As we are all aware of the fragility of a newborn baby, as new parents, the anxiety that comes with the arrival of your new bundle of joy is often accompanied by thousands of questions in your head about newborn care.
From holding your very first child in your arms, to fumbling with your all-new daily routine.
Everything is done with you secretly asking yourself ‘Am I doing this right?’
While this may not be a complete edition of idiot’s guide to newborn care, we listed some of the things that we think is important for you to know. Especially for first timers!
How To Handle Your Baby.
If this is your first time ever having to experience newborn care, you will soon be aware of how delicate a newborn baby can be.
Matter of fact, a lot of the bones and body systems of the baby are still not fully developed, hence, one must handle them with extra care and precaution.
Three things you must keep in mind always on newborn care is hygiene, support, and be gentle.
When handling your baby, make sure your hands are clean. As you should know, newborn baby’s immune system is not strong enough yet. Therefore, always make sure that your hands are washed or sanitized before handling them.
A newborn baby’s skin can also be extra sensitive hence, try not to let your baby come in contact with facial makeup that you or others’ wear.
Neck and Head
When carrying your baby always always support their neck and head. This is because your newborn baby’s neck is still not strong enough to carry the weight of its head.
So, when you pick them up or are cradling them, make it a priority the baby’s head and neck adequately supported by your hand or arm.
When carrying your baby or picking them up, do make sure that you do not shake them.
Even when you are waking them up from sleep or playing with them, never shake them. You can try tickling or stroking their feet to wake them up.
Shaking your baby may cause brain damage which could be fatal for infant.
How To Swaddle Your Baby.
Swaddling is not necessary but it can make things alot easier for you and your baby.
Swaddling your newborn baby give them a sense of security which calms and sooth them.
Newborn babies are so sensitive they can get easily startled while sleeping, so, swaddling them, helps them sleep better too.
Swaddle too tightly
Be cautious not to swaddle them to tightly or they may develop hip dysplasia.
A good swaddle should allow a bit of movements for the legs while the arms remain closed to the body.
A tip to see if you wound them correctly is to make sure you are able to fit your hand in the area between your baby’s chest and blanket. This ensures that your baby is able to breath easily.
Swaddle your baby past 2 months old.
After 2 months, your baby’s bones and muscle are stronger now. At that time, they may also already able to roll over or crawl on their own.
Apart from it being dangerous to be wound up while rolled over, it also increase the chances of your baby having Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs)
Choose Proper Blankets
Given that the temperatures in Malaysia can be unforgiving.
Unless you can control the temperature of your room, make sure not to wrap your baby with a blanket that is too thick.
Choose blankets that are thin and breathable for your baby’s comfort.
Don’t know how to swaddle your baby? Check out this Swaddling tutorial!
How To Bath Your Baby.
You don’t want your baby to get sick because of an infection or other hygiene-related issues thus bathing them is something that you need to DO.
But hold up!
Newborns are not recommended to be bath in the tub.
First of all, in the first few weeks, your baby is too delicate to handle for bathing. So, wiping them down with sponge or wet cloth is sufficient.
Wait until their umbilical cord has fall off and healed before trying to bath them in the baby tub.
Plus, washing them in the tub when they are not ready can make them upset.
Keep everything at arms’ reach
This tip is most helpful for those of you who will be going through newborn care alone.
If you can have the baby items in different places all around your home, it would definitely make things easier for you.
Before bathing or wiping your child, make sure to have all the items including their clothes and diapers, ointments etc all ready within your reach.
Letting your baby air out once in a while can be beneficial especially to prevent diaper rash but don’t leave your baby in the cool air too long.
After a bath, your baby will feel cold, they may get sick if they are left in a cold room too.
If you want to air out in their birthday suit, then make sure the room is nice and warm.
Other Newborn Care Do’s
1. Burp Your Baby
During feeding time, your baby will tend to suck in air together with the milk.
It is advisable for you to burp your baby after feeding or in between feeding.
If your baby seems fussy when you feed them, chances are they are feeling gassy.
You may try burping your baby every few minutes when feeding.
Keep your baby in an upright position for a few minutes after feeding to prevent your baby from spitting up the milk.
2. Change Your Baby’s Position
Your baby’s skull is still developing and hardening. Make it a habit to change the position of your baby’s head every once it a while.
This can help prevent your child to develop flat spots on its head.
3. Lay Your Baby To Sleep On Their Backs
Making sure that your baby sleeps on their back can greatly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Other risks factors that can be erase includes baby sleeping on super soft surface. To reduce this, you may need find a more firmer baby’s mattress, especially for their cribs.
4. Dress Your Baby Right
You may have plans to dress your baby in cute outfits and we are all here for it!
One thing that you need to keep in mind is to make sure your baby is dressed appropriately following the temperature: indoor or outdoor.
If you didn’t know, newborns are unable to control their body temperature. Not until they are about 6 months old.
Malaysia’s weather can be scorching, so, make sure not to over-layered that fit.
5. Developing Bedtime Routine
Creating a bedtime routine for your baby actually helps to train your baby to sleep.
A bedtime routine is doing a set of activities in a procedural manner that leads to lulling the baby to sleep.
Being consistent with your activities help your baby to predict and anticipate them. Therefore, making it easier for you to put your baby to bed.
Newborn Care Don’ts!
1. Never Leave Your Baby Unattended
This is one of the most important rule of newborn care. No, it is actually one of the most important rule of childcare.
Always make sure you have your baby on sight. Especially during baths and feeding if you are using formula milk.
There are many cases reported where infants died of chocking and this is one of the reasons why.
2. Stop Wiping The Wrong Way
If you have a baby girl, it is important to make sure that during diaper change, you wipe your baby from the genital to buttocks and not the other way around.
This is to prevent bacterias from the bottom be transferred to the genital which may cause Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs)
3. Do not Over-decorate The Crib
You have prepared so many things for the arrival of your baby: cute stuffed animals, soft blankets and many others to accompany your child as she or he sleeps.
These things can actually be deadly for your child as it may cover your child and cause suffocation.
So, make sure to stay clear of it, at least in the crib while your baby is sleeping.
4. Do Not Give Your Newborn Plain Water
Your baby’s digestive system is not fully developed so they are not yet able to process plain water. Thus, giving them plain water can also make them sick.
Nonetheless, you can start to give them water once they started to eat solid foods which is about 6 months old and older.
These are just some of the tips on newborn care.
Hope it can help make your journey as new parents easier and smoother. Good luck!