In the first few days and months after your baby’s birth you may feel you don’t know how to handle your new member of the family. It can be overwhelming to feel the responsibility for another person and have no manual.
Be kind to yourself during this period.
Newborn babies are adjusting to the world while you are adjusting to becoming a parent.
Everything can feel fragile and new. Try not to worry about the bigger picture, or planning too far into the future, just concentrate on getting to know your baby.
This will come with time, no-one should expect you to know what they want straight away or how they like to be held, you will figure this out together.
What the baby experts say
When people quote the baby ‘experts’ and what they tell you to do, we say to new mums that no-one knows your baby like you do.
But actually even you don’t know everything straight away, parenting is a process of getting to know this new little bundle, and for them to get to know you back.
It’s ok for you not to have all the answers.
It’s not a one size fits all with newborn babies. There are general things that all babies like and need. You will, over time, figure out their favourite holding positions, songs and how to comfort them. It’s a process of getting to know them.
Read our article – Don’t feel you need to be a perfect parent or that you need to get it right all the time.
How to get to know your newborn
- It’s ok to stay in your pyjamas and rest as much as possible after your baby is born, feed lying down if you need to, keeping safe with the guidelines for shared beds.
- Stay warm as possible with as much skin to skin as you can. Newborn babies have better regulation of their heart rate, blood pressure and temperature when they are close to you.
- Spend lots of time gazing at your baby. Take it all in and look at the little details of their body and face. It helps the Oxytocin hormone flow which is great for bonding.
- Learn some baby massage strokes, it helps relax baby and you and can help you feel closer to them and get to know them.
- Wear your baby in a sling or carrier, keeping them close can help increase the bond between you.
- Watch their movements, their noises and their facial expressions whilst they lie next to you. This helps you get to know how they react to different situations like hunger or tiredness.
- Try to ignore the large amount of advice that will come your way about what you ‘should’ be doing. When you get to know your baby as an individual it will become easier for you to address their needs rather than other peoples shoulds.
- Put off any non urgent jobs and ask for help with cooking, cleaning, taking dog for walk and anything else that is offered from friends or family. It’s great if friends or family can set up a rota to pop in and help. This allows you time to just be with your baby.
Baby Massage is a great way to get to know your baby and encourage confidence in your parenting. We have live classes, as well as an Online Baby Massage course available to download.