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Taking a newborn care class during your pregnancy can prepare you for the real thing. But feeding and diapering a baby doll isn’t quite the same. During your hospital stay, make sure to ask the nurses for help with basic baby care. Don’t hesitate to ask the nurse and doctors to show you how to do something more than once!
!!! Remember, practice makes perfect. Before discharge, make sure you — and your partner — are comfortable with these newborn care basics:
Handling a newborn, including supporting your baby’s neck
Changing your baby’s diaper
Bathing your baby
Dressing your baby
Swaddling your baby
Feeding and burping your baby
Cleaning the umbilical cord
Caring for a healing circumcision
Using a bulb syringe to clear your baby’s nasal passages
Taking a newborn’s temperature
Tips for soothing your baby
A Mother’s helper
How Do I Get Help After My Baby Comes Home?
An important part of caring for a newborn is to also take care of yourself. Consider getting help during this time, which can feel hectic and a bit overwhelming.
Ask For NICU Support Care And Their Guidance
Relatives and friends might want to help. Even if you disagree on some things, their own experiences might be helpful.
To keep your baby healthy, anyone handling your little one should be up to date on their vaccines and help only if they feel well. But if you don’t feel up to having guests or have other concerns, don’t feel guilty about limiting visitors.
COUNSELLING ON NUTRITION
- Advise the woman to eat a greater amount and variety of healthy foods, such as meat, fish, oils, nuts, seeds, cereals, beans, vegetables, cheese and milk to help her feel strong and well (give examples of how much to eat).
- Reassure the mother that she can eat any normal foods – these will not harm the breastfeeding baby.
- Discuss any taboos that exist about foods which are nutritionally healthy.
- Talk to her partner or other family members to encourage them to ensure that the woman eats enough and avoids hard physical work.
SHE SHOULD NOT WAIT if she has any of the following danger signs:
- vaginal bleeding has increased
- fast or difficult breathing
- fever and too weak to get out of bed
- severe headaches with blurred vision
- calf pain, redness or swelling; shortness of breath or chest pain.
Rush to health centers if she has any of the following signs:
- swollen, red or tender breasts or nipples
- problems urinating, or leaking
- increased pain or infection in the perineum
- infection in the area of the wound (redness, swelling, pain, or pus in wound site)
- smelly vaginal discharge
- severe depression or suicidal behaviour (ideas, plan or attempt)
ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO DO THINGS FOR THEMSELVES THAT THEY ENJOY SUCH AS
- meeting a friend
- getting out of the home or walking, or things which help them to let their feelings out
- singing, drawing or writing
- spiritual relief through prayer
Support the woman in whatever way you can. This may include a home visit and/or extra postpartum appointments. Encourage her partner and family to support her practically and emotionally.
How Do I Handle My Baby?
If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, they may seem very fragile. 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 infections. 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 baby, whether in play or in frustration. Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain and sometimes death. If you need to wake your baby, don’t do it by shaking. Instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on a cheek.
- Always fasten your baby securely when using a carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
- Avoid rough play with newborns, such as jiggling them on the knee or throwing them in the air.
skin-to-skin contact with your baby:
- Avoid using scented perfumes or lotions and stay away from cigarette smoke beforehand.
- Find a comfortable seat in a dimly-lit room. Wear a shirt that opens in the front. Lay your baby in just a diaper on your bare chest.
- Sit quietly, talk softly, hum, sing, or read aloud. Your baby may sleep during this time.
Umbilical cord care: Clean around the cord stump with plain water and blot dry until the stump dries up and falls off, usually in 10 days to 3 weeks. Don’t let the belly button area soak in water until the stump falls off and the area heals. Before the cord stump falls off, it will change color from yellow to brown or black — this is normal. Call your doctor if the area looks red, has a bad odor, or has discharge.
Feeding your newborn
your baby may show you they’re hungry by crying, putting fingers in their mouth, or making sucking noises. A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2–3 hours.
Breastfed babies are probably getting enough to eat if they:
- seem satisfied
- have about 6 wet diapers and several poops a day
- sleep well
- gain weight regularly
You may be surprised to learn that newborns sleep about 16 hours or more. They typically sleep for periods of 2–4 hours. Many babies sleep through the night (between 6–8 hours) at 3 months of age, but if yours doesn’t, it’s not a cause for concern. Like adults, babies develop their own sleep patterns and cycles.
Change the position of your baby’s head from night to night (first right, then left, and so on). This helps prevent a flat spot from developing on one side of the head.
Diaper My Baby
Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, your little one will dirty them about 10 times a day, which is about 70 times a week. When diapering your baby:
- Have all the supplies you need within reach.
- Wipe your baby front to back gently using water, cotton balls, and a washcloth or wipes.
- Apply diaper cream if needed to treat diaper rash.
- Wash your hands before and after changing the diaper.
Before long, you’ll have a routine and be parenting like a pro. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor. They can recommend resources that can help.