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These newborn baby care tips will give your parenting expertise a headstart!
Becoming a new parent means stepping into a new universe.
A wonderful new universe.
You’ll feel overwhelmed with everything. Happy, sad, worried, loving, anxious, amazed.
And so tired.
So freaking tired.
There’s so much we, as new parents, don’t know. Even things we don’t know we don’t know.
Here are a few of those things, to give you a headstart and make sure you and your baby thrive in that first month together.
Bookmark or write these tips, they will make your life as a new parent easier.
You’ll spend less time worrying, and more time enjoying your new baby!
12 Newborn Baby Care Tips Essential to New Parents
#1 Take Advantage of The Golden Hour
The Golden hour is the first hour after your baby is born.
It’s a very important hour.
Whether you had a C section or vaginal birth, you don’t want to miss on breastfeeding and getting some skin to skin contact with your baby during the golden hour.
If you question everything like me, you may be wondering why, though?
- Your baby’s digestive system will get stimulated right away! (Get ready for early, healthy, baby poop!)
- It could avoid potential sucking issues.
- The breastmilk magic will start to benefit your baby!
- Your own breastmilk flow will be stimulated!
#2 Ask All the Questions to the Hospital Staff
Never mind sounding annoying.
In fact, be annoying, be as annoying as you can. Ask all the questions.
Yes, all of them.
Even questions you already know the answer to. Even questions your husband knows the answer to.
No one can have more experience in giving the best newborn baby care tips than the hospital staff.
They are usually very understanding of new mommies and their tendency to be overwhelmed.
So, even if you’re super chill, let the overwhelm get to you just a little bit. Enough to drive you to ask questions.
Here are some ideas.
- What diaper cream do you recommend on sensitive skin?
- Could you please teach me your top three breastfeeding positions?
- How do I manually extract breastmilk?
- Is the color of my baby’s poop normal?
And everything you can think of.
#3 Have a Diaper Changing Basket at Home
Do you know how most new moms feel after they’re home with their babies?
Tired. We feel tired.
Not cute tired, though. I-put-the-baby’s-onesie-on-the-dog tired.
So let’s make our lives easier!
Have a portable diaper changing kit, one that you can take to both your baby’s and your room.
What should be in your Diaper Basket? (Yes, I’m calling it a Diaper Basket now!)
- Diapers (hah! Bet you didn’t see this one coming.. wink, wink!)
- Diaper cream. We used Weleda calendula as recommended per our NICU doctor and rarely had a diaper rash!
- Baby Wipes
- A portable changing pad
- One baby washcloth
- One diaper caddy to organize it all!
#4 Never Unpack Your Diaper Bag
I will repeat this one really slowly.
Never. Unpack. Your. Diaper. Bag.
You’ll be ready to leave the house in a minute if you need to rush to the doctor’s appointment because you fell asleep! (Totally imaginary example not based on my real life… ahem…)
Leave it packed and ready close to the entrance of your house.
And if you ever take one item off the bag, be sure to replace it as soon as possible.
What was in my super ready diaper bag?
- Two changes of clothes for baby.
Trust me, I saw a poop explosion before we were discharged from the NICU, and that got me ready for all of our poop explosions.
We always have extra clothing to this day.
- One extra shirt, unisex. In case mommy or daddy get some mess on our shirts when changing the baby.
- Diapers. Pretty standard.
- Diaper cream.
- Portable changing pad.
- Baby Wipes
- Hand sanitizer.
#5 Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Doesn’t everybody say this?
This is one of the newborn baby care tips that just about everyone will vouch for.
There’s truth in the collective wisdom.
You’ll be tired. I mean, you’ll be super happy, too.
But so sleepy!
The thing is that newborns sleep a lot! They just don’t do it in one big stretch.
They do it in several tiny stretches.
When we, loving parents as we are, try to sleep at night, we will be woken up every few hours by our wailing babies.
And if we only sleep at night, and try to stay awake during the day, we’ll be understandably very sleepy.
So, let’s do some math.
Newborns typically sleep 16 hours.
A typical adult needs just 8 hours to feel rested and energized.
So we only need to be sleeping 8 of those 16 hours.
Now that doesn’t seem so hard. If you get 4 hours of sleep at night, then try to get 4 more during the day.
You’ll find out that you don’t really need to sleep every time your baby does (who sleeps 16 hours a day!) You’ll just need to catch up on your night sleep.
Swaddle your baby all you can.
You can even get those swaddle blankets that fasten with velcro.
A swaddled baby will:
- Sleep better and in longer stretches (yaay!)
- Have less anxiety.
- Stop scratching his face.
- Feel relief from reflux and colic.
#7 Lights On During Naps, Lights Off at Bedtime
This is one of my favorite newborn baby care tips.
When your newborn is napping, go on about your business.
Turn on the lights, make noise, turn on the TV.
However, when it’s time for bed, favor a dimmed light and a quiet environment.
Newborns are just getting used to routines.
