A guide for the first time parents
You have survived 9 months of pregnancy and you have made it through the excitement of labor and delivery! Are you now ready to head home and start a new refreshing life with your newborn? You reach home and you frantically realize that you have no idea what you are doing! The first few weeks with your newborn would be chaotic. The following tips will help you better to survive this situation.
It is better to prepare as much as you can ahead of time. While you are in the hospital itself, talk to the experts and find solutions to all your queries. Getting help for the first time may be very hectic and overwhelming. Many hospitals have feeding specialists and lactation consultants who can help you get started nursing and bottle-feeding.
The nurses are a great resource to show you how to hold, burp, change, and care for the baby.
Handling a newborn:
The fragility of newborns may be intimidating if you haven’t spent much time near them. Here are few basics to remember:
- It is advisable to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before handling your baby. Newborn does not have a strong immune system and are very much susceptible to infection. Make sure that whoever touches your baby washes their hands before handling.
- It is very important to support your baby’s neck and head. Cradle and support your baby’s head while carrying your baby upright or while laying your baby down.
- Make sure you don’t shake your newborn either for playing or in frustration. Shaking vigorously may cause bleeding in the brain and even death.
- If you want to wake up your infant do it not by shaking but by tickling your baby’s feet or blowing gently on the cheeks.
- Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy. Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller or car seat.
- Do remember that your infant is not ready for a rough handle or play such as thrown in the air.
Bonding & soothing techniques:
Bonding is one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care. Especially, during the first few days of infant care after the delivery is the time when the parents make the deep connection with their infants. Another factor is that attachments with your infants contribute to their emotional & physical growth. It is important to make sure that both you and your partner can also take the opportunity to be “skin-to-skin,” holding your newborn against your own skin while feeding or cradling.
Certain types of bonding will enhance your infant’s emotional and physical growth. Babies, especially premature babies and those with medical problems will require more massaging and will respond immediately to infant massage. Babies are not as strong as adults and so ensure you give them a smooth massaging.
Babies usually love listening to music and other vocal sounds like talking, babbling, singing or cooking. Some babies are sensitive to touch, light and sound. This might cause them to startle and cry easily, sleep less than expected, or turn their faces when someone sings or talks to them.
Swaddling is another soothing technique that first-time parents should know. Proper swaddling keeps the baby’s arm close to the body for any movement. Swaddling does not only keep the baby’s warm but also gives them a sense of security and comfort.
Here is how to swaddle a baby:
- Spread out the receiving blanket with one end folded over slightly.
- Lay the baby face-up on the blanket with his or her head above the folded corner.
- Wrap the left corner over the body. Tuck it beneath the back of the baby such that it goes under the right arm.
- Bring the bottom corner up over the baby’s feet and pull it toward the head. Be sure not to wrap too tightly around the hips. Hips and knees should be slightly bent and turned out.
- Wrap the right corner around the baby. Tuck it under the baby’s back on the left side, leaving only the neck and head exposed. To make sure your baby is not wrapped too tight, make sure you can slip a hand between the blanket and your baby’s chest, which will allow comfortable breathing. Make sure, however, that the blanket is not so loose that it could become undone.
- Babies should not be swaddled after they’re 2 months old. At this age, some babies can roll over while swaddled, which increases their risk of
Diaper- dos & don’ts:
You will have to decide if you are going to use cloth or disposable diapers for your baby before you bring them home.
Before changing the diapers see to it that you have all the essentials within reach so that you need not leave your baby unattended on the changing table.
You will need the following:
- a clean diaper
- fasteners, if cloth pre-fold diapers are used
- diaper ointment if the baby has a rash
- a container of warm water
- a clean washcloth, diaper wipes, or cotton balls
Change the diaper after every bowel movement or the diaper is wet. Use the water, cotton balls, and washcloth or the wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. Wipe the bottom from front to back or there might be chances of urinary tract infection.
Diaper rash is a common concern. Generally, the rash is red and bumpy and causes irritation for the infants. Usually, it goes within few days with proper caring. Frequent warm baths and diaper creams or moisturizers can help heal the diaper rash soon. Most rashes develop because the baby’s skin is very sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.
To prevent or heal diaper rash, try these tips:
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
- After cleaning the area with mild soap and water or a wipe, apply a diaper rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
- If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents.
- Let the baby go undiapered for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.
If the rash doesn’t heal within 3 days then it is advisable to consult a doctor as it may cause fungal infections.
Feeding & burping your baby:
Whether it is feeding by breast or bottle you will be astonished to see how often your infant needs to be fed on demand. A newborn needs to be fed very 2 to 3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding, your baby will most likely take about 2-3 ounces (60-90 milliliters) at each feeding.
You can also try these burping techniques if your baby feels gassy or fussy.
- Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder.
- Support your baby’s head while gently patting on his/her back.
- Make your infant sit on the lap. Support your baby’s head and chest and carefully grip your baby’s chin. Gently pat on the baby’s back to make him/her comfortable.
- You can even make the newborn lay on your lap. Support his/her head & back and gently pat or rub his/her back.
If your baby doesn’t burp then try it with other positions and make him/her burp before feeding again. Always burp your baby after feeding. Then make them sit in upright position to avoid spitting.
Caring for your baby’s umbilical cord:
Very shortly, after the baby is born the umbilical cord that connects you and your baby will be cut off. Neither you nor your baby will feel anything as there are no nerves in the cord.
The place where the cord joins your newborn’s tummy there will be a 2 to 3 cm long stump. You will have to ensure that the stump is kept clean and free from infection until it falls apart.
How long will the baby have an umbilical stump?
Your baby’s umbilical stump will fall off anytime between 5 to 15 days after birth. Once the cord is cut off, the baby care professional will put a plastic clamp or a tie the stump. This can be removed once the stump is dried and sealed. Let the stump come away naturally don’t ever try to pull it off. It changes its color from yellowish-green to brown to black after which it will drop by itself.
How long will it take for the belly button to heal?
After the stump falls off, there will be a wound which will take about a week’s time or 10 days to heal completely. You might also notice a little blood on your baby’s nappy which is quite normal and there is nothing to panic about it.
How do I know if the stump is infected?
It is common that your baby’s stump may have pus at the base. This doesn’t mean it is infected. You may suspect that the stump is infected if at all your baby has the following symptoms:
- If the naval & surrounding area is swollen and red
- Stump is swollen, smelly or weepy
- If they show a lack of interest in feeding or appears to be unwell.
This article would help you in a long run during the initial stages of parenting. Still, you have queries piled up on your mind? Never bother. We are here to help you out. You can contact our childcare specialists to get more caring tips & tricks to nurture your newborn.