Love That Baby!
Let's look more closely at love and extract some tips that will help ensure you and Baby have the best shared experience you possibly can! We're going to break down LOVE, letter by letter...
L—Lower your voice
Babies cry. It’s what they have to do to communicate—or at least to try to communicate. Sometimes the crying lasts seconds, sometimes minutes and sometimes a seeming eternity. Regardless of the true reason for the cry—your baby might be hungry, tired, cold, hot, otherwise uncomfortable, annoyed, bored, ticked off that you stopped playing the funny-face game after only 15 minutes or, maybe, she just feels like
crying—the worst thing you can do is try to shout over her volume. Your baby feeds off your energy constantly. In other words, the more worked up you get, the more worked up Baby gets.
So when you’re mid-diaper change and the little one is shrieking at the top of her lungs (and gasping for air to really drive the point home), don’t let the visceral response you inevitably experience inside translate to external tension. Maintain a calm, slow voice, sing a little
song, and reassure your precious one everything is OK. Your insides may be saying, “Stop crying already!” but make your voice say, “Mommy loves you, sweetie.”
No matter how much you love your baby, you’re also going to experience a quality of
exhaustion you never knew existed. That you take care of yourself properly is essential to the health of both you and the little bundle in your charge. This means accepting help when it’s offered and, to the extent you can, giving up control from time to time.
mother-in-law offers to take care of the baby for the couple of hours between feedings, don’t fret about whether she’s going to hold her properly or know her favorite tunes. Say yes. When your neighbors offer to cater you a dinner, don’t graciously decline—graciously accept. When your husband offers to take the baby for a walk, don’t worry about whether he’s going to dress her adequately. Grab some
sleep instead. In the end, both you and your baby will be better for it.
L—Learn as you go
Acknowledge to yourself that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. The earlier you accept this truth, the better it will be for your relationship with your child. Of course you’re going to try to achieve parenting perfection—we all do. But no one can maintain a 24/7 job without ever slipping up. And make no mistake, parenting is no less than a 24/7 job.
Though your baby can’t speak, he will give you
signals as to what he wants or needs. Such signals won’t be obvious at first, but study him closely and you’ll be surprised at how valuable the signals become to your relationship. Remember, he’s a novice communicator at this point—that means it’s up to you to become an expert
No doubt about it, parenting is intimidating. A baby, though tiny, has complex
needs that don’t abate even for an instant. But we all know the best way to face a task, especially a daunting one, is head on. Throw yourself into the parenting role. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Immerse yourself in it. Once you make this mental leap, you’ll find it both easier and more gratifying.
No one will need to convince you to stare at your baby—you may find it hard to do anything else—but recognize also that this isn’t just your favorite activity, it’s hers, too. There’s nothing an infant likes better than Mommy or Daddy’s face, so don’t feel pressured to have a mini-department store of mobiles, rattles, soft
toys, and teddy bears the moment she arrives home from the hospital. Your willingness to act goofy and say, “Who’s the little girl? Who is she?” in a nice high register is all she needs.
Babies don’t want protection from the outside world—they want to experience it. It can be easy to convince yourself Baby should be kept inside for the first several months of her life, but that isn’t going to help him or you. Get outside. Take walks. Share with him the rush of fresh air and the beauty of nature. He’ll spend enough time in the house.
V—Vary the routine
On one hand, babies thrive on
routine. More than one expert, for example, endorses the value of repeating the same steps prior to bedtime to encourage successful
sleep habits. On the other hand, it can be easy to get into an accidental rut when
caring for a newborn.
If you do all the same things at the same time every day, not only will you get bored, your baby will, too. Instead, aim for an overall schedule that includes plenty of options while containing certain mini-routines from which you rarely deviate, like the aforementioned bedtime procedure. This way she’ll respond well to established cues but be delighted by the changes.
Of course you’ll adore your baby, but babies are still a handful. You’ll have those moments (“Why are you still crying?!”). Everybody does. Whenever you feel especially frustrated or confined or tired or worn down,
talk about it with someone you know will listen: a friend, your mom, your spouse. Just don’t bottle it in.
E—Err on the side of caution
Caring for a baby is a wondrous experience, and no one wants to detract from that experience by scaring you—but it’s also vital to recognize that any risk is an unacceptable one. The baby’s on the changing table and you’re considering dashing to the bathroom to replenish the wipes because you can do it in under eight seconds? Don’t. You’re
giving baby a bath and are wondering whether you can reach the shampoo just beyond arm’s length? Forget it—give her a shampoo tomorrow. Babies are resilient, often astonishingly so, but why tempt fate? Think
safety first and last. Kids need only an instant to remind you how important this is.
There are two things about being a parent you need to know. One, your first guess is right less than half the time. Two, even when it is right, you’re going to have only minutes—maybe seconds—to enjoy the fact, since some other issue or demand is going to arise that requires your immediate response. (And, once again, your first guess is right less than half the time.) Try to avoid getting stuck on one solution,
meal. Your baby will appreciate your willingness to explore different possibilities and will show it by expanding his own
A big part of taking care of yourself concerns
diet and nutrition. You’re craving sleep more than you knew you ever could. You’re having a harder and harder time suppressing crankiness. You can’t remember your most recent shower. But indulging in late-night junk binges isn’t going to help you, your baby, or your
mental condition. Soon your baby will start sleeping regular shifts, and you will, too. Maintain
good health habits now to enjoy your baby fully when you do come out of that fog.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN