Baby Health and Safety Survival Guide​

Ashton Forzley

New Mom of 3 Month Old

Newborn Baby Health and Safety Tips For New Parents

As if actually having a baby isn’t daunting on its own, the nurses load you up with an overwhelming amount of informational resources and expect you to be a pro at baby safety. At least that is how it seems.

Real Resources Recommended By Real Nurses:

My advice for new parents is, first, take a deep breath. You aren’t an expert and that is OKAY. Second, utilize every resource you can get your hands on! We are going to touch base on the most common questions new parents have and hopefully help you feel more equipped to be caring for a newborn than you did initially.

How to Hold a Baby

The most important thing you need to know when it comes to holding your baby is SUPPORT. Whether you are going for a cradle hold or picking the baby up under their arms, always support their little head and neck. 

When you cradle your little one, let your arm support their back and one hand supports their head. When you’re holding your baby under the arms, make sure you aren’t putting pressure under their armpits but actually holding them around the ribs, then support their head with your index fingers. If you are moving a baby from one place to another, firmly hold your baby beneath their shoulders and head with one hand and use the other hand to support their bum. 

Just remember – SUPPORT – and you’ll be in the clear.

How to Bond With Your Newborn

The thought of bonding with your newborn can seem so surreal when you’ve just had your newborn baby. Don’t stress if you don’t feel bonded right away, it comes differently for everyone. If you are breastfeeding, you may find that bonding comes naturally by that alone.

Dads and bottle-fed babies are a little different. Even if you are breastfeeding, try to pump at least once a day so that dad or your partner can feed the baby. This feeding time is when your baby is happiest and the person feeding gets to give them that joy.

Babies don’t really start to see your face until about 4 weeks of age so your scent, voice, and heartbeat are what your baby is paying attention to in those first weeks. Hold your baby close, talk to your LiLHuman, practice skin-to-skin, and most importantly make your baby feel safe.

Be patient and remember this bonding is different for every parent. As long as you are doing your best to take good care of your baby, the rest will follow.

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How to Soothe a Colicky Newborn with Swaddling

Swaddling can be a life-saver. It gives your newborn a sense of security similar to what they have when they’re close to you. Start with a receiving blanket – stretchy ones are great because they are easier to wrap tightly. Bring your newborn’s arms to their side and wrap them snugly. Make sure you leave your baby’s legs loose so they can move their hips then place your baby on their back and watch the magic happen.

Diapering 101: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly 💩

Our biggest tip here is – BE PREPARED. Seriously, I think our newborn was in size 1 diapers by 2 weeks of age. Luckily, we were gifted some and were armed and ready for the change. Have newborn, size 1, and size 2 diapers at your disposal. Try to have an area designated to changing your baby and keep everything you need there. These are all good things to have on deck for your baby changing station:
  • diapers
  • baby powder
  • rash cream
  • baby wipes
  • lotion
  • hand sanitizer

When changing your baby, be sure to wipe all the little skin folds. Some baby stool can be acidic and give your baby a skin rash. In these cases, use a diaper rash cream after every diaper. Creams like Desitin with high zinc oxide is recommended because it seals out moisture. Aside from that, remember to line each diaper with baby powder and have extra outfits ready cause blowouts totally happen. Now you can take on the dirty task of diaper duty.

How to Relieve Infant Gas Pains

When your baby is crying and you’ve tried everything else – it could be gas.

Try bicycle legs to release the tension or tummy rubs. If this doesn’t help, Gripe Water is literal magic. Make sure to give the dosage according to the label and hold your baby close afterwards.

Umbilical Cord Care

There really isn’t anything specific you have to do to actually care for the umbilical cord. The most important thing to remember here is not to submerge your newborn in water until it has fallen off. Before then, if you feel the need to clean your baby give them a sponge bath and make sure not to get the umbilical cord wet. 

Circumcisions 🍆

I remember my husband and I were so ready for the circumcision to heal on our son. It’s not that it’s difficult to care for, it’s just tedious and no one wants to hear their baby cry. Luckily when you circumcise a newborn at birth they’ll forget it as soon as it heals! 

