I hope the following tips will help you and your little one get through the first few weeks. As a Mom myself, I know that every little tip helps. I just want to point out that the following tips in my opinion have helped my children and the babies that I deal with weekly at the hospital during their post-partum stay. If you disagree with my tips, take them for what their worth and move on. Please do not leave nasty comments on my page. These tips have helped several parents get through their first couple of days at home. Here we go...!
1) Differentiate- Day from night. Many parents fear that their newborn does not like the light. However, getting them use to the bright lights as soon as possible is ideal, along with noise. Keeping the blinds open even during nap time will help your newborn differentiate night from day. Keep the room very dark leaving on just a night light at night time. Keep it dark even for midnight feedings as turning on the bright light can confuse them and think it's time to get up.
2) Mimic The Womb- Babies love to be swaddled, continue swaddling your baby even after you take your newborn home. The tighter the better, investing in a velcro swaddling blanket may be worth the hassle of fighting a newborn while trying to swaddle. White noise is also soothing, playing soft music in the background will allow the newborn to feel as if she is still hearing your tummy rumble, you talk, and your heartbeat as well.
3) Burp often- Formula babies especially need to be burped often. Sometimes newborns will not feed as well or will regurgitate their feeding because they have not expelled the excess gas in their system. Breast fed babies typically do not burp as much because it is easily digested. However, burping them between breasts and after a session will help with this as well.
4) Elevate the head- Elevating the head of the bed can help with preventing acid reflux, there are safe ways to do so. Make sure you properly research.
5) Recheck the diaper- This may seem like a no brainer, but I can't even tell you how many times parents have said they are not wet or dirty and come to find out that is the cause of their newborns complaints. Alot of parents will go by the stripe to determine if the diaper is wet/dirty. Make sure you are actually checking to ensure it is dry.
6) Skin to Skin in the first few days- Skin to Skin contact is a great way to promote bonding, stimulate let down, and regulate his/her bonding temperature. Dad can do this as well, as long as your newborn is skin to skin with you he/she is as warm as they can be. This will establish a great relationship between the two of you or three of you if Dad pitches in.
7) Remain calm- Your newborn can sense your frustration. If you are frustrated so is your LO, remain calm and allow him/her to tell you what she wants. Some babies do liked to be rocked, some do not, some will self soothe, some want extra "sucking" time. Let your baby tell you what she/he wants. As parents, we have it fixed in our mind how we are going to calm our child. Many times our baby is responding telling us that he/she does not like what were doing. It doesn't mean your a bad parent, your child is just trying to communicate with you at such a young age. For instance, looking for hunger cues can determine a simply overly tired baby from a hungry baby. It will take time to determine what their needs are.
8) Create a bed time routine the day you come home- I was never super strict with the time we started, but the manner in which our bedtime routine went was the same every night. Start talking in a soothing voice, turn the lights down, give him/her a bath (I recommend Johnson&Johnson's lavender bedtime products, kisses, last feed, diaper change, swaddle, music, and lights out.
9) Overstimulation does exist- Your baby may be telling you that they are on sensory overload. This is possible especially in the first few days home. With several visitors, new environment, etc. Limit the amount of visitors in the first few days home, allow them to come only when baby is well rested and earlier in the day.
10) Mylicon Drops- are awesome to use when your baby is having gas pain and not able to find relief. You may hear them toot, or you may just notice them drawing their legs up. Also laying them down on their back and doing bicycle legs with them while pushing on the soles of their feet may help them expel that awful gas.
11) Colic Calm- Is a great infant medication on the market that helps colic babies, newborns with hiccups, upset stomach, and relieves acid reflux pain. As always talk it over with your pediatrician.
12) Call your Local Hospital- Like I said before, I work on a post-partum unit and were open 24hours/7 days a weeks. So, when your up at 2am and your at your wits end with what to do. Call a local hospital and speak with a nurse. You would be surprised with the helpful hints that they may be willing to give you.
13) Warm that blanket- Who doesn't like a warm blanket? Throw their swaddling blanket in the dryer with a dryer sheet. Not only will it smell fresh but it will be warm too. Just make sure it's not too hot before you wrap your little one. But this will help them sleep peaceful too.
14) Find where you are going to lay and try to stick with it- For instance, when we came home from the hospital we used a bassinet. I loved it, it was easy to get her for feedings and she was close to use in case something wasn't right. Some parents love co-sleepers, bassinets, cribs, pack-n-plays, or the like. No matter where you put them, your newborn will grow accustomed to their new bed. Just because one night they may not fall asleep as easy doesn't mean you need to rush out and change their sleeping arrangements. Stick with the plan and your newborn will fall asleep.
15) The 5 S's- Side, swaddle, suck, sway, and sushing. Nine times out of ten when I am at the hospital trying to help new Mom's get their newborns to fall asleep, I will do these five things and normally as long as baby does not need to eat, it works. Swaddle your little one first, you can use a pacifier (if that is your preference) or let them "comfort nurse" to fall asleep. You can also try swaying them back in forth, rocking in a rocking chair, swinging in their swing...you get the idea. You can also try a white noise machine or sushing in their ear or singing a song.
Do you have any tips/tricks I didn't cover? Post them. I would love to read them and share with all of you!