So you’ve spent the last nine months waiting, anticipating the moment when your beloved bundle of joy finally makes his or her entry into the world. Nothing can quite prepare new parents for the rush of love and protection that they will feel for their little ones whilst at the same time, quashing the slight dread and fear of taking their new baby home. I mean let’s face it, adopting a dog or a cat from the RSPCA requires all sorts of paperwork to be completed, home checks – the lot! Having a baby means enduring the trials and trauma of labour and a few hours or days later, providing we have the correct car seat, we are allowed to take our new additions home and just get on with it.
All expectant mum’s will be offered anti-natel classes through their GP or midwife that will give them a basic knowledge of what to expect. Many parents to be will attend private classes which will offer more in-depth knowledge and friendships are forged at these kind of groups – expectant parents bond, secure in the knowledge that other couples are also venturing out into the unknown.
However, nothing takes away from the fact that at some point shortly after birth, when most of us are still in recovery ourselves and hormones are raging out of control, we all find ourselves suddenly responsible for another human being. One that cannot tell us what they want or need. One that is solely reliant on us for their survival. One that is so little, as new parents, we are scared to breath on – just in case.
So what do we do? When having a baby, particularly for the first time, everyone always has some snippet of advice. Whether it be from personal experience or second hand. The midwife will generally visit for the first week (longer if needed for other reasons), and then it’s a case of getting on with it. Learning to feed a baby, whether by breast or bottle, can be traumatic. Having a little person attached to your nipple, relying on that as a pure source of food is not as easy as it sounds – terms such as ‘latching on’ become an every day consideration. Mastisis is an extremely painful experience that new mothers just don’t know about unless it happens to them and can interrupt a babies sleep and feeding patterns. What about sleep? How many new parents are really prepared for the lack of sleep that can be over whelming; particularly in the first couple of months.
There is a whole source of information and advice for looking after a new born baby and getting yourself and your family through those first few months – from feeding through to sleeping; from nurturing through to nursery and childcare.
Here at UK Children, we’ve all been there, seen it and done it; from having Great Aunty Gladis advising that baby needs to have lots of fresh air (no matter what the season), smug sister-in-law comparing sleep patterns through to nappy contents and ‘new baby friends’ competing teething or little ‘Jonny’ counting to 100.
Everyone has advice – some good and some, not so good. We’ve taken some of the more well known voices of parenting for you to consider. Look, read and make your own mind up. We cannot give advice (although statistically we have a higher than normal percentage of children per person in the office), what we will say though, is listen to your baby. Do what you feel is right and if you want to follow professional advice, choose one that you are comfortable with and that will fit in with your lifestyle.
The Baby Whisperer
Tracy Hogg (August, 1960 – November 25, 2004) was a British nurse and bestselling author. Hogg built a career as an expert in child-care and was nicknamed “the baby whisperer” for her ability to placate unruly infants. Although she was British, Hogg became famous in her last years guiding young parents in California, among them Jodie Foster, Cindy Crawford, Jamie Lee Curtis and Calista Flockhart. Her fee for a 3 weeks of babysitting was said to be over $15,000. Her routine is adaptable for parents to accommodate into their daily life.
Gina Ford is the bestselling author of childcare books in the UK and a former maternity nurse who has cared for over 300 babies during her career. Ford’s 1999 book The Contented Little Baby Book advocates a daily routine for both the baby and the parents, with the day divided up into very precise slots. Perfect for families who need routine.
A completely different approach to raising infants that aims to promote a close relationship between the baby and its parents by methods such as feeding on demand and letting the baby sleep with its parents. Parents are in tune with their babies and react to their demands.