Newborn Baby Care Tips
You’ve survived the pregnancy, and now you’re the proud owner of a shiny newborn.
When your midwife discharges you, it may dawn on you that you’re now fully responsible for this tiny human.
Everything that your newborn baby needs is down to you.
Unfortunately, babies don’t come with a textbook. But luckily, the pregnancy and postpartum stages do equip new mummies with some magic skills that can help.
As a new mother, you are programmed to respond to your baby following birth. Your body is full of an abundance of hormones; some helpful, some not so much.
Prolactin will help to produce breastmilk, for example. Oxytocin will aid the strong, motherly instinct and go some way to compensate for the sudden drop in progesterone and estrogen.
However, as the postpartum period progresses, these will adjust, and a new mum may feel up and down as they settle. This imbalance can sometimes lead to anxiety and depression, and it’s important to seek medical help for postnatal depression if it becomes a concern.
The rest of the time, particularly for partners or carers, looking after a newborn is one big magical, overwhelming and exhausting journey of working it out on the job.
The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months if possible. The reason is that breast milk is packed with antibodies to help boost a baby’s immune system.
The truth is, breastfeeding is not always easy and doesn’t work out for every family. Ask your midwife or health visitor if you have any questions about your baby’s feeding habits. Likewise, if you need extra support, look for local clinics or breastfeeding groups that can help.
That said, whether it’s breast or bottle, ultimately, a hungry baby is not a happy one.
Try to get into a routine that you and your baby are comfortable with. Your baby might have a preference for how they like to be held, so experiment with different positions and environments. Those moments as a baby feeds are precious; enjoy the calmness and intimacy of cuddling up with your baby in the process.
Tip: Arm yourself with the right equipment – make sure you have a support pillow, muslin cloth, breastfeeding equipment or the right bottles and formula for your newborn’s needs.
Newborn babies’ nappies can resemble something of a paint colour chart. They begin one colour, and by the next day can look completely different.
Try not to leave your baby in a nappy that is wet or dirty for too long. A wet or dirty nappy on their sensitive skin can cause nappy rash or irritation that can be uncomfortable for little ones. Use barrier creams like Sudacrem or Metanium to address any sore looking skin.
Tip: Wash your hands as regularly as possible to prevent spreading bacteria.
Most people laugh when you talk about sleep to a new parent.
Newborn babies will sleep anywhere from 8-18 hours a day, and it’s just that most of it will fall in the daytime in the baby’s pushchair rather than at night.
However, it’s never too early to start to introduce a gentle routine.
Start with aiming for a consistent bathtime to relax the baby, followed by some low-stimulant stories, a feed and a cuddle.
Even if it doesn’t work out successfully at first, try to persevere. As the baby matures, they will start to understand the signals and enjoy the security of a routine.
Tip: Always check the latest advice regarding safe sleeping.
Brand new babies don’t need to be bathed straight away.
It is recommended to wait for the umbilical cord to drop off before the first bath, and even longer if a baby has particularly sensitive skin. During this time, babies can be gently ‘top and tailed’ using warm water and cotton wool or a washable cloth.
Just remember that your baby may feel the cold quickly, so make sure that the experience doesn’t take too long. Always have a warm towel and change of clothes ready to avoid causing any additional stress.
Tip: Always use separate cloths for the top and bottom of the baby to avoid any nasty infection.
Enjoy the journey
Obviously, every parent’s journey is different, so try not to compare yours with that of other new parents. If something isn’t quite working for you, but is for someone else that you know of, that’s fine – focus on finding what works for you.
If you feel like you need a little help, reach out to your health visitor, who will be able to offer you more tips and advice that may help.
But, above all, try to enjoy this part of your child’s life as much as possible, and enjoy those small moments of peace while they’re asleep.
If you need any help getting your baby to sleep, read our guide to helping baby sleep.
We’ve also created the Cosmos Bloom Changing Bag, with a built in pushchair attachment, to help keep everything you need to care for your baby while out and about organised and ready for use. Our Cosmos Bloom Changing Mat Pouch, which has built in pockets for nappies, wipes, creams, and nappy sacks, pairs perfectly with the Cosmos Bloom Changing Bag or can be used separately, making it easy to pop out quickly without lugging a heavy bag around with you.
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