There’s no doubt that life changes pretty dramatically for new parents in the first 12 weeks or 4th trimester of a newborn’s life. All the research and preparation you can devour during your pregnancy doesn’t quite prepare you for the reality of this little person who completely depends on you for their every need 24/7.
Here are 5 things that you may not have anticipated in the first 3 months of your newborn’s life:
- For the first couple of weeks whilst your breastfeeding and milk supply is establishing your newborn will mostly be quite sleepy (full of all the “happy” hormone Oxytocin passed on via mum’s breast milk). So your challenge will be trying to keep baby awake to feed effectively and often (as a guide between 8-12 times per 24 hrs).
- To become an adept “shift worker”, most adults need to develop the skill of taking effective power naps, especially during the day. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so the common advice of “nap while baby naps” is frankly easier said than done. Try to persist and leave some household chores for others!
- At around 6 weeks your newborn will be having longer awake/alert periods, and prolonged periods of crying for no apparent reason can peak at this time. This is developmentally normal and this too shall pass. More cuddles/feeding may help to settle and soothe both baby and you!
- It will feel “right” and it is developmentally appropriate to cuddle and comfort your baby to settle to sleep/drowsy in your arms then place baby in the bassinet to sleep if needed (or not). It is entirely up to you as the parent how you want to help your newborn to sleep and evidence tells us that this will not set up any “bad habits” in the first few months.
- Usually by 3 months your baby’s feeding and sleep patterns over a 24 hour period are starting to naturally emerge. This is supported by the body’s natural circadian rhythms being established around this time and your baby’s ability to distinguish between night and day feed/playtime/sleep routines.