Lee and Dayna Janssen with their 16-month boy, Emmett, who presented some challenges early in his life.
Lee and Dayna Janssen with their 16-month boy, Emmett, who presented some challenges early in his life. Brett Wortman

Surviving baby battles

WHEN it comes to pregnancy and raising a child it seems everyone has an answer.

But what if some of those circulating theories are wrong.

Ann Evans is the midwife unit manager of the antenatal clinic at Nambour General Hospital and said there were a number of misconceptions surrounding pregnancy, birth and surviving the first three months of parenthood.

"One of the main misconceptions is the due date that people are given, that's the day the baby is due," she said.

"A lot people expect that's the day the baby will be born, but there's only 5% of babies born on that due date. Many women, especially first-time mums, will go up to two weeks overdue."

Another misconception is the length of labour.

Ms Evans said she often heard mums say they were in labour for days, when that was not the case.

"What people are counting in those few days are actually the pre-labour, the body preparing for labour," she said.

"We only really count labour when the cervix is dilating and when the contractions are regular, painful and developing a pattern of labour."

Ms Evans said the first three months of parenthood were some of the hardest times in life as newborn babies were physically and emotionally demanding.

"One of the greatest myths is if you pick up a crying baby you're spoiling it," she said.

"There have been studies that show if you're not attending babies' needs when they're crying, they eventually shut off and don't actually communicate with the people around them, which has long term effects later in life.

"It is really important people respond to their babies in those first three months."

For Lee and Dayna Janssen, parents of 16-month-old Emmett, the birth of their first child was a learning experience.

"I don't think anyone can really prepare you entirely for having a child and because every child is so different one person's solution may not work at all for another," Dayna said.

"There's also so many things you are not told, but it's amazing how a mother's instinct kicks in when that baby enters the world and although there are challenges you just sort of 'know what to do' in most situations."

Dayna said she found the first nine months difficult coping with sleep deprivation.

"I found myself going to bed a lot earlier than usual and I also found that over time my body started to adapt to the new routine," she said.

"Sleep deprivation was most definitely the hardest challenge."

For the Maroochydore couple, the newborn months were tough.

"I would mainly get frustrated at night, when I was tired and I would always be ringing mum trying to find answers that often didn't exist," Dayna said.

"We would take turns trying to calm him, so we shared the load," Lee said.

"The crying definitely tested my patience, especially because you can't reason with them...so I think as a result I am more patient now."

Dayna and Lee have since become a tight-knit team and are enjoying seeing their baby boy blossom.

"We have just adapted with Emmett, and supported each other with the different challenges. We have also been lucky to have good supporting families who have helped along the way," Lee said.

"We've learnt to relax much more over time, and learnt to go with the flow," Dayna said.

"I am trying to enjoy every moment because it is going by so fast and we both feel truly blessed to have a healthy happy boy."


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