Written by Emily Clements
For so many months, I wondered who this little light was inside of my growing belly, a couple of weeks ago we finally got to meet our beautiful daughter, Sonja! Though she came into this world so peacefully and without complications, trying to learn her language has been a challenge as she adapts to her new environment and I to my new role as “mama”. I am grateful for the information and suggestions offered in the 0+ NurtureU cards, not only because they have helped guide my husband and me, but they have also validated and affirmed things we intuitively began doing. As a breastfeeding mama, I decided to keep our daughter close so she could eat whenever she asks. For us, this means she shares the bed with us, and I use a sling often to carry her next to my skin throughout the day. One of the most satisfying feelings as a new and tired mama is being able to soothe my baby through nourishment, touch, and movement—without needing to buy anything fancy or technical! My body seems to be the only thing she needs and desires at this point in our journey together.
We have been building a foundation of trust through bonding and swiftly responding to her cries, but sometimes I don’t know exactly what she needs. In week two of her life, she became very distressed one day and we noticed that she hadn’t had a dirty diaper in some time. Her belly felt a little firm, so we decided to take the tip from a NurtureU Social-Emotional card and try baby massage to help. We read the how-to activity steps and followed up with some YouTube videos to get a visual demonstration on baby belly massage, and went for it. After about three massages over a 24-hour period, our daughter finally passed a healthy stool. We continue to do baby massage because she seems to enjoy the physical touch, and I enjoy the bonding that takes place during those tender moments.
Amidst the challenges of becoming a new parent, we are embracing this sweet time in which our daughter is fully dependent upon us to meet her needs and to learn her language. It can be tiring to be needed every other hour for a feeding and for warmth and cuddles in-between, but it is such a privilege to be that person for her. However, when I need some rest or a shower (a rarity these days!), my husband can provide her with the soothing touch of skin-to-skin contact or the calming effect of bouncing in his arms or sling. The first few weeks of her life have been a whirlwind and a time of stretching and growing. It’s been remarkable to experience how such a tiny little human can knit our hearts closer together as we hunker down and navigate this new chapter as a team.