By clearly establishing the difference between a nap and bedtime you will:
- Help them understand the difference between night and day, and getting them to sleep the night sooner.
- Get them used to nap anywhere, and not just in a pristinely dark room.
#8 Establish Routines as Early as Possible
But don’t lose flexibility because of this.
Routines will be the foundation of your baby’s learning processes.
By having routines, your baby will know what to expect. And when.
Experts agree and disagree on this a lot. So I’ll talk about my own experience, and you can then choose what’s more suitable for your baby.
My son, Oliver, was born at 31 weeks. He was born at just 2lb 9oz and was immediately admitted to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).
When he was ready to breastfeed and bottle feed, the nurses adapted him to the (strict) NICU schedule.
It was pretty simple.
Every three hours he was fed, burped, and 10 minutes after his feeds we changed his diaper.
In between, he had some stimulation massages, therapies, and most importantly, he slept.
The more babies sleep, the more they grow.
So, you want to make sure sleep is a big deal in your baby’s schedule.
When we got home, things got less strict. Our baby had a growth spurt.
So even though we tried to stick to the hospital’s schedule, we didn’t deny him the extra feed if he needed it.
The thing is that, since we established his schedule as early as we could, it was much easier to keep adjusting it as we went along.
But we were always flexible to adapt it to our son’s growing needs.
#9 Make Sure your Newborn is Sleeping Safely
Ah, these newborn baby care tips are all about your baby’s health.
But this one is probably the most important tip of all. And it starts with just one phrase.
Back to sleep.
Does that ring a bell?
Yes, newborns should sleep on their back on a flat surface.
In fact, the back to sleep campaign (now safe to sleep campaign), significantly reduced the SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in the US in a 12-year span.
Ok, you got it. You’ll put your newborn to sleep on her back.
What else can you do?
As a matter of fact, there are quite simple things you can do to make sure your baby is put safely to sleep:
- Put your baby to sleep on his back on a flat surface.
- If you can, put your newborn to sleep in your room in a bassinet or crib.
- Keep the bassinet or crib free of anything. Remove blankets, pillows, toys, bumpers and every object from your baby’s crib.
- Give your baby a pacifier.
#10 Don’t Rush Bath Time
Let’s face it. It’s not like babies get so dirty we need to bathe them all the time.
Again, I’ll talk from my experience.
We couldn’t give our son a proper bath until he was around four months old.
Since he was a preemie, the doctors recommended not to give him a bath until he had reached newborn weight.
That took a while.
And it was a great thing.
We cleaned him with wet wipes and sponges once a day. And it turns out it was super beneficial for his skin.
Even when we could bathe him, we stuck to once per week until he vas over six months old and his skin was less delicate.
You can rely on sponge baths until a few days after the umbilical cord has fallen off by itself.
I couldn’t find any studies that prove this, but in our case, waiting for the first bath helped reduce the risk of eczema and dry skin.
Doctors do recommend delaying the first bath because:
- You’ll avoid the risk of hypothermia if you wait until your baby has adjusted to the temperature outside the womb.
- If your baby gets a bath too soon after birth it can cause low blood sugar.
- It lowers the risks of early infections.
#11 Get a Haakaa
This is something I wished I’d known three years ago.
At first, my milk supply was on the low side, but I managed to increase it and had new, different problems concerning breastfeeding.
Whenever I pumped or breastfed in one breast, my other breast leaked like crazy.
I don’t mind so much the leaking. But all that milk wasting was so stressful.
I tried just having a bottle in my other breast, and it kind of worked.
But I wished I’d known about the Haakaa.
So what’s a Haakaa?
It’s a milk catcher.
It attaches to your free breast and catches all the goodness while your other breast is busy pumping or breastfeeding.
#12 Track Your Breastfeeding and Pumping Sessions
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to remember how all your feedings go on a daily basis.
And you’ll be too tired to rely just on memory, this is what trackers are for!
Make sure you keep a record of:
- The time and duration of your breastfeeding session.
- The breast that did the work.
- If you’re pumping, the amount of milk you pumped.
- If your baby’s next diaper is wet or not.
Tracking is very important because:
- Let’s face it. You’ll feel so tired you won’t remember all this.
- It’ll help you to detect early issues with breastfeeding.
- It’ll help you detect growth spurs.
- You’ll know if your baby is getting enough milk by taking a look at his daily diaper output.
Don’t miss out on these awesome trackers I made just for you.
Yes, I compiled every breastfeeding mom’s need into these free awesome resources.
Sign up, get it, print it, use it, own it!
Wrapping up these 12 Newborn Baby Care Tips
There’s so much more to early parenting than these tips.
Hopefully, by now you’ll feel more confident about your early parenting challenges.
Things will fall into a new routine soon enough, and you’ll have a full night sleep again.
For now, enjoy your baby as much as you can.
One day you’ll be taking a look at your baby’s pictures and wondering where did the time go.
Do you want to know even more about your baby’s development?
Don’t miss it this awesome article about your baby’s first year.
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