BabyBirth preparationBirth preparationParentingPregnancySleep
Attempting to settle a newborn baby in the postpartum period can leave many parents feeling concerned, helpless and upset. After all, the fourth trimester is a time where your baby is adapting to the outside world. It feels alien to them, it feels overwhelming, and their brain is developing hugely at this stage.They have been in an environment which has been safe, at the same constant temperature, fed through a placenta and cord and rocked to sleep listening to its mothers heart beat and bowel sounds. Midwife and Maternity Expert, Angela from theecomidwife, shares her 8 top tips on how to settle a newborn in the first few weeks after being born.

Why babies feel unsettled in the postpartrum period

After birth, babies suddenly feel the cold, they understand touch (particularly if hands are cold), they have unfamiliar smells and sounds,  lights which they have never experienced before and they have primal brains as the frontal cortex and other areas of their brain have not yet developed. This is why their brains are immature, and they cry because they experience sensations which make them feel unhappy to have their needs met by their caregivers. These feelings include:• Hunger • Thirst • Discomfort such as trapped wind, colic, soiled or wet nappies • Fear of the outside world.If you think back to our primal brains in our caveman days, it was okay to sleep more in the day because predators largely weren't about. Mum and dad could go out and hunt or sleep. But at night the sabre tooth tiger would have eaten you up if you weren't close to your parents.Babies naturally feed and wake more at night for these primal reasons and regular waking suggested as a safety mechanism for babies as well as a feeding reason (as oxytocin and milk production is highest in the early hours, usually between 2 and 4am) 1. Safe sleeping in a cot or safe co sleeping by the lullaby Trust guidelines is recommended.

Tips to settle your newborn:

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