The First Two Months of a Baby’s Life
Establishing a Foundation to Build on
The start of a newborn’s life is crucial for the development of the relationship between the baby and his parents and the infant’s self-perception. The child’s need for sleep is enormous, and it helps the new parents to rest from the intensity of being together with their new-born.
A new-born baby needs to sleep 15-18 hours per 24 hours. The parents then get time to look forward to a new session with their child every time he is awake for feedings.
Waking up, just before feeding you seek eye- contact because he or she is ready to receive it. It’s like a “Par-de-Deux,” two ballet dancers matching each other’s steps. The infant is prepared to catch glimpses of the parents’ eyes and mimics, and the parents support their baby in not crossing the line of patience.
Feeding is the number one priority, and afterwards, you continue making eye contact as long as it’s possible while telling your baby what’s going on with things concerning him. The regular rhythm of night and day is dependent on eye-contact and love. You need to be about 8 inches away while interacting with him.
Many new parents have asked me if they stimulated their baby sufficiently?
To help them get confidence in their role as parents, I have made three headlines for the first two months of a baby’s life. It’s like building a foundation for the child that lasts for the rest of his life. In that period the parents need to be selective about visitors and the lengths of visits to help the parents to find their role and to establish these essential things for their child.
- Sufficiency of nutrition
- An adequate amount of sleep
- Emotional and physical security for the baby and eye and body contact with parents.
You feed your baby with breast milk, or formula and the stomach should work. The stomach is tiny at first, so you observe when he is satisfied. Use common sense is useful in judging the amounts and when feeding.
Pay close attention to the child’s expression. The baby’s cry may seem unnuanced in the start as the facial nerve is not yet fully developed and you can easily misunderstand his needs.
Breastfed babies do not usually get constipated, but it may be a complication of formula-fed babies. Consult a doctor or health care professional as soon as possible to remedy this. Nowadays the protein in the formula is matching human milk and doesn’t create as much colic than in former times.
After the meal, a new baby can’t stay awake for long so using the moment to be in eye contact is essential. Tell your baby what you intend to do and what you believe he feels or needs. Your word supports its sense of security more than you can imagine. Repetition stabilises further, and during the first year of life, you establish the language. He begins to understand and is understood, and both parts know that you are together.
In the first few months, the child will be comforted most easily by being held vertically on your chest. Embrace him and support his head and neck moving him in a calm rhythm.
It can also be done with a sling or carrier. However, always think about the danger of overheating. This way, the child feels your heartbeat and does not need eye contact, which is very important, as who can last for a long in an intense eye-contact? Very often I have met parents who have had trouble getting their baby to sleep between meals. I recommend that you create peace as described above and ensure that you get rid of the burbs after the feeding.
Swallowed air easily interfere with the transition to sleep as it’s hurtful. If the child is noisy swallowing during the feeding, you interrupt him and hold firmly against your chest or shoulder or place him across your legs as you sit down and tilt him a little up and down while padding his back. In the case of tense gastrointestinal pain, the child is taken to the changing table, placed on his back where you massage with your fingers clockwise on the stomach not pressing hard or too soft.
You then turn him on his stomach and gently push the hips down against the changing table helping him to get rid of the air. If you still find it hard to help your baby to sleep it, a swaddling cloth is useful.
Place your child on his back on the cloth, which is laid out with an angel above his head. You could offer him a pacifier too.
The arms are bend in a natural position, and you tighten the fabric to each side. Finally, you fold the swaddling cloth over the feet. I have a Danish blog about swaddling.
This position reminds the baby is of his time in his mother’s womb. I don’t know of any sleepy and satisfied newborn who doesn’t fall asleep this way. You can easily loosen the swaddle when the child is in his deep sleep, or he will widen his space it by himself. The mattress must be firm but not hard. In the first few months there may be some background noise, but later your baby will need a sleeping routine in a quiet and dark room or his pram in the fresh air.
Consider your need for being social with friends and family. To establish these functions described above takes time and energy as the work with a baby goes on both day and night. Most parents need social contact with loved ones, but timing is everything. Send a message to your family and friends about how you want to be contacted. I am sure that short visits are most appreciated.