What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby


By Marigold


At last our little girl smiles! For a split second I saw the sides of her mouth turn upwards and her eyes sparkle with happiness as she kicked in her bouncer chair. I felt an instant sense of elation, like I had won first place in an extreme marathon that had demanded every ounce of my energy since the day Isabelle arrived in the world. I grabbed for my phone to capture the moment forever, but before I knew it her poker face had returned once again…why is the phone never in reach at these times!?

There were times after Isabelle was born that I seriously wondered if she thought I was crazy or if I was doing something wrong as she stared at me with a blank face for days on end. I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of ‘baby talk’ at first and found it hard to think of things to say to her all day long, especially when she didn’t respond to my awkward attempts to chatter. 

That is why that first smile was such a special and rewarding moment and one I will never forget (turns out I didn’t’ need the photo after all).  Hoorah she does like me and my funny faces are funny indeed! Isabelle now smiles all day long and I just can’t get enough of that gorgeous little face.

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Jan O'Connell

Time can seem to pass slowly waiting for your baby to do new things such as the first real smile, a giggle, learn to crawl or the first 'word'. When those magical moments happen, your heart flutters with a surge of love, joy and pride for your child. Yet despite your most ardent attempts and expectations, development moves at its own pace and delivers these delights generally at the right time for each child.

Expectations about what parenting will be like differ for each parent. Some things are as you thought they would be whilst other things can be very different. Most of what you learn during your pregnancy is focused towards the birthing process. Alongside great excitement, bringing home your newborn baby can be somewhat daunting and overwhelming.

As the weeks pass, your baby not only grows in size but the brain develops enabling them to learn new skills such as smiling, and they become increasingly responsive and communicative with you. Until this happens, it can be easy to misread them, particularly when you are very tired, by thinking that they don't know you or enjoy your company. Nothing could be further from the truth! Your baby learns to love you more each day as you are meeting their needs through watching your face and smiles, enjoying your cuddles, being soothed when upset, fed when hungry and listening to your voice. Parents are the most important people in a child's life, and you will always hold that most special role.

Each child has their own temperament and personality which you will continue to discover as they grow. Getting to know and understand your child is an important part of being a parent, and enables you to support them in achieving their potential throughout their life. It is also something that brings a lot of joy whilst building and strengthening the bond between you that will last a lifetime.

Posted in:  Baby 9-12 weeks