Before birth, your baby’s every likely need is adequately met in the womb. The baby is well fed, held in a supportive surrounding and soothed through your movements during the day. The baby sleeps in a curled-up position in the womb, and the environment is warm, shadowy, and watery. Movements are limited in the womb.
However, after birth, your newborn’s world changes completely. Following several months of warm, cosy darkness, new shapes, bright lights, and movements now surround the baby. The physical connection the baby had with you in the womb is suddenly broken, and they must learn to signal for food, comfort, and sleep. Of course, the baby misses the cosy confines of the womb, but he must now transit to the new life, which is full of stimulations.
There are plenty of ways in which the parents can help the newborn make this transition and adjust to his new environment.
Holding your naked newborn close to your skin after delivery warms the baby and arouses their sense of touch. The child will get used to your familiar smell, which helps to calm him or her. Also, skin-to-skin interaction also assists with regulating your child’s breathing and heartbeat while also encouraging the child to get its mouth around the nipple for breastfeeding.
Apart from the newborn, skin-to-skin interaction is also beneficial to you. Ideally, close contact with your newborn triggers the secretion of oxytocin hormone, known for good feelings, and stops the release of stress hormone cortisol. The same also applies to fathers when they hold the child close to their skin. It also allows for bonding with the baby.
While inside the womb, the baby is often fed continuously, experiencing no starvation or thirst. However, the newborn has to signal whenever he feels hungry, using indications such as crying, sucking or rooting. Learning these cues and feeding your child helps to meet the child’s energy requirements and offer reassurances that you care for them. For breastfeeding mothers, allow your child enough time to breastfeed as they want to and stop when your child indicates he’s satisfied.
Swaddling and movement
During pregnancy, your baby was confined in a warm and cosy environment, often soothed by swaying and rocking. After birth, newborn babies have to adjust to the new setting. Some adjust quickly to sleeping while lying on their backs, while others have a hard time adapting. To restore that sense of security and support as experienced in the womb, you can swaddle your baby in cosy wrappings to make him feel safe and secure. Make sure you leave enough space to allow his legs to manoeuvre around.
Baby-wearing, through a baby carrier or sling, helps to replicate the gentle swaying and rocking that calms your child before birth. This tactic works especially if your child is crying. In the absence of a sling, the simple act of walking around while holding your child is more likely to soothe him compared to sitting down and cuddling him.
After delivery, you are likely to be exhausted and emotional. You need plenty of rest and this can be provided by getting the help of a confinement nanny. In order for your baby to be comfortable, exposure between yourself, your child and a confinement nanny is crucial. As this caregiver becomes a constant presence in the life of your child, your child is bound to feel comfortable with them even when you are not around. The duration needed for this to occur differs from child to child, so the earlier you find a nanny, the better. There are many centres in Singapore offering confinement services. Visit one and get a nanny for your baby.
One of the ways to accelerate the exposure is by allowing the caregiver to feed your child. The caregiver can start to feed your child by bottle or cup while you’re there. Additionally, they can also hold the baby or change their diapers, and you can stay around to see how your child reacts. The nanny can also try to calm your baby before returning the infant to you while you are there offering verbal support.
The next step is to try leaving your child in the care of the nanny for a short time. You will want to slowly build this time up while seeing how your child adapts. This may allow you to catch fresh air outside or take light exercises to refresh your mind without worrying about your newborn.
Parents need to have a clue on how to make the transition as smooth as possible for their newborn. With the guidelines above, you can successfully help your child during the transition period without worrying too much while you enjoy motherhood.