parenting strategy for newborn(98 Posts)
I'm expecting in early November and I've been asked what our strategy is for many things recently - soothing /sleeping /noise etc. Is this kind of preparation really necessary or is it just over thinking things?
I think my startegy would be to enjoy the first 6 weeks as much as possible without feeling guilty. I read somewhere that studies show that attempting routines etc in the first 6 weeks wont help so take full advantage and do what feels right/ gets you through the day
The advice i would give based on my own experience regarding strategy is to be FLEXIBLE. You get given (bombarded) with all sorts of advice about routines and so on and its miserable trying to apply all these rules so something which is so unpredictable and fluid. i found out the hard way with DS. I got him in to a routine early on but it was horrible, frustrating and upsetting when things didn't go to 'plan' or like the books said. I took a much more laid back approach when I had DD, i just went with the flow and its been a much better experience.
The early days are hard and you just need to be kind to yourselves.
everyone I know who even used the word "strategy" was shocked by how little control they had. However, quite a few people who thought it would all be cuddly and lovely, ended up with quite firm routines, and vice versa.
Personally I was "sure" that my baby would be having regular naps in a darkened room, and I would just put him down and be firm and he would sleep. I harkened back to an era of the well run nursery. However after a baptism of fire, and loads of breastfeeding problems I became an attachment parenter for at least 15 weeks (maybe for the rest of his life)! Although I reverted back to being a creature of routine, bedtime at 7.30 and afternoon naps in cots, which also worked very well. If I had known to follow Gina Ford I truly think I would have gone mad in the first few months. (Later her advice was good, but NOT FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS)
Sleep when your baby sleeps is really the only important strategy, and even better sleep WITH your baby when it is asleep (otherwise you will never sleep a wink for worrying it is about to wake up
Also, DO NOT CLEAN YOUR HOUSE or cook INSTEAD OF SLEEPING.
Once your baby is six weeks you need to get out of the house and see people, so again routines are bit restrictive, although you can tweak them to mutual satisfaction when baby is a bit more settled. Loneliness is one of the most uncharted aspects of having a new baby so anything which helps reducing it is a good approach - postnatal group, bumps and babies group, meeting up with neighbours. I find babies love the sound of chatting!
This has reminded me of one of our NCT classes when I was pregnant with our first baby. The woman running the class said she would ask us a question and we had to go to one end of the room for Yes and the other for No and you weren't allowed to stand in the middle. The questions were things like:
- my baby will have a dummy
- my baby will sleep in a separate room to us
I said I didn't know whether to stand because I hadn't had my baby yet and didn't know whether it would like a dummy etc. She seemed totally baffled by this response. I think she thought I was being disruptive. Apparently the exercise was so that you could see whether you and your partner shared the same ideas about parenting?!
I really hated those NCT classes.
Wow Lindt! Not to mention it's a bit late by the time you're doing NCT classes together if you and your partner have totally different ideas
Don't buy any books. The baby hasn't read them
THIS! I found books really unhelpful and got on much better once I started trusting my own instincts and following my baby's cues.
I would say the best strategy is to just do whatever you need to do to get through the first bit (this might be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the little person who turns up!) and worry about it later. Contrary to what the parenting books would have you believe, allowing your newborn to fall asleep on you/feed on demand/etc is NOT actually tantamount to signing them up to Borstal
It pays to be realistic as well - it really is not usual for babies to start sleeping through the night at a few weeks (or months) old so try and ignore the "helpful" people reminiscing about how their pfb was sleeping through by the time they left hospital.
And yes dressed by midday is a great achievement!
Although we did have a breastfeeding class where you were supposed to mark on a sheet of paper marked 1-24 how often your ideal baby would feed and when. This activity was constructed purely so that the teacher could tear everyone down and say "No, your baby will feed every hour for 90 minutes at a time, bWAHAHAHAHA!"
Everyone was a bit traumatised by the breastfeeding class. She just kept going on about all these problems you might come across. Most people said it made them feel put off! I thought it was okay, but it should have focused far more on where to seek advice if something does go wrong rather than detailing everything which might go wrong. There was some useful stuff on positioning, though.
