In this article, we will provide tips that will help even the most nervous first-time mothers to feel confident about taking care of their newborn.
How to handle a newborn
Your newborn might feel frail and delicate to you, but do not be afraid to hold, touch or comfort him. In fact, studies show that infants who are held for no less than 2 hours a day cry less and thrive better.
Support your baby’s neck and head
When holding your newborn, remember that their neck muscle is not yet developed, so you need to support the neck whenever you pick them up. When carrying him, make sure to support his head against your shoulder or with your opposite hand.
Do not shake your baby
Do not shake your newborn whether in play or frustration as it can cause bleeding in the brain. Even when you are trying to wake him up, do not do it by shaking, you can wake him up by tickling his feet or blowing gently on his cheek.
Wash your hands
Make sure to sanitize your hands before handling the baby. Newborns do not have a strong immune system and holding them with unclean hands puts them at risk for infection.
Bathing a newborn
This is another essential and crucial part of taking care of babies. It is also one of the most significant challenges for new moms:
• Gather baby’s bathing supplies: Before undressing your baby, make sure you are well prepared for the bath first. Gather his towel, washcloth, soaps, lotions and any other thing you plan to use.
• Prepare the bath: Whether it is in a regular bathtub, a container or a baby bathtub, make sure the water is shallow and the right temperature. You can test the water first with your wrist. Make sure that the room you are bathing him in is warm and free of light or strong wind.
• Undress your child and hold him close to make him feel secure.
• Bathing: Place your baby in the warm water and make sure to hold him with one hand for safety. Use the other hand to wash him. Start by washing his face and neck, then finish with the diaper area.
• Dry and dress: As soon as the baby is all washed up, wrap him in a soft towel. Leave the bath items to clean up later. Dry off the baby, oil him and dress him in a clean outfit.
How to breastfeed a newborn
• Choose a position: Whether you prefer breastfeeding while lying down or in a seated position, choose one that you are comfortable nursing in.
• Get a lift: Whatever position you are nursing in, get some support. A good nursing pillow or even your bed pillows will help you get the baby up and prevent you from straining your back and neck.
• Baby placement
Latching is an integral part of breastfeeding comfortably. This all goes back to positioning your baby well. Your baby’s belly should be against your stomach and his chin on the same level with your breast. If your baby is in a twisted position or his head is turned, it will make it more difficult for him to get the milk and may even make your nipples tender.
Use one hand to cup your breast and give it to the baby. The baby should also open his mouth wide enough to take a good share of the areola (the dark part of the breast) in the mouth. Once your baby is properly latched, pull him closer to your chest and watch him nurse.
• What you need to look out for
When the baby is breastfeeding, make sure his lips are spread around the breast. You can pull down the lower lip a bit to check that his tongue is curled around the nipple.
- You can find more information about breastfeeding a newborn here.
Make sure to feed your newborn frequently.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you can do it up to 12 times a day. However, do not try to control feeding times, especially for infants because they still have an unpredictable sleeping and feeding schedules.
How many diapers does a baby use in a day?
Most times, new parents are shocked at how many diapers that their baby uses in a day. On a normal day, your baby will dirt about ten diapers, which is equivalent to 70 diapers a week. However, think of all those wet and poopy diapers as a sign that your child’s digestive system is functioning well and that he is getting sufficient to eat. To make your life easier, stock up on plenty of diapers before you bring your baby home.
Play and interact with him
Make sure to interact with your little one whenever he is awake. Use colorful and sound producing toys when entertaining him. Teethers, rattles and baby crib toys are also great options for entertaining and interacting with your baby.
Call him by his name and play some soothing music to catch his attention. Make sure he gets a few minutes of some supervised tummy time every day to help develop strength in his upper body and neck.
Ensure his safety
Place your child’s crib at a safe location in your room away from the window. This way, rain, dust, and other harmful elements will not harm your baby. Avoid placing toys and other objects in his crib. When your baby is relaxing on the couch or the change table, make sure you have one hand on him to prevent him from falling off. Active infants tend to squirm and wiggle and need constant attention. If you put your baby in a pram, ensure to use the safety harness to hold her neck in place and support her. Use both hands to hold and carry your little one.
Rachel Lee, founder of thebabylover
Only being 36, I understand that becoming a new mom is incredibly exciting but also challenging. I remember having a multitude of questions when it came to my pregnancy, taking care of a newborn child, and raising little ones. That is why I decided to create this blog. I wanted to share the vast amount of knowledge with other mommy’s who need help with everything regarding pregnancy and child care.
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Also published on Medium.