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Parenting your newborn from the heart

Since you first announced your pregnancy, have you been bombarded with opinions on parenting? Of course it’s usually well-meaning, and coming from someone who has been through it all.

Have you also noticed how many different approaches to parenting there are? So, what one parent may consider a ‘mistake’ or ‘spoiling their child’, another parent will insist that it’s the ONLY way to parent.

You’ve probably heard of attachment parenting, helicopter parenting, free range parenting…to name a few approaches. But, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could start thinking about parenting without the labels?

Parenting your newborn from the heart

What if, instead, you parented from the heart? What does that mean? In a nutshell, it means to follow your own instincts. Listen to what the little inner voice is saying to you as you raise your precious baby. Ask yourself if what you’re doing aligns with own unique values, beliefs, cultures, upbringing, and priorities. Do your research, but have confidence in your own parenting ability.

Sleeping

If you feel you want to co-sleep with your baby, then co-sleep (following the SIDS safety precautions. Read about the benefits and advantages of co-sleeping here). If you want your baby to sleep in a cot in your room for the first 12 months, go for it.

If you want to feed, cuddle, or rock your baby to sleep…do it if it feels right for you and your baby. This stage of motherhood is short, so relish those snuggles. If it becomes a problem, and you think it’s resulting in less sleep for everyone, then there are solutions for that when you’re ready.

Babywearing

If you want to babywear all day, that’s fantastic – it’s wonderful for bonding, reflux, colic, and promoting sleep. It also means you can get stuff done around the house! If you would rather not babywear, then that’s great, too. It’s certainly not for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to.

Routine

If you have the personality that craves structure, then plan out some simple weekly tasks and activities. Don’t expect too much of yourself, though, as newborns are completely instinctual. They feed regularly because their tummies are tiny, and they sleep when they’re tired…which can be a lot in the early weeks (and isn’t always at night). Once they’re three or four months old, you can start to get more consistency into your day.

If you’d rather be more go-with-the flow, savouring this time with your baby in a slow, mindful way, that’s beautiful. You should.

Feeding

If you want to breastfeed, or pump and bottle feed, or formula feed, or do a combination…remember that fed is best. Only do what is right for you and your baby, but talk to a professional if you’re struggling at any time.

There is no perfect parent

You’re sleep-deprived, emotional, hormonal, and your body has gone through something major. There is no perfect parent. Some days will be amazing, and some days will be long, but you can start fresh the next day.

Please be kind to yourself, and focus on doing these things:

  1. Breathe deeply
  2. Prioritise rest and nutrition
  3. Accept offers of help
  4. Outsource chores
  5. Seek friendly, professional help and support
  6. Chat to other mums who are going through the same things
  7. Get out every day, even just for a few minutes
  8. Play music that you love
  9. Listen to your instincts
  10. Ignore other people’s opinions, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You do you.

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