After so many months of anticipation, and to be fair in the current climate, uncertainty as well, the wait is over, and you get to meet your wonderful new arrival. After all the wondering about who they will be, and how they will look and how you will be in your brand-new role, they are here in your arms and an amazing parenting journey begins.
It is the start of a whirlwind adventure and although it will feel challenging, repetitive, tiring, and never-ending it will be so rewarding as well. I invite you to take a moment to acknowledge how utterly brilliant, able, and loving that you are and to remind you that your baby loves you just as you are and all that is important is that we continue to help them to feel our love so that they continue to feel safe, secure, seen and heard as their life journey commences.
Becoming a new parent is the most overwhelming and exhilarating of times. It is a steep learning curve, one for which very few of us have received any level of training for, so outside of whatever books we have read, information sourced online and of course that incredibly important handed down suggestions from family and friends, I too wanted to share 3 top suggestions that may help both of you build, what I describe as “the loving-trust bond”.
- Building a strong relationship with your baby. Your sole task as parent is to get to know your baby and to provide a chance for them to get to know you. To allow yourself the time and opportunity to learn their body language, signals, and unique personality. Focus on them; study their face and maintain eye contact helps secure the bond with your new-born. Interacting with your baby-smiling at them, especially when they smile at you. Talking with them, creating a dialogue, leaving spaces for their replies, and responding to their own bird-like coos together with spending lots of time holding and cuddling them so that ultimately, they always feel loved, safe, and secure. Letting them know that you are interested in them helps to begin an early foundation for building their self-esteem; that they matter. Although I know that it is not entirely practical, but don’t worry about the household chores and things that must be done. If possible, put on hold and don’t allow those tasks to become more important that the early and ongoing relationship with your baby.
- Feeding your baby when they signal that they are hungry. Show your baby that their every need will be met is important as you build your trust. Don’t worry about “spoiling” your baby, there I no such thing! Being responsive means that your baby will learn that their needs will be filled without delay or frustration and that they don’t need to panic about how you respond to them, that you are Remember that they are entirely dependent on your and so will feel safer when you meet their signals and fill their needs helping them to understand that you know what you are doing (even if you don’t always feel this way) and what they need, taking comfort in that and building confidence in you.
- Learning their language for sleep further enhances their faith in you. Knowing the difference between the hunger cry and the first signs of tiredness can really help. Try to look for the brief eye rub, yawn and zoning out and away as these are typical indications of getting tired and if you can act on those cues then once again your baby’s body won’t panic and become over-stimulated or over-tired and then they will in turn trust his/her communication with you, which can help to further intensify the bond between you. I know that it can be hard to become the reader of body language and that sometimes your baby doesn’t seem to show you want you feel might be typical- however, do your best and they will too. Understand that late sleep cues are obvious and include big yawns, stretching out and crying as well and if that is all you seem then aim to prepare for the nap about 10m before you see these symptoms.
This can be a tricky time for everyone, keep reminding yourself that you are new to the job, even if this is not your first child- you are both brand new to this position. Try to avoid thinking that you are not doing anything right, there’s no right or wrong anyway; just a gorgeous opportunity each day to get to know each other more deeply and to keep strengthening your new relationship that will extend through their lifetime.
Lucy Wolfe is a Sleep consultant, Co-creational Parent and Relationship Mentor, Author of The Baby Sleep Solution and All About The Baby Sleep Solution, creator of “Sleep Through”, a natural bed and body sleep spray and relaxing rub, and Mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise, and valuable support to families around the world