The new mother had attended a HUG Your Baby class several week ago where I had discussed newborn body language. She was here in my office for a brief weight check on her baby boy who wore the cutest fireman onesie. Mom is in bliss -- enjoying every moment of the newborn's life. "I never knew I could be so in love," she confesses as she glances down at her daughter.
Her husband shifts from one foot to the other when these words are spoken. He finally breaks into a big smile. "Can't beat THIS competition", he says as he reaches down to adjust the baby's tiny hat.
I asked if the parents had noticed any of those SOS (Signs of Ocer-Stimulation) we had discussed in the childbirth education class. "Remeber that "Shutting Down" or that "Switching Off?" I ask. "That's when babies look away when they are a bit overstimulated."
"No", mom says. "Susie seems just able to handle anything."
Just about that time I glance down at Susie on her mom's lap. As the parents talk, Susie clearly turns her head to the side in an apparent effort to keep herself under control as the lively conversation about her proceeds.
I am amazed as usual. One mom see this "Shutting Down" or "Switching Off" behavior and worry that "my baby doesn't like me." Another mother (like this one) does not even notice this behavior because she is so attached and engrossed in her newborn's every moment. Clearly, "a face does NOT say it all." What is upsetting to one mom is not noticed by another.
It seems important to teach ALL new moms the meaning of behavior. Then the mom who carries some insecurity or has a baby who does not connect as effortlessly will not take this commmunication as "Proof that I'm a bad mom."
As the literature suggest, moms at high risks have more positive response to effective intervention than do moms (like this) at lower risk. But since all moms deserve to feel their best about their new baby, let's just GIVE A HUG TO THEM ALL!
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