MEET THE EXPERT: Dr Ellie Cannon is a GP, mum of two, and author of Keep Calm: The New Mum’s Manual (£10.99, Vermilion).
If you haven’t had it already, you’ll be given your baby’s Personal Child Health Record (‘the Red Book’). Take this to the baby clinic to record baby’s height and weight.
When your baby cries or feeds, he gulps in air. This comes out either as burps or baby farts. Burps are better, as some babies find flatulence painful, which can make them cry and take in more air. ‘As well as winding your baby at the end of a feed, do it halfway through too,’ says Ellie. ‘If he naturally takes a pause during his feed, do it then, or when you swap breasts.’
How to wind
Rest your baby against your chest, with his head on your shoulder, so his body is against you. Gently rub his back until he burps. If he doesn’t burp, lay him tummy- down on your lap and gently rub his back until he burps. This can make some babies bring up milk. If this is the case, persist with the chest position.
Start pelvic floor exercises
Your pelvic floor is the sling of muscle that keeps you in shape downstairs. Nine months of supporting a baby has stretched it. Exercises will help it back into shape, and aid bladder control. ‘Imagine you need to hold in a wee and a poo - and squeeze!’ says Ellie. ‘Repeat this for five minutes every time you feed your baby. As you become stronger, try holding in your tummy muscles at the same time.’
Breasts that are working hard to feed a baby can get painful. Keep a couple of clean nappies in the freezer. After a feed, place them in your bra to cool and soothe.
Put a muslin on your shoulder
As you cuddle your baby against your shoulder, he’ll bring up regurgitated dribbles. ‘A newborn has a very small stomach that can’t help much milk,’ says Ellie. ‘And the muscle that keeps the milk in his stomach isn’t very strong.’ A muslin saves the day.
Put your baby down to sleep while he’s awake
A newborn baby usually only wakes up when he’s hungry. But as the weeks go on, that starts to change, and he builds sleep associations. ‘Whatever you do now to help him get to sleep, such as rocking or feeding, he’ll want you to keep doing,’ says Ellie. ‘Put your baby down to sleep when he’s awake. Let him nod off on his own or with a lullaby.’