Coping Tips for the first 6 weeks with your newborn.
Bringing home our first baby was the most exhilarating and terrifying experience. It was our responsibility to keep our beloved baby alive, safe and well. The drive from the hospital to home with our precious cargo was nerve racking. When picking him up we did so with great caution.
When we brought home Tommy from hospital for the first time my husband and I felt clueless. Even after reading loads of parenting books, viewing parenting instruction videos and going to prenatal classes we were still fearful of the responsibility ahead.
We would watch him sleep making sure he was still breathing and did not roll onto his tummy or side as per the Red Nose SIDS prevention guide lines.
Tommy was one of those babies that cried all the time – really I mean all the time. I went to my first group meeting at the Early Childhood Clinic in Randwick. There must have been a group of about forty mothers and we sat around in a large circle sharing our experiences of our new role as parent.
When it came to my turn and I spoke of the amount of time Tommy spent crying, the group let out a loud gasped. This was my first realisation that something was not right with Tommy – we needed help.
I spoke to several mothercraft experts, lactation consultants, baby specialist Karitane and Tresillian. They all had different opinions on what to do about Tommy. I was given much conflicting advice: I was feeding him too much and or not enough etc.
I optimistically attended a sleep and settling course at Karitane in Randwick. When you enter the lovely Karitane ladies take your baby off you so the mums can focus on do the course, but my baby was brought back to me to. They said that they had tried everything but could not settle him. These were the baby gurus and they could not stop Tommy from crying what hope did I have.
My next step was to see a paediatrician. He was the first person to tell me that this was not normal. A normal baby cries a lot but not all the time.
The paediatrician told me it could be a number of things such as lactose intolerance, a urinary tract infection or reflux. Tommy was diagnosed with reflux and finally we were on our way to recovery.
From my experience I have made a list of my top tips for new parents.
- Trust your instincts. Firstly, do not let conflicting advice confuse or upset you. Listen to what everyone has to say and thank them. If any of the advice sounds sensible try it out to see if it will work for you and ignore the rest.
- Swaddling your baby in a zip up “Pod” swaddle bag helps settle them and becomes part of their routine. Baby knows when they are in their swaddle bag that it is time for sleep. It helps baby sleep longer which means you will get more sleep too.
- Sleeping while your baby sleeps is easier said than done. Sometimes there are things that just have to get done or other times I was so over tired I could not sleep but still give it a go as it really is the best advice. Forget about housework for the time being.
- Prepare yourself before baby is born by reading some of the better baby books. My favourite book was Robin Barkers Baby Love it had everything you need to know. Do a prenatal and breastfeeding course, read lots and spend some time around babies if you can.
- Get another opinion is you are feeling unsure. Speak to lots of people until you find a solution if you have an issue. Tiny tummies cannot hold too much milk, newborns must be fed often. This the reason they wake so frequently to let you know that they are hungry but if baby is crying through until the next feed visit an expert.
- Routine is very important. It could be something like: bath, dress, feed, play go, for a walk and then swaddle then off to sleep.
- Accept help from anyone who offers.
- Get organised. Keep your nappy bag packed with the essentials ready to go at a moments notice. There is nothing worse than forgetting the baby wipes or a change of clothes in case of an accident.