For first time parents, embarking on this new journey might seem intimidating, but have no fear! We have accumulated the best tips on how to care for a newborn. First things first, breathe; humans were blessed with a natural instinct to take care of babies.
Luckily enough there are plenty of options whether that be attending classes to better prepare you pre-baby, or if you need the extra help, babysitters, postpartum doula, or even a baby nurse. This is a new experience, and we all need some help so we don’t lose our heads.
Remember, you were made for this.
What the Early Weeks With a Newborn Baby is Really Like ☕
Sleep Deprivation is Real
Newborn babies are the age where they need around the clock care. Now is the time to stock up on caffeine, but make sure to not overdo it if the mother decides to breastfeed. As trace amounts could be passed to the infant, building up over time. Keynote is to sleep when the baby sleeps, or you’ll be a walking zombie. People have suggested that this advice for new parents is a myth, but the majority of parents will stand by this.
Stockpile on Diapers (yesterday)
Newborn babies are essentially milk vacuums that go through diapers like crazy and hibernate. On average, they need to be fed around every 2-3 hours, but according to most parents, it’s feed on demand. Each and every baby is different, so if you talk to your friends who may also have kids, their answers may vary. You’ve probably already decided whether you want to use cloth diapers or disposable ones, and with whatever option you choose know that your precious bundle of joy should be tearing through at least 10 diapers a day.
Newborn Care: The First Week at Home
This is a very exciting time for new parents, the long-awaited 9 months has come to this moment. Consider every moment a learning experience, and don’t be scared of making mistakes. We’re all human here– but most importantly, babies aren’t breakable.
Here are 3 essential must-have tips for keeping newborns less colicky 😉:
- Make sure your newborn is fed
- Make sure you always check for a poopy diaper💩
- Make sure your newborn is getting the right amount of sleep
Seems easy enough? Babies will test your patience, if you’re the youngest of your siblings you might be unfamiliar with taking care of children, but no worries, it’ll come with time. Be ready for what seems to be pterodactyl screams, as right now your baby’s only way of communication is crying. Then it’ll come time to use your parent super senses to detect what they’re in need of, but trust me on this, it’ll probably be 1 of the 3 essentials.
Health and Safety
The Key to Overall Wellness (and Soft Skin 🛁)
Though babies aren’t breakable, they are very sensitive and require delicacy. In the weeks to come the baby’s umbilical cord will still be attached to their belly button, sponge baths will be your best friend to keep them clean without infecting their cord. They will also be necessary until their stump heals which can take up to 4 weeks. It’s important to only bathe your little one 2 to 3 times a week, or else it may cause their skin to dry up.
Fun Facts About Circumcisions
If you happen to give birth to a little boy, a circumcision may be in order. It’s good to know how to properly take care of it so it can heal seamlessly in a small matter of time. When changing their diaper be imminent to wipe the tip of their penis with warm water and reapply vaseline to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the diaper. The inflammation and irritation should subside in a few days, but if it increases or is prolonged, make sure to talk to your doctor to get that issue wiped clean.
Umbilical Cord Maintenance
A similar situation goes for the umbilical cord. It requires less maintenance but you have to be careful when it comes to bathing, the umbilical cord should not be submerged in water until it falls off, and is fully healed. It takes between 1 to 4 weeks to completely heal, and it depends on what your doctor recommends because some say to use rubbing alcohol to help it dry up, but others recommend to leave it alone. That discretion is up to you and your pediatrician.
Essential Newborn Safety Tips All Parents Need to Know
In the early weeks, your baby will have an extremely weak immune system, so it’s important to not bring any ill, or anyone who is around generous amounts of people around them. Be sure to wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer after touching anything that seems suspicious to ensure your baby doesn’t get infected.
Again, your little one is very sensitive right now so it’s best to keep roughhousing at bay. Did you know that bouncing your newborn on your knee could cause damage to their brain health? This also goes for when they’re in a car seat, stroller, etc, you want to make sure that your little one is fastened securely to eliminate any excess movement. Along with keeping their neck fully supported because they have no strength in their neck at this time. Around three months is when a baby usually starts to control their head on their own while being supported, but as close to six months is when they’ll be able to hold their head on their own. Cradle their head when holding them against you, in your arms, or when transferring them from on-the-go gear to your arms.