My biggest tip is to be quick and use lots of petroleum jelly. Buy it in a tube and put it around the circumcision and then on the diaper where it touches. Then, hang tight cause it heals fast!

Tummy Time For Newborns

Start with a mat or a clean space to lay your newborn on their tummy. Try to start doing tummy time around two weeks of age – the earlier the better. It’s such an important step to getting your baby on track to crawl.  It helps build neck strength so that your newborn can learn to support their own head. Then as time persists your baby will begin to push themselves up and eventually crawl right off the mat!  Really love this video for learning different tummy time strategies and what you can use aside from a mat:

Breastfeeding Positions

First off, invest in a nursing pillow! They are contoured to fit your body and support that baby of yours weight into position. If you don’t want to make that splurge, then a normal pillow will work fine, just from experience I preferred the overall stiffness and shape of a nursing pillow. With a newborn, it’s important to face the entirety of their body towards your breast. Point your nipple towards the roof of their mouth and latching may come natural. If it doesn’t, it’s OKAY, my best advice then is to utilize your hospital’s FREE lactation consultant to the fullest extent! They’ll give you their direct line for you to contact them even after you leave and they are SO helpful.

Once you’ve nailed all that there are so many great breastfeeding positions to give a try:

  1. Cradle – This is the most popular position out there and may be the easiest if you aren’t having trouble latching
  2. Cross Cradle – Tends to be best for smaller or premature newborns
  3. Back Lying – Super comfy for mom and works great if you have a heavy letdown
  4. Football – Said to be the best for mothers who have had a C-section or have larger breasts
  5. Side-lying Position – Great option for night feeding, also super comfy for mom

Sources: whattoexpect.com, youbabyandi.com

Common Baby Skin Issues

The main skin issues you’ll come across with a newborn is milia, cradle cap, rashes – of sorts – and eventually baby acne. 

Milia is caused by a collection of dead skin cells under the surface of your newborns skin. It’s the little white dots you see on their face from birth. There is nothing you can do to prevent this and it’s totally normal. You may even notice the bumps change placement daily! 

Cradle cap is the flaky skin you’ll see in your newborns hairline. This is generally caused by excess moisture getting caught in the hair follicles. The best way to treat it is with baby oil and a small comb to scrape it out. Be gentle as not to tear the hair out! The best way to treat rashes is with a cream – like Desitin – but be sure to clean the area thoroughly with baby soap and moisturize with a baby lotion – dove is a great option because it has a high moisture content and newborn skin dries easily. 

Baby Acne will make its debut a little later but the best way to treat it is just to stay on top of your newborns bathing routine. As your baby gets older it’ll be fine to bathe more regularly, just remember to use lotion after every wash!

15 Baby Safety Tips You Might Not Know About (But You Really Should)

Safety is every parents top priority when bringing a new baby into their home. We’d like to think we know all the things (because – Google) but sometimes a few important details slip through the cracks.

Car Seat Essentials 🚗

Because your baby’s head is disproportionate to their body, APA recommends they be in a rear-facing car seat until 6 months of age but keeping them rear-facing for up to a year is generally a safe bet. 

The safest place to install your car seat is in the center of your back seat. Most newer model cars and SUVs will have D-clips to clip the car seat into but if they don’t, no worries! All car seats come with a manual to help you safely install!

Toy Safety

Consider your child’s age when purchasing toys. Are the toys smaller than your baby’s mouth? Are they loud? What would your baby gain from a toy that shoots off something into the air? 

It’s best to avoid these types of toys to prevent hazards of sorts: choking, hearing loss or serious head and eye injuries. Instead, we recommend new parents get toys that are educational and age appropriate.

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How to Prevent Choking 🍇

The simplest way to prevent choking is to know your body and know your baby. If your letdown is too heavy, you may need to feed upright. After every feed, pat your baby’s lower back until you get a burp. Keep your baby away from small items they might ingest. If you want the extra precaution, most hospitals offer infant and toddler CPR classes.

Falls

Every day, more than 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms due to fall-related incidents. The best way to avoid this statistic is to be on top of fall prevention. Start in your home with baby gates and guard rails on windows above ground level. If you have stairs, it’s a safe bet to keep your baby away from them with a gate.

