Thinking about your relationship with your baby

Our goal for this session is to focus on building a healthy relationship with your growing baby.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you how to make the most of your time with your baby and some activities that you can do to relax with your baby.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

New babies can be a lot of fun, but sometimes being a new mom can feel like an overwhelming amount of work. It's normal to think about feeling overwhelmed sometimes. The job of being a mom is a lot of work. But when these "sometimes" thoughts become "always" thoughts, it's important to step back and identify your patterns of unhealthy thinking before these thoughts lead to feelings of anger, resentment, and guilt. These feelings are not healthy for you or your baby, so let's look at some examples of thoughts to catch early.

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
I can't live up to all the "good moms" I see around me, so why even try? Unqualified and guilty that we are not good enough. Pulling away from the baby and trouble forming a strong bond.
As the baby can’t understand what I am saying, I should not talk to the baby until he/she does. Less verbal communication with the baby. Both mother and baby miss a pleasurable and healthy activity.
img Writing Prompt Have you ever felt angry or resentful because of all the work you have to do for your baby? Write about the thoughts that you have when you are feeling this way.

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

If you find yourself having these unhealthy thoughts, take small steps that will give you an opportunity to notice how you enjoy your baby's company. As you take these steps, you will likely see your mood improve, and your baby will benefit a lot from your engagement. As your mood improves, it often become easier and easier to bond with and relate to your baby. Sometimes it just takes a change in your thinking to start the process. Here are some examples of healthy thoughts you can try.

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
The baby loves it when I talk to her/him about what’s happening. When I listen to the baby’s sounds, I copy them and then talk back to them. Talking to the baby about things that are happening. Baby enjoys trying to imitate mother’s sounds and smiles. This helps baby learn more words when she/he starts talking.
The baby doesn't need fancy toys. He/She loves interesting things we have at home. Giving the baby opportunities to explore and play with common household objects (as long as they are not dangerous!) Important stimulation for the baby and opportunities for mother and baby to bond through play.
img Writing Prompt When you are with your baby, show him or her a new object you have at home, and watch his/her reaction. Use this space to imagine what your baby might be thinking.
img Let's Practice Practice is a big part of the Healthy Moms program. We must learn how to Think Healthy, and practice is an essential part of learning.

1. Spending Time with Your Baby

Try the following exercises when you have time and are in a comfortable space.

img Gentle Massage:
  • Give your baby a gentle massage while making soothing sounds or saying loving words.
  • Try to do this once a day.
img Talking or Singing to Baby:
  • Talk or sing to your baby every day after feeding.
  • Listen to the sounds and watch the gesture your baby makes and try to mimic them.
  • Aim to do this 3 - 4 times per day.
img Playing with your Baby:
  • Play with your baby 3 - 4 times a day during different times of the day.
  • Show him/her different multi-colored objects or things that make a sound.
  • Hold the object out so your baby can grasp it but make sure they keep it clear from their mouth.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try these activities.

Did you give your baby a gentle massage? Did you sing or talk to your baby? Did you play with your baby?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

2. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. Your baby is probably too young for solid food, but he or she will be interested in how you prepare and eat meals. With your baby watching, tell him or her about each step of the cooking process. Notice how your baby begins to watch you and respond to your voice. Write about how this makes you feel.

Create a chart like this in your notebook and use it to monitor your diet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Ex. Tea, porridge, banana Chips and sausage Mandazi Ugali, beef stew, sukuma wiki
Day 1

Day 2

3. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

img Slow Breathing:
  • Relax your body. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
img Walking:
  • Follow a gentle walking pace.
  • Do this 1 time per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
img Sleep:
  • Your baby might not be sleeping through the night yet, so that probably means you're not either. When you get to rest, relax your mind by telling yourself that your worries can wait until tomorrow.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try the rest and relaxation activities.

Did you practice slow breathing today? Did you go for a walk today? Did you get a full night’s sleep?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

4. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Remember, keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. So at least once a day, imagine the 10-step emotion ladder from Session 1 and rate how you are feeling. On the bottom step (1) are women who feel very sad and blue. On the top step (10) are women who feel great with no sadness. Which step best shows how you are feeling?

Create the following chart in your journal. If you are feeling very happy—as happy as you have ever been—you might tick the box for a 9 or 10. If you are having a really tough day, you might tick the box for step 1 or 2. Tick whatever box is right for you. Just remember that low numbers mean more sadness, and high numbers mean more happiness.


img Writing Prompt How do you feel when you talk and sing to your baby?
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