When it comes to looking after your baby it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.
From the practical things like tips for bathing your baby to proper use of all those baby gadgets. To things like how to protect your own neck and back through all those feeds and cuddles to the importance of connecting with your little one and being their emotional anchor.
Here’s what the experts want you to know…
1. Bathing your baby
Chris Minogue, Registered Mothercraft Nurse – The Nurtured Way
One of the fun things for you and your partner to do when you bring the baby home is to give them a bath. In the very beginning, your baby is going to cry a lot when they’re getting undressed and redressed, but the act of bathing will calm and relax them. Take your time and enjoy the moment.
A nice deep warm bath, set up high so that you’re not hurting your back and a warm environment is really going to make this a cosy experience for the baby.
Another tip is that once you’re getting the baby out of the bath, put a nice warm towel down and you’ll see them calm down and enjoy the moment. Then by picking them up, and giving them a cuddle all the warmth of the bath will just make that baby cosy and you’ll be surprised at how well they sleep after it.
2. Embrace tummy time for YOU as well as the baby
Lyz Evans, Women’s Health Expert – Women in Focus
What we need to remember is that behind the baby being cared for, is of course the mum. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint and there is no point getting halfway through the marathon, and your body completely breaking. So what we need to do is to look after your body from the beginning.
Think about all those repetitive movements that you’ll be doing with the baby all the time, many of which involve leaning forward for a prolonged period of time. Think about changing nappies and settling or feeding the baby.
So what you need to do is when you’re in those positions, think about how your body feels. Set yourself up so that you’re actually in a straight position so you can open through your shoulders, nice and tall with pelvic floor and tummy muscles turned on. You need to think about the way that you’re lifting or moving.
The other thing I want you to do is to embrace tummy time.
We all know we should be doing it for our babies, but it’s also a perfect time for you to do something wonderful for your body as well. So get on the floor with bub, use this as a chance to actually do a few back extensions yourself, and the baby will start to mirror you. It’s a great way for you to engage with your baby but also do something wonderful for your own body.
3. Our babies are seeking connection too
Genevieve Muir, Obstetric Social Worker and Parent Educator – Connected Parenting
When we think about caring for our babies, we’re often thinking about physical care. So washing our babies, feeding our babies and settling them and getting them to sleep. I really like parents to understand that our babies are also seeking connection with us from birth. So actually from the minute our babies are born, they’re seeking out human faces over any other shape.
They even know the voices of the primary caregivers who have been around them in the womb. They’re seeking that out and they are wired to connect with us because it’s how they survive.
So when we look into our baby’s eyes and enjoy that beautiful mutual gaze, when we enjoy some beautiful skin to skin and we soothe our babies when they cry, we’re actually doing a process called co-regulation. That is, we’re wiring our babies brains for connection, and it’s actually creating resilient humans that will bode better in the future.
4. Always follow manufacturers instructions
Sarah Hunstead, Paediatric First Aid – CPR Kids
Have you noticed that almost every piece of baby equipment comes with either a harness or straps? They’re there for good reason, whether it be the changing table, the capsule, the pram or the baby rocker. Always use them according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Also avoid putting the capsule or the baby rocker up onto a table, or a bench because accidents can happen. They can be knocked or bub wiggling around in there can move them towards the edge as well.
Also remember, capsules are designed to transport your baby. They’re not designed to be sleep spaces. So, when you’ve finished getting to where you’re going, make sure you move them out and pop up in their cot or their regular space.
5. Be your child’s emotional anchor
Jaimie Bloch, Child and Family Clinical Psychologist – Mind Movers Psychology
Caring for your baby in the first few months of their life can be really hard because you’re getting so many different opinions and thoughts around sleep, eating, what your child’s wearing, what your child’s doing, and it can cause a lot of anxiety and pressure.
When your child is feeling emotionally dysregulated – meaning they’re crying, feeling irritable, needing mum or dad or another parent caregiver to give them nourishment and connection – the most important thing you can do to care for your baby is by being their emotional anchor.
I like to use the analogy of a stormy sea. So when your child’s feeling stormy like the stormy sea, you’re the anchor that grounds them. That’s going to help their brain develop, because their nervous system is calm, and when the nervous system is calm, the brain can absorb all the information.
And don’t forget your baby’s brain is so spongy and they’re learning the most they’ll ever learn in the first two years of their life. So, be that anchor for them and support them in that nourishment and helping them be calm.
6. Focus on multi-tasking meals
Mandy Sacher, Paediatric Nutritionist – Wholesome Child
When we have little ones, time becomes so precious. And when you hit that four to six-month mark when you need to start feeding your baby time can become even more precious.
My go-to advice is to focus on multitasking meals – meals that can be used to feed all family members. When I had my baby one of my favourites was my chickpea and pumpkin pancakes. I used to make chickpea and pumpkin puree for bubs, chickpea and pumpkin pancakes for my toddler, and then I used to make the batter into big pancakes or wraps for myself. So, focus on simple meals that can be used to feed everyone.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Mustela.