What are the Common Parenting Guides for Newborns?
Not every mother is sufficiently prepared for parenting life and so we have put together brief parenting guides to be used by mothers for their newborns. Parenting starts with pregnancy, rapidly progresses to labor and the birthing process, and then culminates in having a wonderful bundle of joy that is, indeed, a joy to the family's world. After delivering the baby, you must leave the hospital, get back home, and begin another phase of life with your newborn baby.
Common problems of newborns include colic, jaundice, gas, and difficulty sleeping, and a little know-how and preparation can go a long way in helping you handle these challenges effectively. These require some prior knowledge if it is your first time having a baby because many things are involved in the general care of the baby and yourself.
In this regard, this article discusses some essential tips as a parenting guide for first-timers. You can find them appealing and applicable in your life if you incorporate them in your efforts to give your newborn baby the best care they deserve. They are arranged and discussed in categories to enhance easy comprehension.
Helping Your Newborn: The Parenting Guides
The period following the delivery of your baby is usually the most overwhelming and hectic, especially if it is your first time. This blog can provide useful tips and support during this time. For this reason, it is recommended to seek assistance right before leaving the hospital. You can talk to anyone around you in the hospital, such as lactation consultants and feeding specialists, who can help you start breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby. As a result, nurses can show you how to hold, change, burp, and care for the baby.
While at home after leaving the hospital, you can hire a postpartum doula, a baby nurse, or have a neighborhood teen help you look after your baby. You can also consult your doctor or the hospital about the best in-home help, or they can refer you to the best agencies concerned with home health. On the other hand, when it comes to friends and relatives, be selective in the kind of person you allow to be around your baby.
Handling Your Newborn
Newborn babies are generally fragile and need careful handling. If it is your first time to be around newborns, the following tips can help you in getting used to this somehow intimidating but potentially fun task:
Ensure your hands are clean before handling the baby.
The immune system of newborns is not as strong as in adults, which increases their risk of contracting infections. Hence, ensure that anyone handling your baby has their hands cleaned or sanitized.
Support the neck and head of your baby.
When carrying your baby around, ensure their head is appropriately cradled and supported, especially when holding them upright or laying them down.
Never shake or ruffle up your baby.
Whether you are playing with your baby or frustrated with something, the last thing you want to do is shake your baby or ruffle them up. Shaking your newborn baby may result in internal bleeding in the head or even death. To wake up your baby, simply tickle their feet or gently blow on their cheek.
If you are using a stroller, carrier, or car seat, properly fasten up your baby.
In this case, any activity that could be too bouncy or rough should be avoided. Importantly, your baby is not yet ready for knee jiggling or being thrown in the air.
Soothing and Bonding
Bonding involves the development of a deep and intimate connection between the mother and their baby and commonly occurs starting a few hours after delivery. Physical attachment dramatically contributes to physical growth and general development. As a mother, you can initiate bonding by cradling and gently stroking your baby in various patterns and gently massaging their skin, especially if they have medical complications or were born prematurely.
Parenting guides can provide detailed information and helpful suggestions for maximizing the bonding experience with your baby. Regarding soothing, you must use lovely vocal sounds, such as singing, talking, cooing, and babbling. You can also recite poems to your baby, or allow them to listen to soothing music if they become fussy. Swaddling is another way of soothing your baby, since it helps keep the baby warm, limits the startling reflex, and gives them a sense of comfort and security. The following tips will help you to swaddle your baby properly:
- Spread a blanket on the floor or bed and slightly fold one of its corners.
- Lay your baby on the blanket, ensuring the head overlies the folded area.
- Wrap the blanket’s left corner over the baby’s body and tuck it beneath the right arm.
- With the baby’s knees and hips slightly bent, wrap the blanket’s bottom corner over their feet, pulling it toward but not covering their head.
- Have the right corner wrapped around your baby and tucked beneath the left side of their back. Ensure the blanket is neither too tight around the baby nor too loose to be easily undone.
- Once your baby turns two months, you should stop swaddling them, as they can easily roll over. This increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The decision on the diapering method you intend to use is usually made even before leaving the hospital, whether to use disposable diapers or cloth. However, the fact is that your baby is likely to have dirty diapers nearly 70 times every week, or ten times in a single day. Diapering your baby requires you to have all you need for this activity before commencing, minimizing the incidences of leaving your baby unattended. You will need a clean changing diaper, fasteners, diaper ointment, and wipes. Take off the dirty diaper while the baby is lying on their back, and gently wipe their genital area using water, a washcloth, cotton balls, or wipes. Use can use ointments when there is a need to heal or prevent skin rashes.
The bumpy and red diaper rash usually disappears with continuous application of diaper cream, using warm baths, and letting the baby go for some time without the diaper. The diaper rashes develop because the baby's skin could be sensitive, becoming irritated by a wet or poopy diaper. The following tips can help you in preventing or healing diaper rashes:
- Ensure you regularly change your baby’s diapers immediately if you suspect any bowel movement.
