Upon taking the little bundle of joy home, a mom is excited and full of optimism. After all, this is someone she has been waiting nine months to meet and now that the baby is finally here, she feels that it will only get better. This optimism is great but it wears down fast the minute it hits her that this is a human life that she is expected to safeguard and take care of 24/7. It is then that she begins to hyperventilate.
A newborn is easy to take care of. All he needs is feeding, diaper changes and some cuddling and he falls back to sleep. Beyond this, a baby can become a real nightmare when he hits the toddler years, but he really cannot get into any trouble unless the mother brings it to him.
Babies should come with cautionary stickers: “Do not hold upside down, do not shake and most definitely do not pump with sleeping meds to make it fall asleep. Do feed well and this child will thrive.” Ignoring this sticker is what brings those sad endings to a story that would otherwise have been beautiful.
In all the parenting books and all the mom videos we watch, the following 10 things are spelled out as things the mom should be doing with the newborn and to make the list complete, we added the ten things a mom shouldn't do with a newborn at all.
20 Do: Back to Sleep
This one can never be overemphasized. Every mother is advised to put the baby to sleep on his back in a bed that has no fluff but only has a fitted sheet. This measure has been observed to reduce the instances of sudden infant death syndrome.
Unfortunately, some women still advocate for tummy sleeping, insisting that the baby sleeps better.
Be that as it may, letting the baby sleep on his tummy is risky, as chances of him rolling his face mattress-down are high. Letting him sleep on his side is equally as risky as there is a chance that his airway may be blocked if his neck slumps.
19 Don't: Ignore The Umbilical Stump
The baby’s umbilical stump is a sensitive area and the one thing every woman is advised to do is to ensure that it never gets wet or dirty. This is to prevent infections from going into the baby’s bloodstream. According to Parents.com, it is actually more advisable to give sponge baths to the baby until the umbilical stump falls off.
Remember, the stump used to connect the mother to the child and it is still capable of carrying bacteria into the child. Some women are fond of dipping the child into the shower and haphazardly drying him without paying any attention to the stump. Not doing this delays the drying and dropping of the stump and can lead to deadly infections.
18 Do: Feed On Demand
According to CNN, some parents let the baby sleep too long without feeding. The cardinal rule for newborns is to feed on demand. The newborn has a very tiny tummy, which means it fills fast and empties just as fast. This is the reason newborns wake up so often to feed.
Some mothers schedule a feed after every four hours and then wonder why their babies are always so cranky. Feeding on demand means the baby gets enough nutrients to help him grow and when the baby is full, he tends to be less fussy, which a plus is for the sleep-deprived mother. If parents want to rest as the baby sleeps, it would be advisable to ensure that they are well-fed first.
17 Don't: Be Too Slow With The Diaper
This one is not only devastating to the child, it is devastating to the mom too. The diaper is a tricky thing as it is not usually visible and unless one checks, it is very easy to miss the fact that it is wet or soiled. Unfortunately, this oversight is what brings about diaper rashes.
To ensure this does not happen, it is advisable to check the diaper regularly and if one gets a diaper that comes with a wetness indicator the better. Cotton diapers come highly recommended with fewer incidences of diaper rashes and they retain moisture a lot longer. The rule though is to check often and change immediately when it gets soiled.
16 Do: Burp Baby Properly
Burping is something that some mothers forget to do. When a mother has had a long hard night and the baby wakes up to feed, most mothers console themselves that not burping will do no harm and that the baby will just sleep it off.
Do not be in a hurry when it comes to the baby and you will reap the benefits.
Unfortunately, when it comes to babies, the air they trap in their stomach as they feed has to be released through burping. If it is left trapped in the tummy, the baby gets stomach issues and this may lead to colic-like symptoms that can be more devastating than those five minutes she could have utilized burping.
15 Don't: Microwave Bottles
The microwave is a wonderful invention and it is quite the time-saver. The cautionary tag here is that as much as the woman may be in a hurry and the baby is screaming his lungs out, microwaving the baby’s bottle is a no-no.
The microwave tends to heat things unevenly and chances of scalding the baby are high. It is also likely to leave heat bubbles that may go unnoticed and this too may scald the baby.
According to Bay Ecology, the greatest risk is that plastic used to heat the milk in the microwave can leach into the milk. To heat the baby’s bottle, place it under running hot water or let it stand in a bucket with warm water and this should do the job.
14 Do: Pre-Burp
Before every feed, new moms are advised to pre-burp the baby to remove any trapped air before they start feeding. Most mothers do not know the benefits that come with a pre-burp.
Like we said earlier, the baby’s tummy is tiny and if there is any air trapped in his tummy prior to a feed, the space that could have been utilized in feeding is taken up by air. This trapped air is bound to give the child some stomach issues and the fact that the baby did not feed enough means that the baby will wake up faster.
13 Don't: Opt For The Softer Bedding
Sudden infant death syndrome is devastating, more so because one is left wondering what exactly happened and blaming themselves for not being vigilant enough to prevent it. Baby beds that come with fluff and animal themed bedding in amazing colors are beautiful, but mothers need to know that these images belong on Pinterest and should not be translated to the baby’s nursery.
Manufacturers still make these soft bedding and mothers still buy them, but we still insist that while they are tempting and beautiful, using them on the baby’s bed is something a mother should not do at all.
12 Do: Give Enough Tummy Time
Tummy time is where the mother places the baby on a flat surface lying on his stomach for a few minutes in order to strengthen his muscles. Most mothers do not like this session, mainly because most baby’s object to it.
