We will give you a few basic newborn care tips to ease your fears…
You brought your newborn son or daughter home, you have been waiting for this moment forever and now you are finally a parent! But wait, what happens now? You suddenly feel completely overwhelmed! Don’t worry! This happens to all new parents. We will give you a few basic newborn care tips to ease your fears so you can relax and cherish every moment with your new little one!
Don’t hesitate to ask for help..!
First and foremost, do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not expected to know everything about caring for a newborn. Seek the help of your partner, friends, family, and even professionals. Consult your primary care physician, pediatrician, lactation specialist, or a number of other health care professionals. A lot of new mothers hire baby nurses for the first few weeks till they can establish a normal routine. Also there are plenty of materials and online resources available so never hesitate to ask for help when you feel you need it.
Don’t freak out every time your baby cries
Babies cry…that’s just a fact of life. Over time, you will learn to distinguish what each different cry signifies so don’t feel confused if you can’t figure it out immediately. Crying is the only way your baby can communicate at this young age. Your baby will cry when she or he is hungry, needs to be changed, is missing Mommy, is tired, or uncomfortable, to name just a few. Do not feel hopeless, every baby cries and it will lessen over time.
Feeding your newborn
If you are breastfeeding your newborn, it is normal for your baby to nurse 8-12 times per day for the first few weeks. You should nurse your baby when they “demand” it, usually every 2-3 hours. Your newborn should not go more than 4-5 hours between feedings.
Here are few signs that your baby is hungry and ready to nurse
- moving head back and forth
- opening his/her mouth
- nuzzling against mother’s breasts
- sticking out his/her tongue
- placing hands inside their mouth
- puckering lips as if to suckle.
Baby’s First Checkup
You should take your baby for his/her first wellness checkup 4-5 days after birth. The doctor will measure your baby’s height, weight and head circumference, as well as check the baby’s eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He will test the reflexes and administer the Hepatitis B vaccine if your newborn did not receive this vaccination before leaving the hospital after birth. You should discuss any questions and concerns with your pediatrician at this time.
When to seek medical care
It is quite common for every newborn parent to freak out and call the doctor every time their baby does something out of the ordinary. You need to remember not to panic at every little movement your baby makes. The following are examples of when it is time to call your pediatrician or seek immediate medical help.
- severe lack of crying
- loss of appetite
- seizures or convulsions
- difficulty breathing
- drastic changes in temperament
- fever (extreme low or high grade)
- constant crying
- severe rash
- difficulty waking
- blood in stool or urine
- any drastic changes in temperament
- drastic change in soft spot
Newborn Sleeping Habits
Your newborn will spend the majority of their time sleeping, this is no cause for concern. Newborns usually sleep for 2-3 hour periods of time between feedings. You will figure out your baby’s sleeping schedule so don’t stress out, it takes time to fall into a routine. It is advised that you sleep when your baby is sleeping so that you will not only be rested, but you will be in synch with your infant.
You should be totally flexible about your newborn’s overall schedule. A suggested routine would be as follows:
- nursing or feeding
- diaper change
- play, talk and cuddle time
Sleep Safety Tips
Every parent worries about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Although there is no surefire way to prevent SIDS, there are quite a few ways to greatly reduce the risk. These include:
- put your baby to sleep on his/her back
- place your baby in a firm, secure bed with no soft toys or bedding
- do not smoke around your infant
- do not let your baby sleep in your bed: It is advised to keep the baby in the same room with you, in a crib or bassinet, but never let your baby sleep in your bed
- breastfeeding for at least six months
- proper immunizations
- prevent your baby from overheating
- do not feed honey to a baby under 12 months
- avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS
Until the umbilical cord falls off, you should only give your newborn a sponge bath. You should find a warm, cozy location with a flat surface and place your baby on a soft towel, blanket or changing pad. You should always make sure to have one hand free while the other is always on your baby. Fill a basin or sink with warm (not hot) water. Have items such as a washcloth, spare towel, mild baby shampoo, wipes, clean diapers, cotton balls and clothes handy.
Place your baby on his/her back on the towel and only expose the body part that you are currently washing to keep your baby warm. Wet the sponge, making sure to wring it out very well, gently wipe your baby’s face (without using soap), clean the eyelids with a cotton ball. Unless your baby is really dirty, there is no need to use soap. Continue to gently bathe your infant, paying special attention to creases around the neck, behind the ears, under the arms and the diaper area. Wash your baby’s toes and fingers as well.
After the umbilical cord has fallen off and is healed, you can start to bathe your baby in a tub or basin. NEVER leave your baby unattended. Again, leave your hand on your baby at all times and have all items prepared beforehand. Only fill the tub with 2 inches of warm water. If your baby is extremely agitated, it is okay to sponge bathe until he/she is ready for a full bath.
These are just a few general newborn care tips. Do not worry; you will be an amazing parent. The first rule is to love your baby and the rest will follow. Again, never be afraid to ask for assistance when needed and make sure to take care of yourself so you can properly care for your newborn!