Being born must be a shocking experience for the baby. Parents can help baby transition by providing warmth and closeness.

A strange new world

For a baby, being born must be like moving to a new country – suddenly everything around them changes. Baby will experience many firsts as they enter a world of bright lights and different noises, smells, tastes and sensations.

Ask the whānau:

  • Can you remember some of the firsts you experienced? Maybe:
    • leaving home
    • the first day of your first job
    • starting at a new school
    • moving a new country or community?
  • What ‘sensory’ memories of those experiences do you have – such as smells, sights and sounds?
  • What helped you to transition to those new places, spaces or experiences?

Think about what it’s like being a baby before birth, inside their mother – what sensory experiences might baby be having? (for example, wet, warm, snug, dark, safe and secure)

Now, what about after their birth – what might their senses be experiencing? (for example, bright lights, cold air, being touched and held, breathing air)

Helping baby to transition

  • What can you do to help your baby transition into the ‘world of light’?

Fill in any gaps from the ideas below:

  • Let baby see your face.
  • Rock, walk or take baby for a ride in the pram or car.
  • Sooth baby – use one action at a time and repeat it over and over.
  • Get close and sing or hum to baby.
  • Talk to baby in a steady, soft voice.
  • Pick baby up and hold them close.
  • Wrap baby snugly.
  • ‘Windy’ babies may be more comfortable in an upright position.

Helpful resources for whānau