So your bundle of joy is finally in your arms, and you feel all the happiness in the world. But as soon as you get to take care of your newborn, you feel lost and think you don’t know what to do.
After pregnancy, labor, and delivery, your actual struggle starts when you have to take care of the baby. Newborns are physically fragile, and their organs and body functions are in the beginning stages of development, so you need to be extra careful. You are new to everything, and when it comes to newborns, even the way you hold them must be correct. You have to change the diaper properly, make them burp after feeding and make sure they are healthy and happy. Here are six ways you can take care of your newborn.
- Watching Out for Health Problems
It’s common for babies to fall sick. There are high chances of them contracting bacteria and viruses. Infants often suffer from colic, ear infections, jaundice, diarrhea, etc. Don’t ignore symptoms, considering them minor. If not taken proper care of, the diseases can get severe.
In case of a complicated delivery, or medical negligence, there are chances of babies having birth injuries or congenital abnormalities. In case your baby has a birth injury, say, Erb’s palsy, you should learn more about this rare condition by discussing it with a doctor in detail. Discuss how you need to attend to your child with extra needs.
Properly holding and handling your baby is important. Support their head and neck when you pick them. Whether you are carrying them upright or laying them down, support their head.
As newborns are sensitive and weak, do not shake them while playing or when waking them up. It can be seriously dangerous. Also, the baby is not yet ready for any rough play, like throwing up in the air, etc. It’s best to limit such rough activities. While traveling, make sure the baby’s car seat is secure and put in place properly.
Newborns get hungry often. They feed on frequent yet little amounts. During the first few weeks, you need to feed them at least eight times a day. Pay attention to your baby’s behavior and how the baby indicates that they are hungry. That way, feedings will become calmer, as you will detect quickly if the baby is hungry and feed right away. You can choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed. If you use baby formula, get the doctor’s approval that it is a suitable and healthy option for your baby.
A newborn usually sleeps for 16 to 17 hours a day, but that sleeping gets disrupted by periods of wakefulness. Always lay newborns on their backs. Doctors forbid laying newborns on their sides or stomachs.
If you think your baby has been sleeping for an unusually long time, or you just want to set their sleeping routine, wake them up if they have been sleeping for two hours. Do so by gently tickling them or blowing on their cheek. Also, make sure you get to sleep too. Take a nap with your baby. Since you must be awake while the baby is, what better than to catch a nap with them?
You can use disposable diapers or washable napkins. You will need to change a diaper ten times a day on average for your little one. And be sure to quickly change a dirty diaper or napkin.
Have a cleaning wipe or warm water and a washable cloth; diaper ointment while changing. Lay the baby down on the table, carefully take off the dirty diaper, and gently wipe clean their genital area. Make sure you don’t leave them with dirty diapers on for a long time, as it can lead to diaper rash. In case of redness around the diaper area, consult the doctor.
Cleanliness is important, but bathing newborns too often is not necessary as it can lead to dry skin, etc. Bathing a child twice or thrice a week during their first year is enough. Start with sponge baths and then move on to tub baths. Have the essentials ready before giving a bath, like towels, soap, sponge, wipes, shampoo, soft brush, etc. For a sponge bath, lay the baby down on a flat surface and fill a container or sink with warm water. Damp the sponge and gently wipe your baby’s eyes, hands, feet, arms, and genital area. Then gently wash their face, head, and body.
When your baby still has the umbilical cord, do not give them a sponge or a tub bath until it falls off and the navel area heals. Move on to tub baths by using a baby bathtub. Wrap your baby properly in the towel after a bath.
As a parent, you have to not only fulfill all your other responsibilities, but you also have to feed the baby, shower them, put them to sleep, and make sure they are healthy. And all this is easier said than done. Use these six tips for taking care of your newborn.