In the first few days after you bring your little one home, your whole world will be turned upside down. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, uncertain and even scared with the enormous responsibility of the new little life in your hands. The most important thing to remember is that you can do this. Here are 10 quick tips to help you through those first three months.
1. Trust your instincts. Even if this is your first baby and you’re totally terrified, you are still the best person to know when something is wrong with your baby. Family and friends will be helpful and offer tons of advice (often conflicting). But each baby is an individual. Do research, follow parenting sites like www.babycenter.com and ask for advice. Just don’t follow it blindly. You might not realize it, but you do know best.
2. Feel free to cry, laugh, be happy and be scared. The first three months of your little one’s life are a magic time that will pass at lightning speed. Enjoy it. But also remember you are under a lot of pressure and stress so feel free to cry for a half hour to release some of the stress and tension.
3. You are not alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed or simply exhausted, there are a number of moms groups or organizations in Kuwait that can help. Some of our favorites include Birth Kuwait, Expat Mums in Kuwait, La Leche Kuwait. Also check the Kuwait Moms Guide’s Directory for a full list.
4. We all go a little crazy shopping for a new baby. Fall in love with that cute set of booties or a lovely chocolate crib. Enjoy the experience. But don’t go overboard. Infants grow really fast. Better to space it out and make sure you have plenty of 3-6m, 6-9m and 9-12m clothes. Also try both button up and pullover onesies to figure out which you prefer.
5. If your newborn has a fever (38C or higher) take him to the doctor right away. Go to the emergency room if it’s the middle of the night. Don’t panic but don’t wait. Fevers are good in the sense that they indicate your baby’s body is fighting an infection. But in infants, fevers can be signs of other issues that should be assessed by a pediatrician. Al Salem and Royal Hayat hospitals both have all night emergency pediatrics but Amiri is also one of the best hospitals in Kuwait.
6. Learning to give a newborn a bath is an art. It can be scary the first time. Ask your mom or a friend who has children to help you in the beginning. If you can practice by helping a friend before you give birth, definitely try. It will be worth the experience. There are also a range of baby bathing accessories and portable baths that will make the process easier. Bathing can be a positive bonding time for both parents with a newborn but only if they feel relaxed and confident.
7. Sleep whenever your newborn sleeps. Maybe you have a maid or nanny that helps but still you should be your baby’s primary caregiver and that will inevitably mean many sleepless nights. Try to establish a day/night routine. We kept our first daughter in a Moses basket in the living room for daytime naps and in the bedroom at night. Newborns’ circadian rhythms are not established so you have to teach them to sleep at night. Infants still need to feed every three to four hours so during night feedings, try to keep a newborn in a quiet space with lights dimmed.
8. Breastfeeding is best for you and for your baby. It can be challenging for new moms, however, so don’t be shy to ask for help. Birth Kuwait offers a range of information, tips and classes on breastfeeding and there is also a free breastfeeding helpline for new moms in Kuwait. You can call or WhatsApp them at 5524-1221. Counselors are available to help moms from 10am to 7pm, everyday except Friday.
9. Find a pediatrician. Ask friends for recommendations (and check Kuwait Moms Guide’s list of recommended pediatricians). It’s best to visit a few before you give birth in order to find one you like and feel comfortable with.
10. Take photos and videos and notes whenever you get the chance. The newborn phase is fleeting and you’ll forget most of the sleepless nights and diaper changes but it will be nice to read a journal entry about how your baby smelled after his or her first bath.