Newborn baby care basics is something every new mom is worried about
Even after trying to prepare yourself during those 9 months of pregnancy, nothing quite prepares you for parenting like the real thing. Those days of being able to ooooh and aaaaah over a baby and then handing him/her back when they start crying are over.
I’ve found that from becoming a parent you tend to start forming social circles with other parents and slowly move away a bit from non parents – let’s face it – the other parents actually know what we’re talking about when it comes to lack of sleep, nappy changes etc. As a parent we’ve all been there – bracing ourselves for the magical time when our little one arrivals – expecting to know everything on what to do and what not to do. Let me just share – every baby is different – in my experience not all babies are the same therefore people can offer and give input / advice – please do not deny people this joy – but do practice and implement what you feel is right for your baby and follow your motherly instinct.
With that said, I wish to share some tips which I feel can help first time parents:
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Getting Help After the Birth
Consider recruiting help from friends and family to get through this time, which can be very hectic and overwhelming. While in the hospital, use the expertise around you. Many hospitals have feeding specialists or lactation consultants who can help you get started nursing or bottle-feeding and nurses are a great resource to show you how to hold, burp, change, and care for your baby.
Handling a Newborn
- Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your newborn. Young babies have not built up a strong immune system yet, so they are susceptible to infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby also has clean hands.
- Be careful to support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay him or her down.
- Be careful not to shake your newborn, whether in play or in frustration.
Nappies Do’s and Dont’s
Before diapering a baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your baby unattended on the changing table.
After each bowel movement or if the nappy is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty nappy. Use lukewarm water, cotton balls, and washcloth or wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. When removing a boy’s nappy, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid urinary tract infection. To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper.
Diaper rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes occur because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.
To prevent or heal diaper rash, I used Bennett’s bum cream with every nappy change. But trial and error is your best way of figuring out which cream best suits your baby’s skin.
Feeding and Burping Your Baby
Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.
A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if you’re breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough.
Another good way to tell if your baby is getting milk is to notice if your breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. You can prevent this by burping your baby frequently. Try burping your baby 60-90 milliliters if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.
For burping strategies:
- Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby’s head and back while gently patting the back with your other hand.
- Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby’s chest and head with one hand by cradling your baby’s chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest (be careful to grip your baby’s chin — not throat). Use the other hand to gently pat your baby’s back.
Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you’ll develop a routine and be parenting like a pro! My last advice to you would be to get your baby into a routine as soon as you can. Routine has worked very well for me, and I’ve heard the same from other parents. In closing, let me say even if you feel so overwhelmed and don’t know what you are doing, many parents have been there. Don’t be ashamed to ask for advice – you are doing a great job being a parent – don’t forget that and please don’t ever underestimate yourself!
~ Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone~
Submitted by Allison Badrick
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