Bringing home baby is an exciting, but challenging time for new parents - especially during the pandemic. During the lockdown period, parenting support provider Karitane has seen a 95 per cent increase in demand for their services. The biggest concerns facing young families are feeding and sleep, with 70 per cent of all referrals to the service relating to settling little ones.
“Learn their tired sign - get to know your baby really early on,” said Karitane Education Director Sharlene Vlahos.
“As soon as you see them tired, get them into bed."
“Their own sleep space is really important, so get them used to that."
“And be responsive. A gentle rock and a gentle pat can teach them to calm and settle."
“Newborns sometimes like to be wrapped - those reflexes can wake them up."
“Take your time - you have to get to know each other."
“Babies don’t read the books that we do. They don’t know how to sleep by themselves."
“That’s definitely one of those things that you learn together.”
Tips for feeding your newborn
“In the early stages, particularly if you are breastfeeding, we really recommend breastfeeding on demand,” Vlahos said.
“Go with your baby, particularly when you’re trying to establish those breastfeeding patterns."
“If you are bottle-feeding, try and stick to the one formula, but also get the right teat - one that’s not too fast and not too slow."
“Get your baby to finish their feed. They love being snuggled up with you so they fall asleep often, so it’s hard to get them to finish their feeds."
“Comfort from you is actually very important - but once again, it’s a learning process."
“You will find your own position and your own way of feeding.”
Education around depression
The first 2,000 days are critical in a child’s development - 80 per cent of parents have difficulties adjusting to parenting, however, only 30 per cent seek help. Not only that, but one in five mums and one in 10 dads also experience signs of postnatal depression.
“You need to be well-educated around the signs of postnatal depression,” Vlahos said.
“You might recognise it in your partner or in yourself - and the key is to get support really early."
“But also, parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the perfect parent."
“We are really asking parents to take the pressure off themselves - it’s not selfish to look after yourself.”
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