Baby weeks 0 – 12 : The first twelve weeks of baby’s life is full of joys…
The smell of a new baby, the sweetness of feeling that baby cuddle into you, the silkiness of the baby’s skin, the bliss of baby’s little toes. The feeling of accomplishment, or learning new things, of falling in love, all of these are wonderful.
But Trimester 4 is also a difficult time for everyone. For the baby, it’s a challenge learning to live outside the uterus, dealing with the sounds and smells and tastes and feelings and sights of this big noisy world. For the mother, it’s a challenge to learn to breastfeed and understand and respond to the baby’s cues. For the mother’s partner and/or the baby’s other parent, it’s a challenge to learn to care for baby, support a tired and emotional mom and deal with increased household responsibilities. It’s very important at this time for you all to be very forgiving and accepting of each other. You are all learning your way to being a family. Soon it will all be much easier.
- Learn to read baby’s cues – the baby will set her own agenda…
- Spend time just sitting and watching your baby.
- Listen to the sounds your baby makes. Which ones are cries? Are there any other sounds?
- Usually babies cry about two things: loneliness and hunger. Try picking the baby up and holding and carrying and then nursing.
- If those don’t work, you could try diaper changing.
- But then see if there are other things that work:
- going out for a walk
- having a bath together
- Recover from childbirth…
- Mom needs rest. She needs to stay home and in a semi-horizontal position for several days.
- After four or five days, she could go out for a short walk, with a companion.
- She really should not be alone at home with the baby for long periods in the first week of the baby’s life – it can be very overwhelming.
- Mom’s partner, who was probably with her during labour, needs sleep. Make sure the birth partner gets naps during the first few days. It’s very easy for the non-breastfeeding parents to do a lot of running around and get quite exhausted too.
- Take care of the parents. Make sure you both get…
- sleep – to make up for the night wakings
- good food when things are disorganized – ask friends and family to bring a meal
- company – when the working-outside-the-home parent goes back to work, make sure the stay-at-home parent gets visitors and support
- entertainment – caring for a bay intensively can get a little boring. Funny movies and good music can help.
- exercise and fresh air – after the first week or so, a daily walk can really help mood, and sleep
- Become a family…
- Do things together. There is a temptation to split the work up so one parent cares for the baby and the other does the shopping/cooking/cleaning/laundry. Instrad, try doing things all three of you together, if you can. It gives the non-breastfeeding parent time with baby, and teaches both of you to include your baby in family activities.
- Make family cuddle time every day – in the morning in bed or in the evening on the sofa, for example.
- Make family singing and dancing time.
- Family bath time?
- Family meal time – possibly one of the most important.
Or refer back to…