Everyday life with baby
Der Alltag mit Baby
Der lang ersehnte Moment ist gekommen. Das Baby ist da und du bist mit deinem Baby zurück aus dem Krankenhaus oder dem Geburtshaus. Jetzt folgt das Wochenbett, in dem viele neue Herausforderungen für dich anstehen. In der ersten Zeit musst du dich erst einmal mit deinem Kind vertraut machen und an die neue Situation gewöhnen. Es ist gut, wenn du jetzt Menschen um dich hast, die dir in den ersten Tagen und Wochen helfen und dich unterstützen. Das können deine Familie, dein:e Partner:in oder deine Freund:innen sein. Vielleicht kaufen sie schon einmal ein, während du noch im Krankenhaus bist, oder unternehmen etwas mit deinen älteren Kindern, solange du im Wochenbett bist. Eine wichtige und professionelle Hilfe sind Hebammen. Sie können dir zeigen, wie man mit einem Baby richtig umgeht, wie man es stillt, wie es sich bemerkbar macht, wenn es Hunger hat, schlafen will oder auf den Arm genommen werden möchte. Nützliche Tipps bekommst du auch von anderen Eltern, Ärzt:innen und bei Beratungsstellen wie dem Netzwerk Frühe Hilfen.
Courses and Educational Offers After Birth
There are many classes you can take after your baby is born. You can learn things there to make your life with child easier. Some of the courses on offer are designed for you to do something good for your own body, such as sport classes and postnatal classes. In others, you can learn how to breastfeed your baby properly, how to carry them in a way that is easy on your back, or how best to encourage your baby's development. There aren’t just courses for mothers, but also for fathers, for couples and even for grandparents who want to be brought up to date on how to care for and feed babies. Many of the courses can be found at family centres or what are known as ‘parent schools’ in Germany. Parents can also get advice there. Such courses are also meeting places for mothers and fathers, where you can exchange ideas with other parents and learn helpful tips. Midwives and paediatricians can tell you which courses are recommended for you and your family.
Baby’s First Supplies
The last weeks before the birth have arrived and the baby will soon be at home with you. Your hospital bag is already packed. However, you may feel restless and still ask yourself many questions. Is something still missing from the supplies you’ll need for the baby? Have I thought of everything? Here are a few suggestions for you. The following list is neither complete nor binding. Over time, you'll figure out what else you might need. Not everything has to be bought new. In many cities there are special baby stores where you can find the most important items at much lower prices than in other specialised stores for children's supplies. If you Unemployment Benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II), you can apply for a subsidy for these items. Help with getting supplies is also offered by organisations such as Caritas and pro familia.
Bonding: Making your child feel safe
How confidently a person goes through life depends on their earliest experiences. Therefore, it is important that the connection between the baby and the people who care for them is good from the beginning. Even while in your womb, your child can hear your voice. So you can talk to them already during pregnancy. If at all possible, you and your newborn should have extensive skin-to-skin contact right after birth. Then take plenty of time to get to know your baby well. The baby senses when you pick up on their signals and understand them. It is important to know that sometimes it is hard to stand the crying of a baby. Give yourself breaks during which to refuel yourself. These times also give other people a chance to get to know your baby and bond.
Why Babies Cry and Scream
The first weeks and months with a new baby are a beautiful but exhausting time for most parents. A baby's frequent crying or screaming can be a challenge. Maybe you're irritated because you don't understand what your baby needs? Remember that you are just getting to know each other! You will learn over time what your baby wants and how to comfort them. The baby will also gradually learn to self-soothe. It's okay to admit that sometimes the baby's loud screaming and crying gets on your nerves. You're not alone in feeling this way. It is perfectly okay to ask family members or friends to take the load off you.
How Babies Sleep
A newborn baby needs lots of sleep. For the first three months, many babies nap up to 16-18 hours a day. This sleeping time is divided into five or six phases. By the time your baby is four months old, their sleep patterns will have already changed significantly. At this point, 12 to 15 hours a day is often enough, and a large portion of this sleep shifts to nighttime. However, the way babies sleep cannot really be compared with the sleep of an adult. A baby's sleep stages are shorter and their sleep is lighter overall. Babies often wake up because of this at night and want to be comforted or fed. Each baby also has their own schedule and individual needs. So don't be worried if your baby's sleep patterns differ from this description. You can always discuss anything that worries you with your paediatrician. This can be done, for example, at one of the free medical check-ups for children that you’ll attend with your baby.
