Trust Your Instincts

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:

Every parent has to be able to cope with some unsought advice on how to be a parent from their own parents, from friends that mean well, and even from strangers on the street. There are millions of bookstores and libraries that stock education material to teach mothers on how to keep their children happy, how to avoid spoiling them, how to put them to bed at night, how to encourage their intelligence and artistic abilities and overall how to just keep them healthy. Too much information is not always good either because too much information can result in conflicting information. Nevertheless, parents will also run into the issue of who will they listen too, or determining what information is the right information. So the best advice is going with one's instincts without some level of self-doubt.

What it really boils down to, is providing a good balance between the needs of the baby and the needs of the mother. If baby is happy, appropriately stimulated, learning, and calm, then it leaves a mother feeling as though she is doing her job right. Now on the flip side, if baby is fussy, bored and developmentally delayed, or prone to screaming and crying, then it leaves a mother feeling stressed out and like a failure.

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.

No one is parenting experts, but we do have to notice that women who practice a certain style of parenting tend to have somewhat of an easier and smoother time parenting for the first few months postpartum. Mothers should always keep in mind that they are the only ones that know what is best for their children, no books or theory can ever change that. Listen to your instincts, and if they tell you what the best practices are and the feeling is what feels right will give the greatest satisfaction.

Attachment is the most important factor when it comes to parenting babies. Most small babies do not want to be put down for any length of time. Babies that are carried most of the time are normally calmer and tend to cry less. “As these children grow older, they tend to be less clingy, because their need of physical closeness to their caregivers has been fulfilled; they feel more secure when it comes time to explore the word” (Sears, William M.D.). Babies are more at ease when they are in physical contact with their parent.

The amount of time that a parent spends on holding their baby can take most of your time away from other things. So to make the amount of carrying and your holding your baby an easier process; invest in some different baby carriers to allow you to tote your little ones around hands free. This will allow you to able to go about your daily lives and still have hands to actually get things done. Babies can nap and still observe in a comfortable perch. A baby's brain and nervous system development are promoted by constant movement and observation of you and your everyday tasks. If you baby falls asleep in a sling, you can simple just take the sling off while baby is still in it and lay them down. Pediatrician William Sears, M.D., one of the best known proponents of attachment parenting, calls this carrying period baby carrying. Generally, it lasts from birth until the baby begins to crawl, walk and engaged in independent play”.

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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