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Newborn baby first week – schedule and our typical day

Baby's first bath (1 week old) - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.ukNewborn baby first week – schedule and our typical day

It’s week one!! Baby is very cute, likes to sleep a lot and is picking up on his feeding. The toddler (LL) is learning to be “gentle” with the baby by touching him very softly. I’m not sure how he feels about the new addition. He is excited to see the baby but also has been a bit more mischievous and cheeky this week.

 

Here’s what we got up to the last few days:

 

Baby's first bath (1 week old) - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.uk

Baby’s first bath

♥ Had several naps, feeds, nappy changes, a few changes of clothes
♥ Face to face time, quick look at a high contrast flash card and a bit of time in his basket
♥ Visit from the community midwife (standard follow up) for weighing and check-in on any issues. Fortunately this all went fine. We had the heel-prick/newborn blood spot test, which baby did not like, but is standard and necessary for early detection of some rare health conditions
♥ Had our first bath. The midwife said to wait at least 5 days so we didn’t have one straight away. He seemed to enjoy the water. He went very calm and quiet once in there
♥ Attempted a minute of tummy time, but was bit more of him just lying on his front!
Tummy time - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maternal wellbeing and mental health

 

Maternal wellbeing and good mental health - activity ideas from a clinical psychologist on reducing cabin fever and keeping your mood healthy while on maternity leave/spending a lot of time with baby

Maternal wellbeing and mental health…. and paternal also. Let’s say actually that this is about “parent/caregiver wellbeing and mental health”.

 

Feeling a bit: “cabin fever”, hemmed in, fed up, stressed, low (depressed even)? – how to reduce these experiences somewhat during maternity leave or on an every day basis?

 

….do stuffSounds simple but I know that it isn’t always especially if one is stuck in a vicious negative cycle of low mood, lack of energy and motivation, overwhelming feelings.

Depending on your psychological stance, and mine believes in behavioural and cognitive theories, amongst others, there is a link between what you do, what you think, and how you feel. If you make changes to one of these areas (feelings, thoughts, behaviours), it will impact on the other areas. Doing stuff is therefore important because it will impact on your feelings and thoughts. This is a general Cognitive-Behavioural stance (see any references by Aaron T Beck, Christine Padesky,  or just Google cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for more on this).

 

Getting out and doing stuff is important because:

  • It gives structure to your day.

    • People usually like structure, the reliability of a weekly timetable where you know what to expect, when to expect it and to have certain anchor points to the week, for example, knowing that on Friday afternoon you go to that baby sensory class and see your friend the Nanny who looks after P the baby who is 4 months older than the Little Lovely.
  • You can plan enjoyable and meaningful activities, one gains a sense of achievement, mastery, accomplishment. 

  • There are physical benefits such as getting more exercise, energy expenditure

  • Social benefits:

    • increased opportunity to talk to other mothers/parents/carers and to share and make normal (normalize) issues and experiences. increased opportunity to talk about and therefore learn and share your collective knowledge, experience and resources that you have built up from from your experience as a parent or carer. For example, the Nanny who looks after P the baby tells me about teething and comments on LL’s physical development and what she notices has changed from the last time she has seen him. She has cared for several children in her career so what she tells me is nice to hear because I have only cared for one child for a relatively short period of time!

 

Activity Ideas

The cost of those baby classes can add up. Some ideas for activities are:

  • Baby classes

  • baby music class. baby-brain.co.uk Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

    I am the music boy – paying attention to the violin at music baby class

    Yes I know I just said they could be costly, but maybe there are 1 or 2 classes that you really like the sound of and just want to set aside some money to do those each week. If you do classes some tips I can think of are:
    • Ask for a trial first, or better still a free trial! Many classes and companies offer this, or a special deal whereby if you pay for the initial class you get the money back if you decide to book more classes. LL and I have done a few free trial classes. Some we did sign up for more lessons and some we didn’t because I didn’t feel they were for us or at least I didn’t want to commit to buying 10 classes.
    • Look for drop ins where you can pay by the session rather than being forced to sign up for a whole “course” or “term” of classes. I initially signed up for things like 10 sessions of a sensory baby class, and a term of a baby music class. To be fair, I did do a trial of the sensory class first but the music class didn’t allow it and I had to sign up for 12 weeks. This is annoying because unavoidably, baby is probably going to be asleep, ill, tired, screamy, any other thing you can think of to do with baby. You might also be ill, on holiday, can’t be bothered to drag you and baby out in pouring rain, etc,  at some point during the time of the class over the 12 weeks and you will miss some. If any of the above things occur, you then feel compelled to try to make it to the class anyway “because you’ve paid for it!” and want to get your moneys worth. And that is stressful and annoying, at least that’s what I found. I also found I didn’t like the music class any more after about 4 or 5 classes, and didn’t think it was worth the price, but then felt unable to get out of the situation.
    • I’m going to contradict myself slightly here – but if you HAVE to, or think it suits you better to sign up for a whole load of classes in one go then maybe see if there are any discounts to be had for booking several classes in one go. For example, the sensory baby lady let me have 5 more classes for the price of 4. Nice. I also booked a course of baby massage because it was cheaper to book the whole lot than pay by the class plus I got an additional 10% off. I have to add though, I booked these things right at the beginning of my maternity leave before I had experience of these kinds of things.
    • Cheap and Cheerful activities – such as a local play group that might ask for a token or small fee. For example, LL and I go to a playgroup in a local community centre where there are toys, soft play and then we all get in a circle and sing songs together and it only costs a couple of quid.

