As a new parent, you will always want your little bundle of joy to be happy and healthy. It is a major concern and one that is likely to keep you up at night, but fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to ensure that your baby is healthy in these early stages. The key to success is preparation, so always make sure that you are fully prepared, and you know what to do once the child arrives. It is also important that you look after your own wellbeing in this challenging period so always keep this in mind. Here a few tips for a happy and healthy newborn:
Listen To Your Pediatrician
The most important thing that you can do as a new parent is to listen carefully to what the pediatrician has to say. Do not be embarrassed to ask a question no matter how silly it may seem and you may want to write down what they say as everything can feel quite overwhelming at first. Additionally, do not hesitate to get in touch with them if you have any concerns after you leave – it is their job to help.
Protecting Against Infection
Infection is a very serious risk in newborns so you must always take measures to protect them. This includes asking anyone to wash their hands before holding and/or feeding the baby and keeping them away from anyone who is sick.
Know What To Look Out For
It is important to know what to look out for so that you can stop any health issues from developing. Your pediatrician will help with this, but a few examples of symptoms to look out for include fever, jaundice, rash, vomiting and breathing problems.
Feeding is a key stage in keeping the baby healthy, but it is also one of the biggest challenges! Babies should be fed every two to three hours until instructed otherwise, so be sure to schedule your day around this important aspect. If you are having difficulty with breastfeeding, speak to your pediatrician or look online for lots of helpful information on latching, sore nipples, etc. Also, do not forget to burp your baby after feeding as otherwise the air can interfere with their digestion and make them feel uncomfortable.
You can expect to spend a large amount of your day changing diapers, so you are sure to quickly get the hang of it! Newborns can have up to 10 bowel movements each day and you will need to change after each one. One of the most important things that you can do to keep your baby happy is to purchase high-quality diapers with brands like Pampers being a good option. This means that it will not irritate their skin and prove the support that they need.
Just one of the notoriously difficult stages of looking after a newborn, sleep is vital for their well-being and development but you are sure to encounter a few struggles! Newborns will sleep in short bursts and up to 16 hours a day – this makes it challenging to look after them so always try and get some sleep when they do or take it in turns to look after the baby. They should be sleeping in a crib in your bedroom for the first 6 months to a year on a firm surface with no toys, blankets, etc. as this increase the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
It is no secret that newborns like to cry (a lot!) as this is their way of communicating that they want something. It is hard not to, but try not to panic when they cry and you will quickly learn what it is that they need (it is usually feeding, changing or sleeping). A few good ways to soothe a crying newborn if they are fed/changed, etc. is to sway them, allowing them to suck (pacifiers can be introduced after a few weeks), playing music/singing to them, skin-to-skin contact and fresh air.
You should only bathe your newborn once their belly button is completely healed. Some babies will find bathing a soothing experience whilst some will hate it so keep this in mind. They do not need bathing every single day but it can be a healthy part of your daily routine.
Friends & Family
It is important that have friends and family around in these early stages for a few different reasons. First, it can be helpful in that they can provide assistance and let you have some time off, but it is also good for the baby to be around people and in a normal household environment. It will also help the friends and family to make a connection with your baby – just remember to get them to wash their hands!
Look After Yourself
As you can clearly see, babies require an awful lot of attention and this will take its toll. In order to give your newborn the best care possible, it is also important that you look after yourself. This is why it is important to have a good support network around you so that somebody can step in while you sleep, eat a good meal, exercise, socialize, etc. It is understandable that you want to be with your baby constantly, but a bit of separation is important and will help you to take care of yourself.
It is an incredibly exciting time when you come home with your bundle of joy, but it is also stressful and chaotic! You will be desperate for your baby to be happy and healthy and the above advice should help any new parent to navigate these tricky early days. The key is to listen to your healthcare professional and pay close attention to your baby, but you must also relax and make the time to look after yourself. There are sure to be some particularly challenging days, but this is perfectly natural and all a part of your newborn’s healthy development!