How to Take Care of a Newborn—-Part 1. Mastering the Basics

How to take care of a newborn?

Part 1 of 3. Mastering the basic.♥♥

So you’ve brought home your little bundle of joy — now what? Though taking care of your newborn can be one of the most special and rewarding experiences of your life, you may feel at a loss for what to do and will need to give your child constant attention and care. To take care of a newborn, you need to know how to give your baby the rest, sustenance and care that he needs — as well as a healthy dose of love and affection.

1. Help your newborn get plenty of rest.♥

Newborns need to get lots of rest to continue growing healthy and strong — some can rest up to 16 hours a day. Though once your baby is three months or so old, he may be able to sleep for 6-8 hours at a time, in the beginning, your baby may only sleep for 2-3 hours at a time and should be woken up if he or she hasn’t been fed for 4 hours.

  • Some babies have their days and nights confused when they are born. If your baby is more alert at night, try to limit nighttime stimulation by keeping the lights dim and your talking low, and be patient until your baby begins a normal sleeping cycle.
  • Make sure you place your baby on his back to lower the risk of SIDS.
  • You should alternate the position of your baby’s head — whether it’s leaning to the left or the right — to eliminate the “soft spot” that can appear on a baby’s face if he spends too much time sleeping with his head in one position.

2. Consider breastfeeding your newborn.♥

If you want to breastfeed your baby, then feeding your baby the first time you hold her after she is delivered is a great place to start. You should turn your baby’s body toward you, so you are holding her chest toward yours. Touch her upper lip with your nipple and pull her to your breast when she opens her mouth wide. Once she does this, her mouth should cover your nipple and as much of the areola as possible. Here are some things you should know about breastfeeding your baby:

  • If the baby is getting enough food, it will produce 6-8 wet diapers a day, along with steady bowel movements, be alert when it’s awake, and will steadily gain weight.
  • Don’t stress if your baby has a hard time feeding at first; it takes patience and practice. You can get help from a nurse or even a lactation consultant (who can be helpful before birth).
  • Know that nursing shouldn’t hurt. If the latch-on hurts, break the suction by placing your pinkie finger between your baby’s gums and your breast and repeat the process.
  • You should nurse about 8-12 times during the first 24 hours of baby’s birth. You don’t have to stick to a strict schedule, but should nurse whenever your baby shows signs of hunger, from increased mouthing and activity to looking for your nipple. You should nurse at least every four hours, even gently waking your baby to feed her if necessary.
  • Make sure to get comfortable. Feedings can take up to 40 minutes, so pick a cozy spot that can give you back support when you’re nursing.
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Stay hydrated and be prepared to feel more hunger than normal and follow it. Limit your use of alcohol or caffeine because it will enter your breast milk.

3. Consider formula feeding your newborn.♥

Choosing whether to formula feed or breastfeed your baby is a personal decision. While some studies show that breastfeeding may be healthier for your baby, you also have to consider your own health and convenience and a variety of other factors before making this decision. Formula feeding can make it easier to know how much you’ve fed your baby, to limit the amount of feedings, and to not have to restrict your own diet. If you do choose to formula feed your baby, here are some things you need to know:

  • Make sure to follow the directions on the label of the formula when you prepare it.
  • Sterilize new bottles.
  • Feed your baby every two or three hours, or whenever he seems hungry.
  • Discard any formula left out of the fridge for over an hour or any left unfinished by the baby.
  • Store formula in the fridge no longer than 24 hours. You can carefully warm it because many babies prefer it that way, but it’s not necessary.
  • Hold your baby at a 45-degree angle to help him take in less air. Cradle him in a semi-upright position, offering plenty of head support. Tilt the bottle so the nipple and neck are filled with formula. Never prop it, which can cause the baby to choke.

