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Module 2: Bringing Your Baby Home

Regain Your Life Balance

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Being Prepared For The First 6 Months

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Module 2: Being Prepared For The First 6 Months of Motherhood

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Your Baby's Development

Understanding The First 6 months

The First Month

The first few days of your baby’s birth you will need to take it very easy as you recover from the birth and start your journey into motherhood. Newborns can find it difficult to settle the first few days until you milk production settles in, so don’t despair if your little one is unsettled in the beginning. Over the first month you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine of feeding, nappy changes, sleeping and a small amount of playing/engaging. Babies can only see small distances at first and are attracted to black and white images. Your baby can slightly lift his/her head but you will need to support the head at all times.

1-3 Months

Within the second and third months your baby will be smiling, imitating you and playing more. You will also notice babble sounds and your baby’s head will be much stronger. Your baby’s hand movements will also strengthen, making it easier to clasp your fingers and rattle objects. Eye-coordination also improves by this stage as babies begin to track objects and faces they find interesting and those they remember too.

3-6 Months

By 6 months of age your baby will be smiling and babbling more. You will feel as though you can engage in conversation. Your baby will also most likely be rolling on the floor during ‘tummy time’ and will be soon beginning solid foods. She is also able to know her name when you call her. She sees the world in full colour now and can see further in the distance.

GETTING THROUGH THE FIRST 6 MONTHS

Newborns will spend most of their time asleep. This is probably the biggest surprise as a new mother – your baby won’t be awake for long periods when you first bring her home (e.g. babies sleep 2-3 hours between feeds, night and day). It won’t take long for the feed, sleep, wake cycle to extend in time, but at the beginning expect most of the day to be spent feeding, changing, soothing and playing with your baby. Feeding can take a bit of time, especially in the first 6 months (e.g. breastfeeding on one breast for 15 – 30 minutes and then swapping to the other side – every 2-4 hours over a 24 hour period). So, it can feel a little monotonous at first, but soon you will get into a routine and become more comfortable feeding your baby outside the home. That will break the monotony of being just at home with the baby and give you the social interaction which is very important for your overall health and wellbeing after becoming a mother.

Babies are all different. You may have a baby that feeds really well and sleeps for a little longer, or you may have a baby that needs more regular feeds. At this stage it’s important to get support if you find you are extremely exhausted getting up in the middle of the night to feed. If you’re breastfeeding, you may want to purchase a breastpump and express milk to allow your partner, a close relative or a nanny to undertake the night feeds from time to time, so you can regain your sleep.

The aim of parenting is NOT to be Supermum. Your focus is on ensuring you and your baby are safe, secure, healthy and happy. So, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.

Newborn Tired Cues

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself at this stage of pregnancy. However, if you keep in mind some of the tired cues you might notice in your baby from day one, you will feel more confident in your ability to cope with new motherhood.

According to the Raising Children Network (a great resource to explore once you have your baby) newborns are likely to get tired once they have been awake for about 1-1½ hours.

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Boost Your Parenting Confidence By Learning These Baby Tired Cues

The Tired Cues To Look Out For

  • pulling at ears
  • closing fists
  • yawning
  • fluttering eyelids or difficulty focusing
  • making jerky arm and leg movements, or arching backwards
  • frowning or looking worried
  • sucking on fingers

Babies can quickly become overtired, so keep an eye out for these cues when your baby has been awake for around 1-1.5 hours and try to settle your baby to sleep soon after you observe these cues.

Parenting Choices That Suit Your Lifestyle, Values and Beliefs

Which Sleep Routine Is Right For You & Your Baby?

Just as there is a large range of parenting advice, there are a large range of sleep routine experts available to both assist you and confuse you at times. As a new parent the range of advice can be overwhelming, so try not to get too stressed about the ‘right’ way to get your baby to sleep, or to get your baby into a routine. As noted above, all babies are unique, so go with the flow when you need to and trust your inbuilt maternal instincts too.

If you would like to read a few resources before your baby comes, so that you feel a little more prepared, you can have a read of the following. Note that you may read one book and it completely contradicts what the expert stated in another book. This does not mean one book is better than another. All it means is that parent have different view and feelings about how children should be raised. One parent may prefer to have a baby in a strict routine (e.g. as noted in the ‘Save our sleep’ book), whilst another may prefer a more attachment parenting approach (as noted in the ‘Continuum Concept’ book). You may find that you decide on one parenting and sleep routine method and then your baby does not like this routine. If this happens, don’t worry, or beat yourself up. All this means is that parenting method may not be suited to your child’s temperament. So, just try someone else until that feels right.

Below are a just a few of the newborn guides available

  1. Save Our Sleep: A Parent’s Guide Towards Happy, Sleeping Babies from Birth to Two Years
  2. The Continuum Concept
  3. The Happy Sleeper: the Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Newborn to School Age
  4. Newborn 101
  5. The Newborn Sleep Book: A Simple, Proven Method for Training Your New Baby to Sleep Through the Night
  6. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: 50 Best Solutions to Help and Train Your Newborn Baby to Fall Asleep Without Crying

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Always Keep In Mind The Goal of Parenting is to Raise a Healthy, Happy, Safe & Secure Baby.

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Refer to SIDS for expert advice on safe newborn sleeping guides

Disclaimer

Help For Mums does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. Help For Mums provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.