Becoming a new parent is incredibly exciting. But it’s also really overwhelming. And as with any significant life change, much of the information can be conflicting.
With every new bundle of joy, expectant and new parents have many questions about a healthy newborn. How will you know when to feed your newborn? How frequently will you have to change their diaper? What about when to start the newborn sleep plan?
But don’t worry. We got you covered! Keep reading for the complete, ultimate guide for caring for a newborn.
Feeding a newborn can be challenging, especially if it’s your first child. It’s essential to understand the basics of feeding your newborn, including how often and what to feed them, when, and even how much.
How Often Should You Feed Your Newborn?
Newborns have small stomachs, so they must frequently eat, usually every two to three hours. Breast milk or formula should be the sole source of nutrition for the first six months.
Breast milk provides all the necessary nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby from illnesses. Formula milk is a safe and nutritious alternative if you cannot breastfeed or choose not to.
How Do You Know When Your Baby Is Hungry?
It can take time for your baby to develop a feeding schedule, so be prepared for frequent feedings at all hours. Look for signs of hunger, such as rooting, smacking lips, and sucking on fists. Your baby may also make noises, move their head, or become fussy when hungry.
How Should You Feed Your Baby?
Holding your baby close while feeding and supporting their head and neck is essential. If breastfeeding, ensure your baby is latched on correctly, with their mouth covering most of the areola. If bottle-feeding, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and ensure the nipple has milk so your baby doesn’t swallow air.
How Much Should Your Baby Eat?
Newborns don’t eat much at once, usually just a few ounces at each feeding. The exact amount will depend on your baby’s age, weight, and appetite.
If you’re breastfeeding, it can be hard to know how much milk your baby is getting. But you can look for signs that your baby is getting enough, such as wet diapers, weight gain, and a satisfied look after feeding.
What if Your Baby Doesn’t Want to Eat?
It’s normal for babies to have periods where they don’t want to eat as much. But if your baby consistently refuses to eat, you must talk to your healthcare provider. It could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
How Can You Make Feeding Easier?
Feeding can be tiring and time-consuming, but there are ways to make it easier. Have everything you need within reach, such as burp cloths, bibs, and wipes. Use a comfortable chair or nursing pillow to support your back and arms. If breastfeeding, drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet to support your milk supply.
Feeding a newborn can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Understanding how often to feed your baby, how to give for them, and how much they need to eat can help you feel more confident caring for your little one. Remember to trust your instincts and seek help from your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your baby’s feeding habits.
Newborns spend most of their time sleeping but getting them to sleep and keeping them asleep can be challenging. Here are some tips for helping your baby get the sleep they need:
Create a Consistent Sleep Routine
Establish a consistent sleep routine early on, including a regular bedtime and nap schedule. It can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits and recognize when to sleep.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Make sure your baby’s sleep environment is comfortable and safe. Keep the room comfortable, use a firm and flat mattress, and avoid placing soft objects, such as pillows or stuffed animals, in the crib.
Help Your Baby Differentiate Day From Night
Encourage your baby to stay awake during the day by exposing them to natural light and engaging in stimulating activities. At night, keep the environment quiet and calm and limit stimulation.
Follow Safe Sleep Practices
To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), place your baby on their back to sleep, and avoid putting loose bedding or soft objects in the crib.
Be Responsive to Your Baby’s Needs
Your baby may wake up frequently during the night, but responding to their needs can help them feel secure and help them go back to sleep more easily.
Consider Using a Swaddle or Sleep Sack
Swaddling can help your baby feel secure and calm and prevent them from startling themselves awake. Sleep sacks are another option to keep your baby warm and cozy without the risk of loose blankets.
Keeping your newborn clean and healthy is an integral part of their care. As a new parent, it can be overwhelming and confusing how to keep your newborn clean. So, here are some tips for maintaining good hygiene for your baby.
You don’t need to give your newborn a bath every day, but a sponge bath can be an excellent way to keep them clean. Ensure the room is warm and free of drafts and use a soft washcloth and mild soap to clean your baby’s face, body, and diaper area. Remember to dry your baby thoroughly and apply a gentle lotion or oil to moisturize their skin.
Changing your baby’s diaper can help prevent diaper rash and comfort them. Use a diaper cream to protect their skin from irritation and clean their diaper area thoroughly with wipes or a damp cloth.
Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will eventually fall off on its own, but in the meantime, it’s essential to keep it clean and dry. Avoid bathing your baby until the cord stump falls off and keep the area clean and dry with gentle wipes or a damp cloth.
Newborns can scratch themselves with their sharp nails, so keeping their nails trimmed is essential. Use baby nail clippers or scissors and trim the nails straight to avoid cutting the skin.
Dress your baby in soft, comfortable clothing proper for the weather. Avoid clothes with tight elastics or scratchy tags that can irritate your baby’s skin.
As a parent, ensuring the safety of your newborn should be a top priority. To be responsible in this area, you have to be well-informed. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Your newborn should always ride in a car seat like this when traveling in a car. Choose a car seat proper for your baby’s age and weight and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use.
Opt for high-quality ones like this UPPAbaby MESA, which provides more security and durability. Always secure your baby in the car seat using the harness and avoid using bulky clothing or blankets that can interfere with the saddle.
To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), your baby should sleep on their back on a firm, flat surface free of soft objects, loose bedding, or bumpers. Ensure your baby’s sleep area is free of hazards such as cords, strings, or wires, and avoid overheating your baby with too many layers of warm clothing.
As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, it’s important to baby-proof your home to prevent accidents and injuries. Cover electrical outlets, install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and secure heavy furniture and appliances to the wall to prevent them from tipping over.
Never leave your baby unattended near water, even for a moment. Use a bath seat or arm to support your baby during bath time, and never leave them alone in the bathtub. Keep toilet lids closed and use a toilet lock to prevent drowning.
Newborns have delicate skin that can burn quickly, so protecting them from the sun’s harmful rays is essential. Keep your baby in the shade whenever possible.
Dress them in lightweight, protective clothing that covers their arms and legs. Use a hat and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on uncovered areas of your baby’s skin.
Navigating the Challenges of Taking Care of a Newborn
Taking care of a newborn is an enriching experience. With the right parenting tips and preparation, newborn care can become more accessible.
Remember that every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Feel free to experiment with other techniques and find what works best for your baby and family.
Develop a well-structured plan and trust your instincts. There is no time to lose. Be the best parent for your newborn today!
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