Working as an Obstetric Social Worker in a busy maternity unit, I am often told by new parents that “nothing could have prepared them for what it is REALLY like to become a parent”.
Often they tell me they really couldn’t have pictured the huge mix of emotions, the challenge of feeding a newborn, and the healing that takes place in the first weeks.
When we start to talk about the process of adjustment that is taking place for them and their baby, they will often tell me that they already feel completely overwhelmed by the information overload. So much advice out there, so many opinions and how to know what to listen to.
I often reflect on what we should be telling parents to be. What parents really need to know. So I have aimed to keep this piece really simple.
For the first 12 weeks your baby...
If you are expecting another baby, I’m sure you would have imagined introducing your newborn to your other children in the hospital. Perhaps you thought of your toddler cuddling your newborn in your hospital bed with dad operating the camera, ready to capture the perfect moment for eternity, or anticipated them peeping into the clear hospital bassinet with a big grin.
Current visitor restrictions in many hospitals in Sydney right now impact the way older siblings meet a new baby for the first time. So many parents I work with can be really sad and worried about this, and this grief is valid. However, there are some benefits to making this introduction at home.
I certainly anticipated the perfect introduction of a new sibling when I had each of my four boys, but the reality was not nearly as idyllic.
Despite my high hopes, this is what really happened. While I lay with my new baby in the ward, I could hear my toddlers the minute they got out of the...
When I had my first son 11 years ago I got a lot of advice from family, friends, professionals and even the lady at the post office about what to prepare for.
There was advice about not buying a corduroy couch because the babies spit up would get stuck in the grooves (for the record this was good advice and I wish I had listened), advice about what pram to buy, and also lot’s of advice about the need to sleep.
Before the baby……..
“Sleep now while you can because you will never, ever sleep again” many an experienced mum would chuckle.
After I had the baby……
“sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s the only way to survive ”.
Good advice, in theory. But the effect it had on me was that the minute my baby was asleep – and I wasn’t, I would worry. After all, this was what I needed to do to be a ‘good mum’. Sleep when he sleeps!
Fast forward to today, and I have survived the lack of sleep of four...
The fourth trimester – how to survive the first 12 weeks with a new baby
Working in a busy private hospital I get the pleasure of working with many new parents who are adjusting to the first few days of parenthood.
The experience is very different for everyone.
There are ups and downs, there is joy and there is pain. There can be trauma and healing, and a brand new set of worries to manage around “getting it right”.
It is good to know is that it’s normal if the post birth experience is a mixed one. The main thing is to ask for help and know that the intensity of the first few weeks and months does settle.
In the meantime, here are my top six tips for surviving the first twelve weeks.
One - Surrender to the fourth trimester
Your baby is here, but they would much rather be in the womb.
Everything you experience in the first few weeks is much more about your baby managing the sensory stimulation (sight, touch, sound) of...
These comprehensive, learn at your own pace courses give you access at any time to videos, audios and documents that covers the core areas of development when reaching these milestone moments as a parent or grandparent.
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