TAK­ING BABY HOME

Be­tween feed­ing, sleep­ing and vis­i­tors, adapt­ing to life with a new bub can be over­whelm­ing. But help is at hand

Pregnancy Life & Style - - CONTENTS -

Adapt­ing to life with a new­born can be ex­cit­ing and over­whelm­ing

The first few weeks of your baby’s life are a truly mag­i­cal time, but new moth­er­hood can also be chal­leng­ing. Af­ter all, there’s feed­ing your baby and sleep rou­tines to get to grips with – all while func­tion­ing on lit­tle sleep, af­ter an ex­haust­ing labour from which you may still be re­cov­er­ing. To help you nav­i­gate through the first six weeks, here’s a guide to both sur­viv­ing and en­joy­ing this pre­cious pe­riod with your new baby.

Sleep FOR BABY

New­borns usu­ally sleep about 16 hours out of ev­ery 24, in short bursts through­out the day and night and in blocks of up to four hours. Red Nose rec­om­mends that ba­bies sleep in the same room as their par­ents for at least the first six months of their lives. Your lit­tle one’s bassinet or cot should be free of pil­lows and bumpers, and she should be placed on her back, not her tummy or side, en­sur­ing her face and head are un­cov­ered. Co-sleep­ing in your bed is not ad­vised. To learn more about safe sleep­ing prac­tices, visit www.red­nose.com.au.

Some mums like to put a bed­time rou­tine in place as soon as they bring bub home, while oth­ers are more re­laxed in the early weeks. Your new­born’s sleep sched­ule de­pends on her feed­ing sched­ule, and she’ll most likely sleep bet­ter with a full tummy, so try to make sure she gets a good feed.

Sleep FOR YOU

Ex­perts agree that if you can get this right, ev­ery­thing else will seem a lit­tle bit eas­ier. Mid­wife Megan Baker ad­vises you to take things easy and do as lit­tle as pos­si­ble in the first few weeks of your new­born’s life apart from rest­ing, sleep­ing and mak­ing sure she’s fed and com­fort­able. “You’ll be much less vul­ner­a­ble to post­na­tal de­pres­sion if you can re­cover prop­erly af­ter birth,” says Megan. It’s a clas­sic rule, but an im­por­tant one: sleep when­ever your baby does – what­ever the time of day.

Food FOR BABY

Once you can get the hang of it, breast­feed­ing is best be­cause you’re giv­ing

If you are still feel­ing blue af­ter the first week or so don't hes­i­tate

your baby all the nu­tri­ents she needs for healthy growth and de­vel­op­ment. She will also ben­e­fit from im­mu­nity that passes from mum to bub through breastmilk. Nu­mer­ous stud­ies show the long-term ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing also in­clude a re­duced risk of obe­sity, di­a­betes and asthma. It’s a great way for you and your baby to bond, too. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mends breast­feed­ing ex­clu­sively for six months, with con­tin­ued breast­feed­ing for up to two years.

Food FOR YOU

Un­like preg­nancy, few foods are out of bounds once your baby ar­rives. Mak­ing breastmilk re­quires lots of nu­tri­ents. It also in­creases your en­ergy needs – so it’s a great way to help shift the ex­tra weight gained dur­ing preg­nancy. You’ll prob­a­bly find your ap­petite in­creases, too. But you’ll need to eat sen­si­bly to en­sure you’re get­ting enough nu­tri­ents, too. The Aus­tralian Di­etary Guide­lines (www.eat­forhealth.gov.au) pro­vide use­ful ad­vice, in­clud­ing out­lin­ing the serv­ing sizes for each food group and how many serves per day breast­feed­ing women re­quire.

The ar­rival of a new baby is cer­tainly cause for cel­e­bra­tion, but be­fore you reach for the bub­bly, be aware that al­co­hol passes into breastmilk – and can re­main for 30 min­utes. Drink­ing al­co­hol can also af­fect sup­ply, so talk to your doc­tor about how your body pro­cesses al­co­hol be­tween feeds, as this will de­pend on var­i­ous fac­tors.

to ask for help and sup­port. Bond­ing

Touch is your baby’s first lan­guage and hold­ing and cud­dling her will help you bond. An­other good way is through baby mas­sage. Make sure the room is warm, you use gen­tle strokes and main­tain eye con­tact. A good time to give her a mas­sage is af­ter her bath, when she is clean, dry and re­laxed. Re­move all her clothes apart from her nappy and start by lay­ing her on her back on a soft towel.

Most health pro­fes­sion­als rec­om­mend us­ing sor­bo­lene cream or a food-grade or­ganic veg­etable oil, such as sun­flower or olive oil. Tip the cream or oil into a warmed bowl, re­move jew­ellery, wash your hands, then dip your fin­gers into the bowl and rub your hands to cover.

Dads can get in­volved with nappy changes, mas­sages and bathing.

Dads, fam­ily AND FRIENDS

Get­ting in­volved with nappy changes, mas­sages and bathing are all great ways for dad to con­nect with bub. Dads can also man­age the con­stant flow of fam­ily and friends who will be keen to meet the lat­est ad­di­tion. But too many vis­i­tors early on can be over­whelm­ing for you and unset­tling for bub. It’s fine to ask peo­ple to wait and to keep vis­its short.

Us­ing a baby car­rier or fab­ric sling when you’re out and about, or even at home but when you need to get on with chores, is an­other good way to bond. She’ll be com­forted by your warmth, smell and heart­beat.

Also, make sure you fol­low the safety guide­lines on baby­wear­ing, called TICKS, so your bub’s chin is kept off her chest and her back is sup­ported, with her tummy and chest ly­ing against you.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the TICKS guide­lines, visit www.fair­trad­ing.qld.gov.au/ mar­ket­place/prod­uct-safety/ safety-warn­ings/baby-slings

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