After the excitement of the pregnancy, the baby shower(s), and the planning and decorating of the baby’s space, reality sets in when your newborn comes home and you begin life as a family. The first few weeks and in some cases months, babies need to be nourished and nurtured on their own schedule. At a certain weight, usually when they have doubled their birth weight, the parents can begin to slowly mold a schedule for eating and sleeping that suits them and gets the baby into a routine. This is the part that can be challenging because although you can’t give a baby too much love and attention, after three to four months of consistently and constantly meeting the baby’s needs, parent needs become important too. So what to do?
Parenting advice and suggestions can certainly help first time parents, but the best advice is to think about your baby’s personality and baby generated schedule, and then set realistic goals of what changes you need as parents. For example, if your baby’s last feeding is 10 pm and he/she awakes for another feeding before 6 am, that in-the-middle-of-the-night feeding should be business only. No cooing, no eye contact, just change the diaper and feed the baby. The other diaper changing times, feedings and playtimes in the hours between 6 am and 10:30 pm should be exciting and stimulating for the baby. After a few nights of no socializing, most babies will understand that there is no “fun” at a feeding-in-the-middle-of-the-night! With any luck, your baby will slowly wean him/herself from that extra night time feeding and you will get the 7-8 hour period of time to just be together as a couple and/or sleep.
Parenting involves sensitivity to a baby’s disposition and experimenting with what works and doesn’t work as you adjust to being a family unit.
Any words of wisdom or full-proof advice? Please share!