Oh, the moment you find out that you are going to have a baby! The exhilaration, joy, excitement, there isn’t any better feeling. The honor of bringing another life into the world also brings duty and upmost responsibility. Every parent has had that moment of feeling overwhelmed: ‘Am I going to be a good parent?’
The babies first year in many ways is the most stressful.
Luckily, there is a guide that has been specially designed to ease that stress with a general overview of everything that may keep you up at night wondering about that first year.
We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Sarah Kaldor, Author of ‘The Stress Less Baby Guide”: an all-inclusive guide to the first year of parenting a baby in Australia.
- As a registered Nurse and Midwife, a Maternal and Child Health Nurse and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant you would have been in contact with countless families with newborn babies.
What prompted you to write the “Stress Less Baby Guide”?
There a LOADS of baby books out there, it’s quite overwhelming for parents. When I pick up a baby guide – even I am overwhelmed with the amount of information they cover. I also find the information on most baby guides quite prescriptive and inflexible. I wrote The Stress Less Baby guide as something that can be a quick, easy read, full of factual information that is relevant to everyone and then plenty of Australian resources where parents to go to for more information on specific topics. I find many parents stress when they read baby books because they are not ‘conforming’ to whatever the advice in the book is – so I’ve written the book with really realistic and flexible advice with the hope that this will make the journey a little less stressful.
- Every parent wishes to be the best they can be, it’s only natural to experience little anxiety.
What are some of the most common questions and concerns new parents asked you during consultations?
I spend hours every week discussing unsettled behaviour in newborn babies, breastfeeding is always a big challenge particularly for first time parents, sleep patterns and ways to teach babies to sleep more independently, parents ask about ways to promote their babies development, ways to engage with the community, how to access immunisations…. the list is endless!
- As a maternal and child health nurse, you would have provided information, support and guidance regarding a wide range of issues, including postnatal depression.
What tips do you have for maternal mental health and wellbeing? I think having realistic expectations of what having a baby is all about it really helpful for parental mental health – the more you know what to expect the less overwhelming it feels when the speed bumps arise. Have a great support system in place is paramount – this is mostly hands-on support from family and friends but also the support of your mchn, gp etc. Its also great to have a network of other people with babies of similar age to bounce ideas off and people who can relate to the challenges you are facing at that time – very useful to hear that you are not alone in those situations!
Also, what are the key signs to look out for should you or someone you know start to show signs of postnatal depression? Feeling really low, teary and irritable most of the time. Worrying and panicking a lot. Severe lack of energy and motivation to do anything. Not enjoying your baby. Withdrawing from social activities and relationships. Feeling like you want to escape, hurt yourself or hurt your baby. Note: it is totally reasonable to feel worried, overwhelmed and teary some of the time!!!
- On the controversial topic of vaccinations, what has been your experience with parents on both sides of the debate?
I find most parents accept vaccination readily, they don’t feel overly worried about doing it or feel the need to do an excessive amount of research on it. Those parents who choose to not vaccinate have generally done A LOT of research before they have come to the conclusion not to vaccinate. It’s my job to make sure they have made an informed decision – so I respectfully check where their information is from and ask if they would be interested in talking to an immunisation specialist at our local children’s hospital to discuss their concerns.
- In your experience what would you describe as being the most common Breastfeeding challenges and Solutions?
The initial establishment of breastfeeding is the biggest challenge, and this is mostly for first time mums. They start with sore cracked nipples, weeks to learn how to latch the baby properly to stop damaging their nipples, then their milk comes in and they are managing swollen engorged breasts and the risk of mastitis, then they are learning the art of breastfeeding on demand, managing their milk supply etc – it can take weeks and weeks for this to all fall into place.
I strongly believe that all first time parents should have breastfeeding education before their baby arrives so they go in really well informed and prepared. Once the baby is born, as much professional support as possible! A midwife or lactation consultant should be watching EVERY feed until they go home from the hospital to make sure the latch is correct and baby is not damaging the nipple. Once they go home parents should be booking in with outpatient lactation consultants from the hospital, breastfeeding services at their local council or private lactation consults to guide them through the first few weeks until it starts to fall into place.
There are some great online resources for breastfeeding such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association and The Raising Children Network.
- What type of articles should the Kiddi-Community expect from you?
I’m planning to cover a range of topics related to parenting in the first year – from breastfeeding and sleeping to healthcare and Centre link! I’ll cover topics that lots of parents ‘stress’ about and try to ease their mind as much as possible
- If I was a genie and could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for? (and why?…)
I’m pretty blessed so I can’t really wish for much more than what I have! I wish to continue to be as lucky as I am now with a fortunate life, my health and wonderful family and friends! OK fine I wouldn’t mind a trip to the Maldives with my husband.