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Caring for a newborn

The New Mum Guide

Congratulation! You just had your baby, now it is time to go home with your newborn. However, you feel like you don’t know what you are going to do, and nervous about caring for your new child. Well, we’ve been there and here to tell you that you can do it.  Let’s get started!

Handling a Newborn

If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, their fragility may be intimidating. Here are a few basics to remember:

  • Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your baby. Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
  • Support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down.
  • Never shake your newborn, whether in play or frustration.  If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking — instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on a cheek.
  • Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
  • Remember that your newborn is not ready for rough play, such as being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air.

All About Diapering

You’ll probably decide before you bring your baby home whether you’ll use a cloth or disposable diapers. Whichever you use, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week.

Before diapering, your baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your infant unattended on the changing table. You’ll need:

  • a clean diaper
  • fasteners (if cloth pre-fold diapers are used)
  • diaper ointment
  • diaper wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)

When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI). To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper.

Diaper rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.

Feeding and Burping Your Baby

Whether feeding your newborn by breast or a bottle, you may be stumped as to how often to do so. Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.

Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat. Call your baby’s doctor if you need to wake your newborn often or if your baby doesn’t seem interested in eating or sucking.

If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if you’re breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough.

Another good way to tell if your baby is getting milk is to notice if your breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s growth or feeding schedule.

Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. To help prevent this, burp your baby often. Try burping your baby every 2–3 ounces (60–90 mills) if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.

Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you’ll develop a routine and be parenting like a pro! 

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