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Family Adjustments

Visitors

When you go home, you will be tired, as your body needs time to heal. You should rest and care for yourself and your baby. Family and friends will want to visit, but don’t feel obligated to entertain. If you do have visitors, be sure they are not sick and that they wash their hands before holding your newborn. If someone offers to help, ask her to help you with cooking, cleaning and chores while you care for your baby.

Crying

Babies often cry because they are uncomfortable or need something; it’s one of the few ways they can communicate. It can be frustrating when your baby won’t stop crying despite all attempts to comfort her. If you have trouble with a crying baby, remember the following:

  • Stay calm.
  • Take a break.
  • Have a friend or family member watch the baby.
  • Call someone.
  • If help isn’t available, put your baby in a safe place (crib or playpen) and go into the next room.

Never shake your baby

Shaking a baby out of frustration can cause severe damage to a baby’s brain and result in injury or death. Virtua offers a variety of parenting classes including classes on soothing a crying baby. For more information or to register, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).

Here are some tips to cope with this phase of your baby’s development:

  • Put the baby down in a safe place, even if your baby continues to cry.
  • Take a deep breath and walk away. Count to 10. Do whatever you need to do to calm down.
  • Allow your partner, the baby’s grandparents or other family members to help you take care of your baby.
  • Talk to your baby’s doctor. There could be a health problem or other issue that’s making the baby cry more than normal. The doctor can also offer ideas for how to console your baby.
  • Call the Childhelp USA hotline at 800-422-4453. A trained operator can help you deal with your frustration so you don’t hurt your baby.
  • Call the Prevent Child Abuse America (NJ State Chapter) at 1-800-244-5373. They provide free in-home education for families in all NJ counties.

Sleep and awake states

When you first bring your baby home, he may sleep 16 to 20 hours a day. Don’t worry if your baby startles or whimpers when sleeping. This is normal, and he will settle down within a minute or two. When your baby is awake and given the right stimulation, he may be very receptive to you.

Try the following:

  • Speak in a calm, quiet voice.
  • Touch him in soothing ways.
  • Make eye contact.

Your baby may respond by cooing and listening to your voice. When the baby tires of the experience, he or she may turn away, seem disinterested or even fall asleep. This only means that the infant is tired of the activity and not bored with you.

Sibling rivalry

Older siblings may be envious of the attention your new baby is receiving, but there are ways to include all children:

  • Discuss the addition of the new baby.
  • Encourage other children to speak about their feelings.
  • Encourage family members and friends to acknowledge older children first.
  • When feeding the baby, offer a small snack to older children.
  • Include older children in the baby’s care.
  • Spend time alone with the baby’s siblings

VirtuaBaby content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you’ve read on VirtuaBaby. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, call your  doctor or 911 immediately.

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