Taking care of a newborn is a huge feat in itself. As a young mother, who has no experience, it is important that you know how exactly your newborn has to be handled.
Once the umbilical cord falls off, you can start bathing your baby regularly. Gather your supplies that include towels, soap, a clean diaper, etc. While bathing your baby, remember to use mild soap sparingly. This will help in ensuring that it doesn’t get into your baby’s eyes. Wash your baby gently from top to bottom (and front to back) using your hand or a washcloth.
Always remember to have one hand on the baby’s neck and head. Babies can be slippery when wet so make sure you have a firm grip.
The baby might look tiny and fragile. But all you need are a few basic techniques to take you from a novice to a Super Mom.
Owing to their weak immune system, babies are more susceptible to infection. Remember to sanitise your hands before you handle your baby. Constantly support the baby’s head and neck. Cradle his/her head when you’re carrying him/her. Avoid shaking your baby as this might cause bleeding in the brain. Hold the baby snugly and ensure you give your 100% attention to it.
Newborns need to get lots of rest to continue growing healthy and strong. Some babies might also rest up to 16 hours a day. If your baby keeps you up all night, try to limit nighttime stimulation by keeping the lights dim and voices low. You’ll soon see that the baby has begun a normal sleeping cycle.
The best place to begin breastfeeding your newborn is in the bed after you deliver him/her. Turn the baby’s body toward you and her upper lip towards your nipple. Pull her to your breast when she opens her mouth. If the baby is getting enough food, it will produce 6-8 wet diapers a day, along with steady bowel movements. It will be alert when it’s awake and will steadily gain weight. Remember, it takes patience and practice so don’t panic if you don’t get it right the first time. Try to nurse about 8-12 times during the first 24 hours of your baby’s birth.
Eat a healthy and well – balanced diet. Stay hydrated and if you feel more hunger than normal, know that it’s okay. Follow it. Limit your use of alcohol or caffeine as it will enter your breast milk.
You need to be prepared to become a diaper – changing expert. You might have to change the baby’s diaper around 10 times a day. If you use cloth diapers, clean diaper fasteners will be required. You will also need diaper ointment, a container of warm water, a clean washcloth, and some cotton balls/diaper wipes.
Use the water and washcloth to wipe your baby’s genital area. Wipe girls from front to back to avoid UTIs. In the unfortunate case that your baby has a rash, apply some ointment on it. Open the new diaper and slide it under your baby, gently lifting the baby’s legs and feet. Move the front of the diaper between your baby’s legs, over the belly. Bring the adhesive strips around and snugly fasten them so that the diaper is nice and secure.
To avoid rashes, change your baby’s diaper as soon as possible after a bowel movement, using soap and water to wipe your baby. Let your baby go undiapered for a few hours each day to let the baby’s bottom air out a bit.