So, you've just welcomed the birth of your first child and now you are experiencing a host of new emotions. Along with the feeling of joy and wonder, it is perfectly normal to experience a degree of uncertainty on how to care for your new baby. To lessen the concern, here are tips to help see you through:
1. DO Begin the Bonding Process Straight Away
Bonding with your newborn is an important aspect of parenthood. It helps reinforce a feeling of comfort and security for your baby and build a solid connection that will last. When interacting with your newborn, skin to skin contact is essential. Equally important is the eye contact you will make with your baby.
Gaze deeply into his or her eyes and smile. In time, your baby will recognize these gestures and feel comforted by the connection. Infants learn to mimic facial expressions as well.
Another way to bond with your newborn is to hold him or her close to your body in a wearable infant sling or wrap. As your newborn rides along against your body, he or she becomes accustomed to your breathing and heartbeat, just as it was in the womb. Also, experts believe that infants who are held more will be less fussy and cry less often. Also, remember that infant slings are beneficial for new Dads as well, as they are a great bonding tool for either parent.
2. DON'T Over-Bathe Your Newborn
As a new parent, you may be overly concerned with keeping your newborn as clean as you possibly can. While cleanliness is an important aspect of baby care, you can overdo the process. For instance, don't give your newborn a daily bath. Your newborn has delicate and sensitive skin, and bathing him or her every day tends to dry out the skin somewhat.
As a general rule, give your newborn a bath 2-3 times per week. Also, do not bathe your newborn in submerged water until the umbilical cord completely falls off. Meanwhile, you can sponge bathe the baby. Keep the umbilical cord stump clean by gently washing it with a soft cloth. Be sure the baby's diaper is folded below the cord so it does not come into direct contact with waste.
3. DO Know How to Prevent Diaper Rash
Diaper rash is a common condition in infants. It often occurs from chafing or friction against the skin, or from contact with the stool or urine. Certain products or the introduction of a new food may also irritate a baby's skin, causing a red or blotchy rash in the diaper area.
You may prevent diaper rash by following a few simple measures. First and foremost, keep your baby dry. Examine diapers often and change them immediately after they become wet or soiled. Also, check the ingredients of disposable wet wipes. They should not contain any harsh chemicals.
Be sure your baby's diaper isn't fastened too tightly. Leave some "breathing room" for air to circulate beneath the material. Also, when changing a diaper or after a bath, gently pat your baby's skin dry. Rubbing the skin may irritate a newborn's sensitive skin. You might also protect your baby's bottom with a moisture-barrier cream or lotion formulated for infants.
4. DON'T Put Your Newborn to Sleep On His or Her Tummy
Many experts believe that allowing an infant less than 12 months old to sleep face down while on the stomach places the baby at a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (commonly referred to as SIDS). To reduce that risk, it is best to place your baby on his or her back for sleep. At the same time, be sure the crib mattress does not sag and that there are no toys or other items in the crib.
Don't forget to get your baby set up with a pediatrician at a place like Willow Oak Pediatrics!