6 Quick Tips for Adjusting Newborns to Life Outside the Womb
Newborns can be a fussy bunch. From constant crying to unresponsiveness, many factors can influence how your newborn responds to the outside world. It’s common for newborns to cry in the first few hours after birth, but some babies cry more than others. In addition to this, they must also adjust from being cocooned in fluid and warmth in the womb to being exposed to the cooler air outside with a lower concentration of oxygen.
After a nine-month adjustment to life inside the womb, your newborn will be faced with new challenges to get used to life outside the womb. Life outside the womb means no dark spaces and no constant temperature. It also means that there are other people present, which may be quite different from what they are used to. They have to get used to loud voices, bright lights, and constant movement. They also have much less space in which to roam freely and practice crawling or hiccup-inducing gymnastics as they did in utero.
With new people speaking weird gibberish, and the whole place much more cold and drafty than they’re used to, newborns have a lot to take in when they enter the world. It’s a big adjustment for any baby, but there are ways you can make it easier for them. Newborns need time to get accustomed to their new home. It’s safe to say that becoming a parent is one of the most exciting experiences in life, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! The first few months with your newborn can feel overwhelming as you adjust to your new role as a caretaker, and your child adjusts to life outside the womb.
If you’re a parent reading this article, it’s probably because you are already, or are about to become one very soon (congrats!). As with any new responsibility, parenting comes with its own set of challenges that you may not be prepared for just yet. However, if you’ve read this far into this article, then you’re clearly ready for it! Here are 6 quick tips that will help both of you adjust to your new lives together more smoothly and easily.
- Give them Space
It's tempting to want to hover over your newborn and protect them from everything, but it's important to give them some space. Let them experience the world around them and explore a bit. It's good for their development and will help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.
- They are not hard-wired to love you right away
Babies are born with a strong survival instinct. So, when they first meet you, their caregiver, they're not thinking, Oh, this is the person who will love and care for me. Instead, they're thinking, Who are you? I don't know you. It takes time for them to learn to trust you and feel comfortable with you. The worry comes in, I know... but the first stage of change is never easy. But, it does get better!
- Encourage their creativity with stimulating toys
When it comes to newborn development, encouraging curiosity is key. And what better way to do that than with stimulating toys? Look for toys that make noise, light up, or are otherwise visually interesting. These will help your baby start to understand cause and effect. Plus, they're just plain fun!
- Protect their sleep
Most newborns sleep a lot, but they don't follow a strict schedule. Your baby may need to wake up frequently to eat. Newborns usually sleep for 16 hours a day, but they may not sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. During the day, try to keep your baby awake for at least 1 hour so that he or she can start to develop a regular sleep pattern. This way, they will start becoming more comfortable with their new space.
- Nurse them Closely during the first 6 weeks
The womb is a loud place. There are all sorts of noises going on all the time, and your baby is used to hearing them. So when they suddenly find themselves in a quiet room, it can be pretty disorienting. That's why it's important to nurse them closely during those first few weeks. Not only will it help them feel more comfortable, but it will also give you a chance to bond with your new little one. It'll get easier as they get older and have their own opinion about how often they should eat. Just remember that it may take a little bit of trial and error before you figure out what works best for both of you!
- Don’t Overstimulate them at first
It's important to remember that newborns need plenty of rest and sleep, so don't overload them with too much activity or stimulation. Get your work done as quickly as possible and then spend time holding, cuddling, and feeding your baby before it’s time for a nap. Newborns can actually self-soothe when they have their mother close by, so be there when she needs you most! You may want to consider bringing your baby into bed with you in the beginning so he is surrounded by your love and warmth during his first few weeks of life. The more contact he has with you now, the better he will do later on once he gets used to being away from mommy during the day while napping in his bassinet.
Starting life outside the womb can be a jarring experience for newborns, but for you… mama and papa, always remember to recognize that every day is a new day and anything is possible, focus on what your baby likes instead of what they don't like (like sucking on fingers), keep in mind that these phases won't last forever so do what you can while it lasts (and remember that they'll always come back) and lastly, patience comes with practice so stay committed to practicing daily! Get yourself an organic and friendly bassinet to carry them around the house to create that warm womb-like embrace. You can choose to line your bassinet / Moses basket with whatever makes your baby feel most comfortable. You got this mama!
“Please note: This article is only informative and should be read as such. To seek professional advice kindly contact your pediatrician or The American Academy of Pediatrics.”