Tips for the first few days with your newborn baby

By Kate Griffin, Prepare to Parent

It's the most exciting and moving ' meet and greet' of all, the first few days with your newborn baby. And although it has its challenges, there are some simple steps that can make it all go more smoothly, says midwife Kate Griffin, director of Prepare to Parent.

Kate, who runs prenatal and postnatal preparation and education advice sessions for mothers-to-be, has five 'top tips' for expectant parents.

'All mothers and babies are a unique team and they will establish their own schedule and rhythm, but it is always reassuring to know when and how changes typically occur,' Kate says.

'Mothers-to-be usually have many questions about their first days with a newborn baby - including questions about feeding, medical tests, the typical daily routine of a postnatal ward and about coping with an unsettled baby,' she says.

'We cover all of those in our personalised sessions, but I find there are five core messages that can really help parents as they get to know their new baby."

Kate’s top 5 postnatal tips

  1. Stay relaxed and be prepared to be flexible in responding to you and your baby’s normal changes over the first few days. Milk production, baby feeding and sleeping patterns often change substantially over the first few days. The advice you receive and what “works” for you on day one may not be appropriate for later postnatal days.
  2. Don’t expect to fit into a schedule in the early days. Trying to establish a strict routine with a new born baby can often contribute to maternal stress if things don’t go plan. Don’t forget your baby has been nestling into you for nine months and has had a constant supply of nourishment. What a change for your baby, it takes a little bit of getting used to!
  3.  “Tag team” with an unsettled baby. Especially at night time. It’s natural and appropriate that new parents want to show support for each other. However if both of you sit up at night trying to settle your baby you can end up with three exhausted people. If your baby is not settling at night try one parent sleeping whilst the other feeds/settles the baby, just don’t forget to swap over at an agreed time.
  4. Have a list of settling techniques that work for you on the fridge. When a baby is distressed and crying it can be difficult for you to remember your techniques especially in the early days. Keep going back to your list and calmly work your way through your new skills. Don’t forget to include feeding on the list.
  5. Find out the location of your Maternal Child Health Nurse before you have your baby by contacting your local council. When you have a baby your maternity hospital notifies your local council and a Maternal Child Health Nurse is allocated to you. Your Maternal Child Health Nurse is a fantastic resource for health and immunisations and will put you in contact with other new parents in your area. It’s handy and reassuring to know before your baby arrives exactly where your centre will be and whether you can walk or whether you will need to drive.

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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