weeks pass by. As baby becomes stronger and grows they can start to hold their own heads for short periods. At this stage they can be held for longer periods over your shoulder as they can see things going on and they can rest their heads if they need to on your shoulder. Don't forget the baby sling; baby is comfortable and baby stays close to you but your hands are free to get on with other things. Also if baby is really fussing at meal times this option works well.
What to expect of a newborn baby during the first few weeks:
It's not much, when they first arrive at home your baby will be acclimatising to their new environment, new sounds, sights and smells completely foreign and at times overwhelming. You may notice that while they might not sleep for large chunks of time, they will sleep on and off all day, so keep their first few days at home calm. I know parents and family members can't wait to get the video camera out and photos galore but there will be plenty of time as the weeks pass by.
How to dress and undress a newborn
This can be quite a battle, especially with their tiny little limbs!
Find clothes with wide openings for the neck with snap or zip closures, you don't want to be fumbling with buttons at this stage. Babygro's with built in mittens are great to protect your baby from their sharp fingernails.
While dressing or undressing your baby take the opportunity to sing and talk to your little one, both for distraction and bonding, they soon get used to voices.
As hard as it sounds, but with frequent bowel explosions, try to keep wardrobe changes to a minimum, keep outfits simple, babygro's tend to be easier to put on and easy to access nappy changes. Also too many outfit changes just builds up the laundry pile!
How often will my newborn cry?
A newborns crying can be frustrating for parents, but imagine not being able to communicate your needs. Since babies don't usually develop colic within the first few weeks or so it's a matter of finding out what's wrong!
Usually the most common and easiest cries to distinguish, babies usually give you other signals as well, such as sucking on their hands, smacking their lips, and turning their mouth toward you as you stroke their cheek. The sooner you recognise your baby's particular signs the less crying you will endure.
Babies will often cry if their nappy is soiled and they need changing, the normal give away sign is the distinctive smell, babies love to feel clean, it makes them feel secure.
This cry is usually a loud, panicked shriek or an uncomfortable whine, depending on what's wrong. First check baby isn't too hot or too cold, if not it may be wind that might be unsettling them and this can be extremely painful, so try to relieve any wind, you can do this by laying baby flat and move his or her legs in a bicycle movement or try gentle rubbing on their backs. If you are really worried don't hesitate to ring the doctor for further advice.
During the first few weeks its trial and error to see what works and what doesn't.
Some coping tips for the first few weeks:
Rest whenever possible, you need to concentrate your energies on your baby and family.
Don't worry about anything else, house work can wait, don't feel guilty! Babies are time consuming.
Take up offers of help from your partner, mother, friends, neighbours, you can always ask for help as well as this will take some of the pressure off you in the early weeks.
If you haven't got support from others, join other Mother and baby groups as sometimes people with small babies of their own will be most helpful as they know what it's like and it's great to share problems or concerns and you will feel so much better.
Don't be afraid to tell family and friends that you are feeling tired, and ask them to come back later to visit, they won't mind.
Stock up on a good supply of nutritious snacks, fruit, milk, wholemeal bread, crackers, soups things that are easy to eat with minimal effort.
Practice relaxation techniques such as Yoga or Pilates and don't forget; I can't stress this enough, sleep whenever baby allows you to!
Don't forget your pelvic floor exercises, really important. Prevention of problems is easier than cure!
Things will get easier as you gain more confidence and you get to know what works for you and your baby, initially the first few weeks is hard work but once you get into some sort of routine this period of time will ease.
Post Natal Depression:
Many Mothers can feel tearful and depressed shortly after baby is born, this is very normal, some refer to it as 'the baby blues'. It really doesn't last very long, possibly up to 10 days, as giving birth is a very emotional and stressful experience. Some mothers continue to feel tearful and depressed for a few months after having the baby and this may have become post natal depression. The main symptoms include irrational behaviour, confusion and constantly feeling down. Fathers can also experience this as they find it hard to cope or they feel they aren't giving their partner the support they need. It can also be upsetting for the father if the baby is getting all the mothers attention.
Post natal depression can put a strain on a relationship so it is important to recognise the symptoms early and get treatment as soon as possible, don't suffer in silence there is so much support out there now, one in ten women are affected by PND in the UK.
Don't forget all newborns babies are different:
One important thing to remember is that all babies are different and no matter how many books you read about babies in general, chances are that your baby won't be the same.
No matter how much you plan, your newborn will surprise you. Very few babies are exact text matches with the so-called average! Your baby may be smaller or larger than average but can still be the right weight. Your baby may sleep less or eat more than books suggest, basically don't worry, just go with the flow! Your baby will soon tell you if they are not happy.
You may also feel your baby isn't as immediately loveable as you expected. This is quite normal. Although some parents claim love at first sight, for others the bond can take slightly longer, don't worry it is just as strong but is just taking a little more time to develop.
You have to remember all babies are individual, some love to be held and cuddled and others stiffen their little bodies and arch their backs and resist being cuddled, this can upset parents as they feel they are doing something wrong, but you are not its just they are different from each other, just like we are.
One important thing is to be close to your baby, enjoy talking to them, smile at your baby, as soon they will be smiling back!