Newborn babies are so precious and fragile, all we want to do is hold them in our arms and never let go. Most parents tend to think that, because they are the parent of their baby, they know what is best for them. It would be wonderful if this were true, but parenting does not come with a handbook and mistakes can be made whether we like to admit it or not. There is nothing easy about caring for a newborn baby, it can be nerve wracking especially when the smallest mistake could end so terribly.
So, how then do we know if we are doing what is best for our children, or if we are about to unknowingly make a huge mistake that could affect the rest of their lives and ours? The first step is admitting that you do not know everything, as much as you might think that you do, and it is perfectly okay to not know everything. No parent knows everything when it comes to what is best for a child, especially if you are a first time parent.
In this article we are going to go over 15 things that could signal that you may not be handling your newborn properly, and how to fix them or do them differently.
15Feeding When The Baby Cries
Newborn babies need to be fed a lot, more specifically, they need to be fed about every four hours to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients to grow. So if you are waiting for your baby to cry as a sign that they are hungry then you are not handling them properly at all. In fact, you are actually starving them. Think of it this way, you are waiting for your baby to get so hungry and uncomfortable that they have to cry to get food. This is not good. From the moment that you give birth to your baby, you should make sure that you are on a strict schedule of feeding about every four hours. Sure, getting up every four hours at night is not fun, but I promise you that it does not last forever, and you will eventually get to sleep for an entire night again. Just try to find some comfort in knowing that your baby is well cared for and well-fed.
14Bathing Too Early
Everyone loves the smell of a nice clean baby, and when a baby is has been peeing, pooping, and spitting all day starts to smell like old spit up and dirty diapers it might be tempting to give them their first bath, but if they still have their umbilical cord stump then this is a horrible idea. Giving a baby a bath while they still have their umbilical cord stump can be dangerous because not only are you supposed to keep them dry so that they dry up and fall off, but it could also lead to them becoming red, inflamed, and infected. So, what do you do when baby starts to smell, but it is too early to bathe them? The answer is simple, you should wipe baby down with warm and damp wash cloth until their stump falls off.
13Moving Up And Down When Calming The Cries
You may be thinking that this one is obvious, I mean who in their right minds would shake a baby? Well, when we think of shaking we typically think of violent shaking, but that is not the only way that this has become a problem. Many parents tend to pick their newborns up and gently shake them up and down in an attempt to soothe and calm them down. If you are doing this to your newborn then you could be causing damage. Any shaking movement, no matter how light it may be, is safe for a newborn baby and it could lead to shaken baby syndrome. A very serious condition that often times ends in death. So next time you pick your baby up to soothe them, think twice before shaking or rocking them.
Parents who bottle-feed tend to try to make their babies finish the entire bottle so that nothing is wasted, but this is a mistake that could lead to future issues for your baby. When bottle feeding you should force more than what your child wants, you will know when they are done when they either stop drinking or start to spit it out. However, if you overfeed your baby this could lead to them bringing it all right back up since their tiny stomachs can not handle it, or it could also lead to their stomachs stretching therefore they would need more and more food and this eventually leads to obesity. Obesity is something that we obviously would want to avoid in order to stay away from potential health issues that arise from being obese.
11Leaving Diapers On For Too Long
When it comes to changing a babies diaper, there seems to be two types of moms. The ones who are changing their babies bums on a schedule of about every three to four hours, and then there are the moms who seem to think that it is okay to wait until they either smell something foul or the baby’s diaper is sagging because it is that full. If you are the type of mom that waits until the very last minute to change your newborn’s diaper, then you are not handling your baby properly and here’s why;
Imagine having to sit in a diaper full of your own feces or urine for hours on end. Doesn't sound very comfortable does it? Well that is because it's not comfortable, and not only will it make your baby very fussy, but it could also lead to urinary tract infections. You would not want your newborn baby to have something as uncomfortable as a urinary tract infection, especially when it could have been so easily avoided by just simply changing their diaper as soon as you notice that they have gone.
10Not Taking The Time To Burp
Some parents seem to think that burping a baby is optional and that it is not really necessary. This could not be any farther from the truth. When you feed your baby little gas bubbles tend to build up in those tiny tummies of theirs and so when you neglect to burp them afterwards they could become very uncomfortable or even end up spitting up everything that they had just eaten. This can oftentimes result in reflux which is a very uncomfortable problem for a newborn to have and often leads to pediatricians prescribing the baby's medicine to help control it. Medicine to help control this reflux sounds great and all, but why not just burp your baby and avoid this from happening in the first place. Who would want their babies on medicine if it were not necessary?
9Lifting The Baby Up By The Arms
Babies, especially newborn babies, are very fragile little beings, and they should be handled very gently and the most caution and care that you can. So lifting them up by their arms when you go to hold them is a big no! Not only could they slip from your hands and fall, this could lead to some serious injuries. Most commonly, lifting a baby from their arms can result in a dislocated shoulder. Instead, you should always make sure to use both of your hands when picking up a baby, use one hand to support the baby's head and the other hand to support the baby’s back. Otherwise, you could just hurt your baby, and no one wants that. Also, be always sure to tell any loved ones who want to hold your baby to always make sure that they support the baby’s head.
