Going home with a new baby is exciting, but do you know how to handle your newborn care? Know that newborns have many needs, like frequent feedings and diaper changes. Babies can have health issues that are different from older children and adults, like diaper rash and cradle cap.
Your baby will go through many changes during the first year of life. You may feel uneasy at first. Ask your health care provider for help if you need it.
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You’ve gone through pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and now you’re ready to go home and begin life with your baby. Once home, though, you might feel like you have no idea what you’re doing!
These tips can help even the most nervous first-time parents feel confident about caring your newborn care in no time.
Handling a Newborn
If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, their fragility may be intimidating. Here are a few basics to remember:
*Wash your hands frequently: Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands too.
*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 your baby down.
*Never shake your newborn: Please always remember that shaking you baby’s head can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking, instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently air on his neck or cheek.
*Make sure your baby is securely fastened: Into the carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
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And now lets begin with the newborn care tips, shall we…
Bonding, probably one of the most pleasurable parts of newborn care, happens during the sensitive time in the first hours and days after birth when parents make a deep connection with their infant. Physical closeness can promote an emotional connection.
Babies usually love vocal sounds, such as talking, babbling, singing, and cooing. Your baby will probably also love listening to music. Baby rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate your infant’s hearing.
Now if you don’t experience instant love during the bonding process don’t feel guilty; you can’t force bonding, it’s quite normal for it to take some time for strong feelings to develop for anyone new in your life, including your new baby.
Just remember to give her lots of cuddles and lots of eye contact and in time, you won’t be able to imagine life without him or her.
Communicating with your baby
Researchers have discovered that newborn babies will recognize familiar voices and instinctively turn towards them (particularly their mother’s voice) from birth.
Brain care should be as important as the rest of the care of your baby, this will create love affection, parental connection and a proper development of your baby, talk to your baby from day one, they will love it as much as you!!
Newborns typically sleep for periods of 2–4 hours. Don’t expect yours to sleep through the night, the digestive system of babies is so small that they need nourishment every few hours and should be awakened if they haven’t been fed for 4 hours (or more often if your doctor is concerned about weight gain).
When can you expect your baby to sleep through the night? Many babies sleep through the night (between 6–8 hours) at 3 months of age, but if yours doesn’t, it’s not a cause for concern. Like adults, babies must develop their own sleep patterns and cycles, so if your newborn is gaining weight and appears healthy, don’t despair if he or she hasn’t slept through the night at 3 months.
It’s important to always place babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Many newborns have their days and nights “mixed up.” They tend to be more awake and alert at night, and more sleepy during the day. One way to help them is to keep stimulation at night to a minimum. Keep the lights low, such as by using a nightlight. Reserve talking and playing with your baby for the daytime. When your baby wakes up during the day, try to keep him or her awake a little longer by talking and playing.
Bathing your newborn
Your baby could have their first bath shortly after they’re born. The first time you bath your baby may be a nerve racking experience as you learn how to hold and clean your baby.
Here are a few bath time tips to keep in mind no matter how old your child is:
*Never leave a child unattended in the bath.
*Don’t plan a bath for when your baby is over tired.
*Bath water should be approximately 100 F or 38 C degrees.
*Prepare everything you will need in advance and place it within arms reach.
*Prepare an area to place your baby as they come out from the bath and lay the towel out ready.
*When washing, start with the cleanest and most delicate areas first and work through to the dirtiest.
*Never place or push anything inside your baby’s ear to clean them. A gentle wipe on the exterior of the ear is good enougth.
*Girls: Always wash a girl’s genitals from front to back.
*Boys: Do not attempt to pull the foreskin back to clean underneath it. This will occur naturally over the first few years. If your son has been recently circumcised avoid tub bathing until the wound has healed.
Before diapering your baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your newborn/infant unattended on the changing table. You’ll need:
*A clean diaper
Diaper rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper.
Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.
To prevent or heal diaper rash, try these tips:
*Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
*Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes sometimes can be irritating), then apply a very thick layer of diaper rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
*Let the baby go undiapered for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.
If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.
Feeding and Burping Your Baby
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, your baby will most likely take about 2–3 ounces at each feeding.
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.
Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. To help prevent this, burp your baby often. Try burping your baby every 2–3 ounces.
These burping tips will help:
*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.
*Lay your baby face-down on your lap. Support your baby’s head, making sure it’s higher than his or her chest, and gently pat or rub his or her back.
Umbilical Cord Care
Umbilical cord care in newborns is also important. Some doctors suggest swabbing the area with rubbing alcohol until the cord stump dries up and falls off, usually in 10 days to 3 weeks, but others recommend leaving the area alone. Talk to your child’s doctor to see what he or she prefers.