Babies are little bundles of joy who look up to their parents for everything (literally). From when they need food to how to get them to sleep, as parents, it’s all on us!
For new parents, this can sound like a lot of responsibility. But don’t worry, caring for a newborn isn’t as hard as your grandparents’ stories might lead you to believe.
You only need to understand a few basic principles of newborn care, and you will be on your way to raising a healthy, happy baby.
We are here to be your guide!
Here are some key tips for caring for a newborn:
Observe Your Child Closely During the First Few Weeks
When you finally have your baby in your arms, you will probably be obsessed with them. You’ll feel their tiny knuckles and toes, count their fingers and eyes, and check every inch of their perfect little body. But you must also observe your baby for signs of specific injuries that they might have suffered during birth.
Look for skin rashes, swelling around the head and eyes, or any irregularities in their movements. There are multiple childbirth injuries that show up within the first few weeks. Erb’s palsy, for instance, is a form of nerve damage in the shoulder, arm, and hand area caused by a difficult delivery.
It is important to identify signs early so that you can seek medical help right away. If you feel the situation is a result of medical negligence, you could work with a lawyer to look into the details of Erb’s palsy injuries lawsuits.
Create a Consistent Sleep Routine
Babies sleep a lot. They also have different sleep cycles than adults. Usually, babies sleep between 14 and 19 hours. But these are broken into multiple naps throughout the day and disrupted sleep cycles at night. If the baby sleeps for more than five hours at a stretch, they’re sleeping through the night.
Since you’ll only get some “me” time when the baby is napping, it is crucial to establish a consistent sleep routine right away. It will ensure that your baby gets enough rest and you get some much-needed time by yourself.
We recommend playing soothing music, keeping the room dimly lit, giving them a warm bath, and singing their favorite lullaby to make them sleep. You can also massage your little one with baby lotion or vegetable oil.
Feeding the Baby
Newborns feed every two to three hours. Sometimes, if your baby feels particularly hungry, they might feed even more frequently. The duration of each session depends on your baby’s appetite and size. But they should feed at least 8-10 times in 24 hours.
Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby. It also builds their immunity through the antibodies present in the milk. It provides all the essential nutrients for healthy growth. Experts at The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend moms to exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months.
If you’re struggling with the breastfeeding blues, seek professional help. Consulting a lactation specialist or visiting a breastfeeding support group can be beneficial. Through these resources, you can get help with the following:
- Finding right position
- Dealing with sore and cracked nipples and engorged breasts
- Latching issues
- Inefficient milk flow
Know What the Diaper is Telling You
Healthy babies wet about ten diapers a day. This is your way of keeping tabs on their hydration levels. You can also tell if your baby is eating well by paying attention to the color and smell of the diaper.
If your baby’s diapers are dark yellow, it could be a sign that they are not drinking enough. If they are pale yellow or clear, it’s likely that your baby is hydrated. The white curds in your baby’s stool are undigested bits of milk. If their diaper is soiled with green, watery stools, it could be a sign of lactose intolerance.
Also, keep an eye out for diaper rashes. It’s a common issue among babies, but it can be dealt with using diaper cream and air drying your baby after each change.
When changing your baby’s diaper, keep everything at hand. Have a diaper, wipes, and cream ready beforehand. It will help you spare your baby from being exposed for too long.
Keeping your Baby Clean and Comfortable
Babies are born with delicate skin. It is dry and paper-thin, so their clothes need to be soft and breathable. Natural materials like cotton are best as they absorb moisture and allow air circulation.
When bathing your baby, stick to warm water and no soaps for the first few weeks. Soap can make their skin dry and itchy. You can use baby wipes instead for daily use. The alcohol-free ones do not disrupt the protective layer of oil on your baby’s skin.
Finally, make sure to keep them warm and comfortable. Babies lose their body heat quickly, so they need to stay appropriately covered up all the time. We suggest using a combination of swaddles, blankets, hats, and onesies until they are old enough to wear clothes with sleeves and legs.
Caring for a newborn can be overwhelming, but it is also gratifying. With patience and consistency, you will soon find yourself getting the hang of it. You will learn to recognize your baby’s cues and respond appropriately, creating a strong bond that will last forever.
But don’t exhaust yourself in the process. Take some time out for yourself, too, and practice self-care. It will keep you happy and stress-free, which is essential for your little one’s wellness.
Good luck, and don’t forget- you’re doing a fantastic job!
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