Caring for Your Newborn
Newborns are fragile and have extremely sensitive skin. Although it seems similar, they actually require extra care and nourishment than months old babies do. Here are some great tips for new parents who have recently welcomed a newborn into their home for the first time!
Umbilical cord that delivers oxygen and nutrient needed for baby’s growth in the womb is clamped and cut after the birth. This will fall off in a matter of time and forms the belly button. To prevent problems during the healing process, certain ways are prioritized:-
- Clean the stump
Dab a sticky or dirty stump gently with a wet washcloth without soap or alcohol. Then pat with a dry cloth.
- Keep it dry
Regularly exposing the base of the stump to the air will help it dries out.
- Sponge baths
For the first couple of weeks, avoid wetting the cord stump. You can change to tub bath after it falls off and heals.
- Careful nappy
Try not to cover the stump with the top of the diaper. Fold down the front of the diaper to keep it away from the belly button. Change wet and dirty diapers as soon as possible so they don’t leak upward toward the navel.
- Loose dress
- Do not remove
Let the scab fall off naturally. Resist pulling it, even if it seems to be connected by only the tiniest thread. Pulling it off too soon, my cause continuous bleeding (If this happens, call your baby’s doctor immediately).
Slide one hand under the baby’s head, with your other hand under their bottom. Once you’ve got a good hold, scoop your baby up and bring them close to your chest
Rest your baby’s head on your chest, then slide your hand up from their bottom to support their neck. Gently move your baby’s head to the crook of your arm while still supporting their neck, before placing your other hand under their bottom.
Rest your baby on your chest and shoulder, supporting their head and neck with your hand. Then place your other hand under their bottom. They will be seeing over your shoulder.
- Never hold hot drinks or cook while you’re holding your baby.
- Always hold them securely when going up or down steps.
- For children or older people to hold your newborn, have them sit down. Only then you can gently place your baby in their cradled arms.
Deep Latch Breastfeeding
Some moms find it easier to breastfeed while sitting up—in bed, in a comfortable armchair or in a rocking chair.
To support the baby in this position, use pillows behind your back, under your elbow and on your lap.
If you are sitting up in bed, use a footstool to bring your knees up or use pillows under your knees – keeps you from straining your neck and shoulders
Have a breastfeeding pillow for an easy and comfortable nursing – If you don’t have one, pillows work just fine to help your baby’s position.
Tip 1: Baby’s tummy to your tummy
Have one hand or arm supporting baby’s neck and the other hand holding your breast – help with getting more of your breast/bottom of your areola into your baby’s mouth. These holds are called C-hold, U-hold or V-hold.
Wrong: Holding the baby higher than the nipple to get the their mouth level with the mother’s nipple.
Right: Mom’s nipple to be leveled with baby’s nose. This will cause your baby to instinctively
open their mouth wide, and also reduce the need to lower your breast down to your baby or pull your baby up.
Tip 3: Chin to Breast
It’s important for the baby’s chin to be up to mom’s breast as this affect how they tilt their head for better suckling.
Hold your baby close so that the baby’s chin and lower jaw are fully against your breast. If their lips are still closed, tickle their upper lip with your nipple to stimulate their mouth to open. Then gently press your baby into you and place as much of your breast as you can into their open mouth, so they are latching on to your entire nipple and approximately 1 inch or more of your areola (darker area of your breast that surrounds your nipple). For a large mouthful of breast, the baby’s lower lip needs to be as far from the base of the nipple as possible, and the chin should indent the lower portion of your breast
Tip 4: Baby to You
Instead of leaning your breast to your baby, bring the baby to you. You may move decisively if there’s a gape, but never shove your breast into their mouth.
A poor posture can affect the amount of milk your baby gets, so make sure you are comfortable and relaxed as this will better your breastfeeding.
Tip 5: Nipples to Roof
You should have your nipple at the roof of your baby’s mouth and have more of the bottom of your areola in their mouth. The nipple at the roof of their mouth will hit their soft palate, which saves you from cracked nipples that is usually caused when you have the nipple too center in their mouth where the hard palate is.
If the nipple isn’t in the right place, to avoid the pain from the baby pulling your nipple with them, break the suction of the latch first before holding them off you. To break the suction, put your finger in the crease of baby’s lips and your breast, and press on your breast.
