Being a new parent can be one of the toughest things anyone can face. But it is also highly rewarding.
Mothers are equipped with the fabulous maternal instinct, but at times when you may doubt yourself on what to do, this guide will help you through. Let’s get started.
19 tips on caring for newborns
It isn’t vital to bath your newborn every single day or night. However, it can be introduced as part of the night time routine. For example, you could feed, bath and then read to baby before putting them to bed for the night (or until they wake).
Be sure to allow air to your baby’s umbilical and to dry it thoroughly. You can do this with a cotton tip, gently dab around the edges to absorb any additional moisture.
Your baby’s umbilical cord falls off on their own, usually within 1-2 weeks of birth.
This is for the umbilical cord as well. Clothing that’s too tight can rub vigorously against the umbilical cord and cause it to become irritated or infected.
The same goes when using a nappy. You can fold the front of the nappy down and still do the tabs up the same if you feel this would make your baby more comfortable.
Layer clothes appropriately
This is one of the most confusing parts when caring for a newborn. How do you know if they are too warm or too cold? As a rule of thumb, check how many layers of clothing you yourself are wearing and do the same, with one additional layer for your child. So if you’re wearing three layers, your baby should be wearing four.
Still, make sure your child doesn’t overheat. If it’s a warm day, dress your child in light cotton or muslin to help them feel comfortable.
Checking temperature by touch
Sometimes, your child’s hands and feet can be cold to touch. However, their extremities’ temperature is not a good indicator of their overall temperature. Touch their chest and/or the back of their neck with your hand to feel their core temperature.
Carry or wear your baby
One of your baby’s needs is to be held close and to feel safe and secure, just like they were in the womb. Settling your baby in the carrier is convenient when trying to get things done. Be sure to choose a carrier that encourages the babies natural hip position
Swaddle your baby
Sometimes, too much freedom does not give your newborn the comfort that they want. Swaddling your baby is mimicking the “tightness” of the womb. Once their startle reflex is gone (around three months) you can leave your baby’s arm free.
Have a warm bath with your baby
If your baby is still fussy, try having a warm bath with them. It will be relaxing for both of you and is a good chance for skin to skin contact and bonding.
Try infant massage
Infant massages promote bonding, are soothing to baby and can help them to sleep more peacefully. There is an endless list of benefits from improving weight gain, aiding digestion and even easing teething pain.
Learn about breastfeeding
First-time mothers often feel terrified at the thought that they can’t feed their child. Before the milk, is a yellowish fluid called colostrum, and it contains many nutritional benefits including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and antibodies.
Ensure you drink plenty of water and eat a healthy balanced diet to aid in the production of your milk.
Learn how to latch your child properly
Based on the experience of many mothers out there, improper latch causes pain and doesn’t induce proper letdown. You can always seek help and advice from your midwife, lactation consultant or a breastfeeding hotline.
Sometimes you would think that a baby sleeping for five hours or more is fine, but not for a newborn. It is common for babies to feed 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. On average this works out to be every 2-3 hours day and night. You may get a longer stretch of around 5 hours in that timeframe. Cluster feeding is very normal. Some babies need to be woken for feeds while others wake on their own accord.
Buy a feeding pillow
Make your life easier by getting a nursing pillow that would sit comfortably on your lap while nursing your baby. This pillow is contoured so that it’s a safe space to place your baby on. This also frees you from arm and shoulder pain for holding your baby for extended periods. Lying down to feed on your side is another great way to avoid back and shoulder pain and squeeze in some rest time.
How to find time to rest
You might’ve read elsewhere, it would be best to rest when your child is resting or sleep when the baby sleeps, even if that means sleeping a few minutes to a couple of hours at a time. Also, when your parents or your friends come over to help, ask them to watch your baby for you so you can get some shut-eye.
Give your partner more skin-to-skin time
Your partner and your child need to bond as well. In order to do this, they must have their own skin-to-skin time. Place baby on their chest so they can hear their beating heart. Make sure your partner stays awake when you do this.
Use warm and cold compresses for breastfeeding pain
Breastfeeding can be the most excruciating part of raising a baby. Your breasts may feel either tender or rock hard. Use warm compress before breastfeeding, followed by cold compress after feeding. Warm compress or the hot water from a shower, is also great if you have blocked milk ducts.
Place baby-changing stations on every floor of your home
Even if your house is composed of just two levels, going up and down to get something for nappy changing can wear you out (and you’re already tired) so simply create nappy-changing stations on all floors. Make your life easy and simple! Or if baby is in your room keep nappy-changing items in there also.
Don’t be too critical of your partner
When it’s your partner’s turn to take care of the newborn, don’t be too critical of what they are doing. Remember, they are doing what they know is best. Guide them in the beginning based on what you know and why you do things a certain way but then leave them to take care of your child. Trust is important and this helps to give them confidence when caring for baby alone.
Don’t be ashamed to have cooked food delivered
The first few weeks of having your new baby at home you will find you’re not having enough time to do anything, let alone cook. Remove the hassle of cooking (and eating pizza over and over again) by ordering healthy cooked meals.
Chaos is fine
Don’t stress yourself with worrying about the things you need to do, such as tidying up the house, dusting the shelves or folding the clean clothes. Once you get the grip of being a parent and settle into a routine you’ll be able to do those things. Right now, focus on caring for your baby (and yourself), getting to know your baby and simply admiring their dreamy smiles. They are only little for a little while.
This blog post is sponsored by Little Lou
Little Lou’s prams, bassinets and high chairs are tailor-made — based on feedback from mums and dads all around Australia — to not only be suited to your baby but also to your lifestyle.