A BABY sleep expert says new mothers need greater support to help adjust to their new role.
Former nurse and lactation consultant Pinky McKay will be in Warrnambool on Saturday, June 16 for a community seminar.
Ms McKay said there was nothing new in the thinking that new mothers needed strong support.
“I think when you’re expecting the first baby you’ll have everything under control and then you meet your baby and you’re connected to your baby biologically… and you think well I can’t train it like a puppy,” she said.
“You’re overwhelmed with the whole change of life, the chemistry around being a new mother and the need to protect that baby...it’s overwhelming.”
Ms McKay said there was often pressure for women to bounce back quickly from the birth and the adjustment to motherhood.
“Quite often there’s a lot of pressure to be up and running as soon as you’ve had the baby, to be Superwoman and you don’t really have anything to prove,” she said.
“A lot of pressure comes from ourselves.
“It’s ok if your baby doesn’t self settle. It’s ok if your baby wakes up at night, as long as you’re coping ok with it.”
Ms McKay said although social media had positive elements, it also brought a lot of judgement for mothers.
“It’s got a great side to it, but also there’s a lot of pressure and judgement and mums can feel quite confused. There’s that division between mothers.”
Ms McKay said there were often big expectations when it came to babies and sleep.
“I think a lot of normal baby behaviour is being pathologised,” she said.
“I’ve seen videos of a sleep trainer trying to train a six-week-old baby and it’s just completely unrealistic.
“That baby needs to feed frequently.
“It still needs night feeds and it probably needs cuddles to help it go to sleep. Let’s look at what could be the issue for the baby.
“Don’t fit the baby into the one size fits all box. We’re getting some really big expectations of really little babies.”
The seminar will be hosted by the Warrnambool Breastfeeding Centre and there will be two talks at the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery. To book tickets visit TryBooking and search Pinky McKay.