So you are home from hospital! For some, you feel elated while others burst into tears as soon as you walk through the front door. You may ask yourself “Why am I crying? shouldn’t I be over the moon?!”. And then you may think to yourself …. “Oh that’s right! My boobs hurt, my milk has not quite come in, I am moving slowly from either my cesarean section or stitches from a normal delivery, and I have heightened hormones coupled with sleep deprivation, so I guess that would explain it?!”.
You also feel tired and totally overwhelmed, especially if you are a first time parent and you can no longer press the buzzer for the nurse to come and assist you or reassure you. To top it off you feel like your partner is relying on you because you are the expert and know exactly what to do and how to settle your new baby.
Well isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing!
Did you know that there are actually very few “musts” when caring for and bringing up your baby…… “What!” you might be thinking?!
Yes well it’s true, so here are some essentials that I think babies need, that will help you to feel less overwhelmed and hopefully lighten the load!
- Breast Feeding/Bottle can be frequent in the first 6 weeks
- Fully established breast feeding takes at least approx 6 weeks. As baby moves towards 12-16 weeks, periods of time will increase between feeds
- Formula fed babies and volumes can be calculated as per your babies weight.
- Instructions on the formula tin is a guide only and volumes may vary from feed to feed.
- Breast Feed/Bottle feed when baby wakes
- Changing a nappy in between feeds can help wake a baby so they feed from both sides of the breast or complete the bottle
- Baby cues-respond to baby cues- recognise what baby tells you. Do they have good eye contact are they engaging or are they looking away and disengaging? see tip sheet Baby Cues.
- Respond to their tired signs
- Love– give lots of cuddles, attention and affection as babies need to feel close and know that they are loved and ‘delighted in’
- Hygiene- hand hygiene and cleanliness is important to reduce infection
- Tired signs– look for these as they are cues for sleep. Jerky movements, clenched fists, frowning, grizzling, crying, nesting-in and fussiness on breast
- Sleep/Settling– babies will sleep in-between feeds and have long stretches of sleep at times
- As they move towards 12-16 weeks these will happen in the evening and overnight. Remember sleep time is important, resettle after sleep cycles. If baby is unsettled try a relaxation bath.
The rest is all about choices!
There is no right or wrong if your baby is settled and you are happy then please find comfort in this.