In utero they were in an environment that was at constant temperature, they were being fed continually via the umbilical cord, they listened to the sounds of mum’s heartbeat, tummy sounds and muffled voice. They were supported and cushioned by the amniotic fluid, they were cosy and curled up, they were rocked by mum as she moved around.
Once born, the baby now has to cope with gravity, wearing clothes, nappy changes, being handled by different people, food going into their mouth at intervals, having intermittent closeness to mum and not as much rocking and swaying.
The early weeks with a newborn are a period of transition for them and our job as parents is to help them in this transition. Often we can do this by holding our babies and comforting them as well as breastfeeding them frequently. Some babies may need to feed 10-12 times in 24 hours. Meeting a baby’s needs in these early weeks helps them to transition to life outside the womb.
It is often said that the early weeks go by quickly, but to new parents they can feel long and difficult. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that you can see that these early weeks are really very short and soon the baby will adjust to their environment and settle down.
If you want to read more about this transition phase for babies I have put a link at the end of this post to a more detailed article by Sarah Ockwell-Smith, who is a UK parenting expert and author who specialises in the psychology and science of parenting, ‘gentle parenting’ and attachment theory.