|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!|
The prospect of a new baby's arrival may feel parents with joy. But what about the older toddler? Is it inevitable that there will be sibling rivalry and jealousy when the new baby joins the family? Though this is a common worry among parents, in fact resentment among siblings (brothers and sisters) is not the normal experience. For most children, it is a delight to welcome a little brother or sister to play with.
Of course, this excited expectation of a playmate can itself be the source of difficulty. We can fill toddlers with high expectations of fun times with the baby, only for there to be great disappointment when the newborn does little more than eat, sleep and fill nappies. Explain that playing together will only be possible after the baby has grown a little, and show your older child photos of herself as a tiny newborn so she knows what to expect – though all this will be hard for a little one to take in. Look together at story or picture books about families with a new baby.
Your toddler will love being included in the preparations for the new baby. She can help select baby clothes and nursery items and join in discussion of baby names. She may like to decide which toys to share with the baby, though it's important not to make her share ones which are precious to her.
Sometimes a toddler faces several changes at once when a baby arrives, such as moving bedroom or starting nursery. These can make her feel pushed out. It helps if possible to make the changes as early as possible. Moving into another room can become a treat rather than a displacement if handled as a fun, grown-up move. Help her make some choices, eg with colour scheme and perhaps new items in the room. If baby will be sharing the room with the toddler, make sure the older child's space is special and distinct.
|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.|
Time for two
A new baby demands so much attention that the older child can feel pushed out. This can lead to attention-seeking through being aggressive to the baby, whining or throwing a tantrum. On the other hand, parents can be so aware of this issue that they over-compensate and the baby may miss out. Try to find opportunities to create time alone with each of them. In a two-parent family, the parents might take turns to go out with each of the children alone. Or arrange for someone to look after the baby while you and the older child have an outing to the shops or park or have play time together at home.
Without meaning to do so, it's easy for an exhausted mother to fill a toddler with the idea that baby is a nuisance in the family. Telling the toddler that mummy is too tired to play with her, or that the baby is demanding so much attention that she hasn't time to read a story, could lead the youngster to decide that the baby is spoiling everything, leading to sibling resentment. It helps if you can include the toddler when life gets busy, asking her help in passing the nappy, or her advice on what she thinks will help stop baby crying. Positive words help a small child make sense of all the changes that a new baby brings into daily life.
Amazingly quickly, that helpless new baby will begin watching her older sibling, and the toddler will be delighted to make her laugh, teach her to play and keep her entertained. They do, of course, need watching. Play can become rough, and the older sibling may find it fun to teach the younger one to get into mischief such as tearing things up or drawing on walls – and pass on the blame!
|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.|