 

 

  • Free opportunities – using local free resources, from local services or other initiatives 

    • go to the park with baby. activity ideas maternal mental health and well being. baby-brain.co.uk psychological resource, perspective and blog on motherhood and babies

      Park life boy

      Check your local library for what activities they have. The ones near me do weekly groups for babies under 18 months and another for toddlers where we sing songs (like row row row your boat), nursery rhymes and there are toys put out for the kids. You get to meet and chat with other mums local to that area, entertain and bond with your child.

    • Local authorities and children’s centres also have free or heavily discounted play groups and activities such as “under 5’s soft play drop ins” and “under 1’s” sessions that usually just involve some toys, soft play, mats on the floor where baby can play safely and you can also meet other parents/carers.
    • Local or national initiatives – e.g. Parenting courses – some councils run free or discounted courses
    • I’m not sure what to name this point, but LL and I managed to do a free short course of baby massage because the teacher was in training and needed to run a real live group as part of her training requirements. I came across the opportunity when we were attending another activity and the trainee was there looking for parents she could sign up.
    • What’s around in your local area? Go on a sensory walk with baby and see what you can see, smell, touch, (taste?!), hear. Make stories about what you experience, as you experience it and afterwards, e.g. “do you remember when we saw that cat – wasn’t he happy, didn’t he purr, did you smell him! Wasn’t he soft” – etc etc. Even talk about what you’re going to do before hand and get baby curious.
    • Is there a sandpit – a zoo or animal centre – a park – or other free resources to visit?

 

Sensory walk with baby - what can you find outside your home? - baby-brain.co.uk activity ideas to increase mood reduce cabin fever when on maternity leave

Sensory walk with baby – what can you find outside your home?

 

  • Specific activities or groups

    • Baby feeding drop ins – some areas will have breastfeeding support groups that meet weekly. I hear that these can fill up quickly though, so once the room has enough mothers in it then you might have to wait.
    • There are also specific groups for certain members of a community such as deaf children and their parents/carers, special educational needs, dads/male carer groups, and so on

 

  •  Social

    • Just arranging to meet for a coffee with a friend, another parent, family member, or make it lunch even!
    • NCT groups, e.g. bumps and babies. Look up your local branch and find events here. Find out where your local group meets (mine meets in a pub!) – turn up and off you go – you can meet other local parents and there are usually some toys out to entertain the babies. Yes I know it can be daunting to go somewhere new and you might not know anyone there. I turned up at mine not knowing anyone at all but I had NOTHING in my schedule for Mondays and needed to get out of the house. I ended up having a really nice conversation with another mother about breastfeeding and the early months of LL’s life, and she had similar experiences to me. I have also since seen many of the mothers there at other local groups like the free library nursery rhyme singing group. So you get to see the same faces about and make contacts.
    • Going to the park with another mum/parent/family, and having fun on the swings (if your baby is old enough for swings!)
Go to the park with another family. Social activity ideas maternal mental health and well being. baby-brain.co.uk psychological resource, perspective and blog on motherhood and babies

Baby having fun on the swings

 

  • NOT BABY RELATED (gasp)

    • Plan in some “baby free time” to your schedule to ensure you are doing something different and even linked to your pre-baby life such as seeing old friends. Arrange to meet for a drink, dinner, chat with a friend or two, maybe old work colleagues or people you used to know before you were a parent who, gasp, don’t have children(!) and talk about non-child related issues.
    • Or, just go out and sit in a coffee shop, read the paper, eat some cake and enjoy some alone time.
    • Take a bath and read a book
    • Go on a date with your significant other – if you can find a babysitter or helpful family member

 

Maternal wellbeing and good mental health - activity ideas from a clinical psychologist on reducing cabin fever and keeping your mood healthy while on maternity leave/spending a lot of time with baby

Sarah wasn’t sure about the Renaissance fair

What if I’m not sure I can do these things? What if I’m not sure about or have concerns about socializing with others – what if i’m worried it will all go terribly  wrong?

  • That can be normal
  • Sometimes things don’t turn out as bad as we expect them to be
  • Can you try something and see how it goes?
    • If something seems too big or too much – can you break a goal down into smaller steps and try step one and see how that goes?
  • Can you predict what obstacles will get in your way to trying something and make plans or have ideas of what to do to address these?
  • Who can support you in trying one of your ideas/activities?

 

I’m sorry for not providing any links but any I provide would be specific to my local area so they won’t help much.

