They don't give you much, but they ask for a lot.
“I don’t think my baby likes me…”
Sadly, I’ve heard this several times from new mums. Newborns are very unique little creatures, they don’t give you much but they ask for an awful lot. Those first few days aren’t easy. Remember, your baby doesn’t like you, your baby adores you. No one on this earth will make your baby feel the way you do they just can’t show it yet. It’s not until around 6 – 8 weeks that you start to get rewarded with a glimpse of their little personalities and expressions shining through. They may start to make eye contact now and seem more aware. They were always aware they have just been trying to make sense of their new alien world. They have never seen light, had skin to skin contact, been on dry land, felt true temperature change or heard clear sounds; it must be so confusing but you are their first teacher, the best teacher.
Newborns have poor vision and can’t see much further than breast distance away if you are bottle feeding then make sure it’s only you or your partner feeding your baby and have them up close to you so they can start to recognise your faces. They have a good sense of smell and will know it’s you by your smell but to help them recognise you and develop their vision you need to be up close. You, your words, touch and your face alone help them feel at ease and start to feel familiar in their new world.
With a newborn you’ll have a limited amount of time and energy to give in a day. So, make sure you spend all of those well when it comes to visitors. I'm sure that everyone wants to see your beautiful baby and that’s lovely but right now you need to think about you because you are still one of your baby’s main life lines (see the nurturer needs to be nurtured.)
It was only around 60 years ago that we thought newborns couldn’t feel pain. I imagine this is down to what psychologists call argument from ignorance. Thankfully after researching newborns and their behaviour we found some outstanding things about them.
They use 97% of their energy intake on the brain but by 4 years old just 44% is used and their brains double in size within the first year of life. Early experiences literally shape the architecture of the brain.
Neuro pathways in the brain that are used a lot become strengthened and the ones that aren't used disappear. We used to think that once they had disappeared they had gone forever but breaking science tells us otherwise. We can reform neurons, this ability is called neuroplasticity and allows the brain to change and adjust to new experiences. There’s some inspiring success stories of people that have suffered strokes or serious brain injuries and made full recoveries going completely against Dr’s predictions. All of us adults exhibit neuroplasticity but your baby's brain is different because it organises its structure around the input it receives.
You can help your baby’s brain development by simply chatting to them whilst changing a nappy, for example, or going outside and walking around. There are unique experiences and sensations in nature like the wind and rain, trees, small bushes, different colours etc. You don’t need to do this for hours a day every single day either, just whenever you can.
In the womb your baby has been in a very controlled environment for their entire existence and newborn skin is like no other. We all know it’s delicate and sensitive but the physiology of the skin is rarely understood or fully explained. Probably the easiest way to evaluate a product's safety is by asking 'could I eat this' or 'would I rub this in my lips' if the answer is no, reconsider using it on your newborn baby's skin.
Just because it's on the shop shelf doesn't mean it is safe. Here is some Government evidence: https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/aqueous-cream-may-cause-skin-irritation