Help of some type is required for each and every new parent. This manual will lead you through everything you need to know about your newborn, from when they sleep and feed to how they cry and defecate. It will be your go-to resource for all things related to your baby.
You’ve probably been daydreaming about your kid for months, imagining everything from how they’ll look and sound to how they’ll feel in your arms. Nevertheless, regardless of how much you’ve prepared, it’s probable that you’ll be grateful for pointers on how to care for a baby, particularly if this is your first kid.
Take some solace in that. Many new parents have experienced the anxiety of not knowing how to properly care for their infant during those first few weeks, which are full of promise but may also be fraught with obstacles. Continue reading our guide on newborn care if you are a new parent. In it, you will get guidance on how to handle visitors, how to choose clothes, how to navigate car seat safety, how to maintain a feeding schedule, how to settle into a sleep pattern, how to handle fevers, and much more.
There is a good chance that members of your family and friends will want to pay you a visit as soon as they can, but you can decide to hold them at away for a little time. In this manner, you will be able to concentrate on spending time together as a newly formed family. It is the ideal moment to connect with a new baby since a newborn is often attentive and sensitive right after delivery. To make the most of this opportunity, gaze into their eyes and speak to them. Because they have been with you during your pregnancy, they are likely familiar with your voice and may find it calming. Let the guests arrive whenever you are ready to receive them!
It is important to keep in mind that infants are unable to self-regulate their body temperature for around the first six months of their lives, even if a particularly adorable going-home clothing seems appealing. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asserts that in order for infants to feel comfortable, they need one more layer of clothing than adults do. Bring layers of clothing with you just in case, and if you’re not sure what size to choose, offer yourself some alternatives by bringing both a newborn and a 0-3 month option.Another piece of advice that we have is to pick out garments that are simple to put on. Remember to bring socks or booties, depending on what the forecast calls for, and think about bringing a blanket with you so that you don’t have to use the one that is given by the hospital.Visit the website of the AAP for further information and advice on how to clothe your infant.Ideas for Newborn Baby’s First Outfits, for Each and Every Season
Visit the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a few weeks before your due date in order to guarantee that the car seat you have selected is installed in the correct manner. You also have the option of calling the toll-free number 866-SEAT-CHECK, which will connect you with a qualified child passenger safety specialist who will check to see that the car seat is installed properly in your vehicle.
First, some fundamentals, as outlined by the NHTSA:
If your infant wears too many layers of clothes, the harness could not fit them correctly. If it is chilly outside, you should put your infant in the car seat first, then fasten them in, and then drape a blanket over the top of them.The harness could become less secure if the child is wearing a puffy coat, which would make the car seat less safe in the event of an accident.
The harness need to be worn such that it presses firmly on the hips and the shoulders.
It is important to make sure that the chest clip is at the same level as your baby’s armpits.
The seat must be fitted at an angle so that the infant is semi-reclining, and their head must not flop forward (for information on how to properly install your car seat, refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your car seat).
After you have successfully placed the seat, give it a firm push. In any direction, there shouldn’t be more than an inch of movement.How to Determine Which Child Safety Seat Is Right for Your Child
Feeding a Newborn Baby
There are a few things to keep in mind regardless of the method you choose to use to feed your infant. In the early weeks, the following are some helpful hints for both breastfeeding and formula feeding.
Both breast-feeding and chest-feeding are acceptable.
It’s possible that nursing is a natural phenomena, yet getting started in the field may be difficult. If you decide to breastfeed, the following tips will be helpful to you:
Don’t put it off; your newborn will be at its most awake if you breastfeed him or her within the first hour after birth. Additionally, this will assist your infant in adjusting to the outside world, and it will allow them to immediately connect with their new parent.
Nurse on demand: Through regular breastfeeding, your body will be able to create a healthy milk supply for your new baby; thus, you should let your infant nurse whenever they feel the need to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that during the first few days of a newborn’s life, the infant may desire to feed anywhere from once every one to three hours. According to the organization, “Frequent feeding helps increase your milk supply and gives your baby practice at sucking and swallowing,”
Obtain an appropriate latch: A correct latch helps to avoid uncomfortable nipples for both you and your baby, and it also ensures that your baby gets enough milk. Do not be afraid to inquire with a nurse, doctor, or lactation consultant if you are unclear of what this should look like.
Ask for assistance; there are lactation consultants available on staff at most hospitals. They are able to walk you through the process of trying with various locations, in addition to assisting you in getting a correct latch.
Establish a safe haven for nursing: While you are feeding your child, having a supportive chair, cushions, a footstool, as well as availability to water and food, will help keep you comfortable and supported.
Eat adequate food and drink enough fluids: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that women who are nursing need an extra 300–400 calories per day. In addition, since nursing causes you to lose fluids, you should be sure to consume at least eight glasses of water each day.
