Bringing a newborn baby home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The delight and excitement that parents experience is palpable. It's understandable if you're nervous, especially if you're a first-time mother or father. After all, no matter how well one plans and prepares for the arrival of a child, problems and challenges will always arise.
Financial difficulties, lactation difficulties, and sleep loss are some of these difficulties. It's also common for new parents to struggle with anxiety or sadness. And, because no two babies are alike, it's hard to predict how a child's first weeks and months will unfold: The challenges one family faces may be very different from those of another family.
The good news is that many parents and newborn-care providers have compiled some best practises and general principles for navigating early childhood. These resources can provide new parents, grandparents, and caregivers the tools they need to deal with the difficulties that come with having a baby.
Newborn Care: Tools and Resources
When examining these options, it's crucial to remember that no two children are alike, and there are no "one-size-fits-all" child-care alternatives. However, there is some general advice and procedures that practitioners have found to be beneficial in the majority of cases.
Although newborns' feeding patterns can be erratic, parents should expect it to be a 24-hour activity. It's natural for parents to get tired of the routine feedings, but it's also vital to remember that this is one of the finest times for parents to bond with their new babies. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following guidelines for feeding a newborn:
- If at all possible, start with breast milk. It is important to note that newborn babies do not require juice, water, or any other type of food or fluids.
- Be prepared to feed your newborn on cue. This may be anywhere from 8-12 times daily.
- Breastfeeding moms may wish to ask their doctor about the merits of vitamin D supplements.
- Be aware that as babies experience growth spurts, their eating habits may shift and change.
Moms and dads should generally follow their instincts and look out for signals of a healthy, growing baby, such as consistent weight gain and comfort between meals.
The majority of babies are eager to bond with their parents as soon as possible. Remember that bonding is a process, not a task that can be finished on the first day.
Touch, eye-to-eye contact, and the sound of a human voice are just a few of the ways that babies bond with you. Participating in the labour and delivery, aiding with some of the bottle feedings (especially at night), reading to the baby, singing to the baby, and bathing the baby are all examples of bonding techniques for parents.
One of the most difficult things in baby care is sleeping (or lack of it). Most parents are aware that their newborn may not sleep through the night for a few weeks or even months, depending on the baby. This can be a difficult time for everyone, not least because Mom and Dad may be chronically sleep deprived.
Most babies' primary motivation is to eat rather than sleep, and parents may need to feed their baby every two hours during the first two months of life. Newborns may sleep a lot (up to 18 hours per day, for up to four hours at a time), but they won't know the difference between night and day.
Parents should take the following actions to get their infant on a more consistent sleep schedule as soon as possible:
- Make a bedtime regimen that you stick to.
- Put the baby to bed as soon as they begin to drift off, but before falling asleep completely. Your baby will be able to self-soothe as a result of this.
Handling and Safety
Handling your baby safely is another vital component of newborn care. There are some practical safety tips available from Healthy Children, including:
- Make sure the infant car seat is securely fastened.
- Be aware that even a baby who is unable to walk can squirm and roll, so be careful where you place your baby.
- When holding a baby, parents should avoid carrying hot liquids or snacks at the same time. The slightest stumble could result in the baby getting burnt.
- It's also worth noting that babies like to explore their surroundings by putting objects in their mouth. Because the risk of choking is quite serious, it's critical to keep an eye on any little items that may have been left in the baby's surroundings.
Cleaning and Bathing
Bathing an infant provides benefits beyond hygiene, it can also be a priceless moment for bonding. Baths may also have a calming effect on parents, and in some situations, may even promote sleep. Bath time is a good addition to any child's night time ritual. The following are some general cleaning and bathing instructions and best practises for a newborn:
- Create a feeling of routine.
- Make sure that all of the things you'll need are within easy reach.
- Keep the baby warm, keeping in mind that newborns loose heat quickly.
- While your baby is in the tub, hold on to them securely.
- Concentrate on the hands and the diaper area with mild soap.
- Using a washcloth or cotton ball, gently clean your baby’s face, including the eyes.
- Be especially sensitive and gentle around the baby’s private parts and the umbilical cord.
Health Conflicts and Concerns
Most infants see their paediatrician on a regular basis to ensure that they are growing and developing normally. This also implies that any indicators of illness will be visible to a doctor's keen eye. Even so, it's common for parents to be concerned about whether or not their child will need to be taken to the doctor for a "sick" visit.
The Mayo Clinic outlines several frequent indicators that indicate when it's time to take your baby to the doctor. These are some of the warning signs:
- Your baby has a fever.
- Your baby's appetite or behaviour has changed.
- Tenderness might be felt around the navel.
Parents may also wish to contact their pediatrician about symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and rashes, particularly if these symptoms last for longer than a day or two.