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If you’re reading this article, you’re either a brand new mommy or are eagerly waiting to welcome your little one into the world. Whatever the situation is, congratulations are in order! You’re embarking upon a fulfilling journey that’s going to last for a lifetime – parenthood. And while the road ahead can look incredibly challenging from where you stand right now, fret not. Once you tackle the first crucial month of dealing with everything new and trying to remain sane while doing a million different new things, you’re going to ace every challenge that comes your way!
Tips to Take Care of Your Newborn
Your baby, in her first month, will have a couple of things to do – eat, sleep, poop, and repeat! You may know the routines, but the following tips should help make your tasks and life much easier.
You probably have heard plenty of advice on how to breastfeed your little one, how to establish a proper latch, and what the signs of a properly-fed baby are. Now, time to incorporate the following tips too!
- Feed your baby on demand.
During this time, don’t try to force your baby into following a feeding routine. She will actually be able to determine for herself how much she wants to feed and how frequently she wants to as well (given that she isn’t unwell or was a premature baby). You’ll end up feeding her at least 6-8 times a day, but don’t be surprised if the number goes up to 12 times too. Breast milk being easily digestible, your little one can feel hungry quite often. As time passes, you can fix a schedule for her feeds.
- Invest in a feeding pillow.
Your weary postpartum body, and mainly your back, will thank you immensely for this! A feeding pillow offers you back support, while still being able to feed your baby in a comfortable position. Placed at the right height, it can help your baby establish a proper latch, which is important to ensure sufficient milk flow. Depending on your needs, you can choose from the most basic versions to ones with fancy features.
In spite of being a messy task, diapering can be an easy ritual with these additional tips.
- Choose the right diaper for your baby.
Picking the right diaper for your baby will definitely make your life easier, because you won’t be worrying about messes and rashes too often. Choosing a product that prevents diaper rashes is the best precaution you can take, such as the Huggies Ultra Soft Diapers for newborns. An added advantage – if you’re still learning to gauge whether the diaper is full or has hardly been used, its Wetness Indicator should be of great help. Ensure that the material is perfect for your baby’s delicate skin and pick the right size depending on your baby’s weight.
- Apply diaper rash cream before you change her diaper.
As an added precaution, reduce any chances of friction between your baby’s delicate skin and the diaper, by applying a tiny coin-sized amount of diaper rash cream or coconut oil on your baby’s bottom. You don’t have to wait for a rash to strike to use this tip; applying this cream during every change creates a protective barrier that keeps moisture at bay. An additional tip you can follow – if you’re changing a baby boy’s diaper, cover his penis with a cloth or wipe, so that you don’t get sprayed unexpectedly!
- Check if the diaper fits perfectly.
Too tight and your baby is going to be too uncomfortable in her diaper; too loose, and you’ll be the one dealing with the messy discomfort! Once you’re done changing your baby, check the fit by placing two fingers under the waistband of the diaper. If you’re able to do so, then the fit is fine and your baby won’t end up with red lines around her waist and on her thighs!
Here are a few tips you can keep in mind while bathing your newborn.
- Expect some tears.
Unlike what you may have seen in every ad, not every baby takes to bath time instantly. Some may find the experience overwhelming, with the different sensations and sounds they’re not used to. So, be prepared for a lot of fussiness, plenty of tears, and in some cases, diaper blowouts won’t be uncommon either! Being prepared for such reactions will help you soothe your baby better, than having to panic while bathing her.
- Stick to sponge baths – without soap.
Newborns don’t really get too dirty (barring diaper messes and spit-ups, of course!), so bathing the baby in its first month need not be a drawn-out process. A sponge bath with lukewarm water should be enough to keep your baby squeaky-clean, and it’s also safer if she still has the umbilical cord stump. As for shampooing the baby’s hair, it would be best to save it for towards the end of the bath, and lying in the bath with wet hair could make the baby feel cold.
- Make sure you have a helper.
Be it your parent or your partner or a trusted relative, make sure that there is someone to assist you when you’re bathing your baby. Not only is it safer, but it will also come in handy to have someone around if your baby reacts negatively to bath time.
- Keep all your supplies at hand.
Right from the products you may use to towels to the baby’s diapers, make sure that everything you need is right where you need them. Apart from supplies, make sure your bathroom is safe for you and your newborn too. Install bath mats for the baby, and non-slippery bath mats for your own use to avoid any accidents.
Catching up on your precious ‘zzz’s may not really be an option that’s readily available. All the same, here’s how you can try and ensure that your baby (and in turn, you!) can get some sleep.
- Soothe your baby by recreating the environment of the womb.
The womb is a very cosy and noisy place. For your baby to come out into the world, and not hear the same sounds or feel confined and cocooned might be a little disconcerting. This could result in fussiness and lack of sleep for the first couple of days. What you can do is make the space around the baby as familiar to her as possible – hold her close to you, run comforting sounds like that of a white noise machine or the fan in the background, and bring down anything that could stimulate your baby.
- Understand that your newborn can get days and nights mixed up.
In the womb, the baby ran on her own timetable; outside though, she now has to follow things according to when daylight is visible or not! Help her differentiate between night and day by associating it with different things – light and activity for daytime, silence and darkness for nighttime.
- It’s alright if you don’t change her diaper during the night.
Depending upon how soiled it is, of course! Extremely wet diapers do call for a change, but if it doesn’t look or feel as though the diaper is soiled, you don’t have to wake your baby to change her diaper. Using a diaper with high-absorbency, such as Huggies Ultra Soft Pants, helps keep your newborn’s diaper area dry for up to 12 hours long. And if at all the Wetness Indicator signals that it’s time for a change, you can go ahead with the process. Simply ensure that you don’t take too long or don’t engage with the baby at all, so that she doesn’t wake fully.
Additional Tips for New Moms
The first month with your baby also marks the first month of the lesser-known ‘fourth trimester’, i.e., the crucial 3-month period with your newborn. Not only will you be learning the ropes of the job, you’ll also have to find a way to take care of your own needs during this time! Here are a few tips you need to follow for yourself:
- Remember, ‘mamma knows best’! – Yes, you do! You’ll hear advice and be prone to judgement no matter what you do. Listen, learn if there is anything valuable you hear, and do what you believe is most beneficial for your baby!
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – During the first month, your baby’s sleep cycle will be off the charts, and you’re going to suffer equally due to sleep deprivation. As much as possible, rest while your baby sleeps. And if sleeping sounds too good to be true, at least lie down!
- Get dad involved – Diaper changes, night-time feedings, playtime with the baby – there are plenty of times when the baby’s daddy can take charge, giving you a small window to rest and breathe. This way, he also gets to bond with his child.
- Understand that you will be tired – You may not have expected to feel this fatigued when you were pregnant, and sleep deprivation can make you resentful and grumpy. However, understand that this is just a phase in the beginning; soon, routines will be set and you can take control of the clock again!
- Prep yourself for breastfeeding sessions – No, we’re not talking about the latch or milk supply, we’re actually talking about each individual session. Each feed can last for a while and you shouldn’t get antsy in between. So go to the bathroom beforehand, equip yourself with a book (phones are a no-no!), and be prepared to stay still for a while!
- Don’t forget to eat healthily and exercise – We don’t really need to explain this much, now do we?
The first month with your newborn will hardly be a walk in the park. It will be filled with sleepless nights, exhaustion, fatigue, doubts, challenges; yes, the whole lot! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get something right; after all, you’re also new to this whole game. Stay patient, stay strong, and remember that no matter what, your baby thinks the world of you – and there’s no one who could know what’s best for him than you!