|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!|
As an expectant mom, getting ready for the birth of your child is all about managing the details, from baby clothes to baby showers, baby toys; not to mention the doctor visits, and the congratulatory cards and letters to keep up with. Being pregnant can be every bit as hectic as any other full time job. So it begs the question, what should you, as a mother-to-be, focus on in order to really prepare for the “blessed event?” According to top doctors, expectant mothers should prepare by paying attention to number one – yes, that's you!
“It's so common to see young expectant mothers get totally stressed out over having their babies,” says one top New York obstetrician. “It's as though they take personal responsibility for every aspect of the nine month journey: the correspondence, baby clothes, and baby furniture. Someone needs to remind them that it's enough to just be pregnant and that their primary job is to take care of themselves first and foremost.
Here are some suggestions for “babying” yourself during pregnancy:
|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.|
Adapt your daily schedule to what your body is telling you. Give yourself breaks whenever you feel the need. Don't stubbornly stick to a work or social schedule or try to “tough it out” when you feel tired. Remember, that you're not in this alone – your bundle of joy is counting on you to provide nourishment and comfort in a stress-free environment. When you get tired, take a nap or spend some stress-free quality time with yourself by reading a book, journaling about your pregnancy, or socializing with close friends. The only clock you should pay attention to is your own body clock – allow it to guide you through the day.
Don't forget to pamper yourself. Bubble baths, foot massages, and makeovers can all go a long way towards easing the aches and pains that often come as a byproduct of “living for two.” Consider setting aside time every day for something “special.” There's nothing wrong with feeling good every single day of your pregnancy.
Another important thing to remember is to keep exercising. Yoga, Tai Chi, or any gentle, movement-based activity will not only reduce stress, which is always a good thing, but will also help expectant
mothers stay fit throughout their pregnancy and afterward. Shedding the additional weight that often comes with having a child will occur more naturally if you can keep to an exercise regime. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to go overboard with exercise, but research now suggests that even small periods of exercise daily, as little as five minutes, can help keep expectant mothers healthy and fit.
|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.|