Motherhood is the most memorable time in a woman’s life. But the challenges that come with motherhood can be quite frightening and worrisome. Taking care of a newborn baby, the right way, will affect the overall development of the baby as she grows into a healthy, happy person. Nurturing and taking good care of the infant is crucial during this especially complex phase since babies can’t really express their needs. The newborn’s physiological systems are still developing and adapting to a strange, new, external environment and your baby is still susceptible to many infections and diseases.We can help you care for your little one – by showing you how to feed, change, dress, bathe and look after your baby safely and carefully.
Helping you bond with your baby
It is a well-known fact that the health and well-being of your new born, both physical and cognitive, is closely related to your health and well-being. As a new mother, you will also experience many physiological changes during your pregnancy; emotionally, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed in the first few months after the birth. More so, if your baby was born prematurely or if you experienced any complications during the pregnancy or birth.
The phase of infancy is not only important but is also the stepping stone in the overall development of the individual.
Feeding your baby: Breast or bottle?
Deciding to breast or bottle feed your baby is usually based on your comfort level with breastfeeding as well as your lifestyle. In some cases, breastfeeding may not be recommended for a mom and her baby. Most paediatricians and other medical experts say breastfeeding is best for newborns, and that babies should be breastfed for the first six months.
Once you have introduced solids, breastfeeding could continue through the first year of life or even beyond, if you want it to. But, remember, your baby’s nutritional and emotional needs will be met regardless of whether you breastfeed or formula feed.
Making your baby feel comfortable and secure will ensure that your baby nurses happily. Use your arm and hand, plus pillows or a folded blanket, to support your baby’s head and body, keeping it in a straight line. You can swaddle her or gently hold her arms to her side – this will make nursing easier.
Bathing your baby
Bathing your newborn may be a little scary at first. Handling a wiggling, wet, and soapy little creature, without dropping her into the water takes practice and confidence. The trick lies in staying calm and cool.
Sponge baths: For the first week or two, give your infant sponge baths with a soft, damp hand towel or cotton wash cloth. Clean her face and hands frequently, and the genital area thoroughly after each diaper change.
Tub baths: Once the umbilical cord stump falls off, and the surrounding area has healed, you can start giving your newborn a tub bath every few days. A small plastic baby tub, filled with warm water, is the best way to go about it. Some parents bathe their babies every day, especially in our hot and humid climate, but until your baby is crawling around and getting messed up, a bath isn’t essential more than three times a week, during the first year
Safety in the bath tub
- Never leave your baby unsupervised, even for a minute. A minute is all it takes for accidents to happen.
- Never put your baby into a tub with the water still running.
- Make sure the water isn’t too hot. Your baby can get third-degree burns in less than a minute at anything above 60 degrees Celsius.
- Never leave your child unattended. This can never be over-emphasised. And bears repetition. A baby can drown in less than an inch of water, in less than 60 seconds.
Let sleeping babies lie!
The fact is a newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable. And differ from baby to baby! But, newborns sleep a lot – up to 16 to 17 hours a day. But, during the first few weeks of life, most babies don’t sleep for more than two to four hours at a time, day or night.
Unpredictable sleep patterns
Babies’ sleep cycles are much shorter than those of adults, and they spend more time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is necessary for the amazing development happening in their brains. This irregularity is a necessary stage for your baby and it doesn’t last long.
By the time they are six months old, nearly all babies should sleep through the night, but that really depends on the infant. Some infants, as young as three months old, can sleep for six to eight hours at a stretch. Others won’t sleep that long until they’re 12months old.
According to the experts, most babies between the ages of four and six months, are capable of sleeping through the night.Most of them, however, will continue to feed through the night.