1 June 2010
When we had him we were both pretty green.
Well, I say that. We had read countless books and attended NCT classes, active birth classes and NHS ante-natal classes. In fact no one could have been more prepared than us, but it still wasn't enough.
NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THE SHOCK OF BRINGING YOUR NEW BABY HOME!
I suppose it is difficult to see beyond the birth, but I had no idea what to do with my darling baby.
On the day that we came home from the hospital, I gingerly lifted Presley out of his car seat. I stood in the middle of the lounge, with my tiny baby in my arms, and said 'what do we do now?'
Over the following days, weeks and months we worked it out.
Andy's sister had her long-awaited baby last month. He new daughter is a beautiful bundle of joy. I don't like to wade in and tell my sister-in-law what to do, but I can share my new baby advice here, on Baby Baby.
When your baby cries check the following:
Is he/she hungry? How long since his/her last feed?
Is he/she tired?
Does his/her nappy need changing?
Does he/she need winding?
Is he/she too hot or too cold? In a centrally heated house you really don't need four blankets!
Are his/her clothes uncomfortable? Check labels in particular as these can rub.
That hopefully covers most eventualities. By the time you've checked all of these he or she will probably be hungry again!
Babies really shouldn't cry all the time. In my experience they aren't exercising their lungs. This isn't what babies do. They are crying for a reason. If you have checked all of the above and your baby regularly cries take him or her to your GP. Cash had reflux and screamed with pain for quite a few weeks before we saw a consultant. As soon as he was treated with Gaviscon Infant he was a different baby. Trust your instincts - you are probably right.
When your baby is tired let them sleep.
Babies need plenty of sleep, it's when they do their growing.
At the first sign of tiredness (rubbing eyes, crying) put your baby down in their moses basket or pram.
It is useful if your baby can learn to fall asleep on their own (although you can rock them to sleep as much as you like, after all who doesn't want to cuddle their baby?)!
If you are swaddling or using a dummy this will be an additional sign for them that it is nap time.
Once you have done this a few times your baby will settle very quickly.
Put the kettle on or go for a walk and show off your shiny new pram!
Establish a bedtime routine as soon as you can.
At around six to eight weeks we started a bedtime routine.
We tried to keep our babies awake from around 5pm.
At 6pm they had a baby massage, then a bath.
Once dressed they had a bedtime story and a feed.
At 7pm we put them to bed in a fairly dark room, away from any noise, but close enough so we could hear them.
If they don't settle, give them a quick cuddle and try again.
After a few days they will get used to this new routine and you can have your evenings back.
Even if you only have dinner and a quick chat with your partner or maybe watch some television (or blog!) you will have had some time to yourself.
We found that our young babies would wake around 10pm for a feed and then straight back to bed again. As they get older they will go longer and longer between feeds at night and eventually you will achieve the holy grail of parenting, your baby will sleep through the night!
Our boys still have pretty much the same bedtime routine and always go to bed at 7pm.
Teach your baby the difference between day and night.
This follows on from the bedtime routine.
It's really handy if your baby understands the difference between day and night.
You can teach them that daytime is for playing and night time is for sleeping.
If you can have them sleep in their pram during the day and their moses basket or cot at night this will help establish day and night associations.
Make night time nappy changes and feeds as low key as possible.
Keep lighting and chat to a minimum during the night.
Enjoy those late night cuddles as they don't last that long.
So that's how we did it in the Calico household.
Do you have any new baby advice? Please share your top tips in the comments.
Please note that I am not a parenting guru, neither am I medically trained. I'm just passing on what worked for us.