Caring for your newborn baby is an extremely delightful and satisfying experience. At first, your “bundle of joy” may feel too delicate, almost fragile- but if you have your basics right, a few days of handling should make you a pro. Here’s some baby care advice you’ll find useful:
You cannot compromise on cleanliness
Babies don’t have a strong immune system, so they’re more vulnerable to infection. We don’t expect your house to start smelling of disinfectants and detergent, but being a little finicky about cleanliness is acceptable. Wash your hands or use a sanitizer before handling your child. Insist that others, including family members and visitors, do the same.
Holding the little one
It takes about 4-5 months for your baby to get steady around the neck and head. So always support your baby’s head and neck, whether cradling or holding him in an upright position. If you’re taking the baby out on a stroller or by car, make sure he is fastened securely into the stroller or car seat. Avoid shaking your newborn- if you need to wake him up, tickle his feet or blow gently on a cheek.
Swaddling helps to keep your baby’s arms close to the body while allowing him to somewhat move his legs. It makes your baby feel secure and minimizes the startle reflex. Master swaddling techniques but don’t continue it after 2 months- babies may sometimes roll over while swaddling and that can be extremely dangerous.
When you change your baby’s diaper, wipe the genital area gently. For a girl child, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid urinary tract infection. Use mild soap water or wipes to clean. Change a soiled diaper immediately, else it might lead to diaper rashes- most rashes go away with a few days’ warm bath, some ointment and a little “diaper-free” time. In case it worsens, consult a doctor.
Sponge bathe your newborn till the umbilical cord falls off and the area heals completely. Frequent bathing may lead to dry skin, so you may consider bathing him thrice a week in his first year.
Newborn Feeding and burping
Mother’s milk is best for babies in the first six months. Some babies may continue to be nursed up to 2 years- it helps them build stronger immunity. Normally, newborns take feeds every 2-3 hours, but the rule is: Feed on Demand. Every time your baby cries, he is not asking for food. Try and understand how he cries when he’s hungry.
Sometimes your baby may swallow air in the process. Once you’re done feeding him, hold your baby upright, let him rest his head on your shoulder. Support the head and neck and gently pat on the back. This will help him burp and release the air he’d swallowed.
Typically newborn sleep time covers almost 15-17 hours in a day. Most babies are fussy at night and may not sleep well the entire night. If your baby gets up crying, he might be hungry because their digestive system is really small, meaning their need for nourishment is more frequent.
Place your baby on his back when you put him to sleep- to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS. Remove all soft toys or quilts that may suffocate him.