Guide to Newborn Care
After surviving for 9 months of pregnancy and made it through the excitement of labor and delivery, you’re now ready to head home and begin life with your baby, and as soon as you’re home you begin to realize that you need help during this time. Consider the following guides in helping you get started on the proper way to handle your newborn.
Where to solicit for assistance after giving birth
The hospital is the appropriate place to inquire from its staff what are steps to observe in handling your newborn baby, so while you’re still in the hospital, inquire and talk to feeding specialists or lactation consultants, who can demonstrate how to nurse-feed or bottle-feed your newborn baby, and ask a nurse to show you how to hold, burp, change diapers, and care for your baby.
Your doctor can be a good source for finding information about in-home help and might even be able to give you referrals to home health agencies; otherwise, you may decide on hiring a baby nurse or hire a responsible neighborhood teenager on a short time basis.
Your closest relatives or friends are also a source of help at this time of your life with a newborn baby.
How to handle a newborn
Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, such that they are susceptible to infection, so wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before handling your baby and make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
It is important to protect the baby’s head, so cradle the head of your baby when you’re carrying him/her and support the head when carrying upright or when you’re laying your baby down.
When putting your baby in a carrier, stroller, or car seat, make sure your baby is securely fastened and try to avoid from activities that could be too rough or bouncy.
When parents bond more often with their infant, they are establishing a deep, emotional connection with their infant. Bonding can be done in many ways, like cradling your baby, gently stroking him/her during feeding time, such that there is a close physical connection, or massaging gently your baby.
By communicating to your baby through vocal sounds, you are actually bonding with him/her, like: reciting poetry and nursery rhymes, singing nursery rhymes, babbling and cooing while you’re rocking your baby gently in a chair.
For the first year, the baby should be bathed 2-3 times a week and sponge baths take place when the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely, about 1-4 weeks, or when the circumcision heals, about 1-2 weeks.
Sponge baths are introduced when the baby’s head still needs to be supported, but once the baby can now sit well on his/her own, you may now start introducing him/her into a tub bath.