SEEMINGLY ceaseless crying was one of the hardest parts for Belinda Joyce. The Ballarat midwife and maternal child health nurse wishes she understood parameters of normal better when she first became a mum.
Each time Ms Joyce felt she had parenting down pat for a newborn, what had been working would change.
And every baby is different.
Ms Joyce said finding safe options was hard and books available at the time were either not answering her questions or were not science-based.
She increasingly noticed other parents were asking her the same questions in her work.
Ms Joyce said parents need options, rather than finger-pointing, and the confidence to try new strategies.
So, Ms Joyce has written her own guide, Survive and Enjoy Your Baby to help empower parents in being experts on their child.
“The best advice I wish I had was on crying. We know newborns cry a little more everyday and this peaks at six weeks but what works one day might not work the next – the inconsolable cry is the hardest to tolerate but it’s normal development and happens across cultures,” Ms Joyce said.
“Knowing that’s normal and knowing you’re not a failure is really important.”
Ms Joyce said the first baby for a parent can be a real learning curve – but then so too can be the second, particularly if the first child compliant and baby two is more demanding.
Trends, options and recommendations can change between babies, too.
Ms Joyce has four children – now aged between 11 and 20 years old – let alone her 20 years’ career experience in early childhood from prenatal care through to school age. She said navigating trends could be confusing though often it helped to remember the basics.
“But the actual babies have not changed,” Ms Joyce said. “Babies tend to still enjoy the same things and the simple toys.
“...I really want parents to know that they can survive and enjoy their baby. While it may seem challenging at times, they don't have to do this alone, there is help out there, through friends, family and health care providers. Then caring for your baby will become easier and much more rewarding.”
Ms Joyce launched Survive and Enjoy Your Baby at Ballarat Mechanics Institute last week. The book is available from all good book stores, including ebook, and her website, belindajoyce.com.