Early nurturing: Birthing Naturally

Early nurturing: Birthing Naturally

Your baby arrives, you spend more time listening to and learning about her than you’ve ever done before. You focus all your attention on her; she has...

Your baby arrives, you spend more time listening to and learning about her than you’ve ever done before. You focus all your attention on her; she has so much to teach you about caring for her. You learn more about parenting from each other than you can ever from any website. Try to be in as quiet a setting as possible when you’re with your baby. It is difficult to learn the baby’s behaviours in a setting with distractions.

Speaking of distractions, you will receive advice as never before from friends and family. Most of it is well-intentioned. But a lot is uninvited as well; some may hurt your feelings; others are plain misinformation.

Your relationship with your baby is unique, and together you are charting unknown waters. So when a friend tells you her secret for getting a baby to stop crying, or when your mother suggests that you put your baby on sleeping and eating schedules, you may need to turn a deaf ear.

When someone, particularly your mother or mother-in-law, gives you unsolicited advice on how to care for your baby, you may feel defensive, hurt, angry, judged or inferior. The elevated levels of hormones in your postpartum body may keep you on edge for a while. A comment that you may have shrugged off before can now be stinging. To help you deal with unwelcome advice, repeat the following to yourself –

At the same time, simply thank the person offering the advice and change the subject, or if they are determined to expound, excuse yourself politely.

Parenting Your Baby-Hold Me, Feed Me, Love Me (Mommy, Don’t Leave Me)

Nils Bergman, a public health physician, points out that although our babies are born with the skills and behaviour they need to grow and be healthy, they are the most immature of all mammals. As a result, they require a great deal of care, almost as if they were still in the womb. According to Dr Bergman, the mantra our babies chant is ‘hold me, feed me, love me’.

Keeping the baby close to you and responding to her needs quickly builds trust, empathy and affection. It also ensures that the baby will thrive physically and emotionally. Close, responsive, baby-led care is what nature intends for those first months of life. It might even be considered the golden rule for parenting. During your pregnancy when you caressed and spoke to your belly, you fostered loving attachments to your unborn child. When you insisted that she stay with you once born, you continued this feeling of closeness.

And when she is at home, you have the opportunity to lovingly respond to her cues and signals, to her cries, and to things in her environment that might distress her. Just as your newborn thrives on touch in those first few hours, she will continue to flourish if you stay close and respond to her. This style of parenting will continue to decrease stress levels for you and your baby, helping her relax and sleep and grow and learn.
-Extracted with permission

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