BABY AT HOME

Your Baby & Toddler - - YOUR BABY FILES -

New ba­bies eat (be­tween eight and twelve times in 24 hours), poop and wee (on av­er­age four wet and one soiled nap­pies per day), and sleep (up to 20 hours a day, but usu­ally only for one to four hours at a time). They also make strange move­ments and noises, most of which are per­fectly nor­mal. And they cry. “Feeding the baby be­fore a nappy change and bath time re­ally helps. They cry less and co­op­er­ate more when their tum­mies are full,” says Inga.

The very first bath at home can be stress­ful. Luck­ily baby doesn’t have to be bathed ev­ery day. A daily top and tail is enough dur­ing the first few days at home. This ba­si­cally means us­ing a warm, damp face­cloth to gently wipe the face and neck folds (where milk or mois­ture ac­cu­mu­late). Lastly wipe the pri­vate parts. When you do bath your baby, pick a time of day where you’re all feel­ing, re­laxed, calm and happy. Be­fore you start, gather to­gether all the items you’re go­ing to need (cot­ton wool balls, baby soap or sham­poo, aque­ous cream, nap­pies, bum cream, a towel and a new out­fit) and have them nearby so you’re not rushing around to find any­thing. Never leave your baby alone in the bath – not even once she’s able to sit on her own. Drown­ing can hap­pen in a mat­ter of sec­onds. Also make sure the room is warm, as new­borns can’t reg­u­late their tem­per­a­ture very well.

While you’re go­ing about your day, try to soothe your baby by recre­at­ing the sen­sa­tions of the womb wher­ever pos­si­ble. Re­mem­ber that she has spent her en­tire life­time, up to now, in the safe, warm and cosy con­fines of the uterus. Now she’s sud­denly been thrust into a very dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment, and she needs time to get used to this new space. Swad­dling, sway­ing and shush­ing (white noise) are great ways to do this.

Sleep­ing when baby sleeps is prob­a­bly one of the most im­por­tant things you should try to do now.

The sec­ond-most im­por­tant piece of ad­vice for new moms? Do things your way. “Ev­ery baby and fam­ily is dif­fer­ent, so do what works for you. Don’t feel ob­li­gated to lis­ten to all the ad­vice ev­ery aunty, granny and neigh­bour gives. No one knows your baby bet­ter than you do so trust your in­stincts. Your emo­tions and hor­mones are also all over the place, so know that it’s okay to have a good cry when you need to,” says Ni­cole le Roux from Wel­ge­moed, mom to nine-month-old Luke. “Keep your­self hy­drated, es­pe­cially while breast­feed­ing, and try to get as much rest as you can – forget about dishes, laun­dry and cook­ing. Have some meals made and in the freezer be­fore baby comes. Be pre­pared ahead of time – this helps!”

Many new moms go home to their own mothers for a few weeks af­ter the baby is born, to have some help and to get some in­put on how to do things. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you can choose not to. You can also ask your mom to come to you. If you’re a sin­gle mom ask a trusted friend, sis­ter or your mom to help out. Try to talk about your ex­pec­ta­tions of what your baby’s dad’s role and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties will be be­fore baby ar­rives.

Write down some ideas to­gether so you’re both on the same page. For ex­am­ple: Mom will sleep when baby sleeps, so Dad will do the burp­ing and nappy changes – a per­fect time for bond­ing. Leave Dad to work out his own spe­cial way with the baby. Don’t su­per­vise or make com­ments on how he’s do­ing things.

Fa­thers are great at keep­ing too many vis­i­tors (po­litely) away for a while. Your job is not to en­ter­tain guests dur­ing this time, but to rest and bond as a fam­ily. How­ever, if you feel lonely and in des­per­ate need of com­pany, in­vite some­one over for a short visit.

Lastly, re­mem­ber that you’re a cou­ple! Yes, your lives are now filled with nap­pies, wipes, sleep­ing sched­ules and breast pads, but try to carve out some time for just you two (even if that’s some­thing as sim­ple as a cup of cof­fee and a chat while baby sleeps). Work to­gether as a team in your new roles as par­ents – you’re in it to­gether.

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