Parenting-new-born babies is one of the hardest and most rewarding things that you will ever do. Many Obstetricians now argue that the perinatal period or the first three months of life should really have been the fourth trimester. Of course, there is no such thing, but, in his book ‘Baby on Board’ Paediatrician Doctor Howard Chilton says that because of this theory, the first three months of babies life should be spent sleeping and feeding in a semi-darkened room, with as little stimulation as possible. That means not too many visitors or outings, and a slow introduction to family and friends.
Top 15 Tips for Parents of Newborn Babies
The best plan is for both parents to be as involved as possible in the care of a newborn. If Dad has to go back to work, a grandmother or friend may be able to help with the baby, as the first six weeks are particularly exhausting for the first-time Birth Mother.
1.Communicating with Baby
Your baby communicates by crying, he cries when hungry, he cries when wet, he cries when he wants you in the room. After a while, you realize that the cries vary a lot, but that they all require your presence.
2.Getting into a routine
A routine will help everyone in the house, but with a newborn, it is hard to establish a routine, but it will happen if you persist. The first week or two is
a constant blur of ‘Feed, Sleep, Change’ and repeat. Especially at night, it is a good idea to establish a regular bedtime 7 pm is good, as babies require about 18-20 hours sleep a day during the first three months. To do this successfully feed at 6 pm then put the baby on a rug on the floor for a short time, about half an hour while you talk to him and show him a mobile or a book. Then bathtime ( more about that later), dress in night gear, wrap, and put straight into bed, giving a few pats to settle. Don’t breastfeed baby to sleep, keep feeding and settling separate, this way Dad can do some settling too.
Night feeds will be frequent at first, usually every three to four hours. If you are breastfeeding it is easier than preparing formula, and the World Health Organization says that all babies should ideally be exclusively breastfed for the first 6-12 months of life. Baby will let you know when he/she wants to be fed and will grow rapidly during this time.
4. Getting some Rest
The best tip for new Mothers is to sleep when your baby sleeps, and that will help you to feel more rested.
You may not need one, don’t introduce a pacifier unless you have to, I did notice that the Mayo Clinic says a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It is worth reading the research.
Baby should sleep on his/her back, and this is also to reduce the risk of SIDS ( American Academy of Paediatrics) Place baby on the back, with no pillow. This allows the baby’s airways to remain open.
Babies respond well to white noise, thought to mimic sounds in utero. Buy a white noise machine to help the baby to sleep. Also certain restful music may lull your baby to sleep, many babies respond well to music.
8.Never Shake a Baby
It is important never to shake a baby, as shaking can permanently damage the brain of an infant.
9.Bathing the Baby
At first, you may just want to bathe the baby every second day. Do this in a special baby bath, making sure that the water is warm, not hot. Once the baby is three months of age, you can take them into the shower with you, and get them used to the water.
10.Wrap your Baby when He Sleeps
Under three months of age, your baby will have a ‘startle reflex’. This is the Moro reflex, named after the Doctor who discovered that babies startle following loud noise. So to prevent the startle reflex from waking them, we wrap the arms at the sides while the baby is sleeping. To do this properly you require either cotton or muslin large squares of cloth to wrap baby in at night. Muslin is good because it has a bit of stretch in it, but maybe hard to get. Once your baby is around 12 weeks the Moro reflex disappears.
11.Babys Skin Care
- Choose gentle products free of fragrance
- Make sure that you clean all skin folds
- Check for nappy rash and other rashes, like heat rash.
- Don’t expose the baby to direct sunlight
If you are massaging your baby, only do this when the baby is awake and alert, It is thought to strengthen the bond between mother and child.
From birth to 18 years there is a recommended childhood immunization schedule. This prevents communicable infectious diseases, so ask your doctor for information regarding your child’s planned schedule for vaccination.
14.Oral Care, Thrush
Sometimes babies develop oral thrush, and these are creamy white lesions on the inside of a baby’s mouth. If this happens baby may become irritable and fussy. Thrush is an infection very common in the first year of life, your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal gel for the problem.
15.Bottle-Feeding and Sterilization of Equipment
If you are bottle-feeding a baby, it is important that all the equipment is sterilized after every use. The most simple way of doing this is to boil the bottles and teats in a large pot of water. Other ways to sterilize are:
- Buy an electric sterilizing unit.
- Use solutions from the chemist, fit for purpose
Always make sure that the bottles and teats are thoroughly cleaned before sterilizing.
If you have just had your first baby, join a Mother’s group, the group will be extremely knowledgeable and they will be happy to impart the information to other new Mothers.