After waiting nine months to hold your child in your arms, you want to do everything right to ensure your baby remains safe and healthy. You may try to do things by the book and quickly get tired within the first few weeks, especially if it’s your first child.
But you are not alone in this. Almost all parents go through this journey and learn new aspects of parenthood when their baby enters the world.
Here are some tips for caring for your infant that will make life easier. These are perfect for nervous first-time parents and can give you a kickstart.
Family and friends will want to come and meet the baby and you soon after its birth. However, asking them to avoid coming together is always a great idea. If your friends and family visit in turns, they can help ease your transition into parenthood by being there for you and helping you take care of the baby.
Schedule frequent doctor’s appointments
Never miss out on your child’s medical appointments. If, for some reason, you cannot go to the scheduled doctor’s appointment, call and reschedule, but ensure you do not miss it at all. Ask your doctor about the developmental progress of your infant. Do not shy away from asking whether there has been a delay in reaching any developmental milestone or any other query you might have.
If you give birth to a premature child, you must be extra careful when visiting the doctor for the first 2 to 3 years. That’s because premature babies have a higher chance of having an infant cerebral palsy diagnosis, and the sooner their treatment begins, the better it is for your child.
Handle your baby with care
Newborns are fragile, and their immune system is not as developed as adults. Hence, they need extra care and love.
It is always a good idea to wash your hands or sanitize them before touching your baby. When you carry your baby, ensure you support their head and neck. That’s because an infant’s bones and joints are not as strong as an adult’s. Moreover, do not jiggle your baby or throw them in the air, as it can result in shaken baby syndrome.
Take shifts and divide responsibilities
Although it is said that babies sleep for 16 hours, they wake up several times during the day. Parents don’t usually mind their child waking up every 3 to 4 hours until it is in the middle of the night, and one has to get out of bed to stay up and rock the crying baby.
So, instead of only one parent always having to sacrifice their sleep and get up, take shifts. Choose one day for yourself, the other for your partner, and so on. Or you can also take turns during the night; for example, if the first time the baby cries, you wake up, then the second time the baby cries, your partner will have to wake up. This way, the responsibility of rocking and feeding while sacrificing your sleep will be divided, and you will feel less tired the following day.
Another excellent option for parents is to sleep whenever their child is asleep. Many parents have tried this technique and loved it. Even if you can’t get all your sleep at once, something is better than nothing.
Give the baby milk regularly
Babies get hungry within 3 to 6 hours. Their stomachs are small, and the milk gets digested quickly, so they get hungry fast. Therefore, you must always be prepared.
Firstly, try nursing within the first hour of delivery, as this is the time when your baby is the most alert. It’s also a great way for mothers to strengthen the bond between them and their children.
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to ask for help if your baby isn’t breastfeeding. Most hospitals have lactation consultants, and you can ask for one to help you out. A lactation consultant will help you identify the ideal way to hold your baby while breastfeeding. They will also help you get a proper latch. If the hospital you have opted for doesn’t have a lactation consultant, feel free to look for hospitals that offer this facility. Just ask the women in your family who have had experience with breastfeeding.
Furthermore, while breastfeeding, ensure you take an additional 300–400 calories daily and drink lots of fluids. That’s because newborns breastfeed around 8 to 12 times a day, and your body can produce sufficient milk only when you are in good health and can breastfeed that often.
Do what is best for you. If you think breastfeeding is taking a toll on your health, you can stop. It doesn’t make you a bad mother in any way. There are several options available when it comes to formula milk. Visit a pediatrician to guide you and help you identify the best choice for your infant based on health, cost, and convenience.
Finally, remember to burp your baby. That’s because they can often swallow air while feeding.
Dress them up according to the weather
Dressing up your infant in cute outfits is a good idea. But babies can’t regulate their body temperature for the first six months. That means even if that dress looks adorable, you’ll have to opt for layers and let go of the dress if need be. You will always have to dress your newborn according to the weather.
Travel with care
Avoid taking your infant out as much as possible during the initial days, as their immune system is not strong enough. But, whenever you decide to go out with an infant, make sure you have made all the necessary arrangements. Buy a car seat and ensure it is adequately secured for safety purposes.
Also, pack and carry a diaper bag with you everywhere you go. It should include more than one extra diaper, baby wipes, a rash cream, and an extra set of clothes. Additionally, try going to places that are child friendly in the initial days so that you can get accustomed to traveling with an infant.
Taking care of an infant might seem scary initially, and you might even feel nervous about it. But you will figure it out and have a routine in no time. After all, growing up with your baby will be the best experience of your life. And during your entire journey of parenthood, if you ever come across a hurdle and have questions, visit a doctor or ask someone with experience. They will always be ready to guide you and recommend suitable sources.