As a pregnant mama, you most like have dreams of what it will be like to be a new mama. How lovely your baby will be (and she/he will be for sure!), how beautiful your baby will look in the new nursery, how when it’s time for sleep you’ll smile as you put your baby down for a nap and watch her/him sleep soundly for a couple of hours as you read a book and catch up on things….
I will thread gently when I say that it doesn’t always look like we dreamed it to be. Life with a newborn is different than what we’re shown in cultural depictions of new motherhood. It *is* lovely and you will love this little being more than you ever thought possible, but there are some realities that differ greatly from how babies are born and what we expect them to be.
Here are some tips that I hope will help.
1) Babies aren’t born to sleep all night long.
You may have a newborn that sleeps a lot, well you most likely will have a baby that sleeps a lot, but babies have small tiny tummies and breastmilk is very easy to digest and so babies are biologically and amazingly designed (for survival) to wake up often to eat. When babies wake up they also reset their heart rates and their breathing, so wakings help to prevent SIDs. Embrace those wakings and use it as a time to connect, bond and feed your little one.
2) Babies are contact seekers.
Your baby right now is surrounded by…..YOU. Held in your miraculous womb, surrounded by your sounds, your tastes, your movement. In this way, you’ve grown your baby in uterous and towards the end we call this the “third trimester”. When your baby is born, it’s now time for the fourth trimester. A time when your baby seeks and needs your touch, your sound, your taste, your breastmilk, your movement. During this stage your baby strives the more he/she is touched and carried and interacts with you. It’s not a want – your baby doesn’t just want to be with you. Your baby needs to be with you for neurological and physiological development.
3) A comfortable baby carrier can be your most treasured baby gear.
There are swings, strollers, bouncy seats, mats…you name it there is a baby gear for that. But a comfortable baby carrier is the only baby “gear” that allows your baby to meet his developmental needs while giving you freedom of movement and convenience. Carried babies are touched more, kissed more and cuddled more and in this are able to have mother meet their needs. While other baby gear have their place, it’s a baby carrier that keeps on giving for both mother and baby. Baby carriers help you meet baby needs #1 and #2 above and more.
4) Follow your instincts
There will be 1million and 1 books, blogs, friends, family, even this email that will have recommendations for your baby. Guess who is your baby’s expert? YOU. Listen to your baby – your baby will tell you what he/she needs. Watch for your baby’s cues, sometimes they can be very slight but they are there. Your baby will communicate with you and it takes time to figure out what he/she is saying. And sometimes you won’t be able to, but be there for your baby and listen to your instincts. You’re eternally connect and that bond never ends. Follow it and ignore anything else that tells you to go against your gut.