How to prepare for your new baby
Quite often, one of the reasons we get so frustrated or feel helpless as new parents is due to our expectations. We are led to believe, by so called ‘baby experts’, that we have to train babies to fit a schedule, that we need to train them to feed every four hours and sleep alone otherwise we will create a clingy baby that will never become independent, what utter tosh!
When we adjust our expectations it’s often easier to cope with the demands a new baby brings.
Expect your baby to need to be held, many babies will only settle ‘in arms’ and often only in the arms of mum, this is normal. On the other hand if they do happily go down or to others that is ok too.
Dad, Grandma’s, Aunts etc, don’t take it personally if baby cries when you hold them, there will be plenty of time for cuddles in the future.
Babies also expect to be fed when they are hungry, regardless of what the clock says or when their last feed was, their stomach is tiny, they have no concept of time, all they know is they are hungry and need some milk, no amount of jigging or distracting is likely to help settle baby if they are hungry so it helps to be prepared to feed little and often. If you are breastfeeding it works on a supply and demand basis, the more you feed the more milk your body produces.
Expect life to be different, the sudden responsibility of a new born that requires 24/7 care can be overwhelming, don’t beat yourself up or feel you need to pretend, most mums experience hormonal changes (baby blues), it’s ok to not be ok. If you feel you need to talk through what you’re feeling don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask.
The best piece of advice I was given to prepare myself for the fourth trimester was to clear my diary! In this culture the business of having a baby seems to come with a diary full of demands. Visitors, photo shoots, medical checks and appointments, registering the birth………the list goes on.
The reality of it is you just don’t know how you will feel after the birth. I often compare the labour of birthing a baby to running a marathon and if you have a caesarean, this is major abdominal surgery that your body will need time and care to recover from.