The birth of a child brings happiness to a family, but it may also cause a fear of the unknown. You may feel like you don’t have any idea of what you are doing.
Let us discuss some simple tips which can make you feel more confident about caring for your little one.
Open for taking help from friends and family.
If you are a first-time mother, you will be having a lot of questions. While in the hospital, doctors and nurses can teach you how to hold, change and take care of your baby, a sense of panic may develop after reaching home.
Relatives and friends can help you in coping up with this stress. You can learn a lot of things from their experience.
Handling your baby
The fragility of your newborn can be intimidating. But these few basic steps will help you a lot:
- Wash your hands before handling the baby.
Your baby may not have a strong immune system, so, is more prone to catch infections. Always make sure that everyone (including you) who handles the baby has clean hands.
- Support head and neck.
Always support the head and neck while carrying or laying your baby down.
- No shaking of your newborn
Shaking your baby can have serious complications (bleeding in the brain). Instead, you can blow gently on the cheek or tickle your baby’s feet.
- Securely fastened your baby into the carrier.
- Avoid any rough play (being jiggled or thrown in the air) with your baby.
Bonding with your baby
Bonding with the newborn is the most pleasurable and important part of infant care.
Bonding happens first hours and days after birth. Physical closeness during this sensitive time can result in an emotional bond.
Your baby thrives on unconditional love from parents or other adults in the family. Bonding is not only necessary for emotional wellbeing but also for the physical development of the baby.
The parents can begin bonding by developing skin-to-skin contact with their babies while cradling or feeding them. Sometimes, babies may also respond to a gentle massage.
Your little one may also love your talking, babbling, and singing. Some babies are sensitive to touch or sound. They might startle when someone sings or speaks loudly to them. For these babies, parents need to keep noise and light levels low.
Swaddling your baby
Swaddling or wrapping a baby up gently in breathable cloth, to give your baby a sense of comfort and security.
As a parent, you should learn the proper swaddling technique.
Diapering your baby
Your baby will dirty diapers about ten times a day, making diapering one of the most difficult tasks for the parents.
Before changing a diaper, make sure to have all the necessary items with you, so your baby is not left unattended.
You may need the following:
- a diaper
- diaper moisturizer/ ointment/oil
- diaper wipes
Sometimes you may encounter diaper rash on your baby’s sensitive skin. Follow these easy tips to avoid rashes:
- Change your baby’s diaper immediately after bowels.
- Clean the area gently with mild soap and water
- Apply a thick layer of cream to create a barrier against moisture.
- The baby can go undiapered for some part of the day.
Bathing your baby
Give a sponge bath to your baby till the umbilical cord falls off, and the incision heals completely (usually takes one to 4 weeks).
In the first year, you can give a bath to your baby two or three times a week. More frequent may cause drying of your baby’s skin.
Umbilical cord care of your newborn:
You should not submerge your baby’s navel area in water until the cord stump falls off. If the navel area becomes red or has some discharge, immediately contact your doctor.
Feeding your newborn
How often I should feed my baby? It is one of the most common questions of new moms. The answer is simple. Feed your baby whenever he/she is hungry. Your baby may give you a hint by crying or putting his/her fingers in mouth.
A newborn baby may feel hungry every 2 to 3 hours. During breastfeeding, nurse your baby for about ten minutes at each breast.
Burping your baby
Babies sometimes take in air while eating. This air makes them feel full or may cause gastroesophageal reflux.
If you’re nursing, burp before moving to other breasts. If you are bottle-feeding, burp your baby after every 2 to 3 ounces of milk. Also, try burping your little one after feeding too.
Sleeping habit of your baby
A newborn needs a sleep of about 16 hours or more in a day. The typical sleeping period is 2 to 4 hours. The small digestive system of your baby needs nourishment after every 3 to 4 hours and should be awakened if haven’t been fed for 5 hours.
Some healthy sleeping practice includes:
- Always place babies on their backs to sleep
- Do not use blankets, pillows, quilts, or stuffed toys in the crib
- Alternate the position of your baby’s head every night to prevent a flat spot on one side of your baby’s head.
It is natural for you to feel anxious about handling your little one. But in a few weeks, you will learn how to take care of your baby. If you have any questions regarding your baby, do not hesitate to discuss them with your doctor.
Dr. Kiranmayi Setty, Senior Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore