Newborn baby care tips can be found everywhere….on the internet, in specialty books and magazines, from family members, and my personal favorite – that random stranger in the mall who absolutely must give you their precious “ two cents worth”.
Pregnant women and new moms are inundated with so many tips that soon they experience a kind of information overload.
It is not our intention to overwhelm you on this site. We want to arm you with basic knowledge in order to help make this whole process easier to handle and deal with. So read on and hopefully you can gather some tidbits in these newborn baby care tips that will make your journey of caring for your little one easier.
The fact is that newborns do not need much. Their world revolves around feeding and sleeping. Beyond those two things they need to be changed, bathed, and kept healthy and safe. These are the necessities we will address.
For the first several weeks expect your newborn to feed every 2-4 hours. Because a newborn’s eating habits are sporadic and unpredictable you should initially feed your baby on demand. Don’t worry too much about a schedule at this point. A daily feeding pattern will develop eventually.
Try to look for early signs of hunger. If your newborn is giving clues like opening and closing his/her mouth, licking the lips, making sucking noises, alertness, or squirming they could be telling you they are hungry. Crying is considered a late stage of hunger. Feeding your infant at the first signs of hunger reduces stress tremendously and allows for a relaxed bonding time for you and baby.
Newborns are not known for their great sleeping habits. In fact, regular sleeping patterns do not typically emerge until about 4-5 months. In those first few months babies do sleep up to 16 hours a day in 3-4 hour intervals. This is because their tummies are so tiny and can only hold a small amount; therefore, they need to be fed every few hours. Newborns have no sense of day or night and wake according to hunger needs. This can quickly result in frustration and sleep deprivation for parents.
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Teach them the difference between day and night. Establish a simple bedtime pattern. Teach them where to sleep.
If you’ve never changed a diaper before, do not worry. It is not rocket science. You will become a pro very quickly as most babies need to be changed about 10 times a day. Arming your nursery with the right equipment and supplies is important.
A changing station is handy and makes the task of diapering much easier. Here, you can stock everything you need at your fingertips in order to complete your task. Diapers, wipes, rash cream, and extra clothing are all essential to have ready for use at your station. Make sure to go ahead and open these items so all you have to do is grab them when needed.
Note: Always use the changing station straps for you baby’s safety and never leave him/her unattended.
Check diapers often to ensure that your baby is clean and dry. When changing diapers be careful not to get it too tight. If you are on a budget, don’t buy unnecessary items when stocking your station. A diaper wipe warmer in not a necessity.
Most health care providers suggest that a newborn should not be given an actual bath until the umbilical cord stump comes off. Until then a sponge bath is necessary so that the belly button area does not get wet.
Use a soft damp washcloth and baby soap to clean your newborn. Wipe the face, neck, hands, behind the ears, and genital area taking care to get in between the skin creases and wrinkles.
At about 10-14 days the umbilical cord should fall off. After that time it is safe to give your baby a full bath in a baby tub or the sink. Be very careful and alert when doing this. Even newborns can wiggle out of your hands and they are very slippery.
Prepare a baby bath basket with everything you need so that all your bathing supplies are convenient. Test the water and do not exceed 90 degrees. Do not use too much water as this can overwhelm the baby. Take precautions to not let your baby get chilled.
One of the first things a new parent should understand is that caring for a newborn is tough, challenging, and flat out exhausting. You are completely responsible for the safety and health of this new life and must change every aspect of your existence to accommodate your baby. It is important to take a deep breath and try to stay calm. This might sound silly but babies, even newborns, seem to sense your emotions. If you are upset or anxious you could very well pass those feelings onto the baby.
It is not easy to come home from the hospital after having your baby and face such great responsibilities. Most new moms are drained, sore, and emotional after giving birth. It is a good idea to have helpers in place if possible, especially during the first week or two. Look to your family, friends, and spouse to assist you with errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
The best way to care for a newborn is to be prepared. Try to think about the needs of your newborn and create an area for each of these needs where all the necessary supplies are readily available.
As a rule of thumb…expect the unexpected when it comes to your newborn. Because your baby is completely unique, not all advice will apply to him/her. The first few weeks are difficult to say the least. Try to remember that this is an important time when you and your baby begin to bond and get to know each other. Keep things as simple as possible so that you can concentrate on this. Above everything, enjoy, love, and care for your baby the way that only a dedicated parent can. Eventually, you will be able to offer some of your own advice when it comes to newborn baby care tips.