After nine months of anticipating the start of motherhood, your newborn baby has finally arrived. Yes, there will be plenty of sleepless nights ahead of you, but in between all the diaper changes and feedings, you’ll also find quiet moments to enjoy with your little one. Here’s how to really make them count:
Plenty of hospitals and health care providers are touting skin-to-skin contact as the best way for both mom and dad to bond with their newborn. In fact, many hospitals have policies in place that allow new moms to nurse and snuggle their brand new babies – even before their little ones are whisked away for that first post-birth clean-up. Studies show that babies benefit greatly from this close contact, leading to calmer, less stressed newborns and a stronger bond with both mom and dad.
Newborns are nearsighted and can only see objects that are at most 15 inches away from them. Give your baby plenty of time to match your voice to your face by leaning in close and letting your little one give you a good look. He or she will love studying your features and getting to know you. While your baby won’t return the favor for a little while, be sure to offer up plenty of loving smiles.
Most babies like movement and being close to their moms. Invest in a soft infant carrier that allows for a snug fit against your body. Carrying your little one like this allows him or her to hear your heartbeat, take in your scent, and feel safe and secure. You may find your baby sleeps really well while being carried like this – and that you can even breastfeed almost hands-free. Just make certain that your newborn fits the weight requirements for the carrier of your choice and that you learn to wear it properly.
Find your groove
Establishing a daily routine can help you find your footing as a new mom and provide your little one with a feeling of security. While those first few weeks will likely be chaotic, settling in with a few rituals will help you feel more grounded, too. Start with bedtime, turn the lights low, sneak in a nursing session, give your little one a bath, and send him or her off to dreamland.
While it’s true that newborns aren’t very interactive, take every opportunity to talk or sing softly to your new baby. Give lots of eye contact while you have your son or daughter in the bath, while changing a diaper, or giving a bottle. This will help you fully embrace your role as a parent – and establishes the beginning of a lifetime of love and care.