If you thought the hardest part of a pregnancy is giving birth, you are in for a surprise. After the baby is born, you are going to have less and less of sleep every night. Also, you are going to have even lesser time for yourself during the day because you’ll be caring for the needs of your baby. Newborns require care and attention at all times. First-time parents don’t know what to do during this challenging phase of the baby’s development.
Before you bring your newborn to your home safely, the physician is going to tell you about some guidelines. There are a few things that you need to be on the lookout for. For example, how much crying is alarming? Newborns cry because they’re adjusting to life outside the womb.
If your baby is crying all the time, and you can’t figure out why, then it could have colic. The baby could also be crying because of pain from an undetected birth injury.
A painful birth defect is erb’s palsy. If you have no idea about what is erb’s palsy then you should know that it is a type of birth injury caused due to the overstretching of the baby’s neck during birthing that can damage nerves in the shoulders, arms, or hands.
Over 80% of children with erb’s palsy will make a full recovery. Erb’s palsy prevents the baby from properly using the affected limb. 1 out of 1000 babies is born with this condition.
Here are a few more basic baby-care tips for new parents:
Feeding and burping
You could breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, but either way, you should be feeding it every 2 to 3 hours. If you are breastfeeding your baby, nurse for about 10–15 minutes on each side.
If the infant is on formula-feed, 2–3 ounces for each feed is enough. You can balance both options according to your tots’ needs.
Burping your baby is very important after every feed.
If your newborn tends to be gassy or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your little one after every ounce of bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes of breastfeeding.
The right way to burp the newborn:
Hold the newborn in an upright position with his/her head on your shoulder. Make sure to support your newborn’s head and back while you can gently pat the back with your other hand.
The Diapers on a baby must be changed every 2-hours. The skin of a newborn is soft and sensitive, and not changing the diaper frequently can cause a rash which can be irritating for the baby.
Use warm water and cotton balls to clean when changing the baby’s diapers. If you see a rash developing, use a mild moisturizer or a rash cream before putting on a fresh diaper.
Soothing a fussy baby
Crying is the only form of communication your newborn knows, so do not panic and try to understand the baby’s needs that it’s communicating. Your newborn might be crying because it’s hungry, needs burping, requires a diaper change, or is sleepy. If you have done all of the above, and you still can’t make the baby to quiet down, then your baby might be in colic pain.
Try consulting your doctor if your baby is colic. Meanwhile, you can let the baby lie face down on your arm; it usually helps with colic pain. You can also use anti-colic drops or change the formula you are using.
There are other reasons that babies cry as well, like for instance, getting attention from parents, wanting to be held, feeling hot or cold, etc.
Cradling the baby close to your chest, and rocking slowly back and forth sideways, will give the baby comfort.
Swaddling and sleeping
Swaddling your baby is important. It helps with calming the baby so that it can sleep soundly. Newborns feel safe when they are swaddled. A swaddle resembles the womb. Make sure to securely swaddle the newborn and enjoy a good night’s snooze yourself.
Although as important as swaddling is for newborns, there is also evidence that it can contribute to suffocation and overheating in babies. Due care must be taken to avoid both. That means paying attention to the tightness of the blanket when wrapping your baby in it. Also, you should make sure that the blanket you use is breathable and doesn’t trap heat, causing overheating.
If you keep these guidelines in mind, then swaddling is a safe way to help your baby have good sleep.
Taking care of a newborn can be challenging for new parents, but, as time passes, the parental instincts kick in. Enjoy this stage in your baby’s life and learn about the ways you can make your baby’s life safer.