Pregnancy and the First Few Weeks

Getting to know and understanding your baby.

The early days and weeks with a new baby can be exciting but they can also be challenging and confusing.

There’s support available locally from your health visitor and community midwife.The health visitor will visit you at home before your baby is two weeks old and will answer any questions or concerns you have.

There is also support available at First Friends and Growing Friends groups across Doncaster.

Skin to Skin

Giving birth is an active and intimate moment in a person’s life. It’s the start of a journey and the creation of lasting relationships which form the basis of all others to follow. It’s a momentous experience for mothers and infants and the way it is managed can have lasting consequences for both. This precious moment deserves calm and respect.

Babies who are able to experience skin to skin contact with either mum or dad at birth are less likely to cry in distress and will show signs of being calm. Most newborns who are placed in skin to skin contact with their mothers immediately after birth move in a stable way. This benefits their survival through helping to regulate breathing, body temperature and blood sugar. It is also a special moment for the beginnings of a strong attachment between mum and baby.

Some of the benefits of skin to skin contact are:

  • Reduces crying
  • Enhances attachment
  • Improvement in heart and lung function
  • Stabilises body temperature
  • Initiation of breastfeeding
  • Transfer of good bacteria.

Baby emotions

Right from the beginning babies want to be social and interact. Parents play a crucial role in supporting their baby to regulate their emotions. During the first months and years of life your baby moves from being totally reliant on its parents for their emotional support to start to begin to regulate or control their on emotions.

The interactions a baby experiences has a long-term impact on the way the baby develops. Feeling loved and cared for is just as important as food and sleep. When parents gaze at their newborn baby’s face, touch, coo and make facial expressions, they are helping their baby’s brain to develop.

Parents who can tune-in to their baby can see their baby’s signals and cues, to wonder about what these may mean, and what the baby may be feeling and experiencing. This develops a relationship and connections between their child’s feelings and behaviour.

Parents help their baby to manage their emotions by responding to their cues which might, for example indicate the baby wants soothing, to go to sleep, or play. Over time, this gradually leads to the developing child being able to take over and often regulate their emotions themselves.

How parents tune into their baby

Parents need to take the time to observe and interpret their baby’s cues and communications so that they can respond sensitively. Baby massage is one way of doing this. Doncaster health visiting service offers infant massage classes. Ask your health visitor for further information.

Sleep 

Looking after a baby can be tiring. Especially in the first few months after the birth when your child is likely to wake several times during the night. Babies wake up at night to let parents know they need something,waking is normal and keeps babies safe and healthy. It would be expected that as your baby gets older, they may sleep for longer periods of time and wake up less often.

Cry-sis – National charity offering support for families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies

Your relationship as new parents

Having a baby is a wonderful, exciting time but it can also present some challenges to your relationship with your partner. The change from a couple to a family of three, or possibly more, can be one of the biggest transformations you face when you become a parent.

Cradle cap

Cradle cap is a common skin condition in babies which appears in the first six weeks of life and develops because babies produce more oil (sebum) from the sebaceous glands in their skin.

Many babies have mild cradle cap which usually disappears after a few months but for some babies it can take up to six to nine months to clear.

Cradle cap isn’t contagious and it can’t be prevented from developing.

Cradle cap appears as greasy, yellow/brown, scaly patches on the scalp. Some babies have a thick, scaly layer covering the whole scalp. Over time these scales may become flaky and rub off easily.

Sometimes, when these greasy scales lift off, hair may come out with them, but don’t worry – your baby’s hair will soon grow back.

Advice about immunisations

  • Try to be calm yourself as your child will pick up on your anxiety very easily
  • You will feel calmer if you are not rushed, so leave enough time to get to the appointment and to undress your baby
  • Hold your baby tightly when the injections are being given. Talking in a reassuring voice will sooth your baby
  • Breastfeeding just before, during and after the injections are being given will help to comfort your baby
  • If your baby uses a dummy this can also help to comfort them while the injection is being given or soon after
  • You can distract older children with a toy or by blowing bubbles.

NHS Immunisation Schedule

Travelling with your baby

Start making a list a few weeks before you leave of everything you use with your baby, and then work out which items are essential. These could include your baby’s favourite toy/comforter; an extra change of clothes for the journey; car seat; travel cot; cot bedding; sun cream; a baby first aid kit; emergency contact details; baby food and formula.

Get an EHIC card before you travel abroad which allows you to get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It covers treatment that is needed whilst abroad including treatment for existing medical conditions and routine maternity care (as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth). The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries. You can apply online at the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) page of the NHS Choices website.

All children under the age of 16 must have their own passport to travel. If you are not a British Citizen you need to contact your Embassy about getting a passport for your child. A UK passport should take around three weeks to arrive so make sure you’ve applied for your child’s in good time. It can take longer if more information is needed or your application hasn’t been filled out correctly.

Useful contact numbers

Cry-Sis

A charity offering support for families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies

Imagination Library

Learning Development Centre

Healthy Start – Application Form