Ok so I'm only on day 9, my experience is therefore limited but so far I'd say if you're bf-ing go to a workshop or gather lots of info (or a book). You'll want pictures of good latches, info on different feeding patterns etc.
And, decide what you're doing about sleeping and buy what you need - we have a three-sided cot joined to our bed which has saved our lives! We use a Moses in the day but the first two nights trying to use that before we got the side cot were a killer! He hated it.
My little nugget of advice is to do what YOU and your PARTNER feel is right for you both in your home/family life.
I look back now and realised I was almost bullied by my mum and sister (who had a daughter already), as I would ask them for advice being parents already. If I didn't follow their suggestions, they would make me feel really inferior and said that it worked for them so I must be doing something wrong!!!!. My husband at the time (now ex husband!) was useless so I felt very stranded. I wish I had been strong enough to go with what I wanted to do and what I thought was best for my home etc and not be worried because my mum or sister hadn't done it. I know now that every single baby/child is different to the next.
I am a different person 10years on and am now expecting 2nd child with a new partner. We will do things how we see fit and if others don't like it or think their way is better then so be it.
My home/family = my rules!
I agree with much of the advice here.
The only thing I did which I suppose could be called a "strategy" was to try to get them used to the difference between day and night quite early on. During the night (i.e. my night so something like 10pm to 6am)I would feed them on demand, but once they finished I put them back into the cot straightaway. During the day we played and sang and went out etc a lot in between feed and sleeps. Seemed to work. I always breastfed them sitting up in bed during the night. I never went into another room or watched tv.
And just enjoy it. That time with your first newborn is so special - I'm getting all nostalgic remembering it.
Oh, and my "strategy" wasn't really a strategy as I just did what felt right and it seemed to work as regards sleeping more at night.
I'm going to go against the grain a little bit in that being a bit of a geek I found doing research quite useful. (Although I had literally no experience with babies before hand so I was particularly clueless). I just liked to be aware of what different calming techniques existed (the 5 S's for example), I liked reading about different ways to help a sleep resisting baby babywearing, co-sleeping, feeding on demand etc.
I agree though that when the baby comes they're going to be calling the shots - some babies love their moby, some can't stand it, Some only sleep in their swing, some sleep soundly in their cot twenty hours a day. I hadn't planned on cosleeping but with my baby it was that or not sleeping - we used his moses basket exactly twice.
Personally I think the best things to plan are coping strategies for yourself. If you're planning on breastfeeding have plenty of one handed snacks and entertainment for cluster feeding days (the ipad was great for this). I also LOVED having a thermos so my husband could make me a tea before he went to work and I could drink it when it was ready. Having a freezer full of lasagnes would have been good too. My baby fed pretty much constantly for the first four months though, so I'm sure even this advice is fairly baby specific
I read a lot of books because the library was a nice little walk away, basically, and the downside of reading millions of books is that they all disagree and you can get into a very intense internal monologue trying to synthesise all this stuff. The upside is that you have a million different points of view / techniques at your disposal so you don't have to worry if something doesn't work. Certain things that stayed with me (meaning, I cherry-picked them because I found them positive or helpful):
- if you try to comfort a crying baby and it doesn't appear to work, you are still having a positive effect on the baby's brain chemistry
- the first three months of a baby's life are strange and anomalous. Most mammals would not chuck a baby out at that stage of underdevelopment, we have these huge heads and are forced to do so. So just think of it all as supporting your baby to manage a temporarily unmanageable existence. Do anything that works, you are not setting habits or committing yourself to living your whole life like this.
- this is not something I read in a book but a personal tip from me. If your baby falls asleep, and there is something you really want to do - have a bath or a nap or write an email or cut your nails or make a phone call - do that thing. Do not "just" do something first - "just" hang out the washing or "just" put the dishwasher on. DO NOT. Throw that word "just" out of your vocabulary. you only get to do ONE thing before your baby wakes up, so do the most important thing that you really want to do - and the thing no one else can do for you (dp can hang the washing out, only you can have your own bath)
Things I found unhelpful:
- books which listed to the minute when babies should eat or sleep. have you ever tried to not feed a hungry newborn, even for 5 minutes? Or wake one up that has decided to sleep, because it is not the appointed hour?
