A Bundle of Joy

By: Josie Been

Long before a new mother brings home a baby, shes read up on the latest child-raising techniques and discussed the subject with countless people. By the time baby arrives, Moms head is overflowing with conflicting facts. It can simply be overwhelming. As Mom calms down, she realizes some information is more relevant than others and that she knows her baby better than any book. A lot of love and some attention go far in keeping a baby happy and content. There are, however, a few things she can do to keep both herself and the baby happy.
The custom of swaddling a newborn goes back to 4000 BC, so it has a lot of tradition to back it up. Being swaddled seemed to comfort most infants because it reminds them of being in a safe, womb-like environment. Its important, however, not to bundle the baby too tightly or itll become uncomfortable and sweaty. Not all babies enjoy being swaddled, so Mom needs to pay attention. If the baby seems uncomfortable or hot, dont swaddle.
Babies usually dont do well with the unexpected, so keeping a regular bedtime will help babys transition from play to sleep. Along with a dependable schedule, a soothing bath and a bedtime story can help a baby settle down into a state of drowsiness. Since unnecessary noise will only stimulate an infant, radios and television should be turned down. Bedtime should be peaceful.
Most babies enjoy the back-and-forth motion of a swing. When baby is feeling fussy and doesnt want to settle down, the movement can be very soothing. Whether tucked into a baby swing and being gently swayed in Moms arms, babies are natural swingers. Theres no harm in indulging them.
A baby cant communicate it, but it needs a steady stream of love and attention. To a newborn, the environment can seem strange and puzzling. Being held fills a baby with a sense of security. Theres no such thing as spoiling a baby with too much affection. Even newborns respond positively to being touched and hugged. Sometimes, a baby will be colicky and wont stop crying, regardless of what Mom does. A new mother needs to realize that its okay and that the baby will soon be itself again. Nasty crying spells happen less frequently as a baby realizes the world isnt such a scary place. After all, Mom is always there to comfort it. Like any adult, a baby is happiest when feeling loved and secure.

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