Life with a newborn can be a whole roller-coaster of emotions. On one end, it is a magical and exciting experience. On the other, it can be exhausting, unsettling and overwhelming. To counter the challenges associated with having a whole human to nourish and take care of, it helps to know what to do to care for your bundle of joy.
Here are some tips for how to best take care of your newborn:
Newborns need to be fed every two to three hours. That means that in 24 hours, they will eat about eight to twelve times. You can opt to feed your baby with formula or choose to nurse them. All that matters is that the child is fed.
Feeding your newborn well helps them gain weight that they may have lost during the birth process and provides them with all the nutrients their bodies need to grow. If you have chosen to nurse your little one, it is worth noting that breastfeeding may not happen naturally. It is normal to have some trouble getting your baby to latch during the first few days.
During feeding, babies tend to swallow some air. The air causes them to be gassy and have trouble with their tummies. To get rid of the excess air, you need to burp them. Burping helps to prevent stomach colic and prevent spit-ups. Just hold your baby against your chest with your hand. Their chin should be resting on your shoulder. Then, gently pat or stroke their hand using your other hand until they burp.
Newborns are delicate. You have to be very careful when bathing them. Bathe them after the umbilical cord dries and falls out. Have all the essential baby bath supplies with you before starting them on a bath. You do not have to bathe your baby every day. Bathing them too frequently could lead to dry skin or eczema. On the days that you do not wash them, spot clean them around the neck, groin and mouth.
Caring for the Umbilical Cord Stump
In the first few weeks of their lives, you will need to take proper care of the umbilical cord stump. Always make sure that their naval region is clean and dry. Fold the diapers down so that the stump can stay dry. Clean and disinfect your hand before handling the navel region. Use a damp cloth to clean the area.
Be on the lookout for any signs of infections in the cord-stump area. Consult your pediatrician if you notice any redness, swelling, pus or bleeding.
Holding Them Correctly
When babies are born, they do not have a lot of neck support. Their neck muscles are usually not strong enough to hold their heads up. You, therefore, need to hold them with a lot of care. When holding them, support their head and neck until they can hold their heads up by themselves.
With a newborn, you will be changing diapers constantly. They will soil even up to eight diapers in a day. Change the diapers immediately when it gets full. Have all the necessary supplies for changing diapers like wipes, a changing sheet, diaper rash cream, and fresh diapers. Also, let them stay without a diaper for a few hours every day so that they can air out.
Remember, a huge part of taking care of your baby is also about taking care of yourself. Yes, eat healthy, drink enough water and get some fresh air. You cannot work on no sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Fostering habits that keep you in impeccable physical and mental health will give you the energy to take the best care of your baby.
*Photos by Polina Tankilevitch