Congratulations! You’re now officially a parent…
Now that you’ve survived labor and delivery, you suddenly have this newborn life totally dependent on you. You have a million questions Relax; we are going to give you some of the best baby care tips from professionals, as well as mothers who have insight and advice to share.
Before You Leave The Hospital
First of all, make sure to pack comfortable outfits for both you and baby. Don’t feel rushed to leave the hospital. Take the time to talk to your health care provider and the hospital staff and don’t leave any questions unanswered. They are there to assist you. You might also want to make sure to schedule your baby’s first checkup before you leave the hospital, as you may feel too overwhelmed when you first get home.
Baby’s First Car Ride
Obviously you will have your car seat before your baby is born. It is a good idea to practice setting up in the car before your delivery. Make sure you have a high-quality standard car seat that meets the current regulations. Also, you will want to purchase a head support for the baby. Don’t stress out on the ride home as the baby will feed off your emotions. Talk to him/her in a soothing voice on the ride home.
Home Sweet Home
Have all of your essential baby care items in place before you arrive home.
Have the babies things already assembled and organized in the proper places. This way you won’t be frantically scrambling around trying to find everything you need at the last minute.
Don’t be afraid to limit visits with family and friends
Everyone you know will want to see your baby. You need your rest to care for the baby and you want him/her to adjust to your home situation. Don’t be shy about telling people that you aren’t ready for visitors yet. And do not hesitate to restrict anyone from visiting who might be ill. You can ask them to postpone their visit until they are well as your baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed.
Do not hesitate to ask for help
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. All new mothers’ experience feelings of doubt and anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask for expert advice. You can consult your primary care physician, pediatrician, a nurse, lactation specialist or a plethora of other professionals for advice. A lot of new mothers hire a baby nurse for at least the first few weeks till they have established a routine. Also don’t hesitate to ask friends or relatives for their help. You may not see eye to eye on everything, but looking back, you will be grateful for their expertise and assistance.
Swaddling is comforting for a newborn as it reminds them of being in the womb. It is best not to swaddle a baby when sleeping as it can lead to overheating which can be one of the causes of SIDS. Don’t overdress your baby if you want to swaddle. If you notice your baby is sweating or struggling to get out of the swaddle, then you might want to forgo this practice.
Take care of YOU
Neglecting your well-being is not beneficial for you or your baby. You need to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and the proper nutrition. Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Don’t deprive yourself of relaxation (again ask for help when needed). You need to stay healthy for your baby.
Feeding a Newborn
On average, newborns usually eat every two to four hours. Breastfed babies tend to eat more frequently as breast milk is more easily digested. Your baby will pull away from the bottle or nipple when he/she is full. Pay attention to signs of possible dehydration such as less than 8 wet diapers per day, extreme lethargy, refusal to eat and dry skin. Mealtimes will become less frequent, but will last a longer time as your baby grows. For the first 4-6 months, your baby will drink her food so you rely solely on breast milk or formula. You can switch to solids at 4-6 months. It is always a good idea to check with your pediatrician before making this switch. You might also want to introduce vegetables to your baby first, as opposed to sweet fruits to start your baby off on the right path to nutrition.
As previously stated, you should sleep when your baby sleeps to keep you both happy and healthy. This also keeps you in synch with your baby and helps you to bond more closely. Don’t stress over diaper changes. Purchase quality diapers that keep your baby dry and don’t leak. If you are constantly obsessing over diaper changes, you will disrupt sleep for the both of you.
Also, make sure to stick to a regular routine as babies thrive on routine. At first, your baby won’t be able to determine night from day and establishing a routine will help remedy this situation. Also don’t be afraid of the dark. Whenever you are putting your baby to sleep, make sure to dim the lights so s/he will grow accustomed to sleeping at night.
Soothing Your Baby
The only way your baby can communicate as a newborn is through crying. You will have to learn to distinguish the difference between cries. Don’t feel frustrated if this takes some time. There are many ways to soothe a crying baby. Frequently burping your baby will help ease gas. Cradle and rock your baby to calm him/her. Communicate with soft, soothing tones and sing to your baby or play calming music. Babies like motion so take your newborn for a walk in the stroller or a car ride, place them in the baby swing or rock them to sleep in a rocking chair. Warm baths are also a source of comfort and will help your baby to relax. However, too many baths will dry a baby’s delicate skin so try to limit to 2-3 baths per week.