|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!|
There's no doubt that being a parent to a new baby has its ups and downs, and if you're a single parent it can sometimes feel like the downs are winning.
When parenting becomes a struggle, it's even more important to make sure you spend quality time with your little one – one-on-one time is a unique gift for babies that only you as a parent can give, so here are some ideas for ways to enjoy spending time together:
|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.|
- Eat well – easy to forget with so much to do, but making sure you eat a good balanced diet is crucial for keeping you in the best possible shape for looking after your little one. Try to make meal times a special occasion, where you and your baby eat together, and they can learn about the importance of healthy eating.
- Meet up with friends – quality time doesn't have to mean you're on your own with your baby all day every day. Socialising with friends is a really important way to maintain your sanity, and will give your baby a chance to get out and see new faces, and learn a bit about the world. It's always good to talk!
- Go for a walk – being out in the open air, and enjoying some exercise, may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're exhausted from caring for a new baby, but it's actually a great way to boost your energy, plus you also benefit fro a change of scenery.
- Jump in the bath – Sharing a bath with your baby is a lovely way to enjoy bath times together. When your baby is small, forget about the baby bath tub, simply lay them on your chest and enjoy lots of skin to skin contact, which is great for bonding.
- Baby massage – after you've shared a bath, and while your little one is wrapped up snug in their soft baby towel, you could try giving them a massage. Baby massage is a great way to relax your baby ready for bed, and we all know the value of a good night's sleep!
|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.|