For the New Mums

Hi New Mums

My name is Leonie and I am a Maternal Child Health Nurse. Ali has asked me to write a blog with some general tips and advice for New Mums. The first few months with your baby are exciting, wonderful and also tiring and can be stressful. No matter how well-prepared you try to be, it’s never how we expect it. There’s lots of information available – sometimes too much, so I’ll just give a couple of general suggestions.

  • Mums often struggle trying to get into a ‘routine’ but with a baby under 3 months its preferable to aim for a pattern of ‘Feed/Play/Sleep’.
  • Breast-feeding can be a surprise challenge so if its concerning, get early support. Your MCHN can refer you to a lactation consultant.
  • There’s no right or wrong way to manage your baby’s feed patterns. For those wanting a concrete suggestion, babies under 3 months tire in about ONE hour. With this in mind, consider trying to get a feed, a nappy change and a little play/chat and when you start to see tired signs, some quiet time before settling to sleep.
  • Seems a lot initially to get done in an hour but it gets easier. E.g. feed over 40-45mins offering both breasts, with breaks for nappy change, burping, chat; then little play on your knee or tummy time. Watch for tired signs, then light wrap, cuddle in arms with a little song and tucked down into the cot, ideally aware and allowing them to fall asleep themselves.
  • Lots of information available on tired signs –some are less known like red eyebrows and hiccoughs.
  • Babies sleep cycles are from 20-40mins progressing up and down through a cycle of active sleep then quiet sleep.  During active sleep they may appear like they are stirring and waking but will often resettle if given the time to drift back off to sleep or can be encouraged to resettle with a little pat. If they wake in under an hour, wait and see what they will do before picking them up and try a little sh-shing and pat to resettle.

  • Often newborn babies are sleepy and settled for the first 10 days and parents can think ‘We’ve got a good one?!’….then they start to wake up and everyone tries to work out what is wrong?? Crying is very normal for babies, particularly in the first 12 weeks.
  • PURPLE crying is an interesting description of this time and can help to normalise what you see your little one doing. http://purplecrying.info/what-is-the-period-of-purple-crying.php
  • Make the most of your ‘village’. The MCHN network can offer support with feeding, sleep and settling. They will generally be able to respond to a call for an added appointment or support. The Maternal and Child Health Line is a 24-hour telephone service (phone 13 22 29 in Victoria). Qualified MCHNs offer information, advice and referral to all families with young children.
  • Joining the New Mums group is really worthwhile even for girls who don’t consider themselves ‘group people’. Apart from local networking, they help normalise New Mum’s experiences.

new mums

Accepting help:

A couple will generally spend the first fortnight getting to know their new baby. After that, consider accepting offers of food, cleaning, short drop in coffee visits etc. Set boundaries that you are comfortable with but including extended family and friends can often be more helpful than new parents think it’s going to be. 🙂

If you want to Google information, the RCH Raising Children website is your best reference for everything child related 0-15yrs old! https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns

~ Leonie Cartan
Maternal Child Health Nurse

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