First-time parents experience many emotions: happiness, satisfaction, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, and fear. Welcoming your baby into the world is a wholesome feeling that demands a lot of effort and sacrifice. The unprecedented experience changes couples and their lives.
Once your baby arrives, you’re likely to feel confused and, to some extent, paranoid. Since the tiny human depends entirely on you, you’ll need to adapt quickly to caring for and fulfilling the baby’s demands. However, it’s way easier said than done. Before you step into the role of being a parent, do your research. We’ve created an inclusive guide for you to understand your baby’s basic cues and take care of it in the best way possible.
Seek help after birth
Labor is a painful, tiring, and overwhelming experience. Whether you give birth through natural delivery or a C-section, you must look out for yourself as well as caring for the baby. It’s best to seek help from family, friends, or professionals from the get-go. You can ask them to share their experiences or what worked best during recovery. Nurses can give you tips on lactation and help your baby latch on to your breast to feed.
It’s also essential to seek the proper medical attention. In case your newborn sustains a birth injury because of your healthcare provider’s negligence, visit the Birth Injury Justice Center for more info on legal action to help you secure compensation for treatment. Moreover, following proper postpartum care can aid in quicker healing so you can look after your baby.
Practice handling the baby
The first challenge new parents face is learning how to handle a newborn. You need to be extra careful of hygiene around your baby. Since a baby’s immune system is still developing and prone to infections, wash your hands thoroughly before touching the baby. If someone visits the baby, request them to sanitize their hands before lifting the baby.
It’s also essential to remember that newborns are delicate and need to be handled gently. Do not shake them roughly when trying to wake them up. Always support the head and neck when carrying the baby upright or laying it down to rest.
Moreover, crying babies need to be soothed. Gently stroking the baby, humming, singing, or swaying the baby are easy and simple ways to calm down a newborn. Swaddling also works great for many babies. Swaddling involves wrapping a baby in a sheet with its arms close to the side and little movement for the feet. Swaddling provides babies warmth and a sense of safety. If you don’t know how to swaddle a baby, the nurse at the hospital will demonstrate it step by step.
Learn to clean the baby
It may come as a surprise to first-time parents, but newborns poop frequently. Before your baby is born, you must have supplies to change your baby’s diapers, like wipes, clean diapers, and rash cream. To change a baby’s diaper, lay it on the back and place a clean, unfolded diaper underneath the bottom. Then open the baby’s diaper and gently wipe the genital area. If it’s a boy, you might want to be careful, as exposure to air can cause them to urinate. It’s best to change your baby’s diapers every 2 hours to avoid nappy rashes.
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day; two to three times a week should be enough in the first few weeks. You can sponge the baby with a soft and clean washcloth. After a few weeks, you can bathe your baby with mild soap. It is best to use your hand to lather the soap and wash it off with water. After bathing the baby, you should dry it with a soft towel.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, you’ll have to feed on demand. A baby might give cues like sucking noises and putting its fingers in the mouth to show hunger. If breastfeeding, your baby will feed for approximately 10 to 15 minutes on each breast. If you give your baby formula milk, 2-3 ounces will suffice.
Your baby might also frequently spit up milk. To avoid this, it is important to burp your baby after every feed. A common method to burp your baby is to hold it upright, support the head, and gently pat the back. It might take 10-20 minutes for your baby to burp.
Putting your baby to sleep
A newborn usually sleeps 16 hours a day. A baby might sleep for 2-4 hours in a stretch, but this may vary from baby to baby. Babies are likely to wake up for a feed. You can’t expect your newborn to sleep throughout the night before three months.
It’s essential to follow a few tips to ensure that your baby sleeps peacefully. Make sure you make them sleep on their back and shift their position from side to side to avoid a flat spot. Also, avoid keeping a stuffed animal or thick quilt in the bassinet. To ensure your baby sleeps uninterrupted, keep the lights dim and maintain a quiet environment.
Babies demand a lot of time and energy. As first-time parents, you might find it challenging to tackle your baby. Following a few tips can help you handle and soothe your baby. Before taking care of your baby, getting the right medical attention post-birth is important. Once you’re able to care for your baby, you would want to handle it gently and follow a few common practices that can help you soothe a fussy baby.