Many new or expecting parents share similar fears and concerns during this time and my hope is to offer some best practice researched advice, strategies and recommendations for families to try, because if there is one thing I have learnt during my many years of working and studying families it is that there are many ways to “Survive and Enjoy Your Baby”
I wish all new parents were told:
- It’s normal for your newborn baby to cry a little more each day, this usually peaks at 6-8 weeks of age with many hours of inconsolable crying each day. Just knowing that it is normal makes it easier to cope with and there are many strategies that can help during this time. Know that the crying is not your fault.
- You will get way too much well-meaning advice from family, friends and complete strangers. Try to look at these as a menu of different options, use any ideas that feel right and safe and let the rest go over your head.
- Give your baby some supervised ‘tummy time’ when awake from birth even if it is starts on your chest so that they enjoy it and can practice lifting their head.
- It is safest for your baby to sleep in a full-size cot (that has safety standards) from birth rather than a bassinet.
- It’s okay to tell your child health nurse that you are co-sleeping as they can help you to do this more safely.
- Keep your nappy bag well stocked so you can get out and about more easily, this gives you some freedom.
- Don’t trust everything you read online, check that information is from qualified and credible sources.
- New babies need much more sleep than most expect. If they have been awake for 1- 1.5 hours they’re probably ready to go back to sleep. Tired signs are the key.
- Read to your baby from birth even if you are just pointing to pictures and telling them about them. This is a great wind down activity before bedtime for both of you.
- You are your baby’s expert, not a health professional, no one knows or loves this baby like you.
I truly believe that “it takes a village to raise a child”, surround yourself with family, friends and health professionals you can open up to and trust, this may take some trial and error but it is worth it.
Parenting a baby, especially your first, is one of the most amazing things you will ever do however it is also one of the most challenging.
Be kind to yourself, no one, but yourself, expects you to ‘just know’ what to do! There is so much support available if you would just ask.
‘Survive and Enjoy Your Baby’ is available from all good bookstores and from Belinda’s blog at BelindaJoyce.com