Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Integrating Your Baby Into Family Life

Having a baby will inevitably bring changes to your life as a couple and your wider family life. When you have a baby, there are often things you will have to give up or change for a while.

However, it’s important to strike a balance so that the whole family doesn’t feel they have to drop everything to accommodate the new addition.

Many new parents find that they run their lives around their baby, often because they feel she needs twenty-four-hour attention. In the early days, many parents are unsure what their baby’s needs are, and can become pretty frazzled to sort out what they should do to make her happy.

Parents who are on the go constantly find that their baby becomes more fractious, they become more tense and family life in general suffers. In contrast, parents who are able to put their baby down in her pram or cot and make some time for themselves often find the demands of a new baby easier to cope with.

Having a flexible routine enables you to plan when your baby will sleep and feed, and gives you the freedom to fit time for yourself and the family into the day. Leaving your baby to settle himself rather than picking him up each time her cries will give you much more time and freedom.

A routine and structure helps your baby to feel more settled and secure, and he will learn to sleep better if he is given time to settle himself rather than being constantly picked up.

As parents, you won’t feel that every waking moment is spent attending to your baby, and you’ll have time to get on with your domestic routine and other commitments. Your baby has a right to be loved, nurtured, and cared for, but not to believe he will always be the centre of the universe.

Making sure that your baby has her sleep and feed at the right time will mean that there are times of the day when you cannot just drop everything and go out. This will pay off in the long run and you will be very pleased when you have a baby who generally sleeps and feeds when you want her to. Your baby will benefit from this too; it is a joy to see babies thriving and being happy and contented when they are into a good routine.

As your baby settles into family life, you will find that you have more time to give to each other and to your other children. As parents, it’s important to spend time together deciding what boundaries you are going to set as your baby gets older, and agreeing on your approach to parenting.

Unity between you as parents will enable you to support one another and help your child to grow up feeling secure.

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