Every new mom and new dad needs some help. You’ve no doubt been dreaming about your baby for months: what he’ll look like, whether he’ll be laid-back like his dad or a Type A like you. But chances are, if it’s your first child, you don’t know much about taking care of a newborn.
Well, we’ve been there, and we’re here for you, with everything you need to know to care for your baby in those exciting but often frustrating first weeks. Here’s everything you need to know about sleeping, breastfeeding, crying and more to get through those first few weeks with a new baby. Let’s get started!
Your newborn may feel fragile and delicate to you, but don’t be afraid to touch, handle or hold your new baby! In fact, studies show that babies that are held more than 2 hours per day thrive better and cry less.
Because your newborn’s neck muscles are not yet developed, you will need to support your newborn’s head whenever you pick her up. You should also support your newborn’s head against your shoulder or with your opposite hand while carrying her.
Some pediatricians recommend swaddling bathing your baby until the umbilical cord heals and falls off (usually in a week or two).
Learn how to give a newborn baby a bath and make sure you have all of the necessary bathing supplies ready before your baby arrives, so you don’t have to miss a moment with your new little one.
Dealing With Fever In Newborns And Babies
A fever means that your child’s body is fighting an infection. Fever by itself doesn’t mean that the child is seriously ill. A low to medium fever is part of the body’s defence mechanism for the usual minor illnesses of childhood.
Fever in an infant
A fever in a small infant (under 2 months of age) must be taken seriously. Rectal temperatures over 38 °C (100.4 °F) are considered elevated. It’s not advisable to use an ear thermometer at this age.
What you can do?
If your baby’s (under 2 months of age) temperature is up, remove one layer of clothing and check his temperature again in 15 to 20 minutes. If it isn’t back to normal in that time or if your baby is acting lethargic, not feeding or is extremely fussy, call your doctor.
It is very important to feed the baby on time. A newborn has to be fed every 2 to 3 hours, which means you need to nurse her 8-12 times in 24 hours. An infant should be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months.
Breast milk contains vital nutrients and antibodies that are required for a baby’s survival and growth. Nurse the baby for 10 minutes at least. Hold the breast near your baby’s lips until she latches on firmly and starts sucking.
If the baby has latched on correctly, the mother will not experience any pain in her nipples. The breast should feel less full once the baby is done feeding.
Once the baby is fed, she needs to be burped. Babies swallow air while feeding, which causes gas and colic in their tummies. Burping expels this excess air, thus aiding in digestion and preventing spit-ups and stomach colic.
Gently hold the baby against your chest with one hand. Her chin should rest on your shoulder. Pat or stroke her back very gently with your other hand until she burps.
Many first-time parents are surprised at how many diapers their baby goes through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, store plenty of diapers before you bring your baby home. It’s also helpful to learn how to change your baby’s diaper ahead of time (and even practice!).
Also, be prepared for nappy rashes as most children aged 0-2 years develop a diaper rash in some way. When you see the first sign of redness, apply a safe yet effective zinc oxide-based cream on the diaper area.
How to Choose Products for Your Newborn?
Parenting tips for babies are incomplete without guidelines on how to choose the right baby products. An ideal baby product should not be harsh on your baby’s skin or eyes, dry out your baby’s skin or disrupt the skin’s natural barrier.
A baby product should be: Safe, gentle, mild: Safety is an understatement when you are dealing with skin as delicate as that of your baby’s. It is expected that any product which claims to be specifically a baby product would be safe for baby skin.
It should be tested for allergies: Allergens are widespread which means that no substance can be said to be entirely free of any allergic reactions. However, for a product to be considered as a baby product, it must be tested and have proved negative for any allergic tendencies. In other words, it must be “Clinically Proven Mild”.