Swaddling your baby can calm them and help them to sleep better and longer. Here’s a simple method for swaddling your baby:
- Lay a blanket on a flat surface like a diamond and fold down the top corner about six inches to form a straight edge
- Place your baby on their back so that the top of the fabric is at shoulder level
- Bring your baby’s left arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near their left hand over their arm and chest and tuck the leading edge under their back on their right side
- Bring your baby’s right arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near their right hand over their arm and chest and tuck the cloth under their left side
- Twist or fold the bottom end of the blanket and tuck it loosely behind your baby, making sure both legs are bent up and out from their body, and ensuring their hips can move and their legs can spread apart naturally
Reading the signals
The accepted wisdom – usually a mix of medical advice and knowledge passed down through families – is that newborns require eight to 12 feedings per day or one feeding every two or three hours.
But the thing about accepted wisdom is that it doesn’t always work for everyone. Every baby is different and they generally tend to follow their own rules. Just remember that they’re quite capable of letting you know when they’re ready for food.
Early signs of readiness to feed or hunger, can include moving the hands to the mouth, sucking on fists and fingers, and lip smacking. Fussing and crying are later cues.
Learning your baby’s signals around feeding will help to ensure they get what they want when they want it and soon settle you into a good routine.
The power of touch
The touch and smell of a parent is the first comforting sensory experience that babies have, and as they grow, touch continues to play a crucial role in their development. Massage is one form of touch that strengthens the bond between you and your newborn.
There’s no right or wrong way to massage – simply rhythmically stroke your baby’s body with your hands (use a little moisturiser on their skin if this helps). Massage isn’t just relaxing for tiny ones, it can also help support a harmonious relationship with your newborn.
As you settle into your role as a parent, the most important thing to remember is that you are already doing a great job. Give yourself time and don’t forget to trust your instincts. Doing what feels right is, more often than not, the right thing to do.