The act of pumping breast milk
If your baby has problems latching and is not receiving enough colostrum (early nutrient-dense breast milk), or if you are separated from your baby after delivery due to issues, you may opt to express breast milk in the first few days or even long-term. Colostrum is the earliest nutrient-dense breast milk that is produced after a baby is born.
During the first few days of their infant’s life, some parents choose to give their babies extracted colostrum by feeding milk to them using a spoon or syringe. Should you decide at a later time that you would want to attempt breastfeeding directly from the breast, these approaches may assist you in avoiding nipple confusion in those early days.
The following are some pumping tips:
– Choose the pump that is most suitable for your needs: When it comes to expressing colostrum, doing it by hand might be one of the most successful methods. However, as time goes on, the majority of breastfeeding mothers choose either manual hand pumps or electric pumps.
– Get support: Do not be afraid to ask for help from the hospital’s lactation consultant; it is possible that they will even be able to provide you with a rental pump that is of hospital-grade quality.
– Be patient and persistent: Similar to nursing, pumping takes practice but will become less challenging with time if you decide to continue doing it for an extended period of time. Additionally, pumping should not cause any pain; if it does, consider repositioning yourself or reducing the amount of suction before continuing.
– Try as much as you can to unwind: When you are tense or agitated, the milk ejection reflex in your body is suppressed; thus, you should attempt to distract yourself by staring at your baby, watching television, practicing guided meditation, or even calling a friend on the phone.
– Safely storing breast milk requires using containers designed for food, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, you may keep breast milk that has just been pumped for four hours at room temperature, four days in the refrigerator, and six to twelve months in the freezer. Within the first two hours after an infant feeding, you are able to reuse any breast milk that was not consumed by your child.A Buyer’s Guide for Nursing Mothers and Fathers Containing Information on the Finest Breast Pumps
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees formulas to guarantee that they are safe and include the most critical nutrients. As a result, the vast majority of commercial formulae are substantially equivalent to one another. Inquire with a physician about the possibility of giving your child a formula that has extra iron, DHA, or other nutrients. Whether you go with a liquid, a concentrate, or a powder, the decision should mostly be based on how much it will cost you and how convenient it will be.
Some parents are hesitant to give their infants a formula made with cow’s milk due to the risk of their child developing food allergies. On the other hand, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that only 2% to 3% of children under the age of 3 suffer from an allergy to the protein found in milk.
A physician may recommend a hypoallergenic formula (in which milk proteins are broken down so that they are more readily digested) or a soy-based formula (which does not include any milk protein) if your infant has an allergy to milk protein or an intolerance to milk.
Remember to follow all of the CDC’s recommendations on the safe use of infant formula:
– If you wish to heat the formula, you may either do it by holding the bottle under warm running water (while being very cautious not to get any water in the bottle) or by using a bottle warmer. Avoid using a microwave at all costs since it may produce potentially lethal hot spots. To determine the temperature, place a few drops of the solution on the palm of your hand and then flip it over.
– After two hours, the formula should be discarded since the potential for bacterial growth has increased, and you should use it only if it has been kept at room temperature.
Within twenty-four hours, use the formula that has to be refrigerated.
Instead of storing the containers of formula in the refrigerator or freezer, choose a cool and dry location.
– Do not preserve any of the formula that your baby leaves behind in the bottle since it might get contaminated with germs from their spit.
beyond opening, the formula should be used within one month, and it should under no circumstances be used beyond the “use-by” date printed on the container.
– Between feedings, ensure that all of the bottles and their components have been washed and sanitized.
Your Newborn’s Body
Not only is a newborn baby’s body smaller than yours, but it also has several distinctive qualities that are not shared by adults. If you are aware of what to look for, it will be easier for you to calm your tension and provide a clean and pleasant environment for your child.
Every day, use lukewarm water or a gentle baby soap together with a gentle washcloth to clean your baby’s face and neck. Acne in infants is a common illness that does not pose any health risks. However, the sight of a newborn with a face that is blotchy and red may be unsettling.
To provide proper care for your infant’s eyes, use a cotton ball that has been dipped in warm water and then wiped over the affected region. Some infants have a yellowish discharge or crusting in the eye or on the lid, which is often caused by a clogged tear duct and may linger for many months. This condition can be quite uncomfortable for the baby.
You should use a mild shampoo designed for babies no more than three times a week while washing your child’s hair. Then, using a baby hairbrush or a soft toothbrush, brush the scales on a regular basis in a gentle manner. Cradle cap is a disorder that affects the scalp and causes scaly patches; it is common in infants and normally goes away within the first few months.