The fact that the baby is fussy should not be reason enough not to give him adequate tummy time. It helps him strengthen his back and neck muscles and reach his various milestones a lot faster and without complications. Tummy time even for five minutes after a diaper change or every bath is quite beneficial to the baby.
11 Don't: Leave Baby Unsupervised Around Pets
Dogs, just like human beings, have feelings and if a dog was the ‘baby’ of the house, getting a new baby could fuel jealousy in them and the chances of a dog hurting the child become a reality. A new mother should ensure that the dog is properly introduced to the child and that he does not feel left out.
In doing so, the dog will not harbor hatred for the child. It is imperative that pets are never left with the baby unsupervised. At no time should a pet be let into a room the baby is sleeping in, neither should it be allowed into the baby’s bed.
10 Do: Record Your Baby
According to Mom Junction, every moment a mother spends with her child is special and fleeting. It is important to document those moments because they will not be repeated. The best way to do this is to take pictures as well as videos.
Baby photo shoots are amazing and they come with ingenious props that make it lively and entertaining enough to hold your munchkin’s attention. Playing dress-up is also a lovely way to document the time spent with the child and of course, the icing on the cake is sharing these special moments with loved ones and the child when he grows up.
9 Don't: Co-Sleep
Most mothers swear by this one and the benefits they highlight are enough to make even the mothers opposed to it give in. Unfortunately, this decision could turn into one a mother regrets for the rest of her life.
A newborn comes into the house and kicks sleep out the door for the mother, which means most of her days are lived in a daze of sleep deprivation. A sleepy mother who co-sleeps with her child could roll over the child accidentally or the child could even tangle in the adult beddings and suffocate. As convenient as co-sleeping is, the risks come with a price that is too high.
8 Do: Music Therapy
Babies come with an appreciation for music. It is probably because most mothers understand that even in utero, a baby has his senses and can hear the music. We also tend to play lullabies and even croon off-tune lullabies to him before he sleeps so he has some appreciation for it.
Mothers are advised to diversify their taste in music so that the baby can get an appreciation of the different sounds. Music has been known to calm a cranky baby and as the baby grows, one notices that the first thing he does is to bob to music.
7 Don't: Take Newborns into Crowded Places
Most women do not take newborns outside, preferring to keep them safely locked inside the house. This comes with some benefits as the child is exposed to fewer viruses and is not likely to catch a cold from unpredictable weather.
Even though it is very safe to go out with a newborn, care should be taken in selecting where the child goes. Crowds come with germs that the delicate child can pick up. Unfortunately, any of these germs can turn fatal for the child. Take the baby out by all means, but ensure that you avoid crowded places or even enclosed ones.
6 Do: Play Hide And Seek
This is a game that babies love to indulge in. Even a small baby gets the concept of hide and seek with a twist. Hiding one's face and doing ‘peekaboo’ with the baby will elicit a smile.
He may be too young, but babies want some mommy and me time and this is a lovely way of challenging his senses and improving his eye coordination.
Playing this twisted hide and seek is also a great way to bond with an infant. It will ensure that every time he sees mommy he smiles and expects that treat and hey, it is sure to put a smile on mama's face too.
5 Don't: Overdo It On The Layers
Most of us are very good at wrapping our newborns in all the warm clothes in the house in an attempt to keep him safe from the weather.
This seems like a brilliant idea considering babies get sick from colds right? Wrong.
Overdressed babies are more likely to overheat, owing to the fact that their tiny bodies have not mastered the art of heat regulation. This can lead to vomiting, fever and even dehydration. All of which comes with devastating side effects, most notably seizures that can lead to neurological damage. Dressing a baby in light layers that are easy to remove is preferable.
4 Do: Story Time
These days, the culture is to buy a child a play station as soon as his tiny hands can grasp the joystick or to stick him in front of the TV and let it act as an electronic babysitter. The reading culture is being extinguished and with it, the oldest way of passing wisdom to our highly impressionable children.
They say molding a child should start at a young age. If parents want their child to grow up with a cultured taste, with a love for the smell of books, it's beneficial to ingrain the reading culture early by including storytime into the day as soon as they are born. This will be a great step toward this goal.
3 Don't: Give Too Much Affection
It is hard to tell the mother not to smother a newborn with affection. It is equally as hard not to tell visitors and even strangers to refrain from expressing affection towards the child. Unfortunately, this innocent affection for the newborn with almost zero immunity can lead to traumatic outcomes. Kissing a baby can expose him to the grownups cold sores or even herpes.
According to Metro, Claire Henderson, a new mother was enjoying her healthy child until she allowed a visitor to kiss her. The baby came down with Herpes simplex and was hospitalized. As difficult as it is to say no to visitors, for the sake of the child, saying no is something the mothers should be doing.
2 Do: Clean Baby’s Gums and Teeth
It is true that infants are not born with teeth, but this is no reason to neglect their oral hygiene. It is imperative that the mother ensures that she cleans the baby’s tongue and the gums using a soft wet cloth. This will remove all the milk particles on his tongue and gums and prevent an overgrowth of bacteria and thrush.
Proper oral hygiene also ensures that the baby does not get dental issues in later years as the teeth sprout. The trick here is to ensure that the water used is warm and that cleaning is done gently to prevent chafing.
1 Don't: Leave Baby Unsupervised On The Couch
Almost all of us are guilty of this one. Some of us even turn the couch into a temporary bed to place the baby during the day. The couch may be convenient and it holds the baby up as he sits, freeing our arms to do a few things around the house. However, leaving the child on the couch unsupervised is a mistake.
We console ourselves that he is safe since he cannot crawl or move, but unfortunately, the baby can roll over or topple and fall off the couch. They say babies are resilient and they can go through anything but that bump could bring a lot of issues later on.