The late Tracy Hogg is well known to millions of parents around the world as The Baby Whisperer.
Now her best tips have been collected together in Top Tips of the Baby Whisperer: Secrets to Calm, Connect and Communicate with your Baby.
This is Tracy's advice on how to handle the scary first few days when you bring your newborn home for the first time:
The first three to five days are often the most difficult because everything is new and daunting. The first thing I tell parents – and keep telling them – is to slooooooow down. It takes time to get to know your baby. It takes patience and a calm environment; strength and stamina; respect and kindness; responsibility and discipline; attention and keen observation; time and practice: a lot of doing it wrong before you get it right. And it takes listening to your own intuition.
- I advise a slow re-entry
When you walk through the door, take a deep, centring breath. Keep it simple.
- Start the dialogue by giving your baby a tour of the house
That's right, a tour, as if you're the curator of a museum and they are a distinguished visitor. Walk around with them in your arms and show them where they are going to live. In a soft, gentle voice, explain each room: 'Here's the kitchen. It's where Dad and I cook. This is the bathroom, where we have showers.' And so on. You might feel silly. Many new parents are shy when they first start to have a dialogue with their baby. That's okay. Practise, and you'll be amazed at how easy it becomes. Remember to respect your baby. You need to treat your little darling like a human being, as someone who can understand and feel.
- Limit visitors
Convince all but a few very close relatives and friends to stay away for the first few days. If parents are in from out of town, the greatest favours they can do for you are cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Let them know, in a kind way, that you'll ask for their help with the baby if you need it, but that you'd like to use this time to get to know your little one on your own.
- Give your baby a sponge bath and a feed
Keep in mind that you're not the only one in shock. Your baby has had quite a journey himself. This is a perfect opportunity for you to pore over your miracle of nature. It may be the first time you see your baby naked. Get acquainted with them and bond with them.
- Nurse them or give them a bottle
Watch as they get sleepy. Start them off right, and allow them to fall asleep in their own cot or moses basket. Hospital nurseries are kept quite warm, almost womb-like, so make sure the temperature in the baby's new home is around 22°C (72°F).
Top Tips of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau is available here from Amazon