Baby Care and Feeding
Your tiny tot will be eating All. The. Time. It’s important to note that their feeding time is by their clock, so expect multiple midnight snack sessions. And if the lovely lady chooses to breastfeed, make sure she’s eating a lot, and the good stuff too. 👍 Her breastmilk is only as good as what she’s putting in her body, so now is the time for their significant other to step up to make sure she’s getting all those good nutrients to pass them off to the baby.
I also recommend pumping so that their partner may also feed the baby. This method can open up a bond for both parents and makes the job just a tad easier on the mama. Remember, you’re both parents, and raising a newborn will require excellent teamwork. And if you choose to use formula, or when it comes to weaning them to formula, talk to your doctor so that you may get the best nutrition plan fit for your baby.
Just like adults, sometimes babies can be deficient in vitamins, and formulas are specially made to meet such requirements. For example, if your baby has frequent stomach aches, there’s a gentle formula to ease the pain. All formulas include those hearty vitamins that allow your child to grow big and strong, but curated ones will make your baby’s life the easiest.
Look Out For These Newborn Feeding Cues
The most common way to know if your baby is hungry is crying. It’s their only way of communication, so be patient with them. Some other popular signs are the child searching for a nipple if you’re holding them. They’ll cock their head to the side, against your chest, and start moving their head around with their mouth open. This’ll even happen for partners too! And lastly, if your newborn is suckling on air, they’ll make the same mouth movements they would while on a nipple, whether that be breast or bottle.
How to Get the Perfect Latch Every time
Latching can seem tricky the first few times, but trust me, your baby was designed for this. With a little help from the mama, the baby will be feeding in no time.
- The first step is to make sure there is excessive fabric surrounding the breast, you want your baby to breathe comfortably and not try to wrestle for air.
- Now you can position your baby in your arms, make sure they are perfectly aligned and not twisted in any way, the baby’s chin should be comfortably up, and not squished to their chest.
- Now press your nipple to their top lip, this encourages them to open their mouth, the wider it is, the more comfortable it’ll be for the both of you.
- If it starts to hurt, you’ll know it’s an improper latch, then you should ease your finger in between their mouth and your nipple to release the suction, and then try again.
In no time, you’ll be a pro.
Releasing the Beast: the Best Way to Burp a Newborn
Learning to burp efficiently is a definite must when it comes to newborns. While the baby is feeding it’s common to ingest air, but it’s our job to ensure we get that air out because it can cause discomfort.
Babies in the first few weeks eat less, but a lot more frequently, so between every 2 to 3 ounces, or between breasts you should burp them. But how will you do this?
Well, you simply put your baby against your chest with their head on your shoulder, while supporting their head with one hand, you’ll use your hand to gently pat their back until they burp. This seems to be the best tactic for first-time parents.
Newborn Baby Sleep💤
Remember how I said babies basically hibernate? Well, if they’re not eating, they’re most definitely sleeping. On average, newborns can sleep up to 17 hours a day, roughly 8 hours during the day and 8 to 9 at night. They most likely will not sleep through the night until about 3 months, but when they do wake up, it’s because they’re hungry.
How to Prevent SIDS
When placing your baby in a bassinet, or crib, it’s important to lay them on their back to avoid SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome.) It’s also good to practice to keep their sleeping area clear, this means no; blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, or anything that could potentially suffocate the baby. You should swaddle your baby as it recreates the feeling of being in the womb, allowing them to sleep more comfortably, and keeps them warm without having loose blankets in their crib.
Why Your Newborn Needs a Sleep Schedule
It’s quite often that newborns can mix up their days and nights. You can avoid this problem by creating a sleep schedule so that your newborn can sleep throughout the night opposed to taking several naps throughout the day. Maintaining a sleep schedule is an important milestone to reach before you start working on building the foundation for independence. There will come a time when your baby can soothe itself to sleep, but it’s important that they start sleeping in their crib or bassinet at an early age so it’s less of a strain on them in the future. If you allow them to sleep with you for too long, they will get used to your warmth and will only fall asleep with you.
Babies can be a lot, but we will do our best to give the best advice to make this process easier. You will be a baby pro in no time. Cherish these first moments with your newborn, you’re going to wish that they never grow up. We are here to try and provide the best tips to care for both you and your new best friend. We hope it’ll ease that new parent anxiety, and get you excited for what’s to come.