There’s nothing quite as good as the smell of a newborn baby. It’s like vanilla ice cream, fresh morning air, and wild flowers all rolled into one. It’s no wonder then that parents can’t help but touch, cuddle, and caress their babies.
Taking care of him is another thing, however, especially when he seems so small and fragile. Here’s a quick guide on how you can care for your newborn sweetie!
Bonding with Baby
Study after study has revealed that physical closeness not only helps promote your baby’s emotional growth but his physical development as well. When a baby feels loved, he grows wonderfully.
There are many ways by which you can bond with your baby. Apart from giving him soothing massages, you can also sing him sweet lullabyes. If you and your partner had been talking to him while he was still in your womb, then he would be comforted by the sound of your voice. Talk to him. Tell him about your day. Sing to him. Read him nursery rhymes. Recite him love poems. Do all these while cradling him in your arms, swaying to the slow rhythm of the night.
It’s probably one of the most natural things to do but some folks find themselves nervous at the thought of carrying a newborn baby. And who could blame them? Infants are, after all, fragile, little creatures.
If you’re carrying a babe for the first time, stay cool. Make sure you’re clean first of all. A newborn’s immune system is still not fully developed. If you just came from work, change your shirt; your clothes may be carrying all sorts of bacteria. Wash your hands thoroughly.
When carrying baby, cradle his head while supporting his neck and back. Be gentle now. Your newborn is still quite fragile and is not at all ready for rough play. Don’t shake him or jiggle him or throw him up the air. Just cradle him in your arms gently and everything is going to be all right.
How often do you have to feed your baby? This is probably one question that has the power to keep most parents up all night. Is my baby getting enough? Is he getting too much? How do I know?
Generally, a newborn needs to be fed every two to three hours. However, this may differ from one baby to the next. The best way to know when your baby needs to be fed is by observing his behavior.
If he is crying but his diaper is dry, he is comfortably in his crib, and nothing else seems to be wrong, then he is most likely hungry. If he is constantly making sucking noises or obstinately putting his fingers in his mouth, then he wants to be fed.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure your baby gets about 10 to 15 minutes from each breast. You can tell that your baby has had enough if your breasts feel less full afterwards.
If you are formula-feeding, your baby will likely consume two to three ounces for each feeding.
As your baby feeds, he may also take in some air in the process, making him feel gassy and all fussy. That is why burping is such an important care technique for parents to learn. Otherwise, your baby might just keep you up all night.
Burp your baby as often as you can. If you are breastfeeding, burp your baby each time you switch breasts. If you are formula-feeding, burp your baby every two to three ounces.
Burp your baby after he’s finished feeding. If he doesn’t burp after several minutes, try a different position. When he’s done, keep him upright for 10 minutes so that he doesn’t spit up.
Here are three ways how:
- Hold him upright, placing his head on your shoulder. With one hand, support his head and back and with the other, gently pat his back.
- Sit baby on your lap. With one hand, support his chest and head by cradling his chin on the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on his chest. With the other, gently pat his back.
- Lay baby face-down on your lap. With one hand, support his head, making sure it’s higher than his chest. With the other, gently pat his back.
Changing Baby’s Diaper
Your baby needs changing about 10 times a day, sometimes even more. But whether you’re using cloth or disposable, it’s important to thoroughly clean baby’s genital area before changing his nappies to prevent rashes and infection. It’s also important to change his nappies the moment it’s dirty, again to prevent rashes and infection.
- Keep the following handy: clean diaper, fasteners for cloth diapers, diaper ointment, washcloth, wipes, cotton balls, and warm water.
- Lay down baby on his back and remove his dirty diaper.
- Clean the genital area and buttocks with the washcloth, cotton balls, and water. If your baby’s a girl, be sure to wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid urinary tract infection. If your baby’s a boy, be careful removing his diaper as the cold air might just stimulate him to urinate.
- Apply some diaper ointment before putting on fresh nappies.