How to take care of a newborn
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I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant with my first! I didn’t know how to take care of a newborn. There as so many baby things I needed, certain ways I need to take care of a new baby, and so many other things.
I had this fear that I would never learn everything and end up doing something wrong. Totally a first mom fear and in reality newborns are bouncy. They’re made to withstand the new parent mistakes.
Today I’m going to let you know the basics of what you need to do to take care of a newborn.
Let’s start with food, because who doesn’t like to eat?!
Let’s talk about the signs of hunger. Your baby will start rooting, sucking on their first, and squirming. Crying usually is the last sign of hunger, but don’t feel bad if you don’t see the first few signs. It just takes practice.
When your baby is first born they have a super small tummy. They only need about 1-3 oz the first few weeks about every 2 hours. You’ll increase that amount once your baby starts showing signs that they’re not full after eating. Don’t ever feed them though or they will spit up and have an upset tummy.
Now let’s talk breastfeeding moms. The first few weeks will be hard here’s how to succeed at breastfeeding. Now you may wonder if your little one is full. The things you should be looking for is 6-8 wet diapers and 2-3 dirty diapers. The dirty diapers can stretch out to 3-4 days in breastfed babies once they’re older than a month. Another sign is that their soft spot isn’t sunk in, which could indicate dehydration.
Most babies will lose a certain percentage of weight after birth. Your pediatrician will let you know if it get’s to low. Your baby doesn’t need any water until they start solids. Talk to your pediatrician if you have more questions. With solids, some woman starts at 4 months, some 6 months, or up to a year. That something you, your doctor and your baby need to decide on.
Let’s talk about your baby’s umbilical cord stub, you can’t get wet. You will have to do a sponge bath until the stub falls off. if it does get a little wet don’t worry, it should be fine. Some people will tell you to clean it with a rubbing alcohol, but it’s really not necessary. If it starts smelling funny or oozing puss take your baby to the doctor.
Baths can be intimidating, but babies tend to love them! I personally bath with my newborns because I can keep a good handle on them, but baby baths are great too. Usually you only need to bath your newborns a couple times a week, otherwise, their skin gets dry. Make sure to check under their neck, behind their ears, and in any other folds. Lint and milk accumulate in those places.
Clipping nails isn’t fun when it comes to babies! I have cut my son on two occasions and he’s my second child! The easiest way to do it is when they are sleeping or some moms just bite them off. The Clippers usually come in a baby grooming kit, which I love!
The phrase “sleep while you can”, though annoying is pretty go indicated babies don’t sleep well. Most newborns are up every two hours, day and night! This ends I promise, I suggest asking for help as much as possible. Your still super mom, I mean you seriously just created another human!
There are several places your baby can sleep. I had my first sleep in her pack n play in our room until four months the switched to her crib. My second co-sleeps with me and will go to his own room when we’re ready. Some people attach a co-sleeper to the side of their bed or use a bassinet. There is no right way, just whatever way works for you guys.
That being said there are ways to safely co-sleep and keep your crib safe. When cosleeping make sure you haven’t been drinking, smoking, have the blankets around your waist and pillows far away from your baby. With your crib no bumpers, blankets or pillows in the crib. You can swaddle your baby or when they start rolling switch to a sleep sack.
Newborns have it hard. They were just thrown into this cold world, made to do all these functions that mama’s body was doing for them before. They need a lot of comfort.
Use a white noise machine. Your baby is used to mama’s heart and organs sounds. A white noise machine will work wonder on trying to get your baby to sleep.
a swing or bouncer helps with the motion your little one is used to from you moving around while pregnant.
Diaper changes and whats normal
Let’s start with that first awful poop. I say this as someone who’s had poop shot out at her (there was yelling and a very confused sleep-deprived husband involved). That first poop is black, tarry and so hard to get off their tinny grandpa (or grandma) butts. They will keep having these poops for a few more days.
After the tarry stuff, it will either turn mustardy with seeds (usually a breastfeed baby) or green. The poop isn’t like an adult its pretty watery and that’s normal. There are some variations you should worry about read about it here.
Diaper brand doesn’t matter unless your baby has a reaction. We personally use the store brand or Pampers, but some use Huggies or Luvs.
you should change your little one about every two hours. If their wet or dirty before that go ahead and change them. Diaper rashes suck but happen to every mom. Find an awesome diaper cream and make sure to give them some time to “air out”. Don’t use baby powder it has cancer causing ingredients and is bad for your baby’s lungs.
There are some many things that go into taking care of a newborn, but these are the basics. Don’t worry new mama, you’ll do great! I’ve had my own small accidents with my kids and they live. I feel terrible for it, but they love me anyway. Do you have any questions about being a new mom? Let me know in the comments!
- 9 things you need in your postpartum kit
- 12 things no one tells you about labor
- Minimalist hospital bag
- 14 things postpartum moms need to know
- things to do in the third trimester
Please note that I’m not a medical professional, just an experienced mom. If you have any concerns about your newborn call your doctor.