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Sarah Norris – The Baby Detective

Adjusting to Life with Your Baby
February 6, 2015

Adjusting to Life with Your Baby

Whether your baby is newborn or a few weeks old, your life is probably a confusing mixture of extreme highs and lows, with very welcome (but sometimes infrequent) oases of contented calm in between.

Whilst I certainly would not wish to diminish the highs or the calms, I would definitely like to help reduce the lows and it can be done, but it will require you to think honestly and clearly about every aspect of your life with baby. It also requires you to be as compassionate towards yourself as you should be towards your baby.

I know that, from the moment someone discovers they are pregnant, people start hoping, dreaming and planning, which is great. However, at some point, whilst keeping your head in the clouds, you need to plant your feet firmly in the dirt and stay grounded.

Common sense is everything.

You may have everything mapped out as to parenting methods, feeding methods, routines etc. but babies rarely follow your rules. They much prefer to make up their own….and then change them without warning !

If your baby is not feeding well, not sleeping much, crying a lot, not gaining weight, then something is going wrong.

If you are exhausted, worried, stressed, in pain, unhappy and not enjoying your baby, then something is going wrong.

Everything about your baby’s health and happiness is down to a combination of physical, emotional and environmental factors, and to try and figure out what is going wrong, you have to be willing to examine every factor and not just some of them.

 

You need to be open minded and honest enough to accept that, just maybe, your chosen method of feeding isn’t working. If baby is not putting on weight or you are in pain or struggling to produce enough milk then maybe you have to use expressed breast milk, or top up with formula. This can be very hard to swallow if you really wanted to breastfeed exclusively but in the end what matters is that you and baby are healthy and happy.

You may feel certain that a strict routine is what you need to stay sane, but if baby is unhappy then maybe the routine is too strict and needs to be more flexible. Likewise, if you are against routine but find yourself getting lost in a confusion of never ending feeds and sleeplessness, then maybe you need to rethink and introduce some structure.

I know that the choices you make as parents come from a great deal of thought and personal conviction and are very personal, and it can be very painful to have to face changing them.

People, especially Mums, can feel like they are ‘failing’ or ‘admitting defeat’ or ‘giving in’ or ‘wimping out’ but this is a very harsh way to treat yourselves.

Actually, once you admit that there is a problem you have the chance to learn and grow as a parent by researching the problem, asking for help, and figuring out a solution, and it may not be as drastic as you first thought. You may find all that is needed is a slight adjustment to your routine, or to use routine for parts of the day and not for others. You might decide to use combination feeding, or change bottles, or use nipple shields, or to step up breast feeding instead of cutting back, or to switch to formula.

The simple truth about babies is that once you meet all their needs for security, sleep, food and comfort everything else just falls in to place and life becomes a lot easier and happier for all concerned leaving you free to enjoy your time as a parent.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your beliefs and decisions, look honestly at what is in front of you, trust your instincts and if something isn’t working, then get imaginative and try something else. It doesn’t mean you have failed, just that you haven’t found the right way yet.

Keep trying and you will get there !

The Author

I’m Sarah Norris, a Baby Care Consultant and Parenting Coach.

I have spent over twenty five years, often working 24 hours, 6 days a week, supporting hundreds of families with new or young babies aged from newborn to 12 months old, and often helping with their toddlers and older children.

I help parents discover what parenting style they want to use to care for their baby, and offer advice on different approaches that might suit them and their circumstances best.

12 Comments

  1. Tori

    Great post. Thanks for the advice you gave previously on how to top up with formula in the early days. It was necessary in my case as there was a delay in my milk coming in and my baby was so hungry! The advice was super- helpful, and introducing the odd bottle of formula here and there has certainly not caused any “nipple confusion” with my baby. She is happy to take breast or bottle (formula or expressed, or a cocktail of both).

    Reply
  2. Babyfriend

    Thanks Tori,
    so glad to have helped, and glad everything is going well and that you have such flexibility in your feeding methods.
    I honestly have never come across a genuine case of nipple confusion in my whole working career.
    Babies are programmed to adapt and survive and they will latch on and suck anything they come across, (including fingers, noses and chins !) and just need to be given the time to adjust and practise with different shapes and flow rates that come with different milk sources.
    Sarah x

    Reply
  3. cheryl

    Having babies is definitely a trial and error sort of thing, I have two and they both grow differently. Great post! Thanks for sharing! #binkylinky

    Reply
    • Babyfriend

      You are right about the trial and error Cheryl, its what I teach every parent I meet. Its what most parents learn with experience….I just wish I could bottle it and give it to first time parents ! x

  4. Nige Higgins

    Parenthood is constantly changing as our children grow great post thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

    Reply
    • Babyfriend

      Nige, Thanks for commenting. You are right about parenting changing. I tell parents that they are now in a game of constant catch-up which can be tiring but can also be fun x

  5. Helen Porter

    having children is definitely is not easy but I agree you have to do the best things that work for you as a mum there is no right and wrong all that matters is that they are happy and healthy #binkylinky

    Reply
    • Babyfriend

      I agree Helen, happy and healthy is all that counts, both for parents and for baby. I want to give parents the confidence and the skills to try different things until the find what works for them and their baby x

  6. Emily

    Great post. I agree parenting, especially in the early days can leave you exhausted, but it does get easier the further in you get! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

    Reply
    • Babyfriend

      Hi Emily, thanks for stopping by. You are right about the exhaustion of the early days ! I wish I could fast forward a few weeks and show parents just how much easier it will be, and how much more competent they will be in such a short time x

  7. Jade Munro

    Great post! I think a lot of the time people bombard you with advice, the do’d, the don’ts, when at the end of the day you’re new parents, you’re the first people, ever, to experience any of this!

    Reply
    • Babyfriend

      Thanks Jade, I see the effect the bombardment has on new parents and it causes so much stress. I want to try and remind people to take their time, have faith in themselves, trust their instincts, and enjoy their baby x

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