|Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby|
|You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.|
|Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn|
|When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!|
Every parent is keenly aware of just how challenging it is to manage children. Establishing a rapport with, devising ways and means to entertain children and keep them from getting into each other's hair is not everyone's cup of tea.
Naturally, the first choice when it comes to babysitting is the tried and trusted family members with whom kids would have an existing relationship. But, the good fortune of having family members living in the vicinity is rare. The alternative is to hire a babysitter.
Hiring a Babysitter:
One option is to hire a babysitter based in your neighbourhood. The advantages are that the sitter would most probably be already known to your children and it would be easier to procure feedback about the prospective babysitter – the ability to bathe children, change diapers, feed them, the engagement level with children, etc.
Babysitting is usually compensated on an hourly basis and the rates charged by neighbourhood babysitters are generally reasonable. Most neighbourhood babysitters are older teenagers looking to shore up family finances or boost their own income levels for vacation expenses, etc.
The second option is to search the internet or the yellow pages for babysitting services. Or you can take the help of mobile apps who will provide verified and secured babysitters. These agencies retain babysitters for assignment to households who seek their services.
Babysitters from Agencies:
There are pros and cons for contracting a babysitter from an agency. While there is a general view that it is easier to make arrangements for a babysitter from among the families in your neighbourhood at short notice or for single occasions, there are professional agencies that also satisfy the short notice and single request calls from parents for babysitting services.
|Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch|
|If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.|
|Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped|
|At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.|
With the neighbourhood arrangement, hiring any babysitter for repeat occasions is not a complicated issue. Agencies may not be able to guarantee that the babysitter, with whose services you were so satisfied that last time, will be available for your current requirement.
The upside is that the babysitters on the rolls of the agencies are qualified in childcare and have considerable experience in looking after children of all ages. When you make a local arrangement for babysitting, you are restricted in your selection and compelled to make the most of the skills available.
Dealing with a professional babysitting agency makes it easy to spell out any specific requirement that you may have, any skills that you would like the babysitter to have and any peculiarities or idiosyncrasies of your children which the sitter should be equipped to deal with.
Agencies are professionally managed and your inputs will be carefully documented and taken into consideration while assigning the babysitter. It is advisable to intimate your requirement to the agency at least 5 to 7 days in advance, as the process of matchmaking and getting a babysitter who is the right fit for your children may take time.
Assessment and Feedback:
Whatever the modus operandi you decide upon for appointing a babysitter, remember to carry out stringent reference checks. You will be handing over your children into the care of a third person and, therefore, you just cannot be too careful about the character of the babysitter. This is usually taken care of when you hire a professional firm, who do such checks on your behalf.
Even after the reference checks come out clear, if you experience an indeterminate feeling of discomfort when interacting with the babysitter, go with your gut feeling and look for another sitter. At the end of the sitting, if your children are old enough, get feedback from them about the sitter that will contribute to a decision regarding the future appointment.
|Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings|
|When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!|
|Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad|
|Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.|