What’s going on for baby?
At this time, a new baby is totally dependent on their whānau. They’re working out how to get their needs met for food, sleep, comfort and company.
Unable yet to soothe themselves, they also rely on whānau to help calm them when they’re upset. Through gentle touch and calming voices, they’ll learn how — but they need the support from their whānau for that to happen.
They’re also dependent on their whānau to protect them:
- against sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)
- when travelling in the car
- from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke.
Exposure to cigarette smoke can lead to illnesses like asthma, glue ear and chest infections.
How can parents and whānau help?
- Learn soothing and calming techniques.
- Respond quickly to baby when they’re upset and try the ‘5 S’s’:
- lying baby on the side or stomach
- swinging or swaying
- sucking — helping baby learn to self soothe by sucking a finger, thumb or pacifier.
- Learn baby’s cues for hunger, pain, tiredness and feeling alone. Watch their face and body movements, and listen to their sounds and cries.
- Let baby hold on to dad or mum’s finger when they’re feeding, and try some gentle baby massage.
- Practice safe sleeping techniques - put baby to bed ‘face up and face clear’. If parents co-sleep with baby, think about getting a pëpi pod or wahakura for baby to lie safely with them in their bed.
- Breast feed if possible — this also helps to protect baby against SUDI.
- Use a properly fitted and approved baby car seat, which faces the rear of the car. Take baby out of the car seat when they’re not in the car. This avoids baby staying in a curved position for longer than needed, where their head can fall forward and restrict their breathing.
- Make the whānau home and car smoke-free. Smoke outside and wear a ‘smoking shirt’ while smoking, which can be taken off before going inside or holding baby.