To New Parents, Here’s What You Need to Know about Newborn Care (Part II)
Newborn Care Essentials after Delivery: Bathing, Sleeping, and Feeding Basics
Going home with your newborn is thrilling, but it can be terrifying too. Babies have many needs, such as diaper changes, frequent feedings, sponge baths, and many more. Expect that the first month caring for your newborn will not be easy. Here is our guide to make those first few weeks with your baby a bit easier.
A sponge bath should be given until the umbilical stump and circumcision wound heal. Tub bath should follow once the baby is ready and the umbilical stump falls off.
Prepare the following items before bath time:
- A washcloth
- Mild baby shampoo and soap
- Clean towels
- Soft hair brush
- Clean clothes
- Clean diaper
- Find a flat surface for bathing, like the floor, changing table, or counter.
- Fill a bowl with lukewarm water.
- Gently rub your baby’s eyes with a damp washcloth to get rid of stickiness.
- Clean your baby’s ears and nose with a clean cotton ball or washcloth.
- Wet the washcloth one more time, and with a little soap, clean your newborn’s face.
- Wash your baby’s head with water and shampoo. Create lather and rinse using a wet cloth.
- Wash the rest of your baby’s body with wet cloth and soap. Pay attention to your baby’s creases, such as behind the ears, around the neck, under the arms, and around the genital area.
- Pat your baby dry. Put on clean diapers and dress him or her up with comfortable clothes.
- Don’t forget to gently brush your baby’s hair to stimulate the scalp and keep cradle cap at bay.
Umbilical Cord Care
The umbilical stump may usually take two to three weeks to dry up. Experts suggest to pat the stump with alcohol until it falls off, while others think it’s best to leave the area alone. When giving your baby a bath, it is highly recommended to avoid submerging the navel area in water; however, if the stump gets wet—most likely during sponge bath—simply pat the umbilical cord stump dry before putting on the diaper.
If you notice any discharge, redness, irritation, or foul smell coming from your newborn’s umbilical stump, consult your doctor immediately.
Baby Feeding and Burping
- Newborns are to be fed every two to three hours. Some babies need to be awakened. If your newborn doesn’t seem interested in feeding, call your pediatrician.
- Look for signs of hunger, such as stretching, sucking, stirring, and lip movements. Crying and fussing are later cues.
- Nurse your newborn on both breasts. Give your newborn ten to fifteen minutes at each breast.
- If you are bottle-feeding, expect your newborn to drink about two-three ounces of formula every feeding.
- If your newborn wets at least six diapers per day, and several bowel movements per day, your baby is likely to be eating enough. Study his weight gain. If he has slow yet steady weight gain, he is most probably okay. Otherwise, contact your doctor if your baby isn’t gaining weight or is not interested in eating.
How to Burp a Baby
Never lay your baby down on his bassinet without letting him burp. Take note of these burping strategies:
- Hold your newborn upright while his head is against your shoulder. Pat your baby’s back with one hand, while the other hand supports the head and the back.
- Put your baby on your lap. Support your newborn’s head and chest through cradling your baby’s chin in the palm of your hand, with the heel of your hand resting on your baby’s chest. Then, pat the baby’s back using your free hand.
Newborn Baby Sleeping Tips
- Swaddle. This technique prevents startle reflex and helps babies sleep longer and soundly.
- Try co-sleeping or room sharing. Sharing a room with newborn can make feeding time so much easier. Breastfeeding will be a breeze especially if you won’t have to go to the other room to feed or change the diaper of your baby.
- Baby massage. Giving your baby a massage is not only relaxing but is proven to help babies snooze better.