Adjusting to life with a newborn is a huge change and a challenge. For first-time parents, it can seem scary to take care of a new baby and always put their need’s first. And when you factor in the long sleepless nights, endless diaper changes and feeding sessions – the first few months can really take their toll.
[Image: mother and father looking over a baby]
But don’t worry, it’ll be totally worth it! The love your baby will fill you with, their smiles and hearty baby chuckles, not to mention all the snuggles, is a prize worth all the sacrifices you make as a parent.
“Children must never work for our love; they must rest in it.” Gordon Neufeld
While there’s no doubt that the newborn months are a roller coaster of emotions, there are things you can do to make taking care of a newborn easier in those first few months. Here are our go-to tips to make life easier with a newborn.
How to take care of a newborn
The first and most important thing to remember is that your newborn is a brand-new human being – with his/her own dislikes, likes, character and personality. And it will take some time getting to know and get used to them. But even so, newborns have similar needs for feeding, sleeping, soothing and care. Baby care comes down to covering the basics.
The primary concern of new parents is how to feed their child. You can choose to nurse on demand or bottle-feed. There are ways to successfully breastfeed from the start but don’t stress yourself out if you are having issues. You can always get help and take advice from a lactation consultant at the hospital. They can guide you on how to hold the baby while feeding, how to sit, etc. The feeding session can take up to 40-50 minutes, so always sit at a comfortable place where you can hang on for a long time and keep a water bottle within reach.
Most newborns nurse 4 to 6 times a day but some go over 10. This can obviously be changed depending on your young one’s needs. Usually, you should feed the baby after every 4 hours in the early stages to keep them full, happy, and calm. Remember that breastfed babies nurse not only because they are hungry but to quench their thirst, to be comforted, and soothed.
“A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it.” (Frank A. Clark)
Newborns have different sleeping patterns that may vary. Often, in the first days after bringing the baby home, your newborn can sleep through the night. This is perfectly normal but go ahead and wake them up for a feeding after 4-5 hours. If you observe that your newborn sleeps in the day and stays awake at night, try engaging them more during the day, so they are tired and sleepy come nighttime.
You can also create a suitable atmosphere for sleep and rest by providing dim lights, white noise, etc. while in the day time you can keep your room bright with the lights on and make some noise so the baby realizes that this is not the time to rest.
Try to have your partner take over some of the nighttime tasks like burping the baby and changing them after you do the feeding.
[Image: baby sleeping]
The most common problem for new parents is they don’t understand how many times they should change the diapers or how to bath their baby. A healthy baby poops and pees a lot and it’s very important to keep the skin dry and clean. Always try to change a diaper after a number 2 right away and, if need be, wash them gently in the sink rather than wipe with a wet wipe if the mess is too big.
If you are taking care of a newborn by yourself, the frequent trips to the bathroom can be tiring. But you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Make a habit of changing the diaper as soon as it gets dirty. Delaying the task will only make the baby frustrated and can cause skin irritation.
[Image: baby being bathed in a tub]
Bathing is an important part of newborn baby care after birth and can be challenging. Newborns are so small and precious you might feel like you’ll drop them. Don’t try to put the baby in the shower or an adult’s bathtub. Always give the baby a sponge bath early and in a suitable baby tub. Use a moist piece of cloth or sponge to clean your baby.
Life with a newborn is all about learning and adjusting to a new routine. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And use our list of essential baby items to make your down time a bit more enjoyable. Most are fairly affordable and when you think about what you get in return, they are totally worth it.