How can I take care of my newborn baby at home?
This is a common question for many first-time parents.
Newborn care at home for new parents can be very challenging and overwhelming.
But don’t lose hope, because in today’s article. I will give you some useful tips that can help you feel more confident in taking care of your newborn at home.
In this article, you’ll learn the essential newborn care at home and what you should not do with a newborn.
Essential Newborn Care At Home Tips
The first week of newborn care at home for first-time parents is an unforgettable experience. Full of experiences and emotions.
Especially among the first-time parents can be overshadowed by the occasional startle or episode of anxiety, almost always due to inexperience.
To avoid as much as possible this situation of anxiety, here are the three essential newborn care at home tips.
1- Newborn umbilical cord care
The umbilical cord of a newborn baby is bluish-white, damp, and soft at birth.
In a day or two, it dries to become dark brown and hard. It detaches and falls by itself between 4 and 15 days after birth. It is important to clean the umbilicus daily.
Here’s how you can take care of your baby’s umbilical cord stump as recommended by Mayoclinic:
- Keep the stump dry. Parents were once instructed to swab the stump with rubbing alcohol after every diaper change. Researchers now say this might kill bacteria that can help the cord dry and separate. Instead, expose the stump to air to help dry out the base. Keep the front of your baby’s diaper folded down to avoid covering the stump.
- Stick with sponge baths. While there’s no harm in getting the stump wet, sponge baths might make it easier to keep the stump dry.
- Let the stump fall off on its own. Resist the temptation to pull off the stump yourself.
2- Newborn genital care
To wash your baby’s genitals properly, you need unscented wet wipes or a washcloth moistened in warm water with a mild, unscented soap.
Place the baby on a safe covering and make sure you have all the necessary items close at hand.
– For a baby girl.
Sometimes a little girl has light menstruation at birth. You may see some blood in the genitals.
It can also happen that the lips of the genitals are slightly swollen. Do not worry.
You can also observe orange crystals (foundation color). These are urea crystals. Thoroughly clean the vulva and lips. Carefully remove the vernix.
– For a baby boy.
Check both testicles. It is normal for a baby to have a small erection. The scrotum is large and red but will return to normal volume in a few weeks.
3- Newborn skincare
Babies are sometimes covered with a white cream called vernix. You can leave it on the body or massage it gently to make it penetrate the skin. No need to remove or wash it.
The baby may also have fine hair on the shoulders, back, and sometimes on the cheeks.
It’s the lanugo and it will fall soon. The baby should be a beautiful pink. Hands and feet may be slightly bluish for a few days.
Most babies peel in the first few days, especially on the feet and hands, especially those born after term.
Many babies erupt from small red pimples in the first few days. No treatment is necessary, they will disappear on their own.
If you notice a problem with the baby’s skin that persists longer, your doctor can advise you during the follow-up visit.
As you can see, your baby can have several small physical signs, often of adaptation to his new environment, without danger, and that only time can settle.
If you continue to be worried, or if some signs persist, do not hesitate to seek the advice of a professional.
Wondering what are the things that you should not do with a newborn? Keep on reading for more tips below.
What You Should NOT Do With a Newborn
Here are 16 things you should never do with a newborn.
1- Covering the baby too much
Sometimes parents tend to over warm the baby, we fill the baby with many layers of clothing and we also cover them in blankets.
The only thing we get is excessive sweating and the baby could get cold since the sweat does not evaporate with so many clothes and it will remain wet.
It is true that babies do not regulate the temperature well and do not move so they get worse in the heat.
It is enough to wear the appropriate clothing for the temperature of the year and not overdo the baby in the coat.
2- Sleep habits
Sleep habits are learned from the first stages, and specialists tell us that, although we can reassure the baby in our arms before leaving him in the crib, we should not put him to sleep this way.
Since from the beginning, he has to learn to do it himself. In any case, you must do this by singing a lullaby, saying a few loving words, and going whenever he/she cry.
3- Leave him alone in the changing table or bed
Don’t trust that he is small and cannot move, babies can turn on themselves. So it is possible that if you leave him just to attend to something else, he could move and fall.
4- Leave him alone in the car
Even if it is for a short errand, in summer the temperature of the car can reach 60 degrees, and even in winter, if he is very warm, it could give him a heat stroke.
