The birth of a new baby is the most exciting (and possibly terrifying) time in any parent’s life. After patiently waiting for your little one’s arrival, they’re finally here! But they don’t come with an instruction manual.
You may be wondering why your baby is crying in their sleep or how to be a good parent.
We asked Parenting Coach Rachel Schofield for her best peaceful parenting tips to help you through those first few months.
Tip 1: Be prepared before the birth
Rachel advises you to be organised before your baby arrives to help minimise any stress. Before your due date, download a baby hospital bag checklist and get everything ready.
If you’re making a birth plan, be sure to pop a copy in your hospital bag. Check out some example birth plans online to help you get started. And download any relevant resources, such as breastfeeding tips and postpartum pelvic floor exercises, ready for when you get home from the hospital.
Rachel advises you to be organised before your baby arrives to help minimise any stress.
Tip 2: Understand your baby’s cries
Crying is your baby’s only way of communicating, and it’s natural to find it upsetting. Sometimes, a baby will even cry in their sleep. Rachel shares her tips on settling a newborn baby.
She says if your baby doesn’t have any unmet physical needs, they might just be feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed. “Sometimes your baby is just trying to let off steam and simply needs to release stored feelings,” Rachel says.
Rachel suggests holding your baby and offering eye contact. By doing this, you’re telling them you love them and will support them even when they feel bad.
“Babies never cry to manipulate their parents. They’re crying for a reason,” Rachel says, “Children with parents who are attuned to their needs will develop a healthy, secure relationship with them.”
Children with parents who are attuned to their needs will develop a healthy, secure relationship with them.
Tip 3: Get the right advice
Sometimes, we just need to talk and let our feelings and concerns out. Outside of your immediate support network, your GP and maternal health nurse are great resources. They’ve seen and heard everything before, so they can help with any questions or concerns you might have.
Maybe you’ve been wondering how often to bathe your kids, or what exercise you could do while pregnant. These health professionals will have the latest, evidence-based answers to questions, like “why does my baby cry after a feed and in their sleep?”
You could also contact the following Australia-wide services for baby health tips. There may be other services available in your state or territory.
· Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline – 1800 686 268
· Poisons Information Centre – 131 126
· Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline (PANDA) – 1300 726 306
· Pregnancy, Birth and Baby – 1800 882 436
· Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
In our modern society, the idea of asking for help is very difficult, but it’s vital.
Tip 4: Embrace your village
New parents may feel isolated from family, friends and neighbours. Previous generations of parents may have had a village to turn to for help and support. But, as Rachel notes, parents nowadays are often muddling through on their own.
“In our modern society, the idea of asking for help is very difficult, but it’s vital,” advises Rachel, “Doing it alone will exhaust you, emotionally or physically.”
Rachel suggests you could ask for help and exchange help with others where you can, as good support may help improve your parenting.
New parents are often their harshest critics. Let yourself off the hook.
Tip 5: Give yourself a break
New parents are often their harshest critics. Let yourself off the hook. The house doesn’t have to be spotless. You don’t need to snap back to your pre-baby body. Taking care of your baby – and yourself – is your most important goal.
You’re doing great!
Rachel’s message to new parents is to remember the job you’re doing is a big one. Needing help or support doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong – it just means you’re human.
And if you have any concerns regarding your baby’s health, be sure to reach out to your health professional.
Rachel Schofield is a Parent Coach who uses her proven and practical tools to help parents compassionately and confidently navigate the challenges of raising children so they can build close and rewarding relationships with their children.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board October 2021.