The birth of a new baby, especially a first baby is preoccupying, so much so that it is easy to overlook what is actually going to happen. That a child will be in your arms and they will be yours. We tend to think that preparing for a baby is about buying cots and carseats, painting a nursery. But what about preparing for the moment you meet – the birth? For how you are going to feel? Given the shock of the baby’s move from womb to world, how would you like their first experience of the world to be?
What about breastfeeding? Studies show the benefits are colossal. Not so much that breast is best, but that bottle is worse. And yet the majority of women say ‘well if I can do it, then yes. If I can’t then I won’t,’ as if nature would be selective about such a thing, award only some the ability to nourish their newborn. The truth is almost all new mothers are able to breastfeed comfortably and confidently – WHEN THEY GET THE RIGHT SUPPORT, RIGHT AT THE START.
Everybody knows the impact a new baby will have on your life. And almost all babycare books are bursting with advice on ways to limit that impact. How to establish routines, ways to encourage mother and baby to separate. Those first weeks and months as a parent are tiring, unsettling and disorienting and it’s no surprise that many of us jump on that advice, wanting to feel confident again, to reclaim some control. But birth is the most vulnerable experience of our life. A newborn baby is bombarded with impressions and needs reassurance, continuity of contact, and a world that is responsive to him in order that he can bond and establish proper attachment.
‘The baby is very sensitive and knowing. He is going through various experiences that are lying down some of the basic automatic emotional patterns of the personality.’
(English and Pearson, The Emotional Problems of Living).
How would it be if we saw a baby’s early life through this lens? Instead of handling that takes the form of a one-way conversation, were we are doing all the talking, we might consider the baby’s viewpoint. How it is for them. ‘We need to see a baby’s entry into the world in a new way – as an invitation to the greatest intimacy life can afford us. ’
(Joseph Chilton-Pearce, psychologist and childcare expert)
I now offer a one-day workshop covering the subjects raised above: the ‘welcome’; what your newborn needs; the early weeks and what to expect; breastfeeding; sleep; carrying and contact; becoming a parent. Couples preferably attend pre-natally. See classes & workshops for details.