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Resource centre - Baby resources

back home with baby

Many mums get home just as their milk kicks in, the baby blues hit and everyone
wants to come and visit. Try these coping tips:

• Sleep when you can & forget about housework and cooking.
• Remind yourself constantly that the chaos won’t last.
• Don’t get hung up on bath times. If your baby loves a bath then great. If he really doesn’t like being   bathed, just ‘top and tail’ (wash face and bottom) for a few days.
• Don’t worry about daytime versus night-time clothes . As long as he’s/she’s clean your baby won’t   know the difference.
• If your baby is fussy & restless, try different holding positions and – if that fails – hand him to   someone else. Quite often a calmer pair of arms (and a body that doesn’t smell of breast milk) will   settle him. If there’s no one else around, place him in his cot/Moses basket, check he’s safe, then   walk away for a few minutes. Sometimes babies get over-stimulated and just want a bit of time on   their own to cool off.
• Don’t always try to remember how many times you were up during the night so you can play   competitive exhaustion’ with your partner or other mums. Far better to just float through the night   in a half-sleep daze with the lights dimmed and the clock turned to the wall. After a while you’ll   wake up in the morning unable to remember whether you were up in the night or not!

New born & the first few days

Limbs are still curled

Your newborn baby will probably look 'scrunched up', with his arms and legs not fully extended. This is normal, and his limbs will uncurl as he gets used to being outside your tummy. Jerky movements give way to more fluid ones as his nervous system and muscle control mature. Still, your baby's primitive reflexes, such as sucking and chewing on his hands, remain dominant. Newborns are adjusting to a new world very different from the warm, safe confines of the womb, which is why so many infants take to swaddling -- being wrapped securely in a blanket.

Ruled by his hunger
Food is the most important thing in your newborn's life, with sleep running a close second. Most newborn babies will feed every two to three hours around the clock. Sleeping patterns are equally intermittent. Most newborns sleep for a total of 16 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period, but that's usually broken up into eight or so naps.

Crying is the main form of communication
Your baby doesn't have much of a personality now -- or at least what you might recognize as personality. But he's busy expressing himself the only way he knows how: crying. He spends his time moving in and out of several different states of sleepiness, quiet alertness and active alertness. Most babies love to be held, caressed, kissed, stroked, massaged and carried. Touch is an important means of communicating with your baby.

Learning begins immediately
You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning. Use these periods to play and talk with your baby. But if you try to interact with him and he doesn't seem receptive, he may have become sleepy or moved into a state of active alertness. Even this early, babies can recognize faces and gestures intuitively -- and sometimes even imitate them. Give your newborn a chance to imitate your facial expressions by putting your face close to his and sticking out your tongue or raising your eyebrows a few times. Repeat it. Then give him some time to mimic your gesture. It may take him a few minutes, or he may not do anything, but he's definitely watching you.

Playing with your newborn
Mobiles with high-contrast patterns, and picture books with strong line drawings will captivate your baby. But be alert to your baby's reactions to stimulation and interaction. While it's great to help him start learning about his world, some babies can tolerate only brief periods of interaction, or stimulation of just one sense at a time. Your baby will show you he's over-stimulated by yawning, averting his gaze, arching his back, turning his face, fussing or crying. Babies find their own reflections fascinating. You can amuse him by propping up an unbreakable baby mirror at cotside for him to focus on. He won't recognize himself just yet but will watch the movement in the mirror at least some of the time. A play gym with plenty of compelling things to watch, swipe at and listen to allows your baby to practice his arm, hand and finger coordination skills -- and lying down becomes less boring. In the first few months, he won't move his arms purposefully to really try and reach particular objects -- this sort of movement comes later, in month four or five.

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