I remember my very own experience when my son was born, (that was nine years ago!). I was so excited and thought it would be so much fun all the way! However, soon I realized that it was not really so. (Horrible, but true!). Not that it was not fun at all, but for the major portion of the time I felt tired and was desperately longing for some good sleep. I felt nervous and was overwhelmed by all the time and attention the baby required. Yes, I was totally exhausted and felt I was not doing my best. I was longing for a break. In fact, just the other day, a ‘new mom’ friend of mine said, “I’ll do anything for you if you can engage my baby for a while and give me a break”! That did it. I gave her the break, of course, but it just triggered me to come up with this article for anyone who might be feeling the same as her, and me nine years ago.
What I have here for you are some simple, great tips selected from the book ‘Baby Prodigy- A Guide to Raising a Smarter, Happier Baby’, by Barbara Candiano- Marcus, (2005 Edition). A very informative and comprehensive book and I recommend you definitely read it if you can manage to get some time.
The first and the foremost thing for you to do is to ‘take care of yourself’. A ‘happy you’ means a ‘happy baby’. Most moms forget themselves when they have their baby to take care of. Infact, accept all offers of help. You will need all your strength, both mentally and physically, to be the best parent you can to your newborn.
The three most important tips for the first four weeks are:
1.Make sure you get enough sleep: Newborns sleep from twelve to twenty hours in a day, waking and sleeping in short intervals. Since a newborn may want to feed every two hours or so, take advantage to grab some sleep whenever you can during you baby’s sleepy periods.
2. Make sure you get enough nourishment: It is recommended that women who are breast-feeding consume an extra 400 to 500 calories per day beyond their normal calorie intake which they did to maintain their pre-pregnancy weight. If you are bottle-feeding your baby, the diet is still important as good nutrition will help you maintain your energy level. Eat healthy meals and avoid excess caffeine or sugary treats.
3. Trust your instincts: When it comes to knowing what is best for your little one, you must learn to trust your instincts. What is right for somebody’s child may not be right for your baby. Infact, what worked for your first baby may not work for your second. So, when you have a question, refer books written by experts in the field, or surf good sources on the internet, and/or ask your pediatrician. After getting all the information, decide what works best for you and your baby.
Another important thing is‘bonding’ with your baby. According to scientists, the concept of bonding refers to the tie a parent feels toward an infant. It occurs naturally during the first few hours or days after birth. However, your baby does not bond with you instantly! It occurs over a period of time based upon the shared interactions. What you really need to know is that these first four weeks are a critical time during which your baby depends on you to provide the kind of consistent, dependable, responsive care that will allow him to become secure and confident in himself and others. So, how do you do this?
During the first few weeks of life, it is important to hold and touch your baby. Whenever you can and however long you want to, ‘carry’ your baby without worrying about ‘spoiling’ him. He will outgrow this over a period of time as more structure sets into his routine.
Sleeping and Waking Patterns: (Is you baby awake most part of the night?)
By the end of the first month, you may notice that your baby is developing some patterns where his feeding and sleeping in concerned. His feeding may become more regular, every three to four hours and he may be awake for slightly longer periods of time during the day.
Some babies, however, at this age, mix up night and day. They sleep all day and wake up all night expecting company. By the age of one month, you can help your baby shift into the schedule the rest of your household does by following these techniques:
- Prolong your baby’s periods of alertness during the day by involving him in some fun activities.
- Try limiting daytime sleeping to three or four hour intervals, gently waking your baby if he is intent on sleeping for more than four hours at a time during the day.
- Have your baby sleep in different places during the day and night so he will start associating a particular place with a long, quiet sleep.
- Make nighttime more conducive to sleep. Darken the room, use quiet voices or whispers when your baby wakes in the night. Don’t turn on bright lights for changing, feeding, etc.
- Make sure your baby isn’t being overstimulated during the day. Babies who receive too much stimulation can easily become overtired and may be unable to settle down to sleep well at night.
Finally, the top recommendations, of experts from the fields of neuroscience, medicine, education, human services, media, business, and public policy, for promoting healthy brain development in all children are:
- Be warm, loving, and responsive.
- Respond to your child’s cues and clues.
- Talk, read, and sing to your child.
- Establish rituals and routines.
- Encourage safe explorations and play.
- Make television watching selective.
- Teach through discipline. Be consistent and loving. Supervise and set limits.
- Recognize that your child is unique and expect him to succeed.
- Choose quality child care and stay involved.
- Take care of yourself.
Hope reading this has helped you somewhat! Happy parenting and take care!
Barbara Candiano- Marcus : ‘Baby Prodigy: A Guide to Raising a Smarter, Happier Baby’ (2005 Edition).