Bringing a new life into this world with several emotions attached to it. The touch of a newborn’s tiny hands and the gaze of its innocent eyes can melt you immediately. However, the uncertainty of how to care for a newborn can also overwhelm you. How to feed, hold, and care for your little one are just a few questions that might flood your mind.
But worry not; here are some helpful tips on how to care for your baby:
Build your team
Parenting can get tricky sometimes, with sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, and the constant need to keep an eye on a little one. In such moments, building a team of supporting people can be helpful.
Family members can provide emotional support, guidance, and hands-on assistance, ensuring you’re never alone when facing these challenges. A pediatrician can help ensure your child thrives. You might also need a lawyer if your child sustains a birth injury during labor. 7 out of 1000 babies in the US are born with an injury. While most of these heal naturally, some are complex and might require you to look into options for birth injury lawsuit settlements so you can get your child the help they need as they grow.
Moreover, joining parenting groups can offer additional guidance, shared experiences, and resources. This collective approach eases the parenting journey.
Handle the baby with care.
Handling a newborn requires you to be careful because of its fragile nature. Therefore, certain precaution needs to be taken when holding the baby, such as:
- Newborns don’t have the muscle strength to support their heads independently. When you pick or lay them down, gently slide one hand under their head and neck while using the other to support the back.
- Before touching, feeding, or changing the diaper, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to protect the newborn from infectious diseases.
- Never shake the baby to get their attention. Shaking can lead to brain damage. Instead, gently tickle them to get their attention.
Newborns generally need to be fed every 2-3 hours. Feed them whenever they show signs of hunger instead of trying to keep them on a strict schedule for the first few weeks. Familiar cues include sucking fingers or crying.
Whether to breastfeed or use formula milk is yours to decide. Breastfeeding provides antibodies and nutrients, while formula milk can be beneficial when moms don’t produce enough breast milk. If you choose to breastfeed your newborn, drink ample water, eat a nutritious diet, and clock in enough hours of rest to produce more milk.Be sure to store away extra breast milk through a GMP-certified company like Milkify which will freeze dry your breast milk
After feeding, gently pat or rub your baby’s back to help release the air inside the stomach. This can prevent discomfort as well as reduce the chance of vomiting.
Ensuring a safe sleep environment is essential during the early months of the baby’s life. Adopting the right sleep practices can significantly lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and other sleep-related problems. Below are a few safety tips to incorporate into your everyday routine:
- Always place your newborn on their back. This posture has been proven to reduce the likelihood of SIDS.
- Use a hard mattress encased in a tight-fitting sheet to avoid trapping or suffocation.
- Keep the crib clean. Keep fluffy items such as toys, covers, and pillows away from the baby’s sleeping space. If they come close to the face, these objects obstruct the baby’s breathing.
- Having the baby sleep in the same room as the parents for the first six months to a year is recommended but on a separate surface.
- Dress your baby in light sleepwear.
Newborns initially need 10 or more diaper changes daily, making diaper change a frequent task in a parent’s routine. Mastering this task as soon as possible is necessary to maintain a baby’s hygiene and comfort. Here are some pointers to help you master diaper duties:
- Change your baby’s diaper every 2-3 hours or when it becomes wet
- Use a soft wipe, damp cloth, or cotton to clean the diaper area during each change
- Remember to wipe from front to back to avoid transmitting bacteria
- If you see redness, use a zinc-based diaper rash cream
- Make sure the diaper is not too tight or too loose
Bathing your newborn is more than just keeping the baby clean; it’s an opportunity for bonding and sensory exploration. It may seem scary initially, but with some simple tips, you can make bath time more enjoyable. Some guidelines to follow:
- It is best to adhere to a sponge bath until the umbilical cord has not fallen off and the belly button has healed. Clean the baby’s face, body, and diaper area with a soft, damp washcloth while ensuring the umbilical area remains dry and clean. Once the site has healed, you can shift to a water bath.
- While it may be tempting to bathe the baby daily, newborns do not get dirty. Bathing them 2-3 times a week is sufficient. Frequent baths can remove natural oils from the skin.
- Give your newborn a bath with lukewarm water, ideally between 90F to 100F. But to ensure safety, always test the water before placing the baby in it.
- Baby’s skin is sensitive! Opt for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free baby shampoos and soaps. This helps minimize the threat of allergies and skin irritations.
- After patting your baby dry, apply a mild baby lotion or oil. This will keep your baby’s skin soft and hydrated.
Caring for a newborn involves joy, hardships, and learning. Remember that making mistakes is regular and that you are not alone. Reach out for assistance and advice as needed, celebrate each moment, and have faith in your ability as a parent.