10 Tips For Bringing Your Baby Home
By The Modern Midwife
Understanding your newborn; your baby has never been touched before, never seen clear light, heard clear sounds or been on dry land. Everything is a mystery, apart from a few things. Yours and your partners voice and your smell. From birth you baby will choose your smell over anyone else’s and even respond to your voice. If your baby is born prematurely pop any item of your clothing in with your baby safely. Some studies have shown that this may decrease the length of time babies spend in special care.
Say no to too many visitors; as per the point above. Everyone is so happy for you and wants to see your beautiful creation. But, this can be distressing for your newborn baby and I really recommend as few visitors as possible for the first week. This will just allow him/her to adjust to their very new environment. If you can’t say no to certain visitors then give each one a job to do like washing up or bringing groceries. Embrace the help!
Your face; by just 3 weeks old your newborn baby has a recognition memory and he/she can recognise your face.
You are the first and best teacher. Being a parent is exhausting but it's your chance to put your child on that projectory for life. You are doing and will continue to do an amazing job; have confidence in yourself and your choices. Your newborn really doesn't care what you have bought for them nor do they care if you are important to other people. You are so important to them and that’s all they care about. The comfort and the love from you is what makes a newborn thrive into a healthy person. Being there and being responsive to their needs is key.
Brain development; the most rapid period of brain development is in the first 3 years of life. Your newborn baby's brain is like a sponge absorbing everything. Early experiences shape the architecture of the brain. For example, if you have a garden (or local park), perfect! - walk around and allow your baby to experience the changing shapes and sensations, such as wind, trees, clouds, which facilitates healthy brain development.
To further point 4, neuro pathways in the brain that are used a lot get strengthened and the ones that aren't used disappear. Baby's brains have extra little side pathways than adults to explore, this is called neuroplasticity. Ability of the brain to change with experiences.
Forget about the house work; too many times I see new parents really upset about the state of the house, piles of washing etc. Rest when your baby does because you really need it, especially if you are breastfeeding. Put your feet up and relax because stress hormones inhibit milk production…
Breastmilk; you may notice that your baby wants to feed more at night. This is because your milk production is at its peak and you may get night sweats with this hormonal peak. Night feeds can be very tiring but they do really help with your milk supply so do try and feed through the night if you can manage it and sleep when your baby sleeps.
Washing, I am often asked “what’s the best washing powder to use for my newborn?” I’ve got a secret for you. It’s cheap, a good stain remover and natural…baking soda! Pop two tea spoons into a bowl, mix with a little water to make it into a paste and add a few drops of lavender for the calming scent, or go unscented if you prefer.
The cord; studies have shown that using mild soap has minimal effects on skin bacterial colonization in the neonatal period, so plain water is sufficient. Avoid bathing until the separation of the umbilical cord is complete so you don’t disrupt the flora at the base of the cord and potentially hinder the natural process of cord separation. This can take up to 10 days.