An Instruction Manual for New Parents on Newborn Care

After a successful pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you’re now prepared to take your new family home and start a new chapter in your life. However, after you get home, you might think you have no idea what you’re doing! You are acting in complete ignorance! Even the most anxious new parents can soon feel comfortable taking care of a baby thanks to following advice.

Getting Aid Following Childbirth

During this stressful and overwhelming period, think about seeking assistance. Speak with the professionals nearby while you are in the hospital. Many hospitals employ lactation consultants or feeding specialists who can assist you in starting to breastfeed or bottle-feed. Nurses may demonstrate how to carry, burp, change, and care for your baby, which is another fantastic resource.

You could choose to engage a postpartum doula, a baby nurse, or a respectable neighborhood adolescent to assist you for a short while following the birth if you need in-home assistance. Your doctor or the hospital may be able to direct you to home health agencies and assist you in finding information about in-home care. Family and friends frequently wish to assist as well.

Care of a Newborn

The fragility of infants might be frightening if you haven’t spent much time around them. Observe the following fundamentals:

Before touching your child, wash your hands or sterilize them with a hand sanitizer. Because they don’t yet have a robust immune system, newborns are vulnerable to illness. Make sure everyone who comes in contact with your kid has clean hands.

Support the head and neck of your infant. When you are carrying your infant, support the head and cradle it. When you are laying your baby down, support the head.

Never, under any circumstances, whether anger or play, shake your baby. Brain hemorrhage and possibly death might result from shaking. If you need to wake your baby, tickle them instead of shaking them.

Bonding and Calming

One of the most enjoyable aspects of caring for an infant is certainly bonding, which takes place during the delicate period in the first few days and hours following delivery when parents form a close bond with their child. An emotional connection can be facilitated by physical proximity.

Infants’ attachment influences their emotional development, which influences other aspects of their development, such as their physical development.

The presence of a parent or other responsible adult in a child’s life is essential for their development.

Start your bonding process by cuddling your infant and giving him or her gentle strokes in various patterns. You and your partner can also benefit from being “skin-to-skin” by cradling or nursing your infant close to your bodies.

Babies, particularly those who are premature or have health issues, may respond favorably to infant massage. Certain massage techniques may improve bonding and aid in the growth and development of infants. Ask your doctor for advice. Infant massage is covered in many books and DVDs. However, be cautious because babies lack the strength of adults, so massage your baby lightly.

The vocal noises that babies typically enjoy are talking, chattering, singing, and cooing. It’s likely that your infant will likewise enjoy music. Other effective techniques to boost your baby’s hearing include baby rattles and musical mobiles. Try singing, reciting poetry and nursery rhymes, or reading aloud while gently swaying or rocking your baby in a chair if they are being fussy

Some infants may be extremely sensitive to touch, light, or sound; they may also scream more frequently than usual, sleep for shorter periods of time than typical, or turn their faces away when spoken or sang to. Keep noise and light levels low to moderate if that applies to your baby.

Another calming technique first-time parents should learn is swaddling, which some newborns respond favorably to during their first few weeks. When done correctly, swaddling prevents a baby’s legs from moving too much while keeping their arms tight to their bodies. Swaddling a baby seems to give most babies a sense of security and comfort in addition to keeping them warm. Additionally, swaddling may lessen the startle reflex, which might awaken a newborn.

The Whole Diaper Story

Before bringing your new child home, you will probably choose between cloth and disposable diapers. Whichever method you choose, your child will need new diapers roughly 10 times per day, or 70 times per week.

Make sure you have everything you need before changing your baby’s diaper so you won’t have to leave your child unattended on the changing table.

Lay your infant on his or her back and take off the soiled diaper after each bowel movement or if it is damp. To gently clean your baby’s genital area, use a washcloth, cotton balls, and water. You can also use baby wipes. Boy diaper removal should be done with caution as exposure to the air may cause him to urinate. To prevent a UTI, wipe a girl’s bottom from front to back when wiping her (UTI). Apply cream to stop or heal a rash. Always remember to fully wash your hands after changing a baby.

A typical problem is diaper rash. Warm showers, diaper cream, and some time out of the diaper usually help the red, bumpy rash to disappear in a few days. The majority of rashes occur as a result of the baby’s sensitive skin being irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.

Try these suggestions to treat or avoid diaper rash:

As soon as your baby has a bowel movement, change their diaper as quickly as you can.

Apply a fairly thick layer of diaper rash or “barrier” cream after gently cleaning the region with mild soap and water (wipes can occasionally be unpleasant). The best creams are those that contain zinc oxide because they provide a barrier against moisture.

Wash your cloth diapers in detergents devoid of dyes and fragrances if you use them.

Allow the infant to spend some of the day alone. This enables the skin to breathe.

Call your doctor if the diaper rash lasts more than 3 days or appears to be getting worse; it can be a fungal infection that needs to be treated with a prescription.

