WHAT BABIES WANT
1. SECURITY – this is the most important and many would define this as meaning love. It does mean love, in all its forms and begins from conception. Your baby, in utero, is an aware being, and this is the perfect time for laying down (imprinting) all the ideas, thoughts and feelings, you have, about your little baby. Imagine his developing mind is like a perfect sponge and you have this unique opportunity to imprint what you want your baby to know. Education begins in utero.
Tell him how much you love him, play games (yes, you can play wonderful games in utero), sing, play music, read books, poems and most of all talk to baby. Talk to him about your world into which he will be born, baby loves to hear these stories from Mum and Dad. Probably the most important message is to make sure he knows how much you are looking forward to labour and birthing and welcoming him into the world, gently and peacefully.
2. CLOSENESS – just imagine spending 40 weeks in the world’s most perfect environment – your womb. Feeling safe, warm, nurtured and loved. The way you come into the world – matters! Ensuring your baby’s gentle entry into the world is a very important transition from Inside to Outside and will set the pattern for the remainder of his life.
So it is natural for baby to feel unsure about his strange new world, he is experiencing a different temperature, feeling the air on his skin, experiencing touch, sounds in a whole new way, than what it was like Inside. Your job, now, parenting on the Outside involves continuing the safe, secure closeness that he felt Inside.
Imagine what it must be like for a new baby to be placed in a plastic cot, on a hard, plastic covered mattress, wrapped in hospital smelling sheets, with a sense of space all around. They feel alone, frightened, and wonder where their Mum has gone? So they cry – this is their only way of expressing a ‘need’ and a ‘want’.
Closeness is essential for baby to remain feeling loved, nurtured and secure.
Hospitals impose extraordinary expectations on a new baby. There appears to be very little thought for the emotional welfare of the baby. They expect, and so do many parents, that the baby will somehow know about hospital policy and procedures and adapt, instantly, to lying quietly in a cot, being roughly handled by strange people, not reacting to strange smells, being poked and prodded as they insist on carrying out hospital rules of weighing, measuring, even painful injections or taking blood. And then everyone wonders why baby cries! And then they, of course, look for a problem/diagnoses and then for a medical solution. This, unfortunately, is a common scenario.
Closeness to Mum and Dad is what baby wants. It is at the very core of their awareness to be held close to their Mum – the person who has grown and nurtured them in the perfect environment for around 40 weeks.
There is much research to show the closer a baby and Mum are, physically and emotionally in the beginning of life, the more emotionally secure baby, child and adult they will become.
Acknowledge baby has feelings and continue to nurture his well-being for the rest of his life, but it is never more important than Inside nurturing and the transition to the Outside. Do this initially and you will be rewarded with a confident and secure child, down the track, who will be happy to separate from you, his Mum, when he is ready and feels safe.
3. BREASTFEEDING – this is the most amazing and beautiful connection. You will love and enjoy this experience. If the connection begins on the Inside and continues on the Outside, with love and closeness, breastfeeding will come easily and naturally.
When you, as an adult, choose to conceive, grow and birth a baby, you are accepting responsibility for nurturing this baby, from conception, for the rest of his life. The exciting thing is that this nurturing, changes as he grows and develops – which means we, as parents, also need to learn, change and grow, adapting to our baby/child’s needs. This includes into adulthood, where parenting becomes a different sort of ‘interesting’. My adult children are in their early thirties and I am still learning.
TRUST that this extraordinary journey is absolutely wonderful.
BELIEVE that you have all the necessary skills within you, to make the right decisions for your baby’s education, health and emotional well-being.
TIPS TO ALLOW THIS TRANSITION TO FLOW EASILY AND CALMLY
• Enjoy your labour and birth, connecting with your baby
• Do not let anyone else touch your baby – only Mum and Dad’s hands on baby
• Minimise any other voices and sounds, if possible
• Keep baby with you at all times, Mum or Dad only
• Talk to baby, reassure him it is O.K. and you will do everything possible to ease him gently into his strange new world.
• Respect his feelings and you will be rewarded with a beautiful relationship and connection