Development of Sensory Organs and Perception
Perception and sensory organs play an important role in the mental and physical development of a child. Even newborns are basically well equipped for this. They can see, hear, taste and smell. They feel when they are touched, held, carried or moved. However, individual senses are developed to different degrees. This is mainly due to the brain. It must first learn to process sounds and other impressions correctly. Already at birth the senses of touch and hearing are fully developed. Nevertheless, children still hear differently than adults. It is similar with vision. At the beginning, babies perceive their environment only blurred and dimly. The visual acuity and the interaction of both eyes must first develop. Parents cannot speed up these processes. However, you can support your child by engaging with them and giving them a variety of stimuli. It's also important that you take advantage of your paediatric checkups. Possible hearing or vision disorders can thus be detected and treated at an early stage.
Growth spurts and baby development
Your baby develops very quickly in the first few months. For one thing, they experience significant growth in length and weight. On the other hand, a multitude of new connections are created in their nervous system. As a result, your child will make tremendous progress physically and mentally within a short period of time. Usually this development takes place in leaps and bounds. It's called a growth spurt. Your paediatrician will regularly check that your child is developing well during their U-check-ups. At each appointment, your child's current height and weight are entered into their clinical growth charts at the very back of the yellow U-booklet. From the curve of the chart, you can see if the values are on a nice upward trend, that is, that your baby is growing and developing well. If your paediatrician finds any abnormalities, they can look for the causes and discuss treatment options with you if necessary.
Whether you're taking shorter or longer trips with your baby, you should always have a well-packed diaper bag with you. All the people who care and provide for the baby should be able to use the bag. In it you can carry not only diapers and wipes, but also everything else that may be useful on a trip. This can be a sun hat or a cuddly toy for the child, but also a small snack for the adults. There are many different types of diaper bags. If you don't have a bag yet and want to buy one, make sure it has lots of compartments. This makes it easier for you to keep things in order and have all the important things at hand.
Swaddling and Diapers
Among the new basic skills that parents and those around them need to learn is how to properly change a baby's diaper. Your baby needs a fresh diaper several times a day. Babies only feels really comfortable when they are dry. You will be shown how to swaddle your baby properly in a childbirth preparation course. They will also help you in the clinic right after giving birth. And of course you can practice swaddling with your midwife. Don't worry - swaddling is easily learned. It is important to take your time, then mother and child can enjoy these intimate moments. When you're out and about with your baby, you should always have a freshly packed diaper bag with you.
How To Pick Up Your Baby and Hold Them Correctly
You pick up your baby many times throughout the day. This is to put them on your chest for breastfeeding, or when you want to put them in their baby sling or stroller. Some people are afraid of holding their baby incorrectly. Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you're afraid you'll hurt your baby if you hold them with a firm grip. This concern is unfounded. It's good for your baby to feel safe with you. They are less fragile than you might think. That being said, there are some things you should be aware of in order to properly pick up and hold babies.
Carrying and Transporting Your Baby
Newborns feel most comfortable when lying against the body of their caregivers. Baby’s can even help with carrying by tensing their bodies and tightening their legs when lifted. It's best to get a sling or other baby carrier well before the birth. Talking to your midwife can provide guidance on which carrier is best suited to you and your baby's other caregivers. In Germany, you can also consult what might be called a professional ‘carrying consultant’ in English. For long walks or shopping trips prams, buggies and baby seats are important companions.
Baby Carriers, Prams and Buggies
Your baby prefers to be carried on your body, for example in a baby sling. This can help build and strengthen your bond. But if you have longer distances to travel, you will need other ways to transport your baby. A pram is suitable for longer walks or shopping trips. Babies can feel safe here too, plus your back can have a rest for a while. When your child is older, you can also use a stroller or buggy. The child can sit in it while moving and can see more of their surroundings. If you are traveling by car, your child must sit in a car seat, whether you are driving or along as a passenger. It's best to get one before birth.
Many parents are faced with the decision of whether to look after their child themselves in the first months and years after birth or whether to place their child in a day care centre or with a day care worker for several hours during the week. Childcare allows you to go back to work or have more time to do other things. What’s more, good childcare is also enriching for your child. Your child can make their first friends at a nursery school. Their development is encouraged and they can romp, climb, do arts and crafts, explore the world and learn to get along with many other children.
Sexuality and Contraception After Birth
The strain of childbirth is over. You're in the postpartum period and your body is recovering. The birth injuries are healing and your hormones are adjusting. Nothing is the same anymore. This also applies to sexuality. The baby needs almost all your attention. It needs food, closeness and attention. In this situation, lust and intimacy can easily fall by the wayside. This is perfectly normal. However, most couples eventually find their way back to a fulfilling sex life. There is no one right way to do this. There is also no medical recommendation. The only requirement is that your wounds have healed and you both feel like having sex. What matters is how you feel, whether it takes weeks or months. Talk to your partner about this if you have fears or concerns or are unsure. This is the best way to prevent problems and misunderstandings.