Tip 6: Fish Lips
A sign of a good seal is when the baby’s lips are turned out – like little fishy – and flat against your breast while they are latching, with the inner pinky color of their lip able to be seen.
However, if the location seems too far from where you live, Gina’s place provides accommodation for you to stay while they teach you how to successfully breastfeed.
Treating stuffy nose
Sometimes you will notice your baby showing signs of stuffy nose (e.g. nasal secretion around their nostrils, sneezing) that are commonly caused by dry air, irritants (e.g. dust, cigarette smoke, perfumes) or viral illnesses (e.g. a cold).
A newborn with a stuffy nose will not only have respiratory issues, but their congested nose will also interfere with breastfeeding.
There are some ways to help clear their nasal passage so they can breathe properly again-
- Bulb syringe
Also called a nasal aspirator. This is the most effective way to remove blockage in your newborns’ nose. To use this:-
- Press on the bulb syringe to remove air. Do not release the bulb yet.
- Place the tip of the bulb syringe into baby’s nostril.
- Gently release the bulb pressure and allow it to suck up the mucus from your baby’s nose.
- Clean the bulb syringe with hot water and soap. (Make sure the syringe is empty of water for the next time you use it, and that you are not shooting water into your baby’s nose)
Close the bathroom door and run a hot shower for a few minutes. Once the room starts to steam up, sit with your baby in the room for about 10 minutes – Don’t go anywhere near the hot water with baby in your arms, as splashes from the water could burn them. The steam will help loosen the mucus in the nostrils.
- Saline Nasal Spray
This is the only safe nasal spray for helping to clear blockage with babies, infants, and toddlers. Don’t worry if baby sneezes some of it out, or it dribbles out. It will still do its job as some of it will have made its way into the nasal passage. If any spray comes out of the nose, wipe it away gently with a tissue.
Pinkies and Tootsies
Keep the Nails Trimmed
Since newborns don’t have perfectly developed motor control yet, they’ll often bat their arms around, scratching themselves in the process. Due to this reason, baby fingernails need trimming twice a week seeming as they grow faster and are sharper than toenails that needs it once or twice a month.
The safest method to shorten and smoothen the nails is by using a nail file or emery board. Another option is to trim nails carefully with baby scissors that have blunt rounded tips or baby nail clippers.
Lint, hair, and fuzz balls can easily collect in your baby’s fingers and toes. Newborns especially, tend to have a tight grasp, which is apart of their development. There are even cases when hair was wrapped tightly around a finger or toe. Make sure to check your baby’s hands and feet at every diaper change and to use a baby wipe to clean their hands and feet.
Put on Mittens
These are used mostly to prevent your baby from scratching their face.
However, you should also have them on your child when it’s cold,
so they are kept warm and comfortable.
Use baby lotions
It’s common for baby’s skin to peel weeks after birth. This isn’t dangerous nor painful. But to maintain the softness of their skin so it’s always smooth, you can use a gentle baby lotion.
Cover their feet
Depending on the temperature, your baby’s feet should be covered with socks to avoid frostbite and provide warmth on winter, as well as protection on other occasions. But since newborn socks are very easy to kick off, it might be easier to use baby coveralls that have the feet built in.
Keeping SIDS at bay
A research done in Kuala Lumpur of Infant care practices shows that though the predominant sleep position of infants in the urban community is supine, 89.4% of 263 infants sleep with the presence of soft toys or bedding in their bed/cot, a high-risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) due to lack of awareness among parents. Hence, below are some ways and whys you should implement to avoid it:-
- Always place your newborn baby on their back to sleep – Putting them to sleep on their tummy will greatly increase the risk.
- Ensuring the crib mattress is firm – No pillows or puffy blankets should be around since those could interfere with your baby’s breathing.
- Ensure a safe sleep environment – Including a safe crib, a tight-fitting mattress, and NOTHING loose in the bed with the baby.
- Breastfeed – Doing it for even 2 months can cut the risk in half!
Let your baby cry
For new parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do. But crying is how babies communicate though certainly dramatic. In most instances, especially during yours and their supposed sleeping time, they simply do it because they want you. But fret not, their crying fit will gradually lessen as they self-soothe themselves back to sleep each night that you are not attending to them. So, try to get used to it and I promise you there will come the time when both of you finally get your much needed good-quality sleep without your baby waking you up every hour!