You have carried your baby inside you for nine months, but most new parents are full of nerves about handling their tiny newborn. Becoming a good parent means much more than knowing a lot about babies. All new parents work at knowing, understanding and loving their babies. Your baby will work just as hard at learning to know, understand, and loving you. This is the process of attachment- the work that parents and babies do together to form a deep and lasting love. It is what becoming a family is about.
Handling a newborn baby requires a lot of care & expertise. The first time you hold your baby, you will probably feel joy and fear at the same time. Nurses are a great resource to show you how to hold, burp, change and care for your baby in addition to relatives and friends who often teach you to how to handle your newborn baby.
- Holding – Newborns are much tougher than they look. They will let you know if they feel uncomfortable or insecure. So the more you hold them, the more they will get used to you. The correct way of holding a baby is, one hand supporting the bottom and the other under the shoulders and beneath the head. You should hold carefully, and in this way till they are six months old. Young babies are more prone to infections so make sure you wash your hands with a good hand wash or sanitizer.
- Crying– Crying is the babies way of communication of all or any needs. Babies cry for a few predictable reasons. Normally because they need food, a clean nappy or simply to be comfortable. A crying baby can be one of the hardest things to deal with. Some newborns can be unusually sensitive to touch, light, or sound and may start crying easily, sleep less than expected or turn their faces away when someone speaks or sings to them. If that’s the case with your baby, keep noise and light levels low to moderate. Trying to soothe a crying baby can be stressful but thinking about why your baby might be crying and also asking for help when required are good coping strategies.
- Feeding– Your new born should be nursing 8 to 12 times per day in the first month. This is because breast milk moves through your baby’s digestive systems faster and therefore makes your baby hungry more often. Newborns should not go more than about four hours without feeding, even overnight. Always burp your baby after feeding.
- Bathing – Bathing a newborn can be a little difficult. There’s no need to give your newborn a bath everyday and it need not be done in a tub of water. Also bathing your baby too often can dry out her skin. For the first week or so it’s best to give your baby sponge bath with a warm, damp cloth. Only after the umbilical cord dries up and the area heals, you can start giving your newborn tub baths. You should use a small plastic baby tub for this purpose.
- Nappies – You should change your baby’s nappies regularly. Disposable nappies absorb moisture very well, so it is difficult to know their wetness until they are completely soaked. Change after every two to three hours. Apply rash cream to protect your baby from any rashes.
- Getting dressed– Take it slowly and remember being dressed is a new experience for your baby too, so the baby may cry as it gets used to you taking clothes on and off . You will find it easier if you place your baby on a flat surface as you change your baby’s clothes. When you are trying to put her arms into the sleeves, use your hand to gather the sleeve up before you gently guide her fist through. When popping a vest over her head roll the vest up first and widen out the neck with your thumbs to make it easier. Your baby does not need to wear shoes now. In fact, your baby will not need shoes until he has started to walk. Just use little booties and socks for now.
- Sleeping– Newborns sleep as many as sixteen hours a day but only in short naps. When putting your baby down to sleep, move slowly and gently to avoid waking your baby. Put your baby’s head down first and then gradually lay the rest of his body down. Remove one hand slowly and then the other. If your baby wakes up, try putting him back to sleep. Remain with your baby for a few more minutes, slowly stroking him and speaking to him in a soft, soothing voice. Wait until he is settled before leaving.
Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you will develop a routine in handling your baby.