They (New Parents) went through pregnancy, labor and delivery , and now they are ready to go home and start life with their baby. But once at home, they may feel that they have no idea what they are doing.
These tips can help even the most nervous new parents feel quickly confident in the task of caring for a newborn.
Ask for help after birth
Consider receiving help during this time, which can be very overwhelming and hectic. While you are in the hospital, talk to the experts around you. Many hospitals have food specialists or lactation consultants who can help you start breastfeeding or bottle-feeding . Nurses are also an excellent resource to learn how to lift, burp, change and care for the baby.
To get help at home, you may want to hire a baby nurse, a midwife, or a responsible teen neighbor to help for a few days after birth. The doctor or hospital can help you find information about help in the home and may be able to recommend some home care agencies.
Frequently, relatives and friends also want to help. Even if you do not agree on some things, do not despise your experience. But if you do not feel like receiving visitors or have other concerns, do not feel guilty about restricting visits.
Manage a newborn
If you have not spent much time near newborns, your fragility may be intimidating. Here are some basic aspects to consider:
- Wash hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before taking the baby. Newborns still do not have astrong immune system , so they are at risk of catching infections. Make sure that everyone who touches the baby has clean hands.
- Hold the baby’s head and neck. When cradling the baby, lifting it upright or lying down, it is necessary to hold the head.
- Never shake the newborn, either to play or discharge their frustration. Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake the baby, do not shake it; just caress her feet or cheeks.
- Be sure to tie the strings of the stroller or the car safety seat when you place the baby. Limit activities that could be very rough or cause shaking.
- Remember that the newborn is not prepared for rough play, such as rocking him on his knees or throwing him into the air.
Create emotional bonds and reassure the baby
The creation of emotional ties is probably one of the most pleasing parts of baby care and occurs at the moment of greatest sensitivity during the first hours and days after childbirth, when the parents establish a deep connection with the baby. Physical closeness can foster emotional connection.
For babies, attachment promotes emotional growth, which affects their development in other areas, such as physical growth. Another way to create bonding is to “fall in love” with the baby. Children develop well when they have a father or another adult in their life who loves them unconditionally.
Start creating bonding by cradling your baby and gently caressing him. Both you and your partner can take advantage of the possibility of making skin-to-skin contact while cradling or feeding the baby.
Babies, especially premature babies and those with medical conditions, may respond to baby massage . Some types of massage can improve the bonding and help the growth and development of the baby. There are many books and videos about baby massage; ask your doctor to recommend some. However, care must be taken because babies are not as strong as adults; therefore, it is important to massage them gently.
Babies usually adore the sounds of the voice, when they speak to them, sing to them, babble them or coo them. Your baby probably likes listening to music, too. Rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate your baby’s hearing. If your child is upset, try to sing, recite a poem or children’s song, or read aloud while gently cradling him in a chair.
Some babies are more sensitive than others to touch, light or sounds and may be frightened or easily cried, sleep less than expected or turn their faces when someone speaks to them or sings to them. If this happens with your baby, reduce noise and lights to a minimum or moderate level.
Another technique to reassure babies, which is very useful for some babies during the first weeks, is to shave it (wrap it in a blanket so that it is tight). Every new father should learn to do it. To properly “wrap” babies, it is necessary to keep the arms close to the body and allow some movement of the legs. Fajar the baby not only serves to keep him warm, but seems to give newborns a sense of security and comfort. Fajar the baby can also serve to reduce the startle reflex, which can awaken the baby.
This is the way to fasten a baby:
- Extend the blanket, with a slightly bent corner.
- Place the baby on his back on the blanket with his head above the bent corner.
- Wrap the left corner over the baby’s body and tuck it under the baby’s back, just below the right arm.
- Bring the bottom corner up on the baby’s feet and bend it to the head. If the blanket is too close to the baby’s face, fold it down. Be sure not to wrap too tight around the hip. The hips and knees should be slightly flexed and out. If you wrap the baby too tight, you can increase the chances of hip dysplasia.
- Wrap the right corner around the baby and place it under the back, on the left side. Leave only the neck and head exposed. To make sure that your baby is not tightly wrapped, see if you can reach between your baby’s blanket and chest, which will allow him to breathe without problem. However, you should make sure that the blanket is not too loose to prevent it from developing.
- Do not wrap babies after two months of age. At that age, some babies can turn around when they are wrapped and this can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
All about diapers
Probably, before returning home, you have already decided whether you will use disposable diapers or cloth diapers. No matter which one you use, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week.
