Feel excited and terrified at the same time? Chances are you are going to have a baby. As magical as it all sounds, every expecting parent knows that the path ahead is going to be a lot more difficult and not to mention, confusing. One of the basic things that you have to know is how to take care of your newborn child from head to toe. No matter how many pregnancy preparation books you go through, nothing beats stumbling every time you attempt something new and learning as you go along. Nevertheless, we have some tips which would help you in caring for your newborn baby so that even if you think you are going to be absolutely clueless, you end up emerging as a winner at the end of the day!
How to Care for yourself and your Baby in the first 24 hours after you bring him or her home?
If you thought the nine months when you were pregnant were going to be the hardest of your lifetime, you surely hadn’t had a child before. You might be relieved when the doctor gives you the leave to go home after your delivery, but the real work starts from the moment you reach home. If your hormonal levels going on a roller coaster ride wasn’t enough, you have to come to terms with your body undergoing a massive change. During these times, it is crucial that you get a grip on yourself and cut some slack. Everything is new to you and you are allowed to make some mistakes.
The first thing you should brace yourself for are the new baby blues, and in extreme cases, Post Partum Depression (PPD). If you feel like nothing matters anymore and that you are slowly losing hold of who you are as a person, don’t feel shy in communicating your misgivings to your husband and to your doctor, if need be. Don’t forget to allot some time for yourself as you’ve been a lot too. Read a book, listen to music or watch movies, do something, anything that makes you happy. If you are feeling sore in your vaginal area, try using a water squirt bottle every time you go to pee and apply ice packs at regular intervals. On the other hand, if you had your baby from a C-section, you should refrain from doing any kind of physically strenuous work and even stooping to pick something is a strict no-no.
How to Feed your Newborn Baby?
Your newborn baby has a stomach, which can hold one or three ounces at the most. But they do need to feed at regular intervals so must be prepared to be available every time your baby starts crying as they exclusively drink breast milk and nothing else during this time. If it is not possible for you to be around your baby all the time, make sure that you use a breast pump to keep milk stored in a bottle so that a nurse might administer it as and when needed.
Not all babies announce their hunger pangs with loud cries though. There are others who would smack lips or suck on their thumbs whenever they feel hungry. Though babies lose all their chubbiness within a few days of being born, you might want to keep his feeding schedule on point so that his weight remains at an optimum level. Even if he or she feels sleepy, try rubbing his or her back to wake her up and then keep diverting his attention so that he is encouraged to eat.
Now that we have that out of the way, you should be aware of the intricacies of breast-feeding. You will notice that your breasts feel firm and heavy because of the milk that is struggling to pour out. Chances are your hospital has already trained you in lactating and breast feeding your new born baby but still some guidance is always needed once you actually start doing it. The frequent breast-feeding might leave your nipples sore and hurting, in such cases, try to massage your breasts in circular motion.
How to handle the burps, spit ups and hiccups of your newborn baby?
Your baby had been in the amniotic sac for the past nine months, so it goes without saying that he or she might be experiencing some blockage in the airway and needs to be burped frequently. Every time you breast feed your baby, try burping her whenever you alternate between the breasts and eventually you will come to know instinctively when your baby needs to be burped. You can lay her on your lap and pat your baby’s back in circular patterns and also rest his head on your shoulder and pat him.
If you see that your baby is spitting up everything that they are drinking, you shouldn’t concern yourself as it is quite natural. However, you should still learn to differentiate in between normal spitting and excessive reflux and get it checked by your doctor as soon as you can.
How can you bathe your Newborn?
You don’t need to bathe your baby from head to toe while they are still holding on to the remnant of their umbilical cord. Since their skin is still quite sensitive from remaining in contact with the amniotic fluid for the past nine months, excessive bathing might leave their skin itchy and dry. Hence, sponge baths are definitely the way to go. Use an ordinary washcloth immersed in hot water to gently rub in between the folds where the dirt might have accumulated. Also clean their genitals with the washcloth and if you begin noticing any redness from the diaper, use a baby lotion from a trusted brand or some petroleum jelly to soothe those areas.
How long a newborn baby should ordinarily be sleeping? How can you help your baby to sleep safely and peacefully?
A newborn baby sleeps for around 16 to 18 hours on average. Even if your child doesn’t sleep for those hours on a stretch, don’t worry as even those short naps tend to add up to the same amount. Luckily, you don’t need to think about specific spaces where they can sleep as the babies are capable of sleeping almost anywhere provided the spaces offer them a snug fit as it imitates the cramped surroundings present inside your womb. If you let her sleep on a bed, make sure that he or she isn’t left unattended as he or she might roll off anytime. Also, if your baby sleeps in a crib, positively remove all the blankets, pillows and toys from the vicinity as he might force himself on the pillows and block all airways till the extent that he or she suffocates to death. The breathing patterns of newborn babies often differ from those of adults and even those of children. They are periodic breathers and tend to make unnatural sounds when they are sleeping as because their air passage is still not unobstructed. If you are still concerned, get in touch with your doctor with regards to this matter.
How soon can you travel with your baby?
Though there is no hard and fast rule for travelling with your baby, doctors generally advise new parents to wait up until six weeks after the birth date to take the baby out travelling. Make sure he is vaccinated before you take him out to countries where he might be prone to diseases and also book a travel cot so that he can cosy up during the taxing travel process. Keep breast milk pumped out and water in stock so that he never feels hungry or gets dehydrated.
Hope, you got to know how to care for your baby in diverse situations from our article. Now that you leave us with a lot of confidence, don’t forget to cuddle him up frequently- a bit of love goes a long way!