Congratulations, new mama!
Your baby is finally here and how precious and sweet it is to hold them, smell them and marvel at that perfect (and tiny!) body. Is there anything cuter than baby feet? I don’t think so.
For nine months your body provided the perfect environment for your baby to develop in, you felt your little one kick and wiggle around – even get the hiccups! Now that your baby is here, the weight of responsibility will begin to dawn on you – this tiny bundle is still 100% dependent on you, for everything!
Bombarded by conflicting information and advice from books, social media (and great aunty Jill!), making decisions on how to nurture and raise your little gift can be confusing, frustrating and downright overwhelming!
Here’s the good news!
It doesn’t have to be so complicated! What your baby needs, is simple (I promise!) and comes down to these three things…
Warmth. Nourishment. Love.
Know what the best part is? YOU are perfectly able to provide each one of those needs.
You are perfectly enough, mama.
Your baby needs warmth.
Newborns (especially low birth-weight or preterm babies) aren’t able to regulate their body temperature – as they grow, this instinctive control will develop, but for now, they depend entirely on external sources of heat to maintain their body temperature.
You can keep your baby warm in a number of ways.
Swaddling blankets – Most hospitals encourage swaddling and usually have baby wrapped up soon after birth. There are various techniques and types of swaddlers. It is usually effective as it mimics the pressure that your baby is used to from being snuggled up tightly in your womb, makes sense, right?
Clothing (including hats and socks) – Moms usually love shopping for and dressing their babies in carefully chosen outfits, and who can blame them? Baby clothing is ADORABLE! Just so you know, no matter how small the clothing may appear, your newborn will look like he/she is drowning in it in the first couple of weeks. They really are THAT tiny! But don’t worry, your little milk monster will fill out very quickly.
Skin-to-skin contact – This is where your baby cuddles up on your chest and draws warmth directly from your body, to the tune of that ol’ familiar heartbeat. This, this dear mama, is what we believe in with all of our hearts here at Nesting Days.
The gentlest, simplest and most natural way to keep your baby warm, is YOU!
Not only does skin-to-skin contact keep your baby warm and provide soothing pressure on his/her body, studies show that it also promotes bonding, reduces stress (for mom and baby – yay!), supports breastfeeding and reduces your chances of suffering from post-partum depression.
How amazing is that? Yup, we think so too.
Your baby needs nourishment.
Through the umbilical cord your little one received everything it needed to grow and live. Pregnancy truly is a miracle! Life on the outside is a little (okay, a lot!) different for your new baby as they now rely on their digestive system to absorb life-giving nutrition.
This part of caring for a newborn (besides the sleep deprivation – sigh) can be the most challenging for a new mom. There are two ways you can provide nourishment for your new baby.
Breastfeeding – Breastmilk is especially produced by your body, for your baby. The perfect blend of nutrition and immune-building antibodies, it provides everything your little one needs for a healthy beginning and even changes to suit your growing baby’s needs (wow!). Natural, organic, warm and always available (and affordable!) – it IS the best thing for your new baby.
The gentlest, healthiest and most natural way to nourish your baby, is YOU.
Trust your body to fulfil this precious task, mama – breastfeed. Ask for help, stay hydrated, eat well, rest, persevere through the sore and cracked nipples (that will go away after the first couple of weeks – take heart!), you won’t regret it. Promise!
Formula-feeding – There are instances, sadly, where breastfeeding doesn’t work out. Certain medications, health problems, stress or an unwell baby struggling to drink well and gain weight, can all hinder a healthy breastfeeding relationship. It can be totally devastating for new moms who desire to nurse their babies, in fact the sense of failure can even lead to depression. That is heart-breaking.
Be encouraged, sweet mama, formula milk is the next best thing for your baby. It is carefully designed to replicate breastmilk as closely as possible and will provide your baby with nourishment for growth and life. You are still nourishing your baby and you’re doing a great job!
Whether you breastfeed or formula-feed, know that holding your baby skin-to-skin can help!
If you’re breastfeeding, it increases milk-production and supports feeding-on-demand (highly recommended!) and if you’re formula feeding, it supports bonding and helps to build a physical connection between you and your baby, which brings us to…
Your baby needs love.
Love is unique for each new mom. Some moms say they feel totally in love with their babies the minute they hold them where some say it grows slowly over time. All moms are different but one thing is certain; that tiny bundle, cuddled in your arms, NEEDS love.
You can communicate love to your new baby in a few ways.
Respond to their cues/cries – When that tiny bundle communicates with you the only way they know how – crying or fussing – respond. This builds trust between you and your baby and teaches him/her that they matter, that they’re valued, something you want them to believe for the rest of their lives!
Provide for their needs – Keep your baby warm and nourished, change their diapers and make them comfortable – this is practical love and it counts. You might be exhausted and weary but doing these things makes you a faithful mama, well done.
Hold them – Build a physical connection with your baby. Hold them close, skin-to-skin when you can. Recent studies have shown that babies who are brought up with a secure attachment to their parents are more likely to be secure adults and establish more successful relationships one day! Isn’t that cool? You definitely aren’t spoiling your baby by holding them (permission to ignore great aunty Jill), in fact, it might be truer to say that you’re spoiling them if you don’t.
YOU are all your baby needs to feel loved. You really are enough.
So love that baby, mama, follow your instincts, respond and cuddle them. You won’t only be investing in your relationship with them, you’ll be investing in their future! What a gift!
By understanding your newborn’s basic needs, you’ll be able to rock this new baby thing, feel like a superstar mom – you already are, by the way – and create a beautiful beginning for you and your precious child.
A beginning filled with warmth, nourishment and most importantly, love.
Go gently, sweet mama, and remember, you are enough.
Here at Nesting Days, we strive to support and enable new moms as they welcome their babies into the world. Our specially designed Nesting Days baby carriers help you provide everything your little one needs (including skin-to-skin time), hands-free! Because we know, that in the busy world we live in, mamas need a little help! Did I mention that they look pretty fabulous, too? *wink*
Author: Nicole Gent (Contributing Nesting Days writer)