The tiny nasal passages that babies have have a tendency to get clogged with mucus. They can usually get rid of it by blowing their nose, but every once in a while they may want some assistance. Using a nasal bulb syringe that is the appropriate size for a newborn, gently clear the nostrils. Before you suction, try using saline solution or nasal spray to break up the mucus in your nose.
The nails of a baby are typically gentle, but they have the potential to irritate their delicate skin. It is common for new parents to be intimidated by the prospect of keeping their baby’s nails cut, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not that difficult. Make sure you use blunt-nosed baby nail scissors or baby nail clippers while cutting your child’s nails. Trim their nails either after they have had a bath, when their nails are soft, or when they are sleeping, when their fingers are relaxed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that you wait at least 24 hours following your baby’s birth before giving them their first bath. following that, the AAP suggests giving your baby three baths a week for the first year of their life. The recommended amount of time for a bath is 10 minutes, and the water temperature and soap should be lukewarm. following, immediately following, lather on a generous amount of hypoallergenic lotion. Dress in cotton as much as possible.
A skin disorder known as eczema or atopic dermatitis, which may be inherited, can cause red, itchy patches on the skin of certain infants. Because they are unable to scratch their itchy skin themselves, infants are dependent on you to provide relief for them.
Regular diaper changes are recommended. Instead of using wipes, consider cleaning your baby’s bottom with water and then patting it dry. Wipes include ingredients that might irritate delicate skin. Diaper rash is a common problem for infants, especially those with sensitive skin and excessive wetness. They may be irritable and cranky if they have a rash on their bottom since diaper rash may be rather uncomfortable.Creams for diaper rash might be helpful.
Maintain a clean and dry environment around the stump of the umbilical cord. Within a few weeks, it will get shriveled and eventually fall off. In the meanwhile, you shouldn’t be shocked if you notice a putrid odor emanating from the surrounding region. When it finally comes off, the problem will be solved. A diaper should not be used to cover the stump region, and sponge showers should be used instead until the stump detaches.
Every day, use warm water to carefully wash the region where your baby’s genitalia are located. It’s possible that your infant’s testicles will seem disproportionately huge if they have a penis. This enlargement is brought on by maternal hormones, and it will begin to subside in the next several days.Use petroleum jelly to cover the site and prevent the penis from adhering to a diaper if your baby has been circumcised. If your kid has been circumcised, the tip of their penis will be painful as it heals. There is no need for any further treatment if they have not been circumcised. You should not make any attempts to retract the foreskin; this will happen naturally on its own between the ages of 5 and puberty on its own.
In the same way as described above, if your child has a vulva, you could also observe that there is swelling. Additionally, during the first few weeks of pregnancy, the same maternal hormones that cause bleeding during menstruation may also cause a bloody discharge from the uterus. In most cases, this discharge will only linger for a few days.
Legs and feet
Most newborns have feet that are twisted inward and legs that are bent outward. This posture is analogous to how they would have been situated in the womb. Around 6 to 18 months later, their legs and feet will reach their adult length. In addition, a newborn’s toes constantly touch one another, and their nails may seem ingrown even though, in most cases, they are not.
Babies do not enter the world with sleep patterns that are conducive to becoming adults. The primary reason for this is because newborns have very small stomachs, thus they have to feed anywhere from eight to twelve times over a 24-hour period, including throughout the night. Therefore, you should not initially anticipate that a baby would sleep for extended periods of time. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to make the transition from awake to sleeping a little simpler.
Sleep close to them
According to James McKenna, Ph.D., director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, a baby’s heart rate, immune system, and stress levels are better regulated when they are near to their parent. This proximity also makes it simpler for a mother to milk her child. “It also keeps the baby in lighter phases of sleep so that he can practice waking up and going back to sleep, which is good in case there are any problems, such as sleep apnea,” the author writes. “It is good in case there are any problems, such as sleep apnea.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that during the first six months of your child’s life, you should sleep in the same room as your child, but not in the same bed. Sharing a bed with your child increases the risk of suffocation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sharing a room with another person—but not a bed—may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Additional ways for preventing SIDS are as follows:
– Never put your child to sleep on their stomach or side; the back is the safest position for infants.
– You are only allowed to place a fitted sheet in the bassinet. Nothing else should go in there. Steer clear of unnecessary items such as crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, plush animals, and the like.
– Make sure the mattress in the baby crib is firm and level.
– Never share a bed with your infant, and always keep an eye on their temperature to make sure they aren’t becoming too hot.
You may want to provide a pacifier.
When you are pregnant, you should not smoke, drink, or take drugs.
You may notice that your newborn sleeps more during the day and is more alert during the night. This is because newborns often get their days and nights confused. According to Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., assistant director of the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep, if your baby has gotten into this routine, urge them to switch.
