bringing home your newborn the survival guide Natalie Herman, Baby Sleep Consultant So you’ve just brought a new baby home from the hospital and all of a sudden you don’t have the support of the midwives, lactation consultants and hospital staff that make those first few days bearable. The elation, and joy of becoming a parent has started to be masked by the reality of the incredible responsibility you now have. For first time parents it can be really daunting to know what to do next, especially in regards to your baby’s sleep. Psychologists say that having a baby is one of the biggest life changes a couple can face, comparable to the anxiety levels caused by either relocation or divorce. So what can you do as a couple to prepare for such a life change? Have realistic expectations about your baby’s sleep In the first 3 weeks, your baby will want to sleep all day and night however, once the 3 week mark hits, you will notice that they all of a sudden ‘wake up’. They now need to be on a semi wake/feed schedule, which can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to do. In the first 3 months your baby will need to sleep every 1-2 hours maximum, which includes feeding, burping and changing them. At night they will feed as required so you can expect that the first months are not as routine driven as you may have wished or expected. By 3 months however, a routine is definitely possible as your baby is old enough to stick to set nap and feeding times. There will be an adjustment period in order to find a routine that is suitable for you, your baby and your family. Get as much support as possible
Look out for your local mothers groups and if it’s not an option, go online and join the millions of other parents who are there sharing their parenting issues and concerns on social media groups and parenting forums. It can be a very supportive place to get advice and make new friends. Implement date night I have seen many parents suffer more than they need to during this time because they are lacking couple time and intimacy. One of the ways to reduce PPD is to make sure you are getting out at least once a month with either a close group of girlfriends or your partner. If you had an active social life pre- baby, you will definitely miss this aspect of your life once the bub arrives. Of course you will be exhausted, but force yourself to get dressed up and go out for a couple of hours and chat about other things aside from your new baby. You will see how great you feel afterwards and how much it will bond you as a couple. Finding the time to nurture your relationship is imperative. Minimise the amount of visitors
The saying it takes a village really is true, especially for first time parents. Support is vital and if you do not live close to family or friends, then it really is worth investing in a
good nanny or babysitter, even if it’s just once or twice a week. The first few months of having a baby can get quite monotonous and stressful when you are confined to your home every day while your baby naps. It’s crucial for your well being to have some time out, even if it’s just to head down to the shops. Don’t be afraid to ask and accept offers of help. It doesn’t mean that you are not coping well, but it will take the pressure off you because the hours it takes to feed and settle your baby throughout the day leaves little time for much else.
It’s really exciting for family and friends when a new baby arrives, but too many visitors can be overwhelming for
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