|Being young...and pregnant...and about to be a mum|
|Looking after yourself|
|Baby on the way|
|Being a young mum|
|Books and websites|
Going home can be a daunting experience for some women. You may be feeling excited about what lies ahead, nervous or even sad and lonely. You may be overwhelmed with visitors or needing a bit more company.
Fairly soon after you leave the hospital a child health nurse will contact you. They can give you lots of information and support and will encourage you to develop an ongoing relationship with your local child health service. This service is where you go to have your child health checks, weigh your baby or participate in special groups for new mums.
One of the things to consider when you are back at home is to make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe way. SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and occurs where a baby dies unexpectedly and the cause is unknown. There are four main things you can do to protect your baby from SIDS:
- Sleep your baby on his/her back from birth
- Don’t cover your baby’s face (make sure there is nothing in the cot that can cover their face like (toys or cot bumpers)
- Be aware that cigarette smoke can harm your baby and increase risk of SIDS
- Have a safe cot, mattress and sleeping environment for your baby both during the day and at night.
One of the things you will need to consider is immunisations for your baby. In general babies need to be taken for their first immunisations when they are two months old. They can be given by your GP or a council immunisation clinic. Your child health nurse or GP could give you more information about childhood immunisation.
This booklet isn’t big enough to include lots of information about what to actually do with your baby when you go home! However, how to settle babies, what to do when they are crying and baby-sleeping patterns were the three things young mums said they would like more information about.
When it comes to babies they are all very different. Some babies sleep through the night from a few weeks of age, other babies are still waking through the night well into their second year. In the first few weeks it will take you a while to learn what your baby likes and needs and to learn to know why they might be crying. The difficult thing with babies is that they change! What they are doing one week won’t necessarily be what they are doing the next week (or the next day)!
Lots of new mums are surprised to find their baby doesn’t sleep as much as they expected during the day or cries more than expected. This can be difficult, especially if you are really tired. One of the great things about new babies is that they are very transportable and it is easy to put a baby in a pram and get out of the house. Going for a walk, visiting friends or getting outside can be good ways of dealing with a baby who won’t settle. Going outside in the fresh air is also good for both you and your baby.
If your baby’s crying is causing you to become very stressed or you feel unable to cope it is important to get some help or talk to someone. The Parenting Line is a 24 hour phone line service operated by nurses who can offer advice and support. See the back of this booklet for contact details.
Don’t forget to look after yourself too.