Christmas has just passed and the New Year is at our doorstep – time for families to be together – sharing and caring – and then some parties!
Parties are for adults and so the precious baby should not be around loud music, alcohol and lots of people who you don't know but have just turned up for the party.
Be so careful as to who comes into your house if there is a general gathering of friends of friends. – or if you go out to a friends house the same applies.
Your little baby should be in a safe, secure and in quiet atmosphere where you know he is safe.
Alcohol is often part of the Christmas festivities – but remember if you are breast-feeding, your baby's nourishment is what YOU eat and drink – so no alcohol on your menu! And no seafood unless you know it has come straight from the sea – stick to the fresh fish. I once ate too many pipi fritters and my darling breast fed baby was not impressed!
If you drink – go and buy some bubbly grape juice or similar and enjoy the moment, knowing that your baby is having the best and purest breast-milk in town! Pure water is the best – and plenty of it.
When you are in a crowd it's best not to pass the baby around (like pass the parcel!) The most important thing to remember is to keep to your routine of feeding, a big cuddle – and then another, a kiss and then tuck the baby into his own bed, and let him sleep.
The more sleep a baby has the more sleep he wants.
This is true – from all my years and years of experience and training, I know.
During this period of holidays, maybe there are extra people staying for a few days – or just over-night. The baby cries and then cries some more and stress levels go up.
When you become a mother you suddenly realize several things.
1. This baby is the most precious part of you. You will have a partner, husband, extended family or maybe you are mum on your own – but still with an extended family who are there to support you.
2. In the days following the birth you will realize that babies cry more than you expected.
3. How do you stop that crying? Babies cry for a few reasons (a) they are hungry (b) they are tired (yes – that's right – babies quickly become tired) (c) – they have wind and are uncomfortable and (d) maybe they are hungry.
4. When tiny babies have been fed, nappies changed, and they have been checked for wind, you have given them a cuddle and a kiss, they need to be wrapped firmly and tucked down, again firmly, in their own beds. They should then be left to self settle and if this routine happens right from the day you come home from the hospital, very soon you will have a baby who is quite happy to self settle.
5. If the baby continues to cry after 8 mins you can pick him up, a gentle rub of his back to check for wind – then start the routine over again.
6. Don't take the baby out to the 'party room' – that is where adults are having a cuppa – or dinner – or having a few beers, a wine or whatever! So with all this adult activity, a baby will not learn to self settle in the 'party room’.
7. The baby should not be carried around the house – in and out of the party room – passed from one adult to the other. He must learn to self settle – and if he gets over-tired when he is tiny – he will find it very difficult to self settle.
8. If you continue to resettle your precious baby in his own bed he will quickly learn to go to sleep. NEVER LET THE BABY SLEEP IN YOUR BED. IT IS DANGEROUS.
9. If after several attempts at settling, and he is still not asleep, you can check to see if he is hungry – do this in his own roon and not in the 'party room’!!
10. Then go through the settling routine again.
11. A crying baby who will not settle, is a very tiring experience. If you get to the stage of intense stress – you don't know what to do – maybe you have got to the stage of crying - don't EVER EVER shake the baby, and don't EVER EVER let anyone else shake the baby.
12. If you get to this stage, wrap the baby, put him into his cot and leave the room, shutting the door. Don't let anyone else go into the room. By the time you have rung a supportive person, a family member, a good friend, or the Plunket Help-line and found someone to support you, had a cup of tea, and sat down, go and have a peek into the bedroom and you will probably find that the baby has gone to sleep.
13. Please get support – that's what friends are for, especially experienced mothers, Aunts or a trusted friend who have raised babies.
14. Babies do not know the meaning of the word 'naughty'. Babies are NOT naughty. Love them – but never, never never hurt them.
15. Cherish your baby – and being a parent is the most important role in your life.
16. When you baby is sleeping, pat yourself on the back for being a great parent, put your feet up and paint your toe-nails!