Becoming a new parent can be both an exciting and stressful experience. After all, being responsible for the life of another human being is no small responsibility.
From infancy to early adulthood, it will be your job to provide sustenance and guidance to your child as they grow and make sense of the world around them.
Here are a few basic tips to help you become more confident in caring for your newborn.
Handling and carrying
Make sure that when you’re picking them up from a reclining position, your hands are properly supporting their head and neck.
Be very delicate when you’re trying to initiate play with your baby. They are not ready to be thrown in the air or shaken abruptly.
Feeding and nutrition
In general, babies need to be fed on demand. They will usually get hungry very quickly and need to be fed every 2-3 hours. Whether you intend to breastfeed or formula feed, get pediatric advice on the best approach for your baby.
However, it can be difficult to determine if the baby is having enough to eat when you’re breastfeeding. A good rule of thumb is if after feeding, your baby:
- Looks placated and satisfied
- Gets about six diapers wet
- Produces several stools a day
- Gaining weight in a healthy way
- Has no problems with sleeping
Keep in mind that good nutrition in a baby’s first two years is essential for proper growth.
Bathing and hygiene
You can give your baby either a sponge or tub bath. The former is recommended until the navel wound from the umbilical cord removal has completely healed (this will take about four weeks).
To do a proper sponge bath, use a soft and clean washcloth to wipe your baby’s delicate skin. For the head, a soft brush to stimulate the scalp will work just fine. Mild and unscented baby soap and shampoo will be more than sufficient.
When tub baths become more appropriate, ensure that you ease your baby into it. Get a good sense of their comfort level with the tub and as always, be very gentle.
Make sure there’s about 2-3 inches of warm water and of course, keep the water mild and warm.
In the first year, it’s perfectly fine to bathe your newborn 2-3 times a week as excessive bathing can potentially dry up skin.
Sleep and rest
Newborn babies sleep in intervals of 2-4 hours. By the time they reach 3 months, they can usually sleep through the night, but don’t expect your baby to do this right away, all babies are different.
You would need to adjust your sleeping cycle as well to ensure your little one is well taken care of. Consult your pediatrician if you notice anything that might be irregular.
Further support and resources
Caring for infants and toddlers (0-3 years old) the right way is crucial for their long-term development. With the right approach and support from your spouse and other family members, your newborn can take advantage of a healthy start in life.