Basics of Bathing

You should give your infant a sponge wash until the umbilical chord is cut, and the navel fully recovers (1–4 weeks)

In the first year, a bath two or three times per week is acceptable. Bathing more frequently could dry out the skin.

Before bathing your child, get the following ready: a soft brush to stimulate the baby’s scalp a soft, clean washcloth mild, unscented baby soap, shampoo towels or blankets, a fresh diaper and fresh clothing.

Sponging: Choose a safe, flat surface (such a changing table, floor, or counter) in a warm area for the sponge bath. If a sink or bowl is available, fill it with warm (not hot!) water. Baby should be stripped of clothing and wrapped in a towel. Start with one eye and wipe it from the inner corner to the outer corner of a clean cotton ball or washcloth soaked with water only. To clean the second eye, use a fresh washcloth corner or an additional cotton ball. Use the wet washcloth to clean your child’s ears and nose. Then dampen the cloth once again, gently wash the person’s face with a little soap, and pat it dry.

Next, make a lather using baby shampoo, gently wash your child’s head, and then rinse. Gently wash the remainder of the infant with a moist cloth and soap, giving close attention to the creases in the genital region, behind the ears, under the arms, and around the neck. After washing those areas, make sure they are dry before dressing and diapering your child.

Bathing in tubs: The initial baths for your infant should be gentle and brief when they are ready for tub baths. Return to sponge baths for a week or two if the person gets angry, then try the bath once more.

Burping and Feeding Your Infant

You might be unsure about how frequently to breastfeed or bottle-feed your child. In general, it is advised to feed babies whenever they appear hungry, or on demand. Your infant may cry, put his or her fingers in their mouths, or make sucking noises as a cue to you.

A newborn infant need feedings every two to three hours. Give your infant the chance to nurse for roughly 10 to 15 minutes at each breast if you’re breastfeeding. Your infant will likely consume two to three ounces (60 to 90 milliliters) of formula at each feeding if you are formula feeding.

To make sure they feed enough, some infants may need to be awakened every few hours. If you need to wake your infant frequently or if they don’t seem to be interested in sucking or feeding, call the doctor.

It is simple to check that your kid is eating enough when you use a formula, but nursing presents some challenges. Your baby is most likely getting enough food if he or she appears full, changes approximately six diapers, passes several stools, sleeps soundly, and gains weight consistently.

During feedings, babies frequently swallow air, which can make them irritable. Burp your child frequently to aid in preventing this. If you bottle-feed or breast-feed, try burping your child after 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) or whenever you switch breasts.

Try burping your infant after each ounce when bottle-feeding or every five minutes when breastfeeding if they frequently have gas, have gastroesophageal reflux, or seem fussy during feeding.

Use these burping suggestions:

Hold your infant up straight, placing the child’s head on your shoulder. With your other hand, softly pat the back of your infant while supporting the head and back.

Place the infant on your lap. With one hand, support your baby’s head and chest by placing the heel of your hand on their chest and cradling their chin in the palm of your hand (take care to grab their chin, not their throat). Your baby’s back should be softly patted with the other hand.

On your lap, place your infant face down. Gently massage or rub your baby’s back while supporting his or her head, making sure it is higher than the child’s chest.

Before feeding your baby again, if they haven’t burped after a few minutes, switch the baby’s position and try again. When feeding time is finished, always burp your baby and then keep him or her upright for at least 15 minutes to prevent spitting up.

Getting to Sleep

If you’re a new parent, you might be startled to find that even while your baby seems to need you all the time, they actually sleep for at least 16 hours each day.

Newborns often snooze for 2-4 hours at a time. Expect your baby to wake up if they haven’t had food in four hours because babies’ digestive systems are too small to allow them to sleep through the night (or more often if your doctor is concerned about weight gain).

When should you anticipate your child sleeping through the night? At three months old, most babies sleep through the night (for six to eight hours), but if yours doesn’t, it’s not a cause for alarm. For this reason, if your infant is gaining weight and seems healthy, don’t get discouraged if he or she hasn’t slept through the night by three months. Babies, like adults, must develop their own sleep cycles and routines.

Baby should always be put to sleep on their backs to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Other safe sleeping habits include sharing a bedroom (but not a bed) with the parents for the first six months to a year, and not putting blankets, quilts, sheepskins, plush animals, or cushions in the crib or bassinet (these can suffocate a baby). To avoid the development of a flat spot on one side of the head, be sure to rotate your baby’s head from night to night (first right, then left, and so on).

The days and nights of many babies are “mixed up.” During the day, they are more tired, while at night, they are more awake and attentive. Reduced stimulus at night is one method to assist them. Use a nightlight or keep the lights dim overall. Keep your baby’s conversations and activities for the daytime. Try to keep your baby awake a little bit longer by talking and playing with him or her when they wake up during the day.

Although managing a newborn may make you feel uneasy, in a few short weeks you’ll establish a pattern and be parenting like a pro! Ask your doctor to suggest services that can help you and your baby grow together if you have any questions or concerns.

Based on: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/guide-parents.html