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Surviving The First Two Weeks

Posted by in Sunday, June 14th 2009

The first week with your new baby is all about getting to know each other. If you are breast feeding for the first time it will take at least a week for you and your baby to learn this new skill together. During this time your milk will ‘come in’ and a few days later the supply will settle to appropriate quantities to feed your baby. Remember, the more baby suckles at the breast the more your milk supply is stimulated. That is why giving formula feed at this time can interrupt breast feeding. It is also important to avoid giving your baby a bottle until breast feeding is very well established, as this too may interrupt breast feeding.

Your baby will be born with his or her own body clock still very much in operation!  Many babies will sleep peacefully through most of the day, waking only to feed, and be more lively and sometimes fretful and night. First of all, if this applies to your baby, remember you are not alone!  After the first week try to gently and consistently introduce a little routine into your baby’s life. For example, try bathing your baby an hour or so before you would like him/her to go to bed. Interact and talk to your baby while he/she is awake during the day. At bedtime, feed and change your baby with the lights low and keep your voice quiet. Snuggle your baby into a warm bed, and avoid getting into the habit of rocking him or her to sleep in your arms – this is a habit that you will only have to break later! At night, when baby wakes, continue to keep the lights low and feed and change your baby with minimum interaction. If this message is consistent it will help to teach your baby the difference between night and day.

Above all, be kind to yourself. It takes time to get to know your baby and to learn his/her cues. Seek peer support from other new mums. Many areas run postnatal groups – your midwife or health visitor will be able to tell you about these. Never refuse offers of help from family and friends, and remember that at the end of the day household chores are often not absolutely essential and can wait. Concentrate on the important things – eating and drinking well, and getting adequate rest. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Finally, remember that your baby will not remain newborn forever – cherish this precious time … and catch up with the dusting in a month or two!