The birth is VERY important, and sets the stage for early parenting. Birth is a huge transition for the baby, also the young lady becomes a mother, and a couple becomes a family.
If a mother has been supported during her birth, she feels empowered and competent. She trusts her body’s ability to give birth, to breastfeed, and to care for her baby. The baby placed in skin-to-skin can smell and find his own way to the nipple and start to breastfeed. The baby nuzzling the mum’s breast -helps her produce prolactin for milk making. Because the baby breastfeeds he will not have so many infections. He has started his life in a healthy way.
Mum and baby in skin-to-skin contact will coordinate their sleep-wake cycles, and both will get better sleep. Dad also has a vital role to play in early parenting. Parenting is natural and easy. YES even, if those first few weeks feel very busy with new adjustments to being parents.
The early breastfeeding leads to bonding, which in time leads to a secure attachment. This predicts lifelong emotional and psychological wellbeing.
What happens to you as a mother and baby before birth has a huge impact on the healthy start to your relationship.
Interventions, unless for medical emergencies, are interferences in a natural process and should be avoided. These include inductions, epidural and elective caesareans
WHAT DOES YOUR BABY NEED AT BIRTH AND IN THE FIRST FEW HOURS?
Putting your baby in skin to skin contact will put the baby where he/she feels most SAFE with your familiar heartbeat and voice…
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WHAT DOES YOUR BABY NEED IN THE FIRST DAY/NIGHT?
- Skin to skin contact
- colostrum- immune protection
- access to breast (to start hormones which start milk production). Baby can be at the breast every hour or two as they choose.
- Undisturbed sleep wires all the sensations into the brain.
- Being with mum- any separation will cause stress for the baby.
- Undisturbed time- not lots of visitors, nor mobile phones!
- Getting to know your baby’s small signals for being hungry or tired
WHAT DOES YOUR BABY NEED IN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS?
- Breastfeeding often, preferably on demand, or every hour or two for the first days, after that it will settle further apart when baby trust you to meet their needs.
- Your baby needs to be close to you to feel secure, preferably skin to skin contact, but also to be carried close.
- Baby needs to sleep close to you in the same room so that you hear their tiny signals for food or security before they have to cry loudly and get stressed
- Eye to eye contact wires your baby’s brain and yours as parents
- your baby needs you to learn to read her small stress cues so watch and listen to her carefully
- Your baby needs you to answer his/her cries for support and comforting quickly- to build trust
- your baby needs to drink every few hours! So adjust your expectations of a full nights sleep…
PARENTING IN THE FIRST FEW YEARS
The early days and weeks of a baby’s life, specifically breastfeeding and eye to eye contact, start the early bonding and emotional and social connection between Mum and baby. This leads to a secure attachment and best brain development for the baby. In the first months the mother (and father) is the baby’s security. As time moves on the baby will build on this trust relationship with grandparents, and extended family and friends.
- respond when baby cries. There is no scientific evidence for the safety of “sleep training”
- breastfeeding provides ALL of the baby’s needs for the first 6 months, and has huge benfits if continued, preferably till 2 years
- Keeping baby with you means that the baby can meet the world from their SAFE PLACE
- Babies need to be held and carried, in a sling on mother helps baby feel most secure, and helps mum have both hands free.
- Babies need their parents to beactively playing with them, this builds healthy brain circuits and supports healthy mental, social and emotional and physical intelligence
- Reading stories…..