- such books also never tell you what you should be doing to comfort your baby instead of the thing it blatantly wants (milk or sleep). what do you physically do to a hungry baby to avoid feeding it for half an hour? this is a hypothetical question of course, actually you just bloody feed it.
- equally, if your baby decides to wake up even tho the guru has decreed that it is getting another hour's sleep this nap, what do you actually do?
Oh and remember
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
and be replaced by another challenge
This may sound a bit woo but I watched this: youtu.be/PgkZf6jVdVg and it kind of became my strategy. And weirdly enough, DD seemed to be using these cues and I just responded to them. Cue a very chilled out baby. My neighbour tried it too and it worked for them!
The 'stratergy' is really easy, remember the 3 B's which are Bum, Burp,Bottle/Boob. Anything else is pointless during the first few weeks, I've just had baby number 2 and after getting overwhelming amounts of advice with number 1 and feeling like a failure when I didn't take the advice I've followed the 3 B's and life is a lot easier !
Best of luck xx
P.s don't buy parenting books waste of time, conflicting advice and having a baby is about instinct rather than formulas!
Sleep when they sleep (if it is DC1)
Keep enough clothes for you and enough baby grows for them (I'd collected what felt like hundreds of the baby grows by DC3) so that you can get a away with putting the washing machine on a little as possible.
Don't cook, have ready meals or re-heats from the freezer.
Have one set of visitors a day and NEVER turn down an offer of help or an offer of a cup of tea or items from the shop.
Remember all babies are different, that really great tip that your friend gave you might not work for you, that doesn't mean that you are doing it wrong, your baby is just different to hers.
Same as above for mothers, we are all different, I have friends with babies that did stuff that really worked for them that wouldn't have worked for me in a million years.
Enjoy it!! The mantra 'this too shall pass' works both ways, they won't fall asleep after a feed and nap blissfully on your lap for the afternoon forever.
Decide now the rota for having a lie in at the weekend, and stick to it. a decent sleep once a week is priceless. If dh sleeps in on Saturday, he gets the baby on Sunday without fail. This can even work with demand breastfeeding but dh will probably have to put the baby in the pram and take it out for a very long walk whilst you get in the zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Strategy is develop attached relationship with baby through spending a lot of time with it and attending to its needs.
Once you've got the attached relationship you know what they probably need. And if you dont you try trial and error till something clicks.
Its an art not a science. You have to relinquish control and meander along, seeing where the river takes you, taking cues from baby. Strategies work with known knowns and known unknowns. They don't work that well with the unknowable unknowns of a small dependent baby who can't communicate very well. But the unknown unknowns will get fewer as you grow together and you become attuned to each other. At that point, maybe there is some hope for some sort of limited strategy (Im thinking at 3-4 months here).
Even then, you will think you have got it sorted after a few weeks. But baby will change quicker than you know and you'll find you have to learn a whole lot more. And that what was great two weeks ago now doesn't cut the mustard!
Mine are 4 and nearly 2 and I'm still learning this. My two year old, after a year of settling himself to sleep at bedtime happy as larry, has started screaming blue murder at the suggestion. What to do? Not sure really. I just sit with him and reassure him, something will turn up and we will get through this phase into an easier one!
She says hopefully ....
Good luck with your baby OP. Its a lovely ride!
Do whatever works for you and your baby and your DH. Don't worry about what people say and feel free to ignore it or follow their advice if it feels right.
Finally be kind to yourself.
This time last year we were expecting our baby early November. He arrived late November!
Do what your baby wants until you know better.
And don't discuss any kind of strategy with anyone who is making you feel rubbish.
Make it up as you go along and have very very very low expectations re housework, getting showered and dressed, cooking meals from scratch. Keep your baby as content as possible through keeping him or her dry and fed and cosy and the rest will follow.
Oh, and I had a November baby and my one rule was to leave the house every day for a little walk or to go round the shops or sniff out cake. I think that stopped me from going stir crazy.
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