Newborn care at home entails certain essential things to look for. Parents need to be attentive to the needs of the baby and look after it with ample physical and emotional care.
Welcome to the joy of motherhood. The first thing comes to your mind is how to ensure the best care for the newborn. Your baby is now at home and has become the centerpiece around which your life revolves now. No doubt you are fully geared to give your 100 percent to ensure that there is not even the slightest of sign of inattention in the newborn care. Still, for first-time moms, there is a possibility that they miss certain things or fail to recognize the needs of the baby. Here is a comprehensive list of essential things to watch out about newborn care for the first few days after you bring your baby home.
Hunger & Feeding A Newborn
- Hunger and Feeding Cues
Don’t wait for your clock to tick the feeding time. Watch out your baby for early signs to learn feeding cues and as an essential part of your utmost care for the newborn. A baby tells when it feels the pinch of hunger. Noise is the foremost cue. Hungry babies start to make sucking noises. Many even open mouths, keep their mouth open, or licks searching for food. Another important sign is restlessness and bringing its hand close to the mouth. When a baby cries without any visible sign of discomfort, it is most likely that it wants food.
- Is your baby getting enough food?
Your baby will tell you if it is getting enough food. For the first few months, you need to feed your baby at every two to three hours. Check out symptoms, such as fussiness, frequent crying, and exhaustion in the baby. These indicate it is not getting enough food. You must step up breastfeeding and create a more intensive newborn care schedule.
Baby’s weight is another indication for a nursing mother looking to know if it is getting enough food. It is common for a newborn to lose weight in the first week after birth and regain the same from the second week onward. If a baby is full, it may feel settled or relaxed with limbs stretch out. The baby may turn its head away or stops sucking when being fed.
Breastfeeding is the only way to feed a baby for the first six months and it constitute an essential part of the newborn care schedule. Mother’s milk provides a baby with protection from illness and assists in healthy growth and development. No formula milk can substitute mother’s milk. Infants not breastfed face the greater risk of developing infections, allergies, metabolism problems, and even become victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is observed that breastfeeding secures mothers against breast and ovarian cancers, arthritis, and various chronic diseases later in the life.
It is normal for a baby to seek breastfeeding 10 to 12 times a day. The benefits for both mother and baby amplify with increase in the duration of breastfeeding.
Newborn Care When Handling
- Bathing Care
Warm and sponge bathing is the best for a baby in the first few weeks. Avoiding washing the umbilical stump and ensure it remains dry. Never forget to wash the neck and skin folds. Look for any kind of skin irritation or disorder while bathing. Rinse the water with a soft cloth and wrap the baby soon after the bath. Use exclusive baby clothes and towels for bath and wrapping. You can use soaps specially made for infants.
- Lifting and Carrying
Soft and delicate newborns require astute care while picking up or carrying. It is common to feel nervous while picking up a baby and tending to care a newborn. However, the little ones thrive on close physical contact and love to remain closest. When picking up a baby from the bed, first slip one hand beneath her head and the other under her bottom. Follow just the reverse while laying it down. Always support its head while lifting or holding a baby and keep the baby upright against your chest. Avoid jerks and move slowly and smoothly while to ensure maximum comfort and safety for the child. Put extra support to baby’s spine using your forearm.
- Skin and Body Care
A newborn’s skin requires delicate care, as it is very sensitive and remains dry. Any skin disorders may impact its immune system. Avoid products with chemical, dyes, or detergents for babies. Watch out for irritation, abrasion, and rashes on the body. Though it is common for babies to have skin rashes, adequate care should be taken to prevent abrasions and skin diseases.
Protect your baby from sunburn, as babies are prone to heat rash and keep its skin moisturized. Use only recommended baby soaps and skin products. Cleanse skin folds while bathing to avoid development of mold. Avoid using tight dresses.
Irregular, Dissimilar Behavior Normal
- Sleep and Nap
Newborns have no definite sleep pattern and don’t expect them to abide by your convenience. They are unable to differentiate between day and night and sleep 10 to 18 hours a day with 20 minutes to 4 hours at a time. Your baby may sleep all day or in short cycles. Each has its own unique sleeping habit. So, don’t be worried over when, where, or how long the baby is sleeping and continue to provide the newborn with adequate care.
For the first few weeks, the baby needs feed at every 2 to 3 hours and this leads to irregular sleep. But as the growth picks up in the next 6 to 8 weeks, the baby develops a regular sleeping pattern and you can influence its consolidation.
- Poop/ Pee
Newborns have dissimilar pooping habits. Due to liquid-only intake, they poop and pee more than olders and the stool color often vary – spinach green or yellowgreen to yellow or even brown. Formula milk feeding leads to more than 4 stools everyday. Keep an eye for diarrhea.
You may see a newborn peeing a lot – almost every hour – depending on food intake. Watch out for any distress during urination. Consult your doctor if it cries when peeing. The urine color mostly ranges from light to dark yellow.
Understanding Newborn Crying, Breathing Pattern
Newborns cry a lot. They cry when they are hungry, feel inconvenience, and become wet or tired. In fact, crying is their way of communication. Parents need to learn the signal their babies want to convey by wailing and respond accordingly. However, if crying turns persistent, there may be some serious issues requiring medical attention. If a baby cries more than 3 hours a do, it could be due to colic or intestine gas. Newborn care guidelines require parents to keep an eye on the crying noises to develop an understanding of its needs.
Babies breathe loudly and in comparatively short pauses leading to many new parents to check their babies at night. It is also normal to see have periodic breathing – first faster, then slower and again faster. Breathing may even be noisy, with snorts, and occasionally grunty with pauses extending to 5 seconds. It is important to check if there is any symptom of sleep apnea, or the face turning blue with longer pauses, or the baby continues to grunt persistently.
Safety and Security
You may need to change between 4 and 6 diapers each day. Babies won’t feel comfortable in wet skin caused by frequent urination and may want you to do away with diapers at intervals. Wet diapers also lead to rashes on the skin and its makes babies uncomfortable. So, a newborn care demands change of diapers frequently.
- Safety Screening
Babies must be protected and secured against any illness, infection, or communicable diseases. Make sure your hands are clean when touching the newborn. Keep the umbilical cord dry until it falls off. Protect the baby against dehydration. When the urine turns dark yellow, it is a sign that the baby is dehydrated.
Burp your baby after each feeding. Cover it in a way that it continues to feel the comfort and warmth of mother’s womb. Care is an assurance of safety for a newborn. Screen you baby regularly for jaundice and diarrhea.
Learn more about how to care for an one-week baby.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com