You have finally made it beyond the letter-box with your newborn. You are feeling pretty proud of yourself for getting out and about between feeds, poos and spews and you even have your own shirt on the right way round. But then some dear old lady spies your little ‘freshie’ and as she peers into your pram, she can’t resist asking, ‘is he a good baby?’
Then that dreaded next question, ‘does he sleep all night?’
Suddenly you are hit by a wave of self-doubt. You wonder, ‘should my baby be sleeping longer? This isn’t helped by all the baby sleep programs advertising how to teach your baby to sleep ‘all night’. Especially when you read that babies can sleep 8 hours or 12 hours or whatever is being promised. Or that you can expect your baby to give you a full night’s sleep when he is just a few weeks old – if you just follow the right ‘method’.
Firstly, ‘all night’
If you haven’t yet had your baby, now is the time to plan beyond a fancy nursery that your baby won’t be moving into just yet anyway and plan for a calm, stress free ‘babymoon’. Think, a babymoon is like a honeymoon for you, your partner and your new baby as you all adjust to this big new world. A huge factor in planning a gentle babymoon for your growing family (whether this is your first baby, or you already have other children), is to create a support team.
A supportive partner is a huge factor in your breastfeeding success so first up, discuss with your partner how they can support you: taking time off work, censoring visitors, allowing you to rest, feeding you and being positive about breastfeeding – never asking ‘are you sure you have enough milk?’
Your support circle
Next, consider your wider support circle: surround yourself with
As you carried your baby in your belly, you dreamed of an instant connection between you – just like the soft focused television ads. He would instantly know you are his mother, the one who will protect him and love him forever and he will love you back. You will be his special person, the one he loves more than anyone else in the whole world.
Right now, though, it doesn’t feel like that. Of course you love him and feel utterly responsible for him but it’s not like the ads – you feel like a zombie craving sleep, he seems more like a tiny poop machine who cries and squirms and feeds endlessly and all you want is some feedback that your endless hours of nurturing are truly making a difference.
Your care is helping your baby thrive. It is helping love grow between you and as this bond grows, he will show you in his own special ways that you are the most important person in his world:
Getting used to your newborn is such an intense time as you recover from your birth experience physically and emotionally and there is a lot of trial and error as you work out what is best for you and your baby. The thing is, it’s ok to take a few short cuts and, as a mum of five, there probably aren’t many I haven’t tried – some were helpful, some not so much. Here are my top hacks to make things easier for you and your new baby.
If your baby’s bum isn’t as smooth as it should be according to the old adage (‘smooth as a baby’s bum’), but red and inflamed instead, your little one will no doubt cry and be miserable, especially as urine scalds his delicate skin. Although babies with very sensitive skin or a family history of skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis may be more prone to nappy rash, any baby can be a candidate.
Holidaying with kids is…how can I put this? It’s…well, let’s just say it’s different to previous holidays you may have taken with friends or as a couple without kids. And by different, I mean, you may feel like you need a holiday to recover from the ‘holiday’ you just had. Add a breastfed baby into the mix and it’s a whole new ball game where your expectations may be quite different to what really happens!
Unrealistic expectations, pressure to be the perfect mum and too many ‘rules’ are making mums overthink – and blame themselves when they don’t have a ‘good’ baby. The first question every new mum is asked will be ‘is he a good baby?’ This will be followed by, ‘how does he sleep?’ Is it any wonder mums are asking, ‘am I screwing things up?’
We often hear about the 4th trimester as being a time for babies to adapt to the important transition from womb to world. We don’t hear as often how vital this time is to honour the transition for mothers as a time of healing and adjusting to their intense new role of nurturing and nourishing a newborn.
Pinky interviewed Kelly, naturopath, mother and co-owner with her Sister Nicole Farrell of Sisters and The Sea for her top tips as both a mum and a naturopath about how you can plan to thrive in the 4th Trimester