Your chubby little newborn is developing into a gorgeous baby — complete with their own special smiles and cheeky personality! Now that you’ve started to get the hang of being responsible for your little person 24/7, this is the time to start slowly creating helpful routines to guide your new life.
You have come through the first six weeks of parenting and, by this stage of the game, you may still be feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole baby caper. Things that were simple before, like dashing to the shops for a few groceries, can feel like epic missions of military planning, and anything spontaneous that pops up in your calendar can throw your whole day out of whack.
Or, you may not be feeling quite so overwhelmed. You might be in a good routine and feel confident taking the baby to the shops, to friends’ houses or even out for dinner.
My point? Either scenario is totally fine and normal. As I’ve mentioned before, when you have a new baby, you tend to compare yourself a lot to other people, but occasionally this can do more harm than good.
Still in the early phase? Your guide to babies aged 5 to 8 weeks >>
If your friend Sally takes her baby out every other day and gushes about how flexible and easy it is to take little Felix everywhere with her, then that is great for Sally and Felix. But if you aren’t quite up to such an active calendar yet, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong with your baby, that you’re behind or that you won’t eat out ever again!
We all find out feet in our own time. Be vigilant for the signs of post-natal depression but remember that this is the biggest life change you are likely to ever experience — so don’t fret if you feel like it is taking some time to adjust to your new way of life.
Establishing parenting connections
The key to surviving and, indeed, enjoying parenthood in these early weeks is to establish good connections with other parents. Any activities that encourage you to get out of the house are great, as they prompt you to take care of yourself a little by at least having a shower and brushing your hair. More importantly, by joining a mothers group or playgroup or catching up with other mum friends, you will surround yourself with a great network of other people who are going through the exact same experiences as you — so you can:
- Ask questions when you’re unsure (“Is green poo normal?!”)
- Throw around ideas (“When do you stop swaddling? Do you use a sleeping bag yet?”)
- Ask for advice (“He won’t take a bottle, any tips?”)
- Seek referrals or guidance (“What age are we meant to start solids? What food are you starting with?”)
If you don’t have your own village of friends and family members to interact with — or even if you do —participating in online forums is also a great way to establish connections with other new mums and get tips and advice as you navigate these early moments.
It’s not just about Mum… Ways Dad can bond with baby >>
Playing with baby
When your little one is still so tiny, they can only be awake for around 60 to 90 minutes before even the effort of keeping their eyes open is simply exhausting. From around three or four months onwards, they can withstand a little more interaction and playtime (use this age-based guide for ideas when playing with your baby) but until then, keep to simple games and interactions. A few minutes of peek-a-boo or a short stretch of tummy time on a mat followed by a cuddle is ideal, or some time in a bouncer chair or a swing is a great way for your bub to see their world without getting too overwhelmed. Enjoy these precious quiet moments together and enjoy the cuddles while your snuggly koala bear is still willing to dish them out!