The feeling of holding your newborn for the first time in your arms is likely the happiest moment in one’s life. But it can be overwhelming too. This is something you have never experienced before and there is no training that will fully prepare you for this role. It takes a village to raise a child, so it’s natural to be intimidated or worried about taking care of a brand-new baby.
Babies don’t come with manuals. Each child is different with a different set of needs. You can read dozens of books, taken classes and fully prepare your home, yet things rarely go accordingly to plan. It’s good to plan but going with the flow when unexpected needs and demands arise is important too. If you are flexible and set your expectations to be fluid, it helps keep your stress in check.
Bonding with a new baby:
The first few hours of a child’s life are a very special time of bonding, getting to know each other, and forming attachment. During this time, the baby is often awake, alert and active so make use of this time to bonding with this newest member of your family. Place the baby on the bare skin to your chest, which is called Kangaroo care and is scientifically proven good for bonding. The baby forms a trust bond with parents during this precious early time. read this article on the topic. http://kangaroomothercare.com/about-kmc/what-is-kmc/
Understanding your baby’s needs:
Understanding the needs of the newborn and realizing your new role and responsibility can help you overcome exhausting stress. Spend more time with the baby to know your new baby better. These new family additions are a puzzle that you need to solve. Don’t worry, babies give you many cues. With time and patience, you can understand exactly what your baby needs. Listen to the different sounds they make closely. When your new bundle of joy cries, check on the child and pay attention. You want the child to know that you are there for them.
After delivery, parents are often tired both physically and emotionally. The best thing for both baby and parents is trying to relax with your baby. Breastfeeding in first hour is very helpful but if baby is not latching on, don’t panic. Just the act of putting a new baby on chest area is still highly beneficial.
Make good rules:
Newborns are prone to infection in the early days before their immune system has had a chance to mature. Make sure everyone around you and baby washes their hands or use hand sanitizer. Don’t compromise. You are the one who will be sitting up all night, no one else, if your new baby gets sick. Your rules will help protect your baby.
Reach out for help:
If any parent or primary caretaker is feeling overly stressed and depressed three weeks after the new baby’s arrival, seek professional help. Talk to your doctor or nurse about it. If they aren’t hearing you, seek out other support resources. This is very important. If you want to learn more about postpartum depression and its symptoms, read this article on the topic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617
Adapt to needs and time:
Every situation is different so the ability to adapt and work around the little one’s needs is an asset. All babies have different sleep patterns which can be exhausting for new parents. Can you change your schedule based on their needs? If yes, make the change so both baby and parents can be in synch.
It will get better:
Even though it may seem challenging at first and you might think things won’t be same as before, it does get better with time, practice and lots of love.
Enjoy each moment during these early days. Give your baby the love and cuddles they need and crave. Will you spoil your baby? No, love doesn’t spoil a child. When you shower newborns with love and affection, you will make the child feel more confident, safe and protected. It sparks a brain connection and babies learn from it.
While this journey isn’t easy, it is one of the best journeys of one’s life. So, remember:
- Keep it simple.
- Take things easy; one step at a time.
- Try to avoid unnecessary stress.
- Take out some time for yourself, if possible.
- Never hesitate to ask for help.
Enjoy your beautiful journey with your new baby.
About the Author: Preeti Gupta was a captain in the Indian Army, a career nurse for over 35 years (RNC, LCCE, CIMI) and a mother baby care coach, who lives in Greater Chicago with her husband. She has two children and spends her time cooking, crafting, and writing books for children.