Caring for Your Newborn During the First Months
A newborn’s care during the first few months is vital to keeping the child healthy. At the beginning, parents need to make a big effort. However, over time, these guidelines will become less demanding and meticulous.
Motherhood is a gateway to great changes and transformations. In fact, it means the arrival of a new person with particular needs that will depend entirely on you. That’s why it’s important to prepare ahead of time and to know how to care for your newborn during his first months.
Caring for Your Newborn During the First Months
Arriving home with a newborn baby causes many emotions.
On the one hand, you’re excited to show your baby his or her new home. However, on the other hand, you might feel afraid and uncertain when wondering whether you will be able to satisfy his/her needs by yourselves.
It’s true that parents do not know everything. Getting to know and understand your child is a process that takes time, especially if you take into account that each baby is different.
However, below we will share some guidelines and advice to care for your newborn during his or her first months.
As soon as your baby is born, your newborn must be evaluated using the APGAR test that determines the conditions of his/her vitals. Things such as heart rate, crying or breathing, muscle tone, response to stimuli and body color are taken into account.
Depending on the results, the doctors will establish the necessary regimen of care for his development.
The First Day at Home
Believe it or not, your baby’s first day at home is usually the most difficult since you no longer have the advice of your doctor or nurses. However, think ahead and ask them everything that is bothering you.
That way, you will be a little more calm and prepared. However, below we will share some guidelines for caring for your newborn that may be useful during the first few months.
Health and Cleaning
Try to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your newborn in order to avoid infections and diseases.
Avoid making contact with sick people. Your child’s defenses are now low, so the best measure is to avoid exposure to viruses and bacteria.
His Environment is Important
Keep the house ventilated. This includes regulating the temperature to keep it from being too hot. You should also keep the space clean, since dust and smoke can affect your baby’s health. Also, we also recommend that you avoid noises that may disturb the baby.
Babies are more sensitive to light, so avoid flash photography. You should also avoid constantly using mobile phones or electronic devices in his presence.
At this stage, it’s probably complicated for you to feed your baby. Don’t worry if the little one still does not latch on easily. Follow the instructions they gave you at the hospital. This helps the newborn to fit the nipple in his/her mouth without hindering breathing.
You must feed your newborn approximately 8 times a day whenever s/he asks for it without letting there be a space of more than 4 hours between each feeding. In the beginning you may not produce milk, but the more your baby nurses and empties your breast, the more milk will be produced.
Breast Milk: Rich in Nutrients
It’s important that you breastfeed your baby from birth. The first breast milk that comes out, known as colostrum, is more dense than what your body will produce later. This milk is rich in proteins and antibodies that will protect the baby from diseases and allow him to nourish himself much better.
You should not forget to clean your breasts once a day with water and neutral soap. This is important to keep your newborn from getting oral diseases.
Also,it’s likely that in the early days of lactation, you will feel pain or swelling in your breasts. Don’t panic. This happens due to the increase in milk production.
Despite the discomfort, it’s necessary to continue feeding your baby, emptying both breasts. Ask your doctor to recommend a remedy for the pain, if necessary.
Find out: Should you Wake Your Baby for Feedings?
At the beginning, this is one of a baby’s indicators that most frightens and stresses out parents. And this is not strange, since you have barely learned to identify the type of crying and the little one’s reason for it.
You should know that it’s very likely that you will hear your newborn cry constantly during the first days. But relax: this is how babies express their needs.
Check if s/he is hungry, if you must change his/her diaper, if s/he is sleepy, cold or hot. You will see that little by little you will get to know your baby, and you will learn to figure out his or her needs and meet them.
Although babies have the same body temperature as adults, babies are more sensitive. At the beginning, it’s a bit difficult to know if they’re cold or hot.
You can check this by touching the baby’s hands or feet. If his/her hands or feet are cold, you need to warm them. However, it’s advisable not to overheat him. On these occasions, it’s very useful to listen to common sense or, in this case, to your pediatrician.
In some countries, babies are bathed from birth. However, in other cultures you wait until the umbilical cord falls off and the navel is dry or you wait at least a week. Therefore, regardless of what you decide, we will share how to bathe your newborn during his first months.
If you chose to wait, you can clean your baby with a gentle sponge bath two or three times a week. You just have to wet a towel or a sponge in warm water with neutral soap (exclusively made for babies).
Start from the cleanest areas (around the eyes) and move to the dirtiest (the diaper area). To rinse, wet the towel again with clean warm water and remove the soap residue from your baby’s body.
If you choose to do an immersion bath, you can use a neutral soap exclusively made for babies (in the following months, you can use shampoo), a sponge, a water glass and a towel.
It’s not necessary to bathe your baby daily. In fact, it’s better to wait about two or three days between baths to preserve the acidity and natural fat that protects the baby’s skin, since this is very delicate.
Avoid using a suction bulb to clean out his/her nose. Instead, apply 2 or 3 drops of previously boiled, lukewarm water so that the mucus loosens and comes out when s/he sneezes. As for ears, do not put q-tips into a baby’s ears. Instead, use a segment of a wet towel and clean the outside.
Also, the room temperature must be pleasant, and the water has to be between 35 and 37ºC (95-99 F).
It’s important that you never leave your baby alone at any time. Therefore, try to have the bath supplies ready beforehand to avoid distractions.
It’s advisable to use garments made entirely of cotton while avoiding fabrics with synthetic fibers.
As far as washing, opt for special or neutral soap and rinse very well to remove any remaining soap. Preferably, wash your newborn’s clothes separately.
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As you can see, the care a newborn requires during the early months is very specific. In fact, we did not cover all the points in detail.
No matter what, the cleanliness of both the mother and the child is essential. This way, we will keep the baby from getting sick or his skin from getting irritated.
As the baby continues to grow and develop, hygiene measures will change little by little, and the care will also. However, you must be patient. You will see that a healthy baby is the best reward for your effort.
If you’re already an experienced mom, what other advice and care would you recommend for a newborn’s first months?