Having a newborn is the most challenging experience for any parent. Your little bundle of joy comes with a host of new responsibilities, and it is natural to feel anxious about how you are going to cope with this sudden change in your life.
We all know that parenthood comes with its own set of challenges, but what we don’t always expect is just how different these challenges can be from one child to the next.
There are plenty of parenting support groups available online, but what you need as a first-time parent is a simple handbook that answers all your questions about taking care of your newborn.
Welcome to Parenthood!
You have to go through the process of becoming parents before you can have the wonderful experience of holding your infant in your arms. Getting pregnant and giving birth are both physically and emotionally demanding processes that call for thorough preparation. The arrival of a new baby into your lives will undoubtedly cause a whirlwind of changes, and it's best to be ready for them.
The arrival of a baby can have a dramatic impact on your lifestyle, altering everything from your routines to your diet to the amount of time you have to devote to yourself. It's wise to have a plan for your future as a family of three (maybe more!) before you even get pregnant. Prepare for the baby's arrival by making room for him or her in your lives. When your baby finally arrives, your life will be turned upside down in a million different ways and having a plan will help you adjust.
Feeding Your Newborn
The very first decision you need to make after bringing your newborn home is how you will be feeding your little one. You will have to choose between breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and a combination of the two.
Breastfeeding requires a lot of work and effort, but if you are committed to doing it, your newborn will benefit immensely from it. Bottle feeding, on the other hand, is a lot less demanding, but it also has its own set of limitations. The best way to decide which option is right for you is to do some research and talk to other parents who have been in your shoes before.
Just keep in mind that there is no "right" way to feed an infant, so you can't go wrong with any choice you choose. Any manner of feeding is fine so long as the infant is healthy and developing normally.
Basics for Bathing Your Baby
Newborns only need to be washed twice or three times a week at the most. In any case, a daily bath is fine if your infant enjoys them. Baby skin can get dry if bath time is extended beyond this. Between bathing, you can use warm water and cotton wool to keep your baby's privates clean.
The recommended duration for a newborn's first bath is between five and ten minutes. If your baby has dry or sensitive skin, this is very crucial.
Any time of day is fine for a baby bath. Choose a time when you can focus without distractions and can relax. It's also not a good idea to give your baby a bath just after feeding time or when baby is hungry. If you find that giving your baby a bath before bed helps calm them, you can use this bedtime routine to get your little one to sleep.
You will also need to clean the umbilical stump on your newborn’s belly, and you should do this with warm water as well. Always wash your hands before handling the umbilical cord of a newborn. After washing the stump, be sure that it is completely dry. Avoid wearing plastic diapers or pants over the stump while it heals.
If you want to give your newborn a bath, make sure the water is warm, but not too hot. Also, be careful not to get water in your baby’s ears or eyes, as this can be very dangerous.
Basics of Diapering a Newborn
Changing a baby's diaper may seem like a difficult task at first. Keeping your baby clean and dry may seem like a daunting task at first, but with some practice, you'll have it down pat in no time.
You can start diapering your newborn as soon as you bring him or her home from the hospital. Newborns usually poop every 2 to 3 hours, so you will want to be prepared to change their diapers frequently. As much as possible, it’s best not to use baby wipes on your baby’s bottom until he or she is 2 weeks old. Instead, use plain water to clean your newborn’s bottom after changing the diaper.
Use a moist washcloth, cotton balls, or baby wipes to gently wipe your infant clean. Avoid spreading bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections by never wiping from back to front, especially on females. Your infant's legs may need to be lifted by the ankles so that you can get underneath. The creases in the buttocks and thighs should not be overlooked.
If you are using disposable diapers, you need to be careful about the type of diaper you choose for your newborn. Newborns have very small bottoms, so you need to use a diaper that is not too bulky. The diaper is overly tight if it leaves marks around the legs and waist. Try something a little roomier the next time around. If that doesn't help, it could be time to upgrade your baby's diaper size.
Allow your baby some time without diapers. Nappy rash can be avoided by simply allowing baby's bottom to air dry after diaper changes.
How to Know if Something is Wrong?
Newborns are particularly susceptible to infections, so you will have to be extra careful about your baby’s well-being. Here are a few signs that something might be wrong with your newborn:
- Your baby does not gain weight. A lot of babies are born underweight, but if your newborn does not gain weight after a few weeks, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
- Your baby has trouble feeding. If your newborn has a hard time feeding, it could mean that he or she has an infection or a problem with the sucking reflex.
- Your baby has a fever. This is one of the most common signs that your baby has a bacterial infection. If your baby has a fever, you should take him or her to the doctor as soon as possible.
More Tips for New Parents
As a new parent, you will have to make changes to your daily routine, and you will also need to adjust your lifestyle in many other ways. Here’s a few ways to help you succeed as a new parent:
- Get enough sleep. Newborns need a lot of sleep, and they also tend to wake up frequently during the night. This means that you need to make sure that you have enough sleep, or you will be too tired to properly care for your newborn. If a maternity pillow can help you fall asleep faster, then you can keep using it.
- Eat healthy. Newborns need a lot of energy, and this energy comes from nutrients that are found in food. Make sure that you eat healthy so that you have enough energy to take care of your newborn, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
- Schedule me-time. You will be busy taking care of your newborn, but you will also need time to take care of yourself. Make sure that you set aside some time each day to relax and do something that you enjoy. If you have a partner or a relative to help you out, don’t hesitate to ask for their help.
Congratulations! You have just read an article about caring for your newborn. This means that you are now ready for the challenges of parenthood. However, don’t worry if you still have some parenting fails during the first few weeks. You’ll get the hang of it, and you’ll also face new challenges in the coming months. The most important thing is to enjoy the journey with your newborn because it’s an experience like no other!