Congratulations on becoming a parent! The long wait is finally over,and you can now see the little life that has been growing inside of youfor the last nine months. Nothing compares to the inundation of emotions when you hold your baby for the first time, grasp their tiny hands, and listen to their first cry!
Going through the labor process for the first time and watching the miracle of birth is a truly memorable experience. But you must recognize that your life is about to change forever.
First-time parents are often overwhelmed by the huge responsibility that comes with parenthood.Frequent crying, sleepless nights, and being clueless about your baby’s needs and wants could be unnerving.
If you’re expecting your first child soon, we’re here to help with your parenthood journey. Continue reading as we unveil five useful and practical tips to take care of your newborn and ensure their well-being:
Beware Of Red Flags
Crying is the only real way a newborn can communicate all their needs—from hunger to discomfort, pain, and illness. However, long hours of crying, changing skin color, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite indicate something is wrong and your baby requires immediate medical attention.
If your baby has trouble feeding, a swollen belly, or discolored skin around their abdomen, it could be a sign of toxicity. This is especially concerning if your baby is born premature and is on a cow’s milk-based baby formula. Some cow milk-based baby formulas can cause a serious and life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). If your child is diagnosed with NEC, you should consult a doctor immediately and also file a baby formula lawsuit to get compensation and make the formula manufacturer face legal and financial consequences.
Apart from the above, take your child immediately to a pediatrician if they develop the following symptoms:
- Your baby has stopped feeding or taking very long intervals between two consecutive feeds
- Sleeping for prolonged hours
- Difficulty breathing
- High-grade fever
- Dry diaper in the first 24 hours
- Pale eyes and skin
- Constipation that lasts over 48 hours
- Heavy or rapid breathing
- Bluish coloring of the skin
- Consistent unexplained crying that doesn’t go away after feeding or cuddling
- Poor suckling
- Mucus in stool
- Clay-colored or white stool
Handle Your Baby Properly
Many first-time parents are too afraid to hold their babies and fear they might hurt them. But did you know that holding your baby right after birth helps them thrive and stay calm? Here’s how to hold and handle your baby properly:
- A newborn’s immune system hasn’t developed, which puts them at a higher risk of developing infections. For this reason, it’s essential to wash or sanitize your hands before touching your baby.
- Your baby has a delicate neck, spine, and skull. When holding a baby, make sure to support their head and neckwith your hands. Slide one hand under their head and neck and support their lower body with the other hand.
- Although there are many ways to hold a baby, the simplest natural method for first-time parents is a cradle hold. Place your baby’s head into the crook of your elbow, with your arm and hand supporting their neck, shoulder, and back. Gently swaddle your baby with the other hand, placing it under their hips or thighs.
- Never shake your baby, no matter their age. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have a delicate brain and nervous system. Shaking a baby, even playfully, can cause internal bleeding and can be fatal.
- If you’re using a carseat, stroller, baby carrier, or rocking chair, make sure to fasten the seat beltsto keep your baby safe from any sudden shock.
Skin-To-Skin Contact Works Wonders
Skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo care is a tried-and-tested method to help newborns regulate body temperature and form a strong bond with their parents. It not only helps them absorb heat from their parent’s body but also stimulates digestion. In addition, scientific studies reveal that skin-to-skin contact helps regulate blood flow, breathing, and pulse rate in newborns.
Bathing Your Baby
Bathing your baby every day helps maintain their personal hygiene and promotes healthy skin development and comfortable sleep. However, bathing a baby after birth is typically one of the most difficult tasks for first-time parents.
Arrange Bathing Supplies Beforehand
Before your water breaks, make sure you learn the basics of bathing your baby and have all of the bathing and self-grooming accessories ready before birth. Use gentle bathing products specifically designed for newborns. You can purchase bathing seats for your baby or try learning the centuries-old technique of bathing your baby while holding them in your hands.
How To Bathe Your Baby
When bathing your baby, keep all the essential supplies well within reach. These include soap or body wash, washcloths, towels, baby wipes, and a clean diaper. Make sure the water is warm but not hot. Test the water temperature with your elbow or wrist before pouring it over your baby.
Always start with your baby’s face and head. After that, lower your baby into warm water gradually with firm support, but avoid immersing their neck and head into it. Gently wash your baby from head to toe, and don’t be scared of washing delicate areas like the umbilical ring and face. Above all, firmly hold your baby to avoid slipping.
Prefer Breastfeeding Over Formula Milk
Studies show that breastfeeding offers a multitude of benefits that surpass formula milk in all aspects. The initial breast milk, called colostrum, is filled with essential nutrients for a newborn as well as antibodies and antioxidants essential for developing immunity. It’s also much lower in fat and sugar content to make it easier for your baby to digest. Mothers who undergo a c-section can pump colostrum and feed it through bottles until they’re able to sit up and let the baby latch on.
Breastmilk has a natural tendency to adjust the nutritional requirement according to your baby’s needs, which helps them develop a strong foundation for brain and bone growth as well as immune system development. It also protects both the mother and baby from numerous allergies, infections, and diseases.
Taking care of a newborn can be emotionally and physically exhausting for many first-time parents. But with the above simple tips and expert suggestions, you can give your baby the best care possible and keep them happy and healthy.
If you notice any peculiar change in their feeding routine, bowel movement, or general behavior, don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician and get your baby thoroughly checked.