Best Baby Care Tips For First Time Parents That You Should Know
Making it through the nine months of pregnancy and holding your newborn baby in the arms is the best feeling for most parents. However, the reality checks in when you arrive home and realize you have no clue whatsoever, how to take care of your baby. If you are a first-time parent, this feeling can be overwhelming. The good news is that you are not alone. Instead of panicking, you need to get the necessary advice that will help you get through the first few months. If you ask experienced parents, they would probably tell you that the first year is the most difficult.
This is simply because the first year is a learning curve and there is a lot to be learned by first time parents. Afterwards, it becomes a lot easier. First-time parents may need the services of in-home help or relatives. These people can help you take care of your newborn baby for a short while as you handle other chores.
What You Should Know About Newborn Babies
Don't always be silent as your baby sleeps
You have probably heard stories that you should be silent every time your baby sleeps. Well, guess what? Even when you remain silent, that won’t prevent them from waking up in the middle of the night if they are hungry. While in the womb, your baby wasn’t used to sleeping in a quiet environment. Yet they still managed to sleep during the loud noises at home or outside. Therefore, don’t be afraid to vacuum clean the house because the baby is sleeping. You will be surprised to find that they are used to sleeping in a noisy environment.
Feed them frequently
First-time parents might not know that newborns do not feed the same way as other kids. Newborn babies have a smaller stomach compared to other kids. Therefore, their stomachs cannot hold enough milk. Hence, they need to feed frequently. Babies of this age require to be fed at least 8 times during the day. That means you should feed them after every three hours to avoid them getting dehydrated.
It is normal for babies to wake up at night
You should not be worried when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night. Most newborns wake up at night crying for their mother’s attention. Babies will wake up at night during the change in the sleep cycle. Sometimes they may wake up during this change in sleep cycle because they are hungry. It is normal for newborn babies to wake up between 4 to 5 times every night.
Don't worry if your baby cries
There have been a lot of debate among parents, pediatricians, and psychologists whether moms should let the baby cry or soothe them to stop crying. Well, I will not delve much into that debate, but experts argue that you should not worry about letting your baby cry out. So far there is no information showing that crying may adversely affect babies in the long term. Pediatricians advise parents to let their babies develop self-soothing skills, like sucking fingers between the age of 4 to 6 months.
Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding
If you are confused between breastfeeding and feeding from the bottle, then you are not alone. Pediatricians advise that breastfeeding is the best option for newborns. Breastfeeding is good for newborns because it contains all the nutrients like protein, fat, and lactose that they need. Also, breast milk contains antibodies which protect your newborns against illness like diarrhea. Therefore, it is important you breastfeed your newborn during the first year, even after they are introduced to solid foods. Sometimes you may require to formula feed your baby instead of breastfeeding. For example, if you are not at home all the time you can choose to formula feed your baby. If you are not sure, your pediatrician may be helpful in answering your queens.
How to bathe your newborn
It is recommended that you sponge bath your newborn two or three times a week. While taking them through a tub bath, you can test the water temperature by sticking your elbow into the water. Make sure you have all the baby supplies like soap, towel, and cloth to avoid leaving them unattended. For baby soap, go for unscented and mild soap. Encircle your newborn with your arm and hold them firmly under their armpit. Wash their face with water only, then move from clean areas to other parts which are dirtier. Thoroughly wash the neck, underarm and joint areas. To avoid them feeling cold, wash their hair with a shampoo before you finish the bath.
Mistakes That First Time Parents Make and How to Avoid Them
Letting newborn babies sleep the whole night
First-time parents may let their newborn babies sleep throughout the night thinking it is normal to do that. If you are doing this, then you are getting it all wrong. Newborn babies are not allowed to sleep throughout the night during the first two weeks after birth. Pediatricians advise parents to wake their newborns after every 4 hours so that they can feed.
Sticking to a fixed feeding schedule
Some first-time parents make the mistake of feeding their babies on a strict schedule. Newborn babies will know when they are hungry and will cry until they are fed. First-time parents should always feed their newborns on demand. Look out for cues that they may be hungry like sucking fingers or crying. Pediatricians advise parents that they can keep a flexible schedule for their babies, as long as they keep feeding them after every 3 hours.
Doing everything experienced moms or friends are saying
If you are a first-time parent, it might seem like a good idea following what other experienced moms are saying. They may be experienced about babies, but that doesn’t mean everything they say applies to your situation. If you are not sure about their advice then you should trust your own instinct. If you think your baby is sick and other people are saying they are fine, you should follow your instinct and take them to a clinic.