4. Diaper your newborn.♥

Whether you’re using cloth or disposable diapers, if you plan on taking care of your newborn, you’ll have to be a diaper-changing expert, and fast. Whatever method you use — and you should decide before you bring home your baby — you should be prepared to change your baby’s diaper around 10 times a day. Here what you have to do:

  • Get your supplies ready. You’ll need a clean diaper, fasteners (If you use cloth diaper), diaper ointment (for rashes), a container of warm water, a clean washcloth, and some cotton balls or diaper wipes.
  • Remove your baby’s dirty diaper. If it’s wet, place your baby on his back and remove the diaper and use the water and washcloth to wipe your baby’s genital area. Wipe girls from front to back to avoid UTIs. If you see a rash, place some ointment on it.
  • Open the new diaper and slide it under your baby, gently lifting your baby’s legs and feet. Move the front of the diaper up between your baby’s legs, over the belly. Then, bring the adhesive strips around and snugly fasten them so the diaper is nice and secure.
  • To avoid diaper rash, 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 your baby’s bottom air out a bit.

5.Bathe your newborn.♥

During the first week, you should carefully give your baby a sponge bath. Once the umbilical chord falls off, you can start bathing your baby regularly, around two to three times a week. To do this the right way, you should gather your supplies, such as towels, soap, a clean diaper, etc, in advance, so that your baby isn’t fussing around. Fill the tub or baby tub with about three inches of warm water before you begin the bath. Here’s what you should do next:

  • See if you can get help. You may feel a little scared or uncertain when you bathe your baby for the first time. If so, see if you can get your partner or a family member involved. That way, one person can hold the baby in the water while the other person bathes the baby.
  • Undress your baby carefully. Then, slip your baby into the tub feet first, while using one of your hands to support the baby’s neck and hands. Continue to pour warm cupfuls of water into the bath so your baby doesn’t get cold.
  • Use mild soap and use it sparingly so you don’t get it into your baby’s eyes. Wash your baby with your hand or with a washcloth, making sure to gently wash your baby from top to bottom and from front to back. Clean your baby’s body, genitals, scalp, hair, and any dried mucus that has collected on your baby’s face.
  • Rinse your baby with cupfuls of warm water. Wipe your baby clean with a washcloth. Lift the baby out of the tub, continuing to use one hand to support her neck and head. Be careful — babies are slippery when wet.
  • Wrap your baby in a hooded towel and pat your baby dry. After that, put a diaper and dress on your baby and kiss him so he has positive associations with being bathed.

6.Know how to handle your newborn.♥

You may be intimidated by how tiny and fragile your newborn seems, but with a few basic techniques, you should feel more confident about handling your baby in no time. Here are some things you should do:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before you handle your baby. Newborn babies are susceptible to infection because their immune systems aren’t quite so strong yet. Make sure that your hands — and the hands of anyone else who handles the baby — are clean before you make contact.
  • Support your baby’s head and neck. To hold your baby, cradle his head whenever you carry him and support it when you’re holding the baby upright or putting him down. Babies can’t hold up their own heads yet, so don’t ever let a baby’s head flop around.
  • Avoid shaking your baby, whether you’re playing or angry. This can cause bleeding in the brain, which can lead to death. Don’t try to wake up your baby by shaking it, either — instead, tickle its feet or give it another gentle touch.
  • Learn to swaddle your baby. This is a great way to keep your baby feeling secure before he reaches the two month mark.

7.Hold your newborn.♥

You have to make sure to give your baby as much head and neck support as possible when you hold it. You should let the baby’s head rest inside your inner elbow, with the length of his body resting on your forearm. His outer hip and upper legs should rest with your hand, with its inside arm resting over his chest and abdomen. Hold the baby snugly and give your baby all of your attention.

  • You can also hold the baby by pacing his tummy on your upper chest, while using the same side hand to hold his body, while using the opposite hang to support the baby’s head from the back.

If your baby has younger siblings or cousins or is around people unfamiliar with holding babies, carefully instruct them on how to hold the baby and make sure they are sitting down with a knowing adult nearby to keep the baby safe.

—-This is reposted from wikiHow.

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