No matter how many books you read, how many people you talk to, holding your new baby in your arms is a life-changing moment. Depending on the birth experience you have, you may be elated or you may be exhausted. You may crest highs you've never known, or you may feel bleaker than the darkest thunder storm.
As you embark on this new journey, with a new schedule, the questions are many. Am I doing this right? Should I feed her or bathe her? Should she be pooping or sleeping? Are we bonding? Should I feel this confused?
They go deeper: How do I want to raise this child? What are my beliefs and how do they differ to my parents? Who can help me in this?
Sometimes, they get desperate: When can I take a shower? Will I ever sleep again?
And they rarely stop. Soon you may question how to help your child sleep alone, how best to respond to him when he cries? When and how often? When to begin weaning, and how to introduce solids? The decision-making can seem endless and overwhelming, but it comes from the most sacred place there is: Love.
Ultimately these questions boil down to one question: Am I doing my best to give the best to my child?
And we have an answer. You are mama. You are there. You care.
As the author and founder of Gentle Parenting Resources L.R Knost says, “Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.”
Right at the heart of this new love story is you, the attachment you make and connection you build with your child. This is a new role that you get to define, exactly as you wish.
New parents can be hard on themselves. They become stressed in their desire to provide well. Before you let the questions overtake you, there are five divine truths that every new parent should know, according to Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, Stephanie Parker.
These truths are what Stephanie wishes every parent could know, should know and would cherish. Following them will lead on a path to connected, confident parenting. They will help when parenting is awful, ordinary and mundane, and they will help you take joy those moments when it is amazing.
Five Truths Every New Parent Should Know
Five minutes of undivided loving attention with your baby each day can go a very long way in building a healthy attachment. Holding, cherishing, noticing, and staring into your babies eyes lets him know you are there and he is wanted.
Find someone who can listen well to you about what it's like to be a parent without needing to give you advice or fix you. Parenting is emotional work which can't be done in isolation. Having an opportunity to offload helps you expel those parenting fears and explore the questions you have. With regular exchanges, there is time to cry, get angry, and work through worry, providing space to return to your baby calmer and more ready to face the next hurdle.
Sometimes your baby may just need to cry in your arms when all his or her physical needs are taken care of. Babies are capable of emotional work too. Being born is a tough job, for you and your baby. If you are wracking your brains trying to work out why your babe is crying after her needs have been met, hold her, make eye contact and try listening. She may be trying to expel her fears too. There is more about listening to babies in this post by Hand in Hand's Laura Minnigerode.
You are a good mum and deserve support even when you are tired, frustrated and fed up. Yes, you do! Your baby deserves a mama that is rested and fed, has time for herself and can return to be really present with her child. Find people you can rely on so that if you need something, you aren't shy to ask. Ever.
Your baby only ever cries for a reason and you will never ‘spoil' them by responding with love. Babies do not cry to manipulate or control and you can never give too much love. Sometimes the going feels just as tough for your little one as it does for you. Their young brains cannot show you everything they feel though primitive language and gesture, but your physical love and affection shows them you are close and that they will always be loved and protected.
Attachment, Bonding and Support
Amazing things happening as your baby develops and how your relationship helps her to grow. Are you about to become a new parent, know someone that is or have a baby at home? Find our how to strengthen the bond and build lasting connections with your baby in this free podcast with Stephanie Parker and Laura Minnigerode.
- How to understand the science of what's actually going on in a child’s brain from the time they are born.
- How we can respond to our baby’s/child’s needs and communication in a way that will heal and deepen our attachment relationship.
- How the Hand In Hand Parenting tools support early attachment and bonding.
- How to get the support we need and deserve as parents in order to be emotionally responsive to our children.
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