8Not Using Those Wipes
This one might seem like a no brainer to most parents out there, but there are indeed parents out there who do not always wipe their baby's privates when changing their diapers. Some people might think that when a baby has peed in their diaper, the diaper absorbed the urine and since they do not see anything that needs to be wiped off they decide to do without the wipes. This can become a big issue, especially for baby girls. Even though you may not see anything to wipe off of them, that does not mean that there is not something there so, it is important to always wipe with a baby wipe no matter what. Neglecting to use baby wipes when changing your baby could result in them having some not so fun infections and no one wants their baby to have an infection, especially when it was so easily preventable.
7Taking An Oral Temperature
What might be wrong with this, you ask? Well, if you suspect that your baby might have a fever and you go to take their temperature like you would your own, sticking the thermometer under their tongue, then you will likely wind up with a false reading. A baby's mouth will always have a lower reading, and therefore it is recommended that you always take their temperatures via rectal temp. As uncomfortable as this may be for you to do, it is the best and most accurate way to do it. Make sure to place a tiny drop of petroleum jelly on the end of the thermometer before inserting it, and do not worry about your baby being uncomfortable during this because this is the way that the doctors will take your baby’s temp at all of his or her appointments as well.
6The Cry-It-Out Method
Just like with diapers, there are two types of parents when it comes to dealing with a crying and fussy newborn. There are the ones that pick their babies up every time that they cry and do everything that they can to soothe them, and then there are the ones who say that the babies need to just cry it out and that if you pick them up all the time that they will become spoiled. If you are the type of parent that lets your newborn baby “cry it out” then you are not handling your baby properly.
Newborn babies usually only cry when they need something, they are typically either hungry or need their diapers changed. They will however cry sometimes when they need or want some of your attention, which is not a bad thing at all. Newborn babies are not yet able to self soothe and so when you ignore their cry you may think that they have self soothed and gone to sleep, when really they are just going to sleep out of pure exhaustion. Sounds pretty horrible, doesn't it?
5Putting The Baby To Sleep On Their Belly
It is astonishing that some doctors have started to recommend putting babies on their stomach to sleep, and some parents do it in hopes of avoiding flat head syndrome, but for a newborn baby this is not safe at all. It is actually a known fact that placing a newborn on their back to sleep is the best possible way to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome.) Putting a newborn to sleep on their belly can be very dangerous because newborns do not yet have the strength to lift their heads or to roll over if their breathing becomes compromised. So, in order to stay safe it is best that you make sure to place your baby on his or her back until they are strong enough to roll over on their own.
4Not Washing Your Hands
This might not seem like it could be that dangerous, but it really is. Washing your hands is very important and for so many reasons. You should always make sure that not only your hands, but the hands of your loved ones as well, are always washed before interacting with your baby. This will help keep your baby safe from harmful germs and bacteria that could potentially lead to some very serious illnesses. Especially in babies are so new to the world that they have not yet had any of their shots, as their immune systems are weak and susceptible to infection. It may seem like a pain to have to wash your hands all the time, but you should at least carry hand sanitizer on you if you are not willing to wash your hands that often.
3Using Blankets And Bumpers
A couple of common items that you can find any newborn’s nursery are crib bumpers and baby blankets. All first time parents buy them when setting up a nursery because of how cute they are, and if they are marketed for babies then they must be safe right? The answer to that question is actually no, they are not safe for newborn babies. Using crib bumpers and blankets with a newborn can be especially dangerous because it can lead to suffocation. As I have mentioned before, newborn babies are not yet strong enough to roll over or really help themselves if they pull the blankets over their heads or their face is up against a bumper. These things often times lead to SIDS and pediatricians do warn against using blankets and bumpers.
2Kissing Their Face
Babies are so precious, everyone wants to hold, hug, and kiss them, but the kissing part could become dangerous, which many moms have found to be true. You should especially never let someone with a cold sore kiss your baby as this could lead to the baby contracting the herpes virus, and they could start experiencing outbreaks on their precious little faces. In fact, it has been shown that cold sores can even be fatal for a newborn baby. So in order to make sure that your baby is as safe as can be, just do not let anyone besides yourself kiss them. Unless of course you are prone to cold sores, then you should not kiss your own baby either. It might be tempting to kiss those soft rosy cheeks of there's or those precious little lips, but their safety is way more important.
1Leaving Them In The Car Seat
Everyone knows that babies sleep so peacefully when they are in a moving car, and when you are a sleep deprived parent it might be tempting to leave them strapped into their car seat even after you have brought them into your home, so that you do not wake them, in hopes to get a nap in yourself. This however can be bad for baby, not only can it lead to a flat head but it can also affect their posture. You should never leave your baby sitting in their car seat after you have returned home, always take them out and put them back into their cribs. They might wake up, but that is a small price to pay when you are ensuring their safety. Car seats were after all made for the car, not the home.
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