Caring For Newborns
A Quick Guide to Caring for Newborns
Having a new baby is a fantastic experience, but before your bundle of joy arrives, you will want all the information you can get about caring for newborns. Every parent that has every waited patiently for nine months for their baby to be born, knows the joys and anxieties that come with that anticipated arrival. The better prepared you are when your baby is born; the more you can relax and enjoy the experience of being a new mother.
One aspect of caring for newborns that tends to worry some parents is how exactly they should hold and carry the child. The most important thing to remember about this is that you will always need to ensure that the baby’s neck has some support, as a newborn does not have the strength to do this alone. Use one hand to support the neck while your other hand is supporting the child’s body.
Another aspect of caring for newborns that some find particularly worrisome is the stump from the umbilical cord. This is what is left on the child after the umbilical cord connecting the baby to the placenta, is cut. The faster this heals the sooner it will fall off. To help the stump heal it is necessary to provide the proper care. Each time you change your newborn’s diaper you will want to clean the stump with alcohol and cotton swabs. Clean the area where the stump is attached to the skin, ensuring that you get all areas around the stump. A baby’s umbilical cord will fall off within 3 to 4 weeks after birth, but until then keep the diaper from touch the stump, and always keep it clean.
Caring for newborns also involves feeding them. If you are breast-feeding be prepared for your baby to eat frequently. Breastfed babies will eat more often due to the fact that breast milk is easy for them to digest. If you are bottle-feeding, your baby will eat about every 3 to 4 hours in their first weeks of life. Although this is average, some babies may eat more frequently while others less often. A baby will swallow air as they eat so you will need to burp your baby several times during feedings. Carefully hold the baby against your shoulder, supporting the baby while you gently tap the baby’s back with one hand.
Babies cry, this is how they tell you if they want attention, feeding, changing, etc. It is also how they get their exercise. There isn’t a lot you can do about a crying baby, but you can try and calm a newborn that is crying excessively. Wrap your baby in a blanket and hold him or her against your shoulder, gently tapping their back. If the child is crying because of trapped gas bubbles, this should help. Rocking the baby may also help calm him or her. If the baby continues to cry and can’t be calmed at all, it is a good idea to contact the baby’s doctor for advice.
An important aspect of caring for newborns is the position you should place your baby in when he or she sleeps. A baby should be on their back, and not their stomach. Letting a baby sleep on their stomach increases the risk for SIDS. With babies waking for frequent feedings, when baby is asleep mom should use that time to get her rest as well.
Bathing your baby will be a fun time for both of you, though the baby probably won’t like it at first. Until the umbilical cord falls off, you will need to sponge bathe your child, but when this is no longer an issue, you can start bathing your newborn. When bathing your baby always test the water to ensure it is not too hot, or too cold. Support the child’s neck and back with one hand while you use the other to bathe him. A couple inches of water is sufficient. Never leave a baby unattended in the bath.
Caring for newborns is fun and rewarding once you let go of all of your anxieties.