Caring for yourself and your newborn

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

“My mother was my first country, the first place I ever lived”

This beautiful quote by poet Nayyirah Waheed truly encompasses the magnitude of birth - both for the newly born baby who has moved on to another land and for the mother whose child has left its first home. No wonder that these two beautiful people need time to adjust to their new and wonderful life.

Imagine being transported to a new country, where you must learn a new language, meet new people, hear new sounds and experience a new way of dressing. The once muffled sounds of the world outside now loud and clear and needing interpretation. Imagine doing this every day. New babies are doing just that and as new parents you are the host of this tiny new soul in its new land.

Take a breath! The amazing thing about this situation is that you are both exactly where you are supposed to be - with each other. For new Mums it is to be expected that 3 or 4 days following the arrival of your baby that you feel a little emotional and overwhelmed. This is totally normal - you have just brought a new person into the world and it is good to let all the emotions flow. If you are finding however, that within a couple of weeks you are still feeling low in mood and very tearful, make sure you speak to your midwife who will be able to arrange additional support of visits.

Partners are often forgotten when a new baby comes along but it is so important that all of the changes mentioned are happening for them too so it is really important that you all keep checking in with each other.

Just as someone immigrating to a new and exciting land may have to, your baby needs to learn all about their new home and everything that goes on within it. Their first means of doing this is through touch - your baby’s first language. It has long been known that Inuit and African babies cry far less than their Western counterparts and one of the main differences is that these babies are very rarely separated from human touch.

The benefit of skin-to-skin for both parents and babies is vast. This beautiful close contact promotes the release of our love hormone, Oxytocin, and this basic human act of physical closeness is essential for early child development. During their time in the womb, especially in the last few weeks of pregnancies babies become pretty squished and can often feel a little stiff in those first few weeks. Enjoying regular baby massage sessions can really help to relieve any little tensions your baby may have picked up and can also help to ease things like trapped wind and colic. Over at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby there are a whole host of baby massage classes that you can enjoy and even take before baby arrives so that you are good to go in those first few days. Our very own Midwife also runs a weekly virtual coffee morning where you can connect with other new and expectant parents and hear how everyone else’s babies are adapting to life in their new country! Sign up here - it’s free!

Having a baby is one of the most amazing things we do in our lives but it is OK to feel a little wobble now and then. It is OK to miss those care-free days of old. Keep chatting to friends and family and remember, just stopping for a while to enjoy some lovely cuddles with your baby may just wash a few of those wobbles away.