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15 Parenting Tips for Looking After Your Newborn Baby

15 Parenting Tips for Looking After Your Newborn Baby

Before your first baby is born you really don’t have a clue what it is going to be like, and people tend to underestimate how challenging it really is. My mum laughed when I said I would be a lady-of-leisure after Coby was born, after six children she knew better. It is a full-time job looking after a baby, more like two jobs as the job is 24 hours a day. However, it is a job you cherish, and you don’t think about the sleep deprivation or feel hard-done-by, because you have the most beautiful baby in the world to spend quality time with. I am going to share some parenting tips that I wish I had known eight months ago, before my baby was born.

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    1. Prioritize your newborn

    It is incredible how quickly babies grow. Your newborn baby will be unrecognizable at six months old, so cherish every moment. It is a steep learning curve having your first baby and I think you need to focus on them to become the best parent possible. By prioritizing your newborn, hopefully, you nurture a more content baby.

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      2. Be flexible

      Having a set idea of how things are going to be once your newborn has finally arrived might not work; all babies are different and need slightly different approaches. Also, once you are relaxed in a certain routine, your baby’s routine can change. You need to be flexible to meet his specific needs.

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        3. Learn what your baby’s needs are

        The first few months are about learning what your baby needs at any one point. If your baby is upset you need to find out whether he is hungry, tired, too hot or cold, has a dirty nappy, overstimulated, bored, or simply afraid.

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          4. Relax, it gets easier

          Everyone told me that the first two months were the hardest, and they were right. After a couple of months it feels more comfortable as you get to understand and respond to your baby’s needs. And after six months, again, it feels even more comfortable. I remember at five weeks having no clue how to get my baby to fall asleep, and that was challenging as it could take up to four hours of trying to settle him. That was tough.

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            5. Ask for help

            Any help friends and family can provide in the first few months should be welcomed. Don’t be afraid to ask people if you need help; some people are just afraid to ask you if you need help.

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              6. Share the workload

              If you have a partner, try and share the workload as fairly as possible. Just because your partner is working during the day doesn’t mean they shouldn’t help out in the evenings.

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                7. Reach out to other mums

                Try and link up with other mums, as they can provide you with a huge wealth of practical information. Linking up with other new mums can also help prevent you from feeling isolated if you are home alone with a new baby.

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                  8. Try breastfeeding

                  Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for your baby, but it can take up to six weeks to learn. It isn’t always as easy as it is made out to be. If you want to breastfeed but it isn’t working out, you can easily express milk from a breast pump. Some people want to breastfeed but can’t because their milk supply is too low. One way to prevent that happening is to breastfeed or pump many times during the day, ideally every 3-4 hours, to keep your milk supply up.

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                    9. Manage your baby’s sleep

                    I learned the hard way that it is best to have a sleeping routine for your baby. For the first six months my baby’s naps were only 30 minutes long, which isn’t long at all. After I took him on holiday we turned a corner as I was putting him in his cot for his naps, in his sleeping bag, and after a huge supply of milk. It worked. He now sleeps for an hour and a half, sometimes two full hours. It can be restrictive as you need to be at home and the naps happen at a specific time. If you miscalculate the timing, he can become overtired and unable to sleep. However, it is so important for him to sleep well, and it gives you a chance to recharge your batteries.

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                      10. Manage your sleep

                      It is equally important to ensure you get enough sleep so you have the energy to look after your baby. If have a late night you can no longer have a long lie-in, and it is difficult to entertain your baby for the entire morning with very little sleep. When your baby naps during the day, you can nap too. This is sensible because your baby might be up during the night several times, which is exhausting.

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                        11. Buy a baby monitor

                        Without a baby monitor, my baby would wake up and cry for many minutes before I would hear him, by which time he would be extremely distressed. Of course, this doesn’t lend itself to nurturing a happy baby. I would highly recommend buying a monitor if you don’t have one. If nothing else, it provides you with peace of mind.

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                          12. Get scratch mitts

                          Your baby might need scratch mitts for the first six months of his life to prevent him scratching his face whilst sleeping. It might be better to get babygros with scratch mitts built-in, as the mitts can be too big or small and fall off.

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                            13. A baby gym is useful

                            I bought a Fisher Price Neptune play gym and it has been the best investment. Coby played in his gym for the first six months daily, and would be happy playing in it for 30 minutes at a time. This gives you 30 minutes to wash and tidy up first thing in the morning, which is priceless. This particular gym is well-designed, as it has a black and white toy for newborns, and the other toys are primary colors. It also incorporates a teething toy and a musical slideshow.

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                              14. Find sensory play classes

                              Young babies learn through sensory play, so if you can find a sensory baby class near where you live it would be great for your baby. These classes also give you lots of ideas for toys and activities suitable for your baby.

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                                15. Simple toys are the best

                                Several people bought very sophisticated toys for Coby that were used briefly and then discarded. He seems to prefer simpler toys and regular household objects. For example, a good purchase was a foil blanket, which provided hours of fun. Before he was born I bought him some baby books but they were totally unsuitable as they were too wordy. If you buy books for your newborn, they should be in black and white and have one word per page.

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                                Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                1. The Inner Critic

                                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                2. The Worrier

                                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                4. The Sleep Depriver

                                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                How can you control these squatters?

                                How to Master Your Mind

                                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                For the Inner Critic

                                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                • They rile up the Worrier.
                                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                For the Worrier

                                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tense

                                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                For example:

                                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tension

                                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                Breathe in through your nose:

                                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                • Focus on your belly rising.

                                Breathe out through your nose:

                                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                • Focus on your belly falling.
                                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                For the Sleep Depriver

                                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                • Shut down your thinking.
                                • Calm your feelings.
                                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                The Bottom Line

                                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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