Sunday, January 8, 2012


Ok, You have just gone through labor and delivery, always an interesting experience, and now you are handed your new baby. He probably does not look like you imagined because and he probably does not act like you expected. He is himself. Then, you go home with the baby. Now, what? One thing that surprised me was that I did not feel instantly “in love” with my little bundles of joy. I was tired and nervous and dealing with a stranger, who did look a little like me. I thought maybe something was wrong with me. Talking to other recent mothers taught me that it is not uncommon to feel  that way. It often takes a while to get to know this new little person, not to mention that you need to adjust to your new role, which can be scary. In truth, it was not long before I could not remember ever not loving this baby more than anything else in the world, but it was a process to get there. I was more comfortable with my younger child because I did not have the fear that something was wrong with me added to all the other stresses (not to mention odd sleeping hours), but still it was a process. I wish someone had told me this was normal before I had my baby. The problem is that you forget this feeling soon afterwards (like labor pains,) and forget to tell other mothers that it is ok.  Fathers probably go through a similar experience but are even less likely to talk about it.

Your baby responds to you from the first and interacting with the baby is the best way to learn what she is like. Studies have been done that show that a newborn may recognize her parent’s voices, possibly even before birth. Researchers measured babies’ responses to their mother’s voice and to the voice of another  woman reading the same thing by measuring their heart rate. There was a difference in response indicating that the baby recognized the mother’s voice.   Another study showed that a baby recognizes her mother’s smell. When presented with a pad with breast milk from her mother and one from another woman the baby reacts more strongly to her mother’s. Your baby knows you and wants to interact with you and that is the best thing you can do in the first week. Look at her face as you feed her and as you talk to her, talk to her in a gentle voice about anything you want to, hold her in your arms, carry her as you walk around the house and soon you will know this little person better than anyone else.


Mizuno, K. and others, 2004, Mother-Infant contact after delivery resulting in early recognition of own mother’s milk. Acta Paediatrics 93 (12): 1640-45

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