Bringing your baby home for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. You may be excited and worried about raising a child and may find yourself stressing over the proper ways to care for your baby. This may include figuring out their feeding time, the suitable technique to burp them, and thinking about the ideal sleeping position for your baby.
Parenting is not an easy job, but it can be gratifying once you find your rhythm. Therefore make sure you use every resource at your disposal to prevent neglecting or harming your child. To help you out on your journey as a parent, here’s how you look after your baby:
1. Monitor your baby’s condition
Babies undergo many changes following birth to adjust to their new environment. This includes the softening of the redness around their face, their features becoming more apparent as opposed to a squeamish mess following birth, and increased responsiveness. These factors indicate the healthy development of your baby and can be reassuring to you as a parent. But if your child experiences a birth injury, they may start exhibiting unusual signs and symptoms.
Specific injuries like open wounds, fractures, and labored breathing are obvious and will alert the medical staff. But others like cerebral palsy take time to express themselves. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that impact your baby’s motor functions and ability to balance. You may notice it when your child starts exhibiting developmental delays, has weak muscle tone, cannot sit, stand or walk and has a poor posture.
Additionally, there is more than one type of cerebral palsy, and you need to educate yourself. By turning to resources like cerebralpalsyguide.com, you can read up on this disorder and understand the kind of medical help your child needs. Most cases of cerebral palsy get diagnosed after the baby turns two. This involves carrying out a series of tests to gauge nerve damage and the limits of their movement. If your baby looks unwell, isn’t showing any reactions, and may look weaker than average, you should see a doctor instead of dismissing the problem.
2. Set visitation limits
Your family and friends may want to drop in and see your new baby as soon as possible. But as a parent, you must set boundaries and prioritize your child. Babies don’t have a proper immune system right away. Not only is its developmental stages, but it also makes them fragile and vulnerable to all sorts of diseases and illnesses. Intense exposure is unsuitable for their well-being and can put them in a risky position.
Likewise, if someone tries kissing the baby on the face, it can expose them to cold sores, respiratory illnesses, and mononucleosis. Therefore, ensure you don’t give anyone free reign with your child and monitor the interaction. This will ensure that your loved ones follow your guidelines and, in their attempt to show affection, don’t endanger your child.
Also, if you’re too tired to entertain guests, learn to say no. New mothers need time to heal and recoup; they may also be in a vulnerable shape to meet anyone. The added stress is terrible for their health.
3. Maintain hygiene standards
Before you pick up your baby, ensure your hands are washed adequately with antibacterial soap and dried immediately. You will also need to clip your nails and ensure there is no dirt under the nail bed that can harm your child. You should also wash their clothing, wipe down their crib and ensure their room is cleaned and dust free.
While you can’t achieve a hundred percent sterile environment, try your best to maintain maximum cleanliness. Don’t let your child stay in soiled diapers for long; wipe and wash them before every change. You must bathe your baby at least three times a week since too much water and soap are bad for their skin. But make sure you daily and change your clothes frequently so that you don’t accidentally transfer your germs to your child.
4. Get the right clothes
Babies cannot regulate their temperature until they are about six months old. So if you wish to clothe them in costumes or light weighed onesies, you will have to wait. Exposing your child to extreme weather patterns causes them to shiver, while putting on too much can make them sweaty. Therefore the trick lies in layering them. Your child should wear one to two layers of clothing and have a warm blanket around them. Ensure the outfits you pick out don’t have laces or strings or are too tight for your child. In your attempt to swaddle your child, you don’t want to end up restricting their breathing.
5. Help your child fall asleep
Getting your baby to sleep at the appropriate times will take time. Your child is still acclimatizing to the new environment, so they will struggle to sleep continuously at first. There are many ways you can help regulate your baby’s sleep cycle. They need at least fourteen to seventeen hours of sleep up to three months of age. Most babies also take about two to three naps daily, making them active at night. You should always place your child on a firm mattress in their crib and use a snug sheet to cover it for added comfort.
Always place the baby on their back and never on their side since this position can obstruct their breathing. Similarly, don’t leave stuffed toys too close to them since there is a chance the toy may topple over on top of them, which again puts them in a risky situation. While attempting to put your child to sleep, you can try singing lullabies, gently rocking them, or swaying them side to side.
Sometimes, you may even feed your child until they are drowsy and then put them down so they can rest. White noise machines are also soothing for newborns, so if your baby has a habit of waking up at night, switch it on. Once your baby is tucked away for the night, you should also get some sleep. It helps to keep a baby monitor in the room, alerting you anytime your baby wakes up. Hence if the baby is distressed and needs you to tend to them, you can be by their side.
Becoming a parent for the first time is a momentous and joyful occasion. But this also entails you have your work cut out for you and need to learn how to look after your child adequately. Newborns are fragile and entirely dependent on you, so you cannot forget your duties. To start with, watch how your baby moves and responds to its environment.
Anytime you notice unusual signs and delays in development, consult a doctor and narrow down if there is a birth injury. Keep a close tab on visitors, and don’t allow guests to come and see your child without your consent. Other factors include minding your hygiene and keeping your child clean. You also need to purchase the proper loose clothing for your baby and only think about styling them once they cross the six months mark.
Lastly, your child will need some assistance in falling asleep. Since the last thing you want is them resting at odd hours or having trouble falling into a long and restful slumber.