Before changing the baby’s diaper , make sure you have everything you need at your fingertips. This way, you will not have to leave the baby unattended on the changer. You will need the following:
- a clean diaper
- bras (if you use cloth diapers)
- ointment for the diaper area
- baby wipes (or a container with hot water and a cloth or cotton wool)
After each belly movement or if the diaper is wet, place your baby on his back and remove the dirty diaper. Use water, cotton wool and a cloth or wipes to gently clean the baby’s genital area. When removing a child’s diaper, do so with caution, because exposure to the air can make you urinate. When cleaning a girl’s genital area, clean it from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection . To prevent or cure a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands after changing a diaper.
Diaper rash is a common concern. In general, the dermatitis is a red, lumpy rash, and disappears in a few days with warm baths, a little cream and some time without the diaper. Most rashes occur because the baby’s skin is sensitive and irritated with wet or dirty diapers.
To prevent or cure diaper rash, practice the following tips:
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently and as soon as possible, after you move your belly.
- Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes can sometimes cause irritation). Then apply a very thick layer of diaper rash cream. It is convenient to use creams with zinc oxide because they form a barrier against moisture.
- If you use cloth diapers, wash them with fragrance-free detergent and without pigments.
- Let the baby be without a diaper for a while of the day. This gives the skin the opportunity to ventilate.
If the diaper rash continues for more than three days or seems to be getting worse, call the doctor. It may be due to an infection with a fungus that requires a prescription medication.
Basics of the bathroom
You should give your baby a sponge bath until the following happens:
- the umbilical cord falls and the umbilicus is cured completely (1 to 4 weeks)
- Circumcision is cured (1 to 2 weeks)
During the first year, a bath is sufficient between two and three times a week. The most frequent baths can cause dry skin.
Have these items ready before you bathe your baby:
- a clean soft cloth
- soft soap and shampoo for babies, which do not have any fragrance
- a soft brush to stimulate the baby’s scalp
- towels or blankets
- a clean diaper
- clean clothes
Sponge baths For a sponge bath, look for a flat, safe surface (such as a changing table, a floor, or a countertop) in a warm room. Fill a sink, if there is one nearby, or a container with warm water (not hot). Uncover the baby and wrap it in a towel. Clean the baby’s eyes with a cloth (or a clean cotton ball) soaked in water, starting with one eye and wiping it from the inner corner to the outer corner. Use one clean end of the cloth or other cotton swab to wash the other eye. Wipe the nose and ears of the baby with a damp cloth. Then, rewet the cloth with a little soap, wash your face gently and dry it with a towel without rubbing the skin.
Next, with a baby shampoo, lather and gently wash the baby’s head. Then rinse it. With soap and a damp cloth, gently wash the rest of the body, paying special attention to the folds that form under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck and in the genital area. Once you have cleaned these areas, make sure they are thoroughly dry. Then, put the diaper on and dress the baby.
Baths in bathtub. When your baby is ready for a bath in a bathtub, the first baths should be brief and gentle. If the baby gets upset, sponge again for one or two weeks. Then try again to bathe him in a bathtub.
In addition to the elements mentioned above, you will also need the following:
- a baby tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm water (not hot!). To test the water temperature, immerse the inside of the elbow or wrist in the water. The baby bathtubs are made of plastic and can be placed inside the bathtub; The size is better for babies and makes bathing easier.
Uncover the baby and then place it immediately in the water, in a warm room, to avoid getting cold. Make sure that the water in the tub is no more than 2 to 3 inches deep and that no more water is entering the tub. Use one hand to hold the baby’s head and the other to guide the baby’s feet first into the water. Talk softly and slowly place the baby in the tub until the water reaches the breast.
Use a cloth to wash your face and hair. Gently massage the baby’s scalp with the fingertips or a soft baby brush, even in the area of the fontanels (soft areas) on the top of the head. When you rinse the soap or shampoo from your baby’s head, place a hand on your forehead so that the soap goes to your sides and does not get in your baby’s eyes. Gently wash the rest of the baby’s body with water and a small amount of soap.
Throughout the bath, regularly pour water on the baby’s body so it is not cold. After the bath, wrap the baby immediately with a towel and be sure to cover the head. Baby hooded towels are ideal for keeping a freshly bathed baby warm.
Never leave the baby alone while bathing. If you need to leave the bathroom, wrap the baby in a towel and take it with you.