- Using water and mild soap, clean the baby gently and apply a thick layer of barrier cream or diaper rash. Zinc oxide creams are the most preferred since they form barriers preventing moisture entry.
- Use detergents that are free from dye and fragrance to wash the cloth diapers.
- Your baby should go for some hours without a diaper to allow their skin to freshen up.
Bath your baby using a sponge bath until their umbilical cord falls away, and their navel heals gradually, which takes between 1 and 4 weeks. Also, use the sponge bath until their circumcision heals, which takes between 1 and 2 weeks. In the first year after giving birth, bathe your baby about three times a week, as regular bathing may make their skin dry. The items you will need to bathe your baby include a clean, soft washcloth, a mild and unscented soap, shampoo, a brush with soft bristles for stimulating your baby's scalp, towels, clean clothes, and a diaper.
Circumcision and Caring for the Umbilical Cord
Looking for helpful guides for post-circumcision care for your baby? It's important to keep the baby's penis protected and free from irritation after the procedure. Cover the tip of the penis with petroleum jelly to prevent contact with the diaper.
During diaper changes, use warm water to gently wipe the tip and reapply petroleum jelly. While some minor irritation or redness is common and should heal within a few days, it's important to seek medical attention if swelling persists or discharge, foul odors, or blisters develop. Follow these guidelines to ensure the best care for your little one.
It is important to take good care of your baby’s umbilical cord. According to some doctors, you should swab the area around the umbilical cord using plain water with a washcloth or cotton swab and pat dry to avoid the accumulation of moisture till the stump of the cord dries and falls away, which usually takes between 10 days to 3 weeks. However, other doctors recommend not touching anything in that area, which means you have to consult your baby’s doctor for the right direction.
Do not submerge your baby’s navel area in water before the umbilical cord stump comes off. The umbilical cord stump color will change from yellow to black or brown during the healing process until it falls off. However, you should call your baby’s doctor if you suspect any foul odor from the navel area or if it turns red, as this may be a sign of infection.
Burping and Feeding
You may decide to breastfeed or use a bottle to feed your newborn baby but aren't so sure how often your baby needs to eat. Babies tend to eat frequently, and doctors recommend that you feed them according to their demands or anytime they show they are hungry. Babies often cry, insert fingers in their mouths or produce sucking noises when hungry. Newborn babies often feed every 2 or 3 hours and mothers can breastfeed for about 15 minutes. On the other hand, if you are feeding your baby on formula, you can give them 2-3 ounces or 60-90 milliliters every time they feed. To know if your baby is getting enough milk, check the fullness of your breasts before breastfeeding, and compare them to their fullness after your baby has breastfed. If you notice any concerns regarding your child's growth, do not hesitate to inform the doctor.
Burping your baby prevents them from swallowing air while eating. Hence, you must burp your baby each time you switch breasts while breastfeeding or after every 3 ounces if you are bottle-feeding. However, if your baby does not burp after every few minutes while eating, change their position before burping and feeding them again. Also, burp your baby after feeding them, and keep them upright for about 15 minutes to prevent them from spitting.
It may be surprising to learn that your newborn baby sleeps for nearly 16 hours a day. Although your baby will need your attention most of the time when they are awake. During the night, it is your prerogative to ensure that your baby receives the regular nourishment they need after every 2 to 4 hours. Therefore, you may need to wake them up and feed them if they oversleep. Most babies aged three months and above can sleep for nearly 8 hours at night. However, the sleep cycles vary with babies, and as parents, you need not worry if your baby does not sleep for 8 hours when aged 3 months.
Babies must lie down to sleep on their backs to minimize the risk of SIDS. Also, avoid using blankets, sheepskins, quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals, as these might suffocate your baby. Doctors recommend sharing a bedroom with your baby for the first 6 months or more, but not a bed. Remember to alternate your baby's head position on a nightly basis, ensuring they use both sides of their heads when sleeping to avoid incidences of flat spots.
Some newborn babies tend to be awake at night and sleepy during the day. If your baby falls in this category, consider minimizing any stimulation at night to allow them time to sleep. This includes turning off the lights or reducing their brightness and minimizing any background sounds in the house. It helps give your baby a conducive sleep environment, which is positively efficient for their health.
As a first-timer, it is customary to be anxious about how to take good care of your newborn baby. Your anxiety will gradually fall as you incorporate this guide into your daily interaction with your baby.
Within a few weeks of delivering, you will quickly graduate from a novice to a pro in parenting your baby, as many other young mothers have done. Keep consulting your doctor in case of any worries or complications, and do not hesitate to ask for help from friends and relatives that have been where you are before. Your newborn baby requires much of your time, love, and care. This means you should continue learning new ways regarding how you handle your baby to ensure they develop and grow into a young, healthy, and vibrant individual.
At Omega Pediatrics, the top Roswell Pediatrics clinic in Georgia, we aim to provide you with the information and support you need to keep your newborn healthy and happy. Whether you have questions about after-hours pediatrics, everyday problems of newborns, or Peach State Health Plan and Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance coverage, we're here to help. So don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. We're always here for you and your little one.