In the first few weeks, it may seem that your newborn isn’t doing much of anything except sleeping and eating. Don’t be misled because a lot is going on!
1. Bonding for beginners
For one thing, your baby is learning to rely on you for comfort when it’s needed. Creating this feeling of security and trust now is the most wonderful gift a parent can bestow upon their new baby.
2. Sleep, bond, sleep, bond
All new babies do as much as 12 to 16 hours of sleeping per day, and they usually sleep in two to five hour stretches. Even when new babies are awake their eyes may be closed and they can only be fully alert for six to ten minutes at a time. Take advantage of these interludes of alertness to strengthen the bond between you and your baby by cuddling, or singing or holding a one-sided conversation.
3. On the lookout
What do newborns see? Not too much because they’re near-sighted and see about 15-20 cm in front of them– just about the distance of a mother’s face as she cradles her baby in her arms. Peripheral vision isn’t yet developed, and a baby’s field of view is about one-third of that of an adult. Even so, babies do like to look at patterns and bright colours. Bright red seems to intrigue infants most, and shiny red is best of all. Pastels, on the other hand, appear muddy to a baby–a good reason for making the nursery one of the most colourful rooms in your house.
In the crib, your newborn will face only to one side or the other at first. So hang a colourful mobile on the side of the crib where it’s in the line of vision.
While a professional may know a lot about babies, you’ll learn a lot, too. As you watch, hold, feed, burp and love your baby day after day, you’ll become the best expert on your baby in particular.
Only by close observation and a little experimentation can you learn just how much sleep, stimulation and activity your own newborn needs and prefers.
4. Gearing up for more
Newborns are also sensitive to inner stimulation. You may see your baby whimper, grimace and appear to be smiling. What’s happening is that your baby’s internal systems are busy at work.
Of course, whenever you’re in doubt about the proper care for your baby, be sure to consult your doctor.