“When you feed him at night, the lights should be dimmed, and you should walk gently. Be uninteresting. Make sure that he has access to bright light first thing in the morning, and then try to keep him as occupied as possible throughout the day. Make noise. Have some fun with him. To put it another way, maintain your attention throughout the day.
Furthermore, “sleep time should be consistent,” according to Dr. Mindell. “Each household needs to establish its own routine, but carrying out the same activities in the same order on a daily basis makes it easier for the infant to anticipate what will come next.” Dr. Mindell recommends engaging in three or four relaxing activities for a period of twenty to thirty minutes. Massages, baths, lullabies, prayers, rocking, breastfeeding, and reading are some examples of activities that might be included in this category.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that newborns typically sleep for around 16 to 17 hours per day, even if each individual nap may only last one to two hours. After about three months, you should start looking to your infant for clues about their developing routine; before to that point, anything goes. According to Dr. Mindell, “you don’t have to be rigid,” but having some structure is beneficial for both the parents and the infant. By the time they are 9 months old, the majority of newborns have automatically transitioned to napping around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, you shouldn’t attempt to impose a routine on your child only for the sake of your own convenience.
Sleep training may be appropriate for some somewhat older infants, but it is not recommended for newborns or kids less than one month old. When babies are about 5 months old, Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of Sleepy Planet in Los Angeles and author of the book and DVD The Sleepeasy Solution, suggests that it is safer to experiment with sleep training methods such as letting your baby cry a bit at night (maybe for three to five minutes at a time).
It is typical for your newborn to pass a thick material known as meconium sometime in the first few days after delivery. This substance may be dark green or black in color. Within a few days, a breastfed infant may begin to have anywhere from six to eight bowel movements each day. These bowel movements will be loose, yellow-green in color, and may at times be loaded with particles that resemble seeds. If, on the other hand, you choose to give your infant a formula instead of breast milk, they will most likely have one to two stools each day. These stools will be of a thicker consistency and will be yellow or tan in color.
Be aware that broad fluctuations in the color of your baby’s feces, the consistency of your baby’s poop, and the regularity of your baby’s poop are normal unless your baby is showing indications of having diarrhea.
Newborn Baby Crying
Newborns are known to wail quite a bit. It makes perfect sense given that sobbing is the only method for them to communicate their need. However, it may take some investigation before you can determine the cause of their tears.
Here are some suggestions for calming down fussy infants:
Eliminate the most apparent possible reasons, which are as follows: Have they recently eaten? Are they dripping wet? Are they able to continue? Are they bloated or gassy? Is the temperature too warm or too cold?
You may breastfeed them or give them a bottle, your finger, or a pacifier to suck on. (Many professionals advise mothers who are breastfeeding to hold off on offering a pacifier until after they have established a routine that allows for uninterrupted breastfeeding.)
Create an atmosphere similar to that of the womb for the baby by swaddling it tightly in a blanket. Then, while you are holding them tightly on their side or stomach, gently shake them and make loud “shushing” noises in their ear. (But keep in mind that in order to avoid sudden infant death syndrome, your baby should always sleep on their back).
You may move them by walking, rocking, swaying, taking them on a trip in a vehicle or stroller, or putting them in an infant swing. (Babies adore motion!)
Above everything else, be sure to retain your calm! Your kid will mirror the level of tension that you are experiencing. Keep in mind that all newborns scream, and that this too will pass.
Particularly in infants, a high temperature may indicate the presence of a dangerous disease. If the rectal temperature of your infant reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 101 degrees Fahrenheit if your kid is 3 months old or older), you should contact a doctor. In addition, stay on the lookout for other symptoms of disease, such as your baby behaving strangely, refusing to eat or drink, or seeming to be in discomfort. In these cases, you should call a medical professional regardless of your baby’s temperature.
When to Call a Pediatrician
When a fever is detected in a baby, it is best to see a medical professional as soon as possible. To be on the safe side, you should always give them a call. You’ll be able to relax a little bit more about low-grade fevers as your kid gets older, but low-grade fevers aren’t the only symptoms in infants that need medical treatment.
Has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater if the infant is three months old or less; 102 degrees if they are three months or older.
demonstrates a shift in their eating habits, such as a refusal to breastfeed; has diarrhea that is highly runny or mucus-like;
Is sluggish, drowsy, or unresponsive over long periods of time.
Is very irritated and sobs uncontrollably for far longer than usual
Has a rash that can be found anywhere on their body that is red or swollen; Has a rash that can be found anywhere on their umbilical cord that is red or swollen;
Displays symptoms of constipation, such as pain (for example, straining) while attempting to move their bowels, such as those associated with the condition
demonstrates symptoms such as a bloated belly or actual vomiting (as opposed to spitting up)