Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Whether you are new to parenthood or have been one for a while, caring for your newborn is an exceptional and close-knit experience. From the time they are born to every minute detail, parents do a lot of research and work to provide the best care for their children. And being a first-time parent is no laughing matter. Though they appear less tense, much panic goes behind the scenes. You may be overwhelmed due to a great deal of expectation and fear that you place on yourself.
Take heart, we are not telling you to be completely relaxed, but we also don't want you to be on a rollercoaster of fear episodes.
Though it may be difficult initially, you can handle the process reasonably quickly if you do it correctly. So keep reading to learn the fundamentals of caring for your newborn baby.
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Obtaining assistance after the birth of your newborn
When you first glance at your child, all the books you've read, advice you've received from family and friends, and research you've done will all seem insignificant—although exciting, putting all your knowledge into practice can be overwhelming. But don't worry; experts in the hospital are on hand to assist you. You can contact them anytime if you have any questions or concerns.
If you are having difficulty holding your baby, making them burp, changing diapers, and caring for your children, nurses can be a great resource to help you. For new parents, family and friends can often be lifesavers. Their knowledge and experience can significantly assist you in caring for your newborn in the early days.
How to handle your newborn
If you have not spent much time with newborns, handling your newborn is most likely the worst nightmare any new parent will face. The cute eyes are adorable, but their fragility can be pretty intimidating. Here are some fundamentals to know when dealing with a newborn.
Have clean hands: Before handling your newborn, wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser. Because newborns lack a robust immune system, they are more vulnerable to infection. So ensure you and everyone who comes into contact with your baby have clean hands.
Keep your baby's head, and neck supported: Cradle the head when carrying your baby upright and support the head when laying your baby down.
Do not shake your newborn: If you want to wake your baby, tickle their feet or gently blow on their cheek instead of shaking them.
Check that your baby is securely fastened: Whether using a carrier, stroller, or car seat, make sure they're securely fastened and limit any activity that could be rough or bouncy on your baby.
No rough play: Avoid rough play with your newborn, such as being jiggled on the knee, thrown in the air, or any other activity that could harm your newborn.
Swaddling your newborn
Now that you've returned home from the hospital and better understand how to care for your newborn, it's time to learn how to swaddle your baby. Swaddling is something that almost all infant babies enjoy because they spend their first months in a safe environment. They find comfort in the sensations of warmth and firmness.
With the help of the following guide, first-time parents can quickly and confidently swaddle their newborn.
Lay out a baby blanket with or without velcro tabs in a diamond shape with the point at the top, then fold down the top end about 10 inches and place the baby on the blanket with the fold at the baby's neck. If you are right-handed, do the following as mentioned; if you are left-handed, do the opposite.
With one hand, support the baby's arm with the other. Lift the upper left corner and bring it across the baby's body, tucking it under the baby's side, then lift the blanket material at the feet.
Swaddle the baby by rolling it and tucking this corner underneath. Bring the remaining upper corner across the baby's belly over the other shoulder. Remember that the more you swaddle your baby, the easier it becomes. It will become second nature to you before you know it.
Change of diapers
Don't be surprised if you have to change diapers several times a day; because it's more prevalent with newborns. It can also be a stressful time for many first-time parents. To make the process much simpler. Always keep plenty of diapers on hand, and learning to change a diaper ahead of time will be highly beneficial for first-time parents. Remember that your newborn will get a diaper rash at some point.
Diaper rash is typically caused by wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing. Use a baby diaper rash powder at each change to keep your baby's diaper area dry. These diaper rash powders repel excess moisture from the skin and reduce friction between the legs. Apply a safe and effective zinc oxide-based cream to the diaper area if you notice any early signs of diaper rash.
Bathing your baby
Bathing your newborn baby may appear intimidating initially, but with some practice, any mother or father can do it. Most babies find warm water soothing, and bathing may help a fussy baby to relax and calm down. Baby hygiene is critical, and a daily bath is required to keep your baby clean and fresh. Bathing your baby too soon after a feed can cause your baby to be uncomfortable and spit out milk. If it is your first time bathing your little one, you will probably feel anxious, but with constant practice, you will gain confidence, and your baby will get used to bath time and enjoy it.
What do you require before bathing your baby?
Hot water in the baby tub
Cleanser gentle enough for newborns
Cotton towels and washcloths
Bathing your baby
First, ensure the water isn't too hot by testing it with your wrist and swirling it to break up any hot spots. When you're ready, gently place your baby in the tub with one arm supporting their head and neck, then continue to help them with one arm while bathing them with the other.
Wipe their eyes with damp cotton pads dampened with clean, warm water.
To clean their body, use a damp washcloth and a gentle cleanser formulated for newborns. You can also use a cleanser with a light scent that comforts and soothes. Wipe their face, neck creases, and behind their ears with a washcloth. Now is an excellent time to connect with your baby and let them enjoy a warm bath. Pouring water over their belly will stimulate their sense of touch while also keeping them warm.
When you're finished, wrap both hands around their chest under their arms and lift them out. To avoid skin irritation, completely dry any creases and the diaper area.
Apply a gentle moisturiser post-bath before dressing them. Snuggling is a great way to end bath time because close contact can help calm their breathing and support your growing bond.
Breast milk is the best food for newborn babies nutritionally, and healthcare professionals couldn't agree more. However, there are times when a mother is unable to breastfeed due to medical issues or other circumstances. Always consult your paediatrician regarding feeding habits and food.
No matter how you decide to feed your baby, ensure you hold them while feeding, and remember that, the cuddling that follows feeding helps build a strong, loving bond between you and your baby.
Babies require sleep to grow and develop. The average number of hours of sleep in 24 hours is 14 to 17. However, these patterns vary considerably. They sleep in short bursts of 2 to 3 hours each. It can last up to 4 hours for some newborns. Because of their tiny tummies, newborns tend to wake up frequently and can fall asleep immediately after feeding. They may also stay awake briefly to participate in a short play. Because their brain is not used to the regular human sleep cycles, newborns sleep both day and night. A newborn's sleep cycle is typically divided into two types.
1. Active sleep-Newborns tend to move around and make noises during this type of sleep. They can also be jolted awake during active sleep.
2. Quiet sleep-Newborns will be still, and their breathing will be more even during quiet sleep. They are less likely to awaken during quiet periods.
Tips for caring for newborn babies
1. Learn the fundamentals. Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest.
2. Always put your baby to sleep on their back.
3. Shift your baby's head position to eliminate the soft spot.
4. To avoid infection, wash or sanitise your hands before handling your baby.
5. Hold your baby upright while supporting their head and neck.
6. Learn to swaddle your baby for the first two months to help them feel secure.
7. Use clean, cotton-based baby clothing and wash it with disinfectant daily.
When to consult a doctor
Though learning to be a first-time parent can be difficult and stressful, soon, you will get the hang of it with time. However, if you have any doubts or notice any of the following symptoms such as,
Alteration in eating habits
Stools that are watery or mucousy
Sleeping patterns differ.
Has a rash that is red or swollen on their body
Has a swollen abdomen or vomits
Don't hesitate to contact Polaris Healthcare with our expert doctors and cutting-edge facilities. We ensure that you and your baby have the best journey possible, filled with smiles and love.