Instructions For New Mothers: Baby Care, Feeding and Development
Whether you are waiting to have a baby or you just had one, this must be an exciting moment for you and your family. However, you cannot help but feel anxious. This is especially for first timers who have no idea of how to take care of a baby. The first few months are challenging. Here is everything you need to know about the first 12 months with your baby.
What should you feed your baby?
Breast milk is the perfect food for newborns. It has all the nutrients a baby needs to grow. Its content depends on when and for whom it is being made. Human milk contains exactly all the nutrients your baby needs at that moment, and in the right amount. Commercial formulas come close to matching the content of human breast milk, but they do not get the exact composition. The child's digestive system is not strong enough to digest most things. However, it can handle all the nutrients in breast milk. This milk also contains antibodies that help the baby fight infections and allergies. It is therefore essential for a mother to breast feed her child exclusively for the first six months. Even after the introduction of solid foods, breastfeeding should continue through the fist year of life. If desired, It can go beyond.
However, it is not possible for all new moms to breastfeed. In such a case, you should see a pediatrician for advice.
How often should a baby be fed?
During the first month, you should nurse your new born 8-12 times everyday. Breast milk digests faster as compared to formula. Your baby will therefore feel hungry more often. By 1 or two months, you can reduce this to between 7 and 9 times a day. Breastfeeding often helps train your breasts to produce more milk in a short time. After a month, milk production should not be a problem. You should not let your new born go for 4 hours without breastfeeding. Feeding time should be counted from when he or she begins to nurse to the time he or she will start to nurse again. Your baby needs nursing round the clock. You should therefore get up at night to feed him.
How do you tell that your baby needs to be fed?
There are times when your newborn will need to be fed before three hours are over. A hungry baby will cry a lot. He will do this until you hold him in a nursing position and will not hesitate to feed. If he does not want to be fed, you do not have to force him. However, if he or she does this frequently, you should see a pediatrician.
Babies are fragile and they, therefore, need extra care. After nursing, it is important to burp him or her. While feeding, babies tend to swallow some air. Burping helps get rid of that air. This is how you do it:
- While sited upright, hold your baby against your chest. Rest the baby's chin on your shoulder and support him or her with one hand. Now pat his/her back gently with the other.
- Lay your baby on his/her belly on your lap. Support the baby's head in a way that it is higher than his I her chest. Pat his or her back gently.
- Hold your baby in a sitting position, either across one knee or in your lap. Pat his! her back gently with one hand as the other supports his! her head and chest. Do this with care, ensuring that you do not hold his throat.
You can do this either after or during a nursing session if your baby seems dainty. Burp your baby when switching breasts or after every 60-90 millimeters of bottle milk. If he or she does not burp in a few minutes, change the position and continue until he or she burps.
Changing a baby's diaper may be frightening at first but learning it is easier than you think. To avoid leaving the baby unattended, gather everything you need during the changing process. These include a clean diaper, wet wipes, a bed or a changing table, a burp cloth, baby powder or a diaper rash ointment.
How to change a baby
Ensure that your computer, you’re a-reader, your phone, iPod, your electric shaver, and power bank and any other electronic device you are planning to pack is fully charged a day before the trip. in case you are traveling to another country, ensure that you carry appropriate adopted and also converters for all your electric gadgets.
- Lay him down gently. This should be far from the edge of the bed or changing table to ensure that he or she does not fall.
- Remove the baby's clothes and un-tape the dirty diaper.
- Place the burp cloth over the baby. This is especially for boys to avoid anything from spraying in either your face or that of the baby.
- Clean the diaper area from front to back with a wet wipe. This is to prevent possible infections, especially with baby girls.
- Open the clean diaper, lift the baby gently by his legs and pull out the dirty diaper. Replace it with the clean one, with its tape facing underneath.
- Apply the diaper rash cream or baby powder gently, as directed by the pediatrician.
- Through the baby's legs, pull the front of the diaper to his or her stomach. Hold it gently in position.
- Un-tape each side of the diaper and place it in front of the diaper consecutively.
- Ensure that the diaper is neither too loose nor too tight. If you can slide two fingers on the diaper's top front, it is okay. You can now redress your baby.
Check your baby's diaper and change it after every 2 to 3 hours and immediately he or she wakes up.
How often should a baby be bathed?
Bathing your baby helps him or she feels relaxed. However, that does not mean that you should bath him or her every day. If your baby is newborn, bathing him or her once or twice a week is good enough to keep him or her clean. Although, it is important to wash his or her face, bottom and genitals regularly. Change his or her clothes often too.
Wash and place your baby's utensils separately. The same applies to his or her clothes. Disinfecting them often also helps prevent infections.
Your Baby's Development
Your baby will grow amazingly fast during the first 12 months. In fact, you will notice a new exciting development every new month! However, every baby grows at his or how own pace and every new stage leads to another.
The first three months
Expect your baby to start smiling, especially on his or her own. He/she will also raise his/her head and chest, especially when on his/her tummy. This shows that your baby's back is growing stronger. They also track objects with their eyes, grip objects and try bringing them to their mouths and trying to get hold of dangling objects.
Between four and six months
During this stage, babies roll over from front to back. You will also find them babbling, laughing, reaching out and grabbing objects (especially hair). Most of them grow the first tooth, have great head control and can sit up with support.
Between seven and nine months
During this stage, most babies can sit up without support, crawl, respond to familiar sounds like their names and say a few words, clap, play simple games and pull up to a standing position.
Between ten and twelve months
Saying the first two words (mama, dada), moving round the room while holding onto furniture, feeding themselves and taking their first steps.
If you notice any unusual behavior or suspect any illness, it is important to visit the pediatrician. Remember that your baby should get all the required shots on time. Watching your baby grow is exciting. At this point, doing things with and for them will help you bond. It is a very crucial stage for you and your baby.