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Bringing Home Baby: Calming Newborn Nerves

Your newborn goes through a lot right after heís born. Whether the birth was natural or assisted, he experiences a great deal of stress as he copes with the abrupt change in the world as he knows it. No wonder heís a little out of sorts those first few weeks. The first days home with baby can be trying. Heís adjusting. Youíre adjusting.

Everyone is a bundle of nerves. If you stay calm, however, these simple tips will ease the transition for both of you. *Sing and talk to your baby. Your newborn begins to hear your voice while still growing inside you. By the time he is born, the familiarity of that sound has a remarkable calming effect.

Talk to him, sing your favorite lullaby, and read books to him, especially stories that rhyme. *Make eye contact. While babyís do not have 20/20 vision at birth, they can see you. By making eye contact with your baby when you talk to or massage him, you are communicating with him, and if you watch his cues, youíll learn how he communicates with you. *Touch your baby. Itís natural act, yet so powerful. Stroke his arms, legs, head, and back. The sensations relax both of you and enhance your bonding. If possible, learn about infant massage techniques and incorporate them into your daily routine. Research suggests that simple massage strokes relieve colic and constipation, as well as help infants establish regular sleep patterns and form stronger bonds with their caregivers.

Hold your baby close, often. Research shows that keeping your baby close is good for him. Wearing your baby in a baby sling or carrier keeps him right where he needs to be to thrive. Cuddled next to you, baby feels your warmth and the comforting beat of your heart. The familiar rhythm helps him relax and feel secure. Using a baby sling also frees your arms and hands so that you can do a few things around the house, while still enjoying the benefit of snuggling with your baby. And that might help you feel calmer, too. *Respond to your baby. Itís that simple. Though crying can be nerve-wracking, itís the only way your baby has to let you know he needs something.

He cries when heís hungry; he cries when heís wet; he cries when he hurts or doesnít feel well; and he cries when he just doesnít know what else to do. While this barrage of bawling might make you feel like crying, too, the best thing to do is simply to respond to his need. Pick him up, cuddle him, and try to figure out just what it is he needs. Soon youíll recognize his cry for hunger over his pain cry and be able to soothe him by quickly filling the need. Worried that youíll spoil him? Donít be. Meeting your babyís needs is not spoiling him. By regularly responding to your newborn, youíre forming a healthy bond that makes him feel secure. Itís not uncommon for moms to feel out of sync with their babies in the first few weeks. But communicating your love to him through all his senses goes a long way toward calming those delicate newborn nerves.


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