Caring for a new-born baby calls for a whole different level of gentleness, patience and persistence. It can get overwhelming for new parents, because it’s hard to figure out what your baby needs, why they’re crying or not sleeping, or how to best care for this gentle and fragile little angel. Fortunately, understanding and nurturing your new-born baby’s needs are not rocket science. With a little help, you can have a smooth sailing journey into parenthood. Here are a few tips to help you out.
It’s natural to feel nervous about holding a baby, considering how fragile they appear!
Wash your hands: Make sure your hands are clean before you handle the baby. Your baby’s immune system isn’t fully built to maximum strength yet, which makes them susceptible to infections. Keep a hand sanitiser close at hand, for even visitors!
Support the neck and head: Whether you’re cradling the baby in your arms or holding them upright, make sure the baby’s head is balanced on your arm or with your hand. Gently but firmly place your palm at the nape of the baby’s neck when you’re carrying them.
Avoid sudden movements: Try not to shake your baby too vigorously or startle them while playing or waking them up. Your baby’s nervous system isn’t mature yet, so startling them may be harmful. Similarly, avoid throwing the baby in the air until they’re a little older.
Your baby is going to cry. A lot. Even if you’ve fed them. This can cause a lot of confusion as you may think that your baby is under pain or discomfort. But, try to relax. A stressed mommy will only stress the baby further. Crying is the only way babies can communicate. Simple tricks such as swaddling them in soft fabric, cradling them in your arms or shushing and swinging them gently will prove extremely effective. Soothing music helps work wonders too! Don’t stick to just one method. Be flexible with what works for your baby and soon you’ll find that perfect trick.
Breastfeeding is crucial in the early weeks because it contains all the nutrients and vitamins required for your baby’s development. Moreover, breast milk contains disease-fighting antibodies that will protect your baby from illness and build their immunity. It’s important to remember that babies feed more frequently throughout the day – mostly every two or three hours.
Make sure you’re seated in a comfortable position while breastfeeding. Make sure your baby burps after every feeding – however it’s okay if the baby falls asleep during or immediately after feeding.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you’re having even the slightest trouble breastfeeding your baby, consult with your doctor for the best solution!
First things first, you don’t need to bathe your baby every day. In fact, in the first few weeks i.e. until the umbilical cord heals, give your baby sponge baths only. Make sure the area where you’re bathing the baby is warm enough – a bathroom, changing table or kitchen counter works just fine. Lay down your baby on a soft blanket or towel. It is important to keep your baby warm the whole time. So, use lukewarm water, and expose only those parts that you’re washing. Place one hand on your baby at all times, and wipe the baby using a muslin cloth or a soft cotton towel.
Cleaning and diapering are some of the most tedious tasks new parents will have to endure! But there’s no escaping this. Be prepared to change diapers at least ten times a day, considering that babies poop pretty much after every time they’ve fed. Keep supplies such as a clean diaper, diaper cream, a container of warm water, wet wipes and a towel close at hand. Make sure you clean up the baby gently but thoroughly before putting on a fresh diaper. In order to minimise diaper rashes, change diapers as soon as the baby has soiled it. Staying in a wet diaper for too long is the prime cause of rashes. Having said all of this, make sure you let your baby go diaper-free for some part of the day, so that their skin has a chance to breathe and air out a little.
Did you know that new-born babies sleep up to 20 hours a day? Doesn’t seem like it, right? Most babies don’t sleep through the night until they’re past three months. Place your baby on their back while putting them to sleep. Make sure the room is dark and quiet whenever the baby is asleep in there. If you want your baby to sleep longer at nights, maybe try to keep your baby awake for longer during the day.
It is important to remember that apart from the basics, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to caring for your baby. Find what works best for your baby through some trial and error and enjoy the moments! If you’re an experienced parent, what have been some of your unique experiences? Got any tried and tested tricks you’d want to share with newbie parents? Have questions? Drop us a message in the comments below!