Newborn Care Tips for First-Time Parents
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
Pregnancy – check.
Labor – check.
Delivery – check.
Now, you’ve entered what most parents call the fourth trimester – the first three months post-birth. It is a time of intense physical and emotional adjustment for you and your newborn baby. You’ll experience bouts of love and happiness as well as exhaustion. It’s all normal. It’s your first time being a parent, so don’t stress yourself much. Gradually, you’ll learn how to ace the role. All parents do.
When we talk of the baby, the little one is trying to adjust to the world outside the womb. Everything is strange and new, and they depend on you for everything.
So, it’s natural for you to want to learn how to best care for your child. The excitement of being a new parent has put a lot of us in this position. To help you out, we’ve highlighted some of the best tips for new parents.
Observe Your Child Closely
Vigilance should be your middle name for the first few months. Get to know your baby’s cues and what they mean. By observing them closely, you’ll be surprised how much you can understand what they’re trying to tell you.
It is especially true if your child suffered a birth injury like a newborn hematoma or a brachial plexus injury. Blood pools outside the vessels in a hematoma and can be seen on the baby’s scalp. The pooled blood puts a lot of pressure on the brain tissue, which can cause death or a disability that lasts a lifetime if it isn’t found and treated right away. So, watch out for anything out of the ordinary and get professional help if you think something’s wrong.
Invest in a Good Baby Monitor
You’d want to be a watchful hawk, but that’s not always possible – especially when you have other chores or need some sleep. It is where a baby monitor comes in handy. It allows you the freedom of movement while still being able to keep an ear out for your child.
A lot has changed in the baby monitors world since our parents raised us. You no longer have to settle for a walkie-talkie design with iffy audio quality.
You can now pick up a baby monitor with top-notch HD video and sound and a bevy of other features like night vision, two-way talk, and more.
Create a Sleep Schedule
This one’s for the parents’ sanity more than anything else. A regular sleep schedule will help you get some much-needed rest while ensuring that your baby gets the sleep they need to grow and develop properly.
It won’t be easy at first, but it will be worth it. So, start early and stick to a bedtime routine. Put your baby for naps at the same time every day. And make sure that their sleeping environment is conducive to rest – dark, quiet, and comfortable.
Stock up on Diapers and Wipes
You can never have too many diapers. Seriously. They’re like gold in the early days and months. So, stock up on them – along with wipes. You’ll be using a lot of both, trust us. When choosing diapers, pick a brand that’s gentle on your baby’s skin and gives them the leakage protection they need. As for wipes, get a good quality, alcohol-free version. You’ll be using them not just for diaper changes but also for cleaning up spills and messes.
Set Rules for Visitors
You’ll have friends and family members knocking on your door as soon as they get wind of the news. And while it’s great to have visitors, setting some ground rules is important.
First and foremost, establish a no-smoking rule. You don’t want your baby breathing in second-hand smoke.
Second, set a limit on the number of visitors and the duration of their stay. Too many people in the house can be overwhelming – for you and your baby.
And lastly, ask visitors to sanitize their hands before holding the baby. And, of course, no kisses on the face.
Be Prepared for Feeding Time
Nursing or bottle-feeding, you need to be prepared for feedings. Have everything you need within arm’s reach – burp cloths, diapers, wipes, cream, the works.
It’s also an excellent idea to have a comfy chair or nursing pillow to help you get into the ideal position for feeding. It will help you avoid neck and back pain.
If you’re hoping to breastfeed, try to nurse as soon as your baby is born. It will help them latch on better and also stimulate your milk production.
Swaddling and Soothing
There’s nothing like a good swaddle to calm a crying baby. Swaddling helps babies feel safe and secure – like they’re still in the womb. It also prevents them from scratching themselves with their nails. When swaddling your baby, use a light, breathable fabric. Muslin is a great option.
If your baby is still fussing, try gently rocking them or taking them for a walk in the stroller. You can also try white noise to soothe them.
Gentle baby massages are also a great way to ease colic and gas pain. Just be sure to use a light touch and unscented lotion or oil. And when you put your child down to sleep, ensure their head is higher than their feet to prevent acid reflux.
Make Time for Yourself
Getting caught up in the whirlwind of being a new parent is easy. But remember that you’re still a person outside of being a mom or dad. So, make time for yourself.
Spend time doing things that you’ve always enjoyed. Whether reading, going for walks, or listening to music, find an activity that allows you to relax and recharge.
It’s also essential to stay connected with your partner or spouse. Nurturing that relationship is vital to maintaining your sanity during this hectic time. So, plan date nights, talk to each other about your day, and enjoy each other’s company.
Being a new parent is an exciting roller coaster you’ve just embarked on. But it’s also a challenging one. So, be easy on yourself and take things one day at a time. With a little time and patience, you’ll get the hang of this parenting thing in no time. You won’t even realize how fast those first few months flew by until you’re celebrating your baby’s first birthday. So, enjoy the ride!
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.