Updated on 28 November 2022
A newborn baby can bring a whirlwind of excitement along with plenty of stress for parents. However, the first 28 days (the neonatal period) are crucial for a baby's survival as it is the foundation for lifelong health and development. Whether it is your first time or you have already taken care of a newborn, it is normal to feel like you don't have any idea about what you are doing. With these tips, you can ensure that your newborn receives the best care, emphasizing the importance of newborn care.
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding can be a challenging task, especially for first-time mothers. However, there are many benefits of breastfeeding. Getting help from a paediatrician or even from nurses during your hospital stay after delivery can help you nurse your baby optimally, as well as you can learn how you should hold your newborn.
When you don't have much experience handling babies, their fragility can scare you. Remember these basics to help you get started:
Bonding becomes an important contributing factor to future emotional attachments between you and your child. Physical closeness promotes emotional attachment. Make sure to spend ample time caressing, cradling, and playing with your baby to promote healthy emotional growth. You can engage your newborn's senses by using various vocal and other sounds such as rattling and music. But remember to keep the volumes at a low or moderate level. If you have a premature baby, opting for gentle massage can enhance bonding as well as promote healthy physical growth and development.
Breastfeeding might come naturally, but it can be tricky initially. Here are some tips if you choose to breastfeed:
This is a monumental task for many first-time parents. But you should adapt to the fact that your newborn will dirty the diapers around ten times a day. So before you start diapering, make sure you have all the supplies you need, like a clean diaper, fasteners, diaper wipes, etc. Diaper rash is common, so you can put some ointment on the affected areas and give warm baths.
Bathing newborns frequently is not recommended as it may lead to drying of the skin. Limit the bathing sessions to two to three times a week. Use a soft washcloth and unscented soap and shampoo for your baby. Always put your baby in clean clothes after wiping it with clean towels. You can opt for tub baths once the baby can sit up straight. Get bathtubs made for babies which are 2-3 inches deep.
Newborn babies can sleep for more than 16 hours a day, and that occurs for periods of 2 to 4 times. You should also be mindful of the time gap of feeding as babies have a small digestive system which means they get hungry often. You should not let your newborn go without food for more than 4 hours.
The umbilical cord stump is a sensitive area that requires special attention until it falls off naturally, usually within one to three weeks after birth. Keep the cord stump clean and dry by avoiding excessive moisture and folding the diaper below it. If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus, consult your pediatrician promptly.
Vaccinations are a vital part of protecting your baby from preventable diseases. Follow the recommended vaccination schedule provided by your healthcare provider to ensure your child is up-to-date with their immunizations. Additionally, regular check-ups with the pediatrician are essential to monitor your baby's growth and development, address any concerns, and receive guidance on appropriate milestones and care.
Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth is highly beneficial as it helps regulate the baby's body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Moreover, this intimate connection fosters a strong emotional bond between the newborn and the parents, promoting feelings of security and love.
Babies are not born knowing how to sleep like adults. This is mostly because their tummies are very small – they need to eat about 8 to 12 times a day, even during the night. So, in the beginning, don't think that a baby will sleep for a long time without waking up. But there are ways to make it easier for the baby to sleep at night.
In the initial days following birth, your baby will expel a thick, dark green or black substance known as meconium, which is perfectly natural. After a short while, if your baby is breastfed, they will have around six to eight soft, yellow-green bowel movements each day, sometimes containing tiny seedlike particles. However, for formula-fed babies, it's typical to have one to two stools per day, which will be thicker and colored yellow or tan.
Remember, unless your baby displays signs of diarrhea, significant differences in the color, texture, and frequency of their bowel movements are within the normal range.
Parenting in the first few weeks, even months can seem overwhelming. Once you start getting used to the routine, you will start parenting newborn baby care like a pro. For any queries, reach out to your regular paediatrician and seek treatment for newborns whenever needed to ensure optimum care for your newborn baby!
With love, care, and attention, you will embark on a beautiful journey of parenthood and witness your baby blossom into a healthy and happy individual.
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