Umbilical cord care and circumcision
Immediately after circumcision , the tip of the penis is usually covered with gauze soaked in Vaseline to prevent the wound from sticking to the diaper. Gently brush the clean tip with warm water after changing the diaper. Next, put Vaseline on the tip of the penis so it does not stick to the diaper. The redness or irritation of the penis should heal within a few days, but if the redness gets worse, there is swelling or pus-filled blisters, there may be an infection and you should call your baby’s doctor immediately.
The care of the umbilical cord in newborns is also important. Some doctors suggest cleaning the area with an alcohol swab until the cord stump dries and falls, which usually occurs in 10 days to 3 weeks. But other doctors recommend not touching the area. Talk to your child’s doctor to find out what you prefer.
The area of the baby’s navel should not be immersed in water until the umbilical cord stump has fallen and the area has healed. Until it falls, the cord stump will change color and change from yellow to brown or black. This is normal. Call the doctor if the belly button area looks red, has an unpleasant odor or ooze.
Feed and burp your baby
Regardless of whether you breastfeed or bottle- feed your baby , you will probably be amazed at how often it is necessary to do so. In general, it is recommended to feed babies on demand ; whenever they seem hungry Maybe your baby will let you know by crying, holding his fingers to his mouth or making sucking sounds.
Newborn babies need to receive food every 2 to 3 hours. If you are breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to take between 10 and 15 minutes of each breast. If you are feeding it with formula, your baby will most likely take about 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 milliliters) each time you feed it.
Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they eat enough. If you need to wake the newborn frequently or if your baby does not seem interested in eating or sucking, call the doctor.
If you are feeding it with formula, you can easily control whether your baby is getting enough food; But if you breastfeed, it can be a little more difficult. If your baby seems satisfied, wet about six diapers and moves the belly several times a day, sleeps well and regularly gains weight, then he is probably eating enough.
Another good way to determine if your baby is taking milk is to check if your breasts feel full before feeding the baby and not so much afterwards. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your child’s growth or feeding schedule.
Babies often swallow air when they feed and this can make them annoying. To help prevent this problem, burp the baby often. Try burping every 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 ml) of milk if you give your bottle or every time you change your breast if you breastfeed.
If your baby is prone to gas, has gastroesophageal reflux, or seems restless while feeding, try burping after every ounce (30 ml) of milk if you give your bottle or every five minutes if you breastfeed.
Try these tips to make him burp:
- Hold the baby upright, with your head on your shoulder. Hold the baby’s head and back and pat him gently on the back with the other hand.
- Feel the baby on your lap. Hold the baby’s chest and head with one hand, resting the baby’s chin on the palm, so that the lower end of the palm is in contact with the baby’s chest (be careful to grab it by the chin, not by the throat). With the other hand, pat her gently on the back.
- Lay the baby face down on his lap. Hold the baby’s head and make sure it is higher than the breast. Next, pat or rub your back.
If the baby does not belch after a few minutes, change her position and try to burp her for a few more minutes before feeding again. Every time you finish feeding, burp the baby. Then, keep it upright for at least 10 to 15 minutes to avoid regurgitation.
Basics of sleep
As a new parent, you may be surprised to learn that newborns, who seem to need it every minute of the day, actually sleep approximately 16 hours or more.
Newborns usually sleep for periods of 2 to 4 hours. Do not expect yours to sleep through the night. The digestive system of babies is so small that they need to be fed every few hours and it is necessary to wake them up if they have not received food for 4 hours (or more frequently if the doctor is concerned about weight gain).
When can you expect the baby to sleep through the night? Many babies sleep all night (between 6 and 8 hours) at three months of age, but if yours does not, you do not have to worry. Like adults, babies must develop their own patterns and sleep cycles. Therefore, if the newborn gains weight and is healthy, do not despair if you do not sleep all night at 3 months of age.
It is important to always put the baby on his back to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome . Other safety practices for sleep include the following: do not use blankets, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals or pillows in the crib or bassinet (these items can choke the baby) and share the room (but not the bed ) with parents during the first six to twelve months. Also, make sure to change the position of the baby’s head from one night to the next (first to the right and then to the left) to prevent the development of a flat area on one side of the head.
Many newborns have day and night “exchanged”. They are usually more awake and alert during the night and more sleepy during the day. One way to help them is to minimize stimulation during the night. Maintain soft lighting, for example using a night table. Leave the games and chats with the baby for the day. When your baby wakes up during the day, try to keep him awake a while longer by talking and playing.
Although it is likely that dealing with a newborn will cause anxiety, in a few weeks you will develop a routine and be an expert. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your doctor to recommend resources that can help you and your baby grow together.
This article is purely informative, we do not have the power to prescribe any medical treatment or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to go to a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.