 Wear the proper protective gear (like helmets, knee guards) when riding a bike or playing sports. Above all else – SUPERVISE. Whether you are at home or out and about, the best way to avoid a falling hazard is to have your eyes on your child.

What to Know Before Purchasing a Crib

All cribs manufactured after 2011 are required to satisfy the U.S. Consumer Product Safety standard, avoid buying a crib that was manufactured before that date. Crib slats or bars should be no wider than 2 ⅜ inches apart (if a soda can can fit through – they’re too wide apart).

Look for a crib with an adjustable mattress so that you can move it up and down as your baby grows and when buying a mattress, find one that is firm, dense and leaves no space between it and the crib itself. Bare is best when dressing your crib; stick to sheets and avoid bumpers. If you find a crib on wheels you just GOT to have – make sure they lock.

The Dangers of Co-Sleeping

Avoid risks such as rolling on top of your baby or suffocation by placing a bassinet or crib beside your bed. This way you’ll have the reassurance of them being close by and you are protecting them!

Baby-Proofing Televisions

This is probably the last thing on your mind but the CPSC reports that approximately 10 kids die each year from TV’s falling. The best ways to avoid this are to either anchor your TV to a wall or keep your TV on a sturdy, low base piece of furniture. Keep items of interest (such as remotes, toys, cables) away from children’s reach and off of furniture the TV is resting on.

Pets 🐶

Over 100,000 children are being treated each year for dog bites or cat scratches. Don’t leave your child unattended with your pets because unfortunate accidents can happen. Teach your baby to be gentle with your dog or cat and make sure pet food is out of reach.

Home Temperature

Your baby is destined to sleep easier with a proper room temperature. Experts recommend keeping your room between 65 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit and to avoid placing your baby’s bassinet by an open vent.

Baby Proof Electrical Outlets ⚡

According to the NFPA, approximately 2,400 children suffer shock and burns when they stick items into slots of electrical receptacles. They estimate that there are six to 12 fatalities each year due to this. The simple way to avoid this is to invest in tamper-resistant outlet plugs. These are generally spring loaded and can face the test of a 2-4 year old toddler that has proven to remove a normal plastic cap within 10 seconds.

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These outlet covers can fit more tightly than the 2-prong outlet plug covers and cover all 3 holes making them less noticeable.

Sharp Corner Trauma 🤕

Some falls just can’t be avoided, especially when you have a toddler stumbling around and taking their first steps. You can still protect your baby from a potential disaster by proofing the sharp corners in your home with padding or bumpers!

Changing Table Challenges

Changing tables are such a convenient nursery item to have in place, unfortunately our little boogers like to wiggle around and there is a potential fall hazard there. Consider finding a changing table that is either already secured to your child’s dresser or can be secured with a strap. Make sure you place it on a sturdy surface if it’s not already attached and that it has at least a two-inch guardrail on all sides.

Baby Proof Doors

Children are so prone to finger injuries by getting caught or slammed in doors. Fortunately you can protect your loved ones tiny fingers by purchasing pinch guards for your door hinges. These are so handy because they will safely eject any item from them before the door shuts.

Fireplace Safety 🔥

Fireplaces are one of the nicest ways to get cozy and warm up in the cooler months so luckily there are ways to do both that and protect your baby from any potential disasters there. 

Invest in a fireplace gate if your fireplace doesn’t have a door and if it does, make sure you can lock it. If you have a raised hearth then make sure you put guards on the edges to protect your baby’s fall around the fire. Then alas if you normally kept your fireplace tools out, be sure to put them in a safe place out of reach from your little one.

Wrap Up

Our baby’s safety is certainly high on the list of things-that-give-new-parents-anxiety but thankfully we have resources like this at our disposal. As a new mother, I remember being super freaked out by every little thing before I gave birth to my LiLHuman but my best advice for new parents is to take it easy. Easier said than done, I know, but trust me – you were built for this and believe it or not, you’ll know in the moment the best way to uphold your baby’s safety.

Sources: fatherly.com, cdc.gov, unitypoint.org, keepingbabiessafe.org, cpsc.gov, nfpa.org

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