5- Let him sleep on his stomach
The most suitable position for the baby in the crib is on his back, it is the most indicated, according to experts, to prevent sudden death.
In this article by American Academy Pediatrics, you will learn the safe sleep guidelines for infants.
As much as you feel frustrated if the baby doesn’t stop crying, you should never shake him, since the damage can be irreversible.
According to Mayoclinic, shaking can cause the baby’s fragile brain to move back and forth in the skull, causing bruises and even bleeding, leading to permanent brain damage or even death.
7- Let him cry
According to WebMD, “crying it out” as a sleep training tactic is not recommended for newborns.
We were always told that we had to let the baby cry so that he would learn the lesson. However, if we do it with newborns, it can harm their emotional development.
8- Do not carry him in your arms
A bit of common advice from grandmothers to mothers was not to raise babies in their arms so that they do not get used to it and thus have more freedom.
However, it is once again turning to the practice of raising children in their arms as it offers, especially the newborn, security, and confidence.
Between 0 and 18 months the baby needs affection and close body contact is essential to establish the bond.
READ ALSO: How To Bond With Your Baby
9- Hitting the baby
Teaching the baby is not necessary to slap him on the buttock or the hand.
Just look him in the eye and speak to him in a very firm voice. Physical punishment will only make the baby a more aggressive child with low self-esteem.
10- Do not burp the baby
It is essential that after each feeding the baby expels the gases. It is important that we invest the time necessary for the baby to burp and not accumulate air.
If we do not burp the baby, he may suffer more gas colic, and it will cause discomfort for the baby.
READ ALSO: Baby Colic Symptoms, Cause, and Remedies
Honey should not be given to a baby before the age of one. Honey can contain spores of a bacterium, clostridium botulinum. Which can cause infant botulism, a rare but deadly disease.
12- Scented skincare products
Baby’s sensitive skin should be washed with unscented, alcohol-free products.
Scented products contain chemicals, detergents, and additives that can irritate the baby’s skin. Ideally, opt for natural and organic products.
13- Syrup for coughs and colds
FDA strongly recommends that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products should not be used for infants and children under 2 years of age because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects could occur.
In addition to not being proven effective in infants, they can cause significant side effects like tachycardia, and an increase in heart rate.
Remember that to heal quickly, your child mostly needs rest and hydration.
14- Use cotton swabs
It is strongly advised not to use cotton swabs to clean the baby’s ears. Introducing the cotton swab too deep can damage the eardrum.
Also, you risk pushing the earwax towards the inside of the ear canal, and thus creating a plug. Instead, use a damp washcloth, and gently wipe the ear.
15- Pillows, blankets, bumper, and stuffed toys in the crib
To avoid any risk of asphyxiation, it is recommended not to put anything in the crib. The items listed may wrap your baby’s face while he sleeps, and he could choke.
Before a certain age, children do not have the reflex or the strength to turn around if an object prevents them from breathing.
16- Let baby sleep in the car seat
The infant is unable to support his head alone, he tends to drop it, which blocks the entry of oxygen and can cause suffocation.
Use your car seat only when traveling by car. If you ever have to make a long trip, it is suggested to take breaks every hour to get the baby out of the seat and stretch his body.
Final Thoughts About Newborn Care at Home
It is normal for new parents to worry at the slightest opportunity. Especially for newborn care at home.
Now that you know what is normal and what is not on a newborn. You may be able to calm some of your worries.
However, It is very important to always have the pediatrician’s phone nearby, so that you can resolve any questions that may arise on the go.
Contact your doctor if you need help:
In an emergency – such as high fever, persistent diarrhea, and vomiting – contact your pediatrician immediately.
Do not try to treat yourself as this can make the situation worse. You shouldn’t take any chances with a newborn emergency.
Lastly, the information about newborn care at home is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.
Always seek the advice of your baby’s physician with any questions you may have regarding the newborn care at home.
Newborn Care at Home References
Newborn Care at Home Related Articles
- How to Bond With Your Baby
- The Essential Guide to Newborn Hygiene
- Surviving the First Weeks With a Newborn
- Newborn Bathing Tips and 20 Mistakes That You Should Avoid
- Hygiene In The Newborn
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