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April 5, 2011

How Your 3 Week Old Baby Is Growing...

Babies love and need to suck, so don't discourage it. In fact, you may have already discovered that a pacifier works wonders in helping your baby calm down. When the "binky" or your finger isn't available, your baby may even be able to find her thumb or fingers to soothe herself.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a pacifier at nap time and bedtime, based on evidence that using a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). That said, there's no need to reinsert the pacifier if it falls out once your baby's asleep.

Your Life Now: Bonding...

Some moms talk about feeling an instantaneous, consuming love right from the beginning. That's become the prevailing image of what "bonding" is supposed to be like. But bonding isn't a single, magical delivery-room moment. For more than half of new mothers, feeling connected takes a bit longer — and for good reason.

Birth, delivery, and recovery can be taxing physical experiences, especially if there are complications. If you've never spent a lot of time around babies, let alone been completely responsible for taking care of one, anxiety and worry about doing everything right can intrude too. Your relationship with your child is not so different from your other relationships — it can take time and many interactions for those feelings of attachment to develop and ripen.

So there's no need to feel guilty if you look at your long-awaited baby and feel like you're staring at a little stranger. In a sense she is. Give it time and eventually you won't be able to imagine life without her.

If after several weeks, however, feelings of aloofness or even resentment continue, you could be suffering from postpartum depression. Ten percent of new moms suffer from this form of depression, triggered largely by hormonal changes after delivery. In addition to prolonged feelings of ambivalence about motherhood, accompanying symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, changes in appetite, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

Postpartum depression has nothing to do with your fitness as a mom and everything to do with biochemical changes you have little control over. Call your ob-gyn or midwife now — don't wait until your postpartum checkup. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you'll feel better.

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