  • I’d suggest contacting your local library, children’s centre or council to find out more, or look at their websites. Also, ask other parents what activities they have found as LL and I have found and been recommended several things just through word of mouth

 

 

 

Please do not use the information posted here as a substitute for personalized mental health advice and treatment. Please consult your GP or any other relevant health care professional if you or those who know you are concerned about your well-being and mental health.

 

Let’s go shopping

So the last few days we have been shopping for a sofa and other furniture. There are far too many sofa choices and it’s difficult with a nearly 7 month old. I also didn’t plan/time things well (as I usually find) when out and ended up having to feed him on a sofa in one of the furniture shops. At least it meant I got a good feel for the sofa though. Fortunately, the place was empty apart from me (not many sofa-shoppers around on a Friday afternoon, suppose they must all be at work and come out at the weekends, which is why I wanted to get to the shops before the hoards descended on the weekend).

Back to feeding for a moment though, this is a problem i’ve found with feeding “on demand”; it makes it difficult to plan and have a consistent schedule because you don’t know exactly when you will be required. That said, from monitoring the Little Lovely (LL) there are some patterns to his eating and sleeping so it is possible to predict his hunger and tiredness somewhat. I’m also trying to get more consistent “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner” time feeds in because we have started to introduce solids. I’m not replacing any milk feeds with a solid feed yet but I am trying to introduce a more solid lunch meal by giving LL some food after his lunch time milk feed. So far he has tried various fruits and vegetables including banana, carrot, pear, apple (puréed and mushed up) and baby rice (it’s a bit like instant porridge). He also quite likes rice cakes, however, these are meant for 7 month and older babies (he is almost 7 months and has 6 teeth) (please consult your health care professional and make up your own mind about whether your baby is ready for a particular solid food)

  • note to self – write about our weaning experiences – “weaning tales”
baby-brain.co.uk sofa shopping with baby in tow

How to occupy a baby while sofa shopping?

Anyway, back to sofa shopping. It wasn’t that easy with a small child in tow. Fortunately, there were lots of faux living room “set ups” in the shop with sofas and a nice rug so I put him down on the rug with some toys (making sure there was no coffee table for him to bang his head on) whilst I tried out the seating options. It worked somewhat; he was safe on the rug and meant that I didn’t have to keep picking him up and flopping down on a sofa with him.

We were able to go shopping because one of our regular baby classes has finished. A lot of classes seem to stop for summer and run during school term dates. I’m not sure how relevant this is to babies as they do not have “summer term” because they are not at school. I also have no other children, so I don’t have any children at home on summer break that I need to stay home to look after so I don’t really understand why so many classes stop for the summer. It’s very annoying and disappointing because LL and I still need activities and events to entertain ourselves with. I keep meaning to write something on the psychological aspects and maybe benefits of these classes. This would include benefits for the parent as well because it gives you something to do, get out the house, is social, active, gives you ideas and tips for baby related activities, and many other things that I’m sure are connected to good mental health of mothers (and fathers too).

  • note to self – write about the benefits, or relevant psychological aspects of attending baby/toddler classes.

Anyway, after all his patience and visiting a department store to look at yet more furniture, I treated LL to a stroll into the toy department where he enjoyed some puppets and soft toys.

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource and perspective on motherhood - entertain baby after shopping trip with toys & puppets

Reward – toy & puppet fun

Day Time Schedules

Thinking more about him sleeping through the night, I was thinking about schedules. ???????????????????????????????

I’m attempting a better day time schedule (maybe this will positively impact on night time?). So far we don’t really have one. This is terrible I know because in my work I am all about behavioural interventions and working with people to log their activities and create meaningful activities and some structure to their day. In my depression related work with adults this can be fundamental and people often see an increase in mood with an increase in meaningful activities, good self care and better sleep at night. At the moment with LL we just do what I think he wants to do when he wants to do it. It’s probably an extension of the feeding and sleeping on demand that was present from birth. But now I’m wondering if the lack of structure and routine is just not very containing or predictable for him, or for me. Naps and feeds then get thrown off and can occur at any time. He doesn’t know what to expect and neither do I.

In another attempt to break the eat-sleep association, I’m trying to not feed before naps and instead to do a feed, wake (inc. play/activities/baby classes etc) and then sleep kind of structure. I just need to work out how long each cycle should be. Some say 3, some say 4 hours at this stage (e.g. Baby Whisperer; LL is 4.5 months). The eat-sleep association just kind of arose because it was difficult to get LL off to sleep initially and that seemed to work. Rocking him while singing row your boat also seemed to work for day time naps and although I knew that in the long term these methods might not be great because he was reliant on my rocking or feeding, I didn’t mind because at least he was getting some sleep and not cyring about being tired. I thought – well I’ll just have to make changes to any habits later on because at this point (first few weeks/months) any sleep is better than no sleep, and I don’t care how we achieve it! And the longer the sleep, the better.

Ok so plan for next few weeks is to start more of a day time routine! Consistency and predictability is really important.

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