First off, Congratulations on the birth of your baby, you are now a parent weehooo! Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting times in our life, it can also come with an overwhelming amount of information, concerns, thought’s and sometimes judgment. It also brings a new kind of love into your life, one that you have never felt before. Your parter is now automatically demoted to second place, while your new baby is crowned King or Queen of this world, and you will do anything to protect and care for him/her. Here we have put together a very simple and straight forward Baby Care Guide to give all new parents the confidence they need to care for their new little ones.
Bringing you’re Newborn Home.
So you have gone through pregnancy, and defeated the labor part, now you’re ready to take your baby home. I think I can speak for most parents when I say this is when reality hits! Most new parents I have talked to agree this is the scariest part. You are being discharged from the hospital, which means no more nurses, doctors, or immediate medical help. You are now completely and fully responsible for your newborn baby. Are you panicking yet? Don’t worry, our baby care guide covers the all the basics you need to survive. After you read through this article you will feel more confident and ready to bring your babe home. Here is a small check list of what you and your baby needs in order to leave the hospital:
- Car Seat
- Baby bum cream
- Burping clothes
- Baby Clothes
- Baby Blanket
- Bottles ( if bottle feeding)
- Nursing pillow
This is a very basic survival list of mandatory items. Keep it simple and don’t over think things and worry to much about all the little things like pacifiers, rattles etc. My son never used these things so you can always buy this stuff as you need them.
Handling a Newborn.
For anyone without experience holding a newborn baby this can seem intimidating, they are so small and fragile. Here are some tips when handling a new baby.
- Always wash your hands.
Babies have not built up much of an immune system yet, so they can be more susceptible to infections cold and flu’s. As well, babies skin is very delicate, scented creams or perfumes on people can irritate your baby’s skin. I always carried a small hand sanitizer in my diaper bag, this gave me a piece of mind when a sink was not handy and people wanted to hold my baby.
- Support your babies head and neck.
Your baby has not developed muscles to support his/her head yet. It is very important to make sure you always slide a hand under the neck holding the back of the head when you are picking your baby up. If you are holding your baby upright with the head on your shoulder, always make sure to keep a hand behind his/her head to make sure their is support as the baby can often “wobble” it’s head around uncontrollably. With your other hand scoop under the baby’s bottom to prevent the back from arching too much.
The Importance of Bonding Time
Bonding is one of the most amazing and pleasurable parts of having a newborn. Physical bonding promotes emotional growth, development and a very important connection between parents and babies. Another good reason for bonding is that this contributes to physical growth, as well teaches you’re baby the feeling of love which then reflects on positive emotional development as they grow. It is important for both parents to take part in bonding, whether it is cradling your baby or having skin-to-skin time. Your baby has already been listening to your voices for the past nine months, so hearing his/her parents sing or talk is another way to bond. Bonding creates a feeling of safety and security for your baby, another way to bond would be gentle massaging. This option is particularly good for premature or babies with medical conditions as it can help with their growth and development. Remember that the first few months your baby may be especially sensitive to things such as sound, light, and movement, when you are bonding make sure to be gentle, slow and quiet.
Here is a quick list of bonding options for both parents to do:
- Skin-to-Skin time.
- Cradling .
- Swaddling (Only recommended until 2 months old).
Tips to sooth a Baby.
There are many ways to try soothing your baby. Sometimes one way will work for a while, and then it won’t work anymore, so here we will cover a few different ways you can try. Let’s look at the first and most obvious ones, Soiled diaper, hungry baby, tired baby, to hot or to cold. For me personally I was always, and still am worried about my baby (OK he is a toddler now) being to hot or to cold. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is upsetting our little ones especially when they don’t talk yet. If feeding, diaper change, and trying to get them to nap has not worked you should try a few of your bonding options above. Think about the word soothing, what would be soothing to you? Try a gentle massage for your baby, try some nudie time, sometimes a break from that darn diaper is all they want. For my son, I did a lot of soft gentle tummy rubs, and a nice warm bath, this is especially good if you’re little one has gas, constipation or just a grumbly tummy. Try changing the position you’re holding your baby, this can help improve bad reflux or gas. The bicycle movement with their legs is great if they have gas. There are so many ways that will help sooth your baby, they will change each time so keep an open mind and think of new gentle ways to help bring comfort to your newborn.
What you’re Diaper Options are.
So I am sure you’re aware of your options for diapers, cloth or disposable. Firstly I would like to say I am not against one or another, I have tried both. I used cloth diapers on my first child and sadly it just didn’t suit us, my daughter couldn’t breathe in them and she always had raisin bum from being so sweaty. They bothered her way too much to be worth it for me, plus having to deal with a poopy cloth diaper when we were out just was not my thing. If it works for you then that’s great, you’re contributing to a more environmentally friendly way. When I had my son many moons later I just didn’t even bother trying the cloth option, he loves to poop, and at the most absolutely inconvenient times. So we have spent a fortune on disposables. Okay so I have already listed a few pros and con’s but here is a simple list of fact’s to help you decide.
- More cost effective
- Waterproof bands to keep leaks in.
