So the time has come for you to take your precious new bundle of joy home. Like any other parent out there, I’m sure you’ve spent much of the last nine months of your life planning for this big day. Well, now that you’re home with your newborn, you can assure yourself that the most exciting yet nerve-wracking experience of your life has just begun.
As time passes by, it is fairly normal for new parents to end up making mistakes. To be honest, these mistakes typically occur due to poor or lack of information and in some cases, even poor judgment. However, you need to bear in mind the fact that you can’t be a perfect parent right away.
There's much about parenting that you will learn with the passage of time. The trouble here arises when people deal with poor information. Parenting is an ever-evolving science considering that things our parents knew nothing about, are now fairly obvious to us. In order to dispel a bit of the misinformation out there, here’s a list of things that I believe all new parents should know about their newborns:
10 If Your Baby isn’t Getting Enough Food, She Will Let You Know
Yes, it is necessary for your baby to be fed every two to three hours. However, it may become hard for you to figure out how much milk she is actually getting. In order to make sure that your baby is getting enough food, the only thing you need to keep an eye on is her weight. Just so you know, your baby will lose about 5 to 8 percent of his birth weight in the first few weeks. However, he will gain it right back in the second week so there’s nothing for you to be worried about.
While you’re at it, you may also count the number of diapers your baby uses to gauge her feeding. After the first week, you will have to deal with nearly five to six wet diapers a day along with one or two poop-filled ones. As long as your little one seems healthy and appears contented after most breastfeeding and gains steady weight, there is nothing for you to worry about.
9 Your Little One may Have a ‘Funny’ Appearance
Right after delivery, your baby’s head is going to have a somewhat ‘squished’ appearance. This is because of the long journey she has been through in the birth canal. With that, she may also have a lot of ‘lanugo’ or fine hair on her body.
Oh and just so you know, your little angel may even have a puffy-face with eyes that are gooey and often shut. Instead of judging your baby’s look, you need to remind yourself that she has spent an entire nine months in her mother’s womb and her appearance is definitely going to fix up soon. At birth, your little one may have a pointy head and even swollen genitals – but for good reason.
8 Give Your Baby Sponge Baths till Her Umbilical Cord Falls Off
If you want your baby’s umbilical cord falling off real quick, then make sure that you keep it as dry as possible. In case you manage to do so, there’s a good chance that it will fall off within two weeks. Also, if the umbilical cord gets wet, it is best for you to just pat it dry.
When you choose to give a sponge bath to your baby, there will be no need for you to worry about having to put her in a tub. The only thing you will need to do here is to lay your baby down on a towel and clean your little one with a wet washcloth. While you are at it, bear in mind that you shouldn’t sponge bathe your baby more than 2 to 3 times a week. If anything, it shouldn’t take you more than 5 to 10 minutes to give your precious little angel a complete sponge bath.
7 Your Baby will Cry to Communicate With You
Yes, your precious one will use those piercing wails of hers to tell you that she has a dirty diaper, is hungry or is feeling cold etc. Although these early attempts at holding a conversation with you may seem frustrating, you can assure yourself that you will get a better handle on your baby’s demands with time.
But with that, the one thing that you will need to learn is to differentiate between your baby’s cries. If she is crying in pain, her crying is going to start with a shrill scream that will soon be followed by a silent phase and a series of short gasps. In case she is crying due to hunger, you are most likely to hear a loud demanding wail. With time, you will be able to distinguish between other cries as well such as those of discontentment and the need to be held.
6 Her Skin Will be Very Sensitive
When it comes to your baby’s skin, you need to bear in mind the fact that it is going to be extremely sensitive and fragile for a while. It is for this reason that you should wash her with warm water only during the first month after delivery. In case you use soap, it is best for you to only use gentle baby soap on parts that you believe are fairly dirty. Also, make sure that the soap you choose to use on your little one does not have any alcohol, preservatives or perfumes in it as these may harm her skin.
If you are interested in using a lotion on your newborn, make sure that you choose one that is free of perfumes and dyes. In case of dry skin, don’t bathe your baby too often as it may add to the dryness too.
5 No Solid Foods till Your Baby is At Least 6-months-old
Experts believe babies should be exclusively breastfed until they are at least 6-months-old. After this period, parents should start introducing solid foods to their babies in a slow and gradual manner. The reason for this is rather simple – by the 6 months mark, babies have higher chances of staying protected against food allergies and illnesses as their digestive system continues to mature.
Even with so many bits of advice, it is natural for you to at times feel overwhelmed and get tempted to start feeding solid food to your baby right away. If this happens, just try to stay calm and However, you need to keep calm and keep those thoughts of, “He will sleep better after having solid food” away from your mind.
4 She May Have Dry Skin
Your newborn may have soft skin at birth, but this may change after a while. She’s been soaked in liquid for the past nine months in your womb, so when she is let out in air, it is natural for her skin to go a bit dry, right?
To keep things simple, there is no reason at all for you to do anything about your baby’s dry skin because if will peel and flake off on its own. In case you are overly worried about her skin, you can use a fragrance-free hypoallergenic baby lotion. With dry skin, your baby may even have little pink bumps, baby acne, and even diaper rashes. Apart from diaper rashes, there isn’t much for you to worry about as the other problems will go away on their own.
3 She May Have ‘Explosive’ Poop and Spit-up
Although your newborn looks totally adorable and delicate at birth, she may pack a punch when it comes to things like poop and spit-up – and you better be prepared for it. Research conducted on new moms suggests that about 41% of them find spitting up to be their worst feeding nightmare. Hence, you really shouldn’t be surprised by the number of times you may have to change YOUR OWN clothes.
In case your newborn spits up too often, it is highly recommended for you to burp him and make sure that he remains upright after every feed for a while. This is going to play a major role in reducing the frequency and volume of his spit-ups. Oh and, you may assure yourself that this phase of your baby’s life is going to come to an end too – he will not be taking his burp cloths to school you know. If anything, his spitting phase may come to an end by the time he’s 4 or 5 months old.
2 Your Baby CAN Go Out
There is no reason why you should keep your baby indoors. To be honest, as long as your precious one is healthy, it can be great for both you and her to get out and get some fresh air as long as you take a few precautions.
To begin with, you must refrain from overdressing or underdressing your newborn when you leave the house. Your best bet in this regard is to put as many layers on her as you're wearing yourself, and keep a blanket handy. Next, it is necessary for you to keep your baby out of direct sunlight. Remember, she has delicate skin that can get burnt easily. While you’re out, keep her fully shaded with an umbrella or clothing. Also, to keep your baby safe from getting sick, stay away from people who are ill or places where you know people are ill.
1 She May Sleep A Lot – but not For Long Stretches
The first few months of your baby’s life are going to be a bit troublesome for you. She will want to eat every two to three hours, so there isn’t much chance for you to get proper sleep. However, things are bound to get better with time.
By the time your baby becomes 3-months-old, she will be able to sleep for about six to eight hours. But in the meantime, you should try to get her on a day and night schedule. If possible, try not to let her snooze for more than three hours during the day without waking her up to feed. On the other hand, let her sleep for as long as she wants during the night after she regains the weight she lost after birth.