Parent Support Creating A Healthy Support Network

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!

Additional Information:

More than ever, parents need to embrace the concept of It takes a village to raise a child. Parents – whether first-time, or second-time, parents – need to surround themselves with a support network. A good supportive network can be the difference between an easy and fun transition into a life with a baby, or a difficult and frustrating transition into life with a baby.

The Benefits of a Support Network

Why do parents need support groups, and what are the benefits? Human beings are social creatures. We help one another and learn from one another. When it comes to raising a baby for the first time, many first-time parents are not always aware of the right thing to do. At first, they are not certain of what methods work when it comes to taking care of a baby. Therefore, it is often a benefit to be surrounded by people who can offer ideas, and pass on wisdom about baby-related things.

Source of Information. From breastfeeding tips for mum (and bottle feeding for dad) to baby teething and baby food nutrition advice, first-time parents have a wonderful resource when they are connected to a support group. It is absolutely amazing how much one can learn from another. Would the first-time parents know that special teething necklaces exist to help deal with the baby teething stage? Maybe not. Yet, through networking this tiny piece of advice may end up saving both parents' sanity and help bring comfort to their baby at this tumultuous stage.

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.

Physical Helping Hand. Another advantage of a support groups is: They can physically give first-time parents a helping hand. The logistics of baby care can be overwhelming at first. Sometimes, to be successful at raising a child, parents need to step back, or take a break. They need time to spend with one another, as a couple. It gives them a chance to evaluate themselves as parents and then return to their baby with a fresh and relaxed mental state. But they need help from families and friends to take care of their child during this Time off.

Encouragement and Confidence. Additionally, a support group can provide encouragement and confidence to the mum and dad. Having the reassurance of family and friends – for simple things like whether or not a teething necklace is appropriate for baby teething – can give first-time parents a sense of relief.

Who Should be in the Support Network?

Anyone can be made a member of the support group. The person needs to be someone with whom the baby's parents feel comfortable with; someone whose help and advice will always be welcomed. The Support Network usually includes:

  • Baby's grandparents
  • Other family members
  • Trusted friends
  • Healthcare experts

Each one of those individuals is a valuable resource in creating a healthy environment for baby and her parents. Regardless, of who is chosen, the members within the support group need to be people with whom the first-time parents have great trust and respect for.

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.
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