- Soft feeling
- Can be costly
- Convenient disposal
- Breathable and absorbent
- Various sizing options
- Dyes and Gels that could irritate sensitive skin
- Can sometimes rip during changing
I was hesitant to bring up the eco-friendly fact for this reason: Disposable diapers are mostly 40 percent biodegradable, however resources such as trees and plastics are used during the manufacturing of these products. A disposable diaper adds to landfill. With Cloth Diapers, more natural resources are used, and re used rather then disposed after one use, however they do require some poop scooping and deep cleaning requiring the use of energy and producing only dirty water as waste.
To sum up this Diaper talk I recommend trying whichever you feel will suit you. There is no right or wrong answer here, do not worry if someone wants to preach about what they think is best…..trust me there will be a lot of that along the way of parenting. Do what works for you but most importantly, what works for your baby. As I mentioned, I tried the disposables because I do think it’s a great concept, but it just didn’t work. I had sweaty pant angry baby with diaper rash so I knew I had to discontinue cloth diapers.
Feeding and Burping.
Firstly I would like to tell you that if you are hearing the “breastfed is best fed” pressure, this is not true! THE MOST IMPORTANT AND BEST THING IS A FED BABY! Whether it is Breast milk or formula is not as important as making sure you’re baby is just simply fed. I speak from experience, and I know how much pressure there can be from others out there. I breast fed my first baby for only the first three months, and I was lucky I got that far. My second, I was able to breast feed for one year. I have one formula raised baby who is now 14 years old and speaks four languages, and one breast fed raised baby who is going on to 2 years old and can say almost the entire alphabet. They are both well-developed and intelligent children, they are both happy and healthy so it has been a win, win situation.
Anyways Do Not beat yourself up if you just cannot breast feed your baby. There are so many fantastic formula options out their that will do, you can also get breast milk for your baby from most hospitals. Although breastfeeding has many benefits to it and is the best option if it is possible, formula can still provide you’re baby with things such as DHA ARA, and omega-3 fatty acids that support eye and brain development. It also provides more filling servings which can promote better sleep. It may take some experimenting to find the right one for you’re baby if he/she is sensitive.
After each feed, make sure to prop you’re baby up over your shoulder and gently pat his/her back, even a soft rubbing motion up and down their back can do the trick sometimes. This position has always worked well for me, although their are other positions such as laying the baby face down across your lap with one hand holding the chin slightly up and the other hand doing the burping motion. Some babies with spit up more then others, with my first baby, she always spat up after each feeding, my second barely had spit up. Every baby will be different.
Babies first Bath.
Bathing your baby can be such a fun time…….or not. It is recommended to wait 24HRS before giving your baby his/her’s first bath. Here are a few reasons why this is recommended; your baby is born with a soft waxy like coating on their skin called vernix. Vernix contributes to helping a babies body retain heat and acts as a barrier to possible infections. Because your baby is so new to the “outside” world and is still adjusting to many new things, your baby is already very sensitive to cold. If your baby is too cold, his/hers body will need to work more to keep warm, possibly resulting in a drop in blood sugar levels. Avoiding a bath for the first 24HRS can decrease the possibility of hypothermia and hypoglycaemia.
After your 24HRS is up you can start with a sponge bath. It is recommended to do this until the umbilical cord falls off as well, if you have had your son circumcised wait until he is healed. After the healing process you can use your baby bath, or as some parents prefer to bathe with their baby. Make sure the water is not hot but slightly warmer then lukewarm, otherwise it will cool down to fast and you will have a cold baby. If you wish you may use a gentle baby soap, however it is not necessary. Water will be enough to clean your baby, after all they are not yet crawling around in sand and getting themselves to dirty….yet!
I personally don’t recommend any after bath product, although a new babies skin can look dry, it is just going through am adjustment period to their new environment. In no time their skin will become so soft and supple, just be patient. Make sure to have a towel ready so you’re can quickly wrap them up after bath time is finished, some babies will want to nurse or have a bottle right away (this is so they can comfort themselves or to help warm them up with a full tummy).
Getting a Goodnight’s Sleep.
Sleep will be different for every single baby, even if you have already gone through the sleep part with your first baby or second or third. My first slept through the night from almost the beginning, my second took two years to finally sleep through the night….yikes!!! My best suggestion is that you’re make a routine that works for you and your baby and stick to it!
Here are some tips to help you and your baby sleep.
- First off a newborn will sleep a lot, try to nap when your baby is napping because this does not last.
- Have a bassinet or crib for your baby. Unless you plan is to co-sleep, try to avoid doing this.
- If possible have the baby in his/her own room
- Make sure the bedroom temperature is comfortable
- Bath before bed can sometimes help
- Warm milk or breast feed is great to get your baby settled for a good night sleep.
- Have a baby monitor so you’re can have a piece of mind.
I actually think most parents get less sleep, not necessarily from baby being up, but from worrying about our baby more then we actually need to.
Baby Care Guide in a Nutshell.
I hope my Baby Care Guide has helped you learn a thing or two. I have given you information about how to care for your baby and his/her needs through my personal experience and the knowledge I have gained along the way. You should now be confident enough to bring your little loved one home and taking on the responsibility of feeding, burping, napping holding and bonding. Please remember that every baby is different and their will be many adjustments periods along your journey to find the best solution for you and your baby. Stick to what works for you and try new things and new ways with whatever does not work. Good luck and I wish you all the best in your new life as a parent. Enjoy every precious moment.