A Beginner's Guide for New Parents
Congratulations on the arrival of your newborn! Taking care of your delicate baby might feel overwhelming, but don't worry. Here's the basic guide to taking care of your precious little one, to help you feel confident in no time.
How Do I Put a Diaper on My Baby?
Whether you choose cloth or disposable diapers, get ready for around 10 diaper changes a day – that's about 70 times a week! When it's diaper time for your baby:
- Keep all the supplies you need close by and easy to grab.
- Wipe your baby from front to back with care, using water, cotton balls, and a washcloth or wipes.
- If there's a diaper rash, you can apply some diaper cream.
- Don't forget to wash your hands after changing the diaper!
When and how Should I Bathe My Baby?
In the first few weeks, babies should get sponge baths. After the umbilical cord stump falls off and any circumcision heals (if your baby was circumcised), they can take baths in a sink or a small plastic baby tub.
When you start using the tub, make the first baths short and gentle. If your baby gets upset, go back to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the tub again. Giving your baby a bath two or three times a week during the first year is good. Bathing too often might dry out their skin.
How should I take care of the umbilical cord and circumcision area?
Umbilical cord care: Gently clean around the cord stump with plain water, pat it dry until it dries up and falls off in about 10 days to 3 weeks. Keep that adorable belly button area dry until the stump falls off and the area heals. As the stump changes color from yellow to brown or black before falling off, don't worry, that's totally normal. But, if you notice redness in the area, a bad odor, or any discharge, call your doctor at the earliest!
Circumcision care: After circumcision, doctors usually apply petroleum jelly and gauze to the tip of your baby's penis to prevent it from sticking to the diaper. At every diaper change, gently cleanse the tip with warm water (do not use baby wipes the cleanse the area), then add a touch of petroleum jelly and gauze. Any redness or irritation in the penis should clear up in a few days to a week. But if things worsen or if pus-filled blisters appear, call your baby's doctor right away. It could be signs of an infection.
How Often Should I Feed My Baby?
When it comes to feeding your newborn, whether by breast or a bottle, you might be wondering how often to do so. Generally, the recommendation is to feed your baby on their demand, meaning whenever they show signs of being hungry. These signs could be crying, putting fingers in their mouth, or making sucking sounds. Typically, a newborn baby needs to be fed every 2–3 hours.
Breastfed babies are probably getting enough to eat if:
* They seem content and satisfied.
* Their diapers get wet (about 6 times) and they poop several times a day
* They sleep well
* They grow and gain weight regularly.
Another good way to check milk intake is by noticing if your breasts feel full before feeding and less full afterward. If you're using formula, it's easier to measure if your baby is getting enough to eat. If you have any concerns about your baby's growth or feeding routine, don't hesitate to consult your doctor.
Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can lead to fussiness. To prevent this, make sure to burp your baby frequently with a smile!
What Should I Know About My Baby’s Sleep?
It might surprise you that newborn babies sleep for around 16 hours or even more each day. They usually take naps that last 2 to 4 hours at a time. While some babies start sleeping through the night (6 to 8 hours) by the time they're 3 months old, don't worry if yours doesn't – all babies have their unique sleep routines, just like grown-ups!
For safe and sound baby sleep, always lay them down on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. And here are other safe sleeping tips:
* Parents can share the bedroom with the baby (but not the same bed) for the first 6 months to one year for added safety.
Change your baby's head position every night – first right, then left, and so on. This prevents their head from developing a flatspot on one side of the head.
Soon, you'll have a great routine down, parenting like a pro. If you ever have questions or worries, chat with your doctor. They can suggest helpful resources that can help.