Dealing with a very young baby
The days and weeks after a new baby is born can be very emotional and tiring for parents. Your lives have completely changed and you will be adapting to a new way of life. After you bring your baby home, family and friends will want to visit you and meet your new baby. Some tips when arranging visitors:
- Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings, it’s completely up to you who you would like to visit.
- Make a plan before birth – decide on whether you would like people to visit you in hospital or wait until you are home, how many visitors in a day is reasonable?
- Set clear boundaries, be honest with people to let them know how you feel. You may only want visitors to stay for a short while and you may decide you don’t want visitors after a certain time of day. If you are not feeling up to them coming in you can politely turn them away.
- Remember to have some alone time with your baby each day so spread your visitors out. If the baby’s father is present he may only have a short time off for paternity leave so it is important he has alone time with the baby before he returns to work.
- Don’t worry about entertaining your visitors – making them drinks or providing food. In fact your visitors should know they are there to help you and not the other way around!
- Do not allow unwell visitors, your baby’s immune system is very immature so you do not want visitors coughing and sneezing on them. Ask visitors to wash their hands before holding your baby.
- When the midwife or health visitor is visiting they will want to discuss quite personal aspects with you e.g. bleeding or emotional wellbeing. Consider whether you are happy to discuss this in front of your visitors before having them there.
Developing a relationship with your baby
We now know that building a strong relationship between parents and their new baby will give them the best possible start in life and will help them to grow up happy and confident. The UNICEF leaflet below can help you to develop that strong relationship, starting in pregnancy and continuing into the early days, weeks and months of your baby’s life.
Coping with crying
Crying is the normal way for babies to communicate and is therefore something all babies do. Babies often start to cry more frequently from about two weeks of age. This can be any time of day, but it commonly occurs in the late afternoon or evening.
It isn’t unusual for a baby to cry from one to five hours daily, with a peak during the first two months of life then usually lessening by the fourth or fifth month. This is recognised as the normal crying curve.
Prolonged crying was traditionally referred to as colic, but evidence shows that just 5% of infants cry a lot because of a serious medical condition. Most babies who cry a lot are well and develop normally.
Some crying may be inconsolable and the baby resists all attempts of soothing. The baby may appear to be in pain, even when they are not.
Crying allows babies to build close relationships with the people that they need to care for them. In this way, crying may be central to the formation of an emotional bond or “attachment” with parents or caregiver.
A baby’s cry is not designed to be ignored and it is very stressful and overwhelming to listen to. That’s especially the case when you have tried everything and nothing has worked. It can leave you feeling upset and angry. There are multiple things you can do to help you cope with crying babies. The link below will take you to a website called ICON, and it offers some helpful tips and advice for parents. Support can also be available through the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing service duty health visitor.
If you are concerned your child may be unwell please always seek medical advice. You can find more information by following the NHS link below.
What will I need for my baby?
It can be very difficult to decide what you need to buy for your baby in the early weeks and you may feel pressured by friends and family or advertisements to buy certain products. It is important to double check that any equipment you are buying meets appropriate safety standards and keep an eye out for any product recalls. For more information on what equipment you need for your baby please follow the NHS link below.