There so many milestones in your lives as parents and as part of our milestone segment this month, we're going to discuss a new milestone each week.
This week is all about Newborns. Beautiful tiny creatures—small, fragile and precious.
Reading books, attending workshops and asking for your friends and family’s advice to prepare for our new role as parents are all great things to do. Yet despite this, the reality of survival in week one is a rite of passage that sets you up for the ongoing challenge that is parenthood.
After the adrenalin of childbirth subsides, sleep deprivation is likely to be your new state of being. Unfortunately this sleepy fog is not transient—instead it’s your new view on the world. As newbies, it can be sometimes difficult to let go of the need to control and step back from the ‘too much to do mentality’.
Remember to be kind to yourself and to sleep when your baby does. Everyone wishes they were superwoman, staying on top of the washing and making gourmet meals. This can be challenging at the best of times, so it’s important to realise your new priority is learning what works for you.
The main milestone for lots of new parents is the process of building confidence. Family and friends often share stories and advice on how they did things, suggesting how you should do it to. While they’re all golden gems to keep on file, the truth is, diving straight into ‘it’ is the quickest method to connect with your little one and build confidence. Feeding them, changing them, noticing their preferences, their sounds, singing and holding them close will help to grow your confidence and the bind between you both.
Creating the bond is critical for both mum and any other caregiver. Building the ‘Team’ will help you all in this important time. Having your other half there to share the journey and learn with you, is both challenging and comforting. Always remember to laugh: sometimes in the sleepy mist, struggling with new skills, a little laughter can put life back into perspective for a couple.
The good news is that new tiny humans sleep a lot when they first arrive home, but by week two, they’ll certainly be making their presence known. As you learn to recognise the tone of their cry, you’ll quickly know the best methods to soothe them—swaddling, singing, patting, the sound of your vacuum, (you may laugh but try it). Be open to testing them all until you find the right tricks for you all.
Give your partner and yourself the right to space, especially in that 1st week. The world does not need to visit in those first few days. Everyone does love a newborn cuddle, but it’s ok to push visits back or make a shortlist of people you want to see.
Each week with your little one will get easier. Be confident that you will learn how your baby works and know that they will love you unconditionally. They will laugh about your ‘new mum stories’ when you tell them later on.
Newborn milestones are also new-parent milestones and are all about discovering the weird and wonderful balance that defines your ‘family’.