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August 10, 2018
Breastfeeding mama? Your partner should be the soother-in-chief if you are the feeder-in-chief. Here’s why: If you are breastfeeding, you have a full-time job that requires rest, fluids, and patience to learn and perfect. You’ll do your fair share of baby soothing as a function of that job. But your partner should take the lead on soothing so you can accomplish your main mission.
Dr. Harvey Karp, in his book, Happiest Baby on the Block, wrote all about what he refers to as the fourth trimester. The basic premise is that babies are not quite ready to be in this world when they come out and that, given their neurodevelopmental immaturity, they are more easily stimulated by and irritated by the stress of the outside world. Our goal as parents should be to try to mimic the intrauterine environment from which they just came, which is dark, very loud (think blood rushing around and a loud heartbeat), is almost constantly in motion (except when you are sleeping – that’s why babies tend to be more active in the evenings!) and is quite compact and secure.
Your partner (and you) can re-create that same feeling of security by using what he calls the 5 S’s when baby soothing: Swaddling, Side or Stomach, Shhh, Swinging, and Sucking. You can read more about soothing a baby in our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint.
Letting your partner take the lead on baby soothing will help him/her bond faster with your baby and will help you both to see parenting as a team effort, minimizing resentment and building confidence for both partners. But, it still may take longer for your partner to bond with your baby. If you’re in that boat – don’t worry. It will come in due time.
My husband was always loving and in love with our daughter. He played with her and cuddled her every day. But it wasn’t until a year after her birth that he told me, “It was when she started laughing and reacting to me that I felt connected to her. That’s when we bonded.”
Looking back now, it’s true. At about the two-month mark when he started asking me to send him pictures when he was at work and I was home with her. He started being sad when she was already in bed by the time he got home and he couldn’t participate in her bedtime routine. He missed her and he didn’t just love her now, he liked her, too! I’m so glad we made him Soother-In-Chief.
Want more information about caring for new a new baby without losing yourself in the process? Know a new mom or mom-to-be who needs some guidance or encouragement? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Baby and Yourself.
…and check out our Newborn Gift Boxes, designed to give information, inspiration, and a little love to all the modern mamas and mamas-to-be we know.
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