Why parenting? It’s because parenting is one of the most difficult yet, very rewarding experiences a parent could have. From expecting, delivery, to raising the baby, a parent always plays a vital role in his child’s life.
Parenting is hard. There’s no easy way nor shortcuts. Plenty of rough roads and resolutions to take. There’s even no perfect way to a parent. Yet, there’s always seem to be “perfect” parents with something to say. This, oftentimes, leads to conflicts and confusions as their expertise and experience contradict to one another. Nevertheless, there always these tips to parenting to guide and help parents especially the first time ones.
After so much anticipation, and overwhelming months of waiting, expecting parents finally found their way to parenthood.
This is it! Done with pregnancy, labor and delivery, you’re now ready to go home and begin a new life with your newborn . Yet, once home, you’re not even sure of how your going take care of your little one.
To effectively handle and take care your baby , you might want to consider the following tips:
Get the help that you need.
Being a first-time parent, it’s not surprising having little ideas about the baby “how-to-do things” . It’s therefore necessary for you to consider getting help from the experts. while at the hospital.
Hospitals usually have their specialists and experts dealing with babies. They can help you on the feeding basics may it be nursing or bottle feeding. Nurses can also show you how to hold, carry, burp, change, bathe and take care of your baby.
At home, you may want to hire a nurse or nanny , experienced and responsible enough to help you take care of the baby while giving yourself an opportunity to regain your strength. Your relatives or family can be of help too as they have had more experiences with their babies before you.
Handling the baby with care.
Know that your baby is fragile and delicate and therefore extra precautions need to be taken and observed when handling your baby. Here are some points to remember that will surely help:
*Keep your hands clean and washed before handling the baby. Newly born babies do not have strong immune system yet, and therefore holding them with unclean hands would put them at risk for infection or irritation.
* Support your baby’s head and neck. Don’t forget to hold and support your baby’s head and neck when carrying your baby, holding him upright and when laying him down as its body is still soft and delicate.
* Never shake your newborn when playing with him or waking him up as it can cause bleeding in the brain or even death. Simple tickling or blowing in his ears will do, instead.
* Always ensure the safety of your baby. When in the car, strolling or walking, make sure that the baby is securely fastened in his car seat, stroller and carrier . This is to keep him from shakes and impacts due to rough and bouncy road.
* Bear in mind that your baby is not ready for a rough or hard play. Do not joggle or throw your baby in the air as it may cause accidents and even deaths.
Bonding with your baby
This is the best part of being a parent, to bond and build attachment with the newborn. Be reminded that to bond with your baby is to fall in love with your newborn first.
When cradling or nursing your baby, begin bonding by simply smiling to the baby while gently stroking him in different ways or patterns . A simple touch on his ears or cheeks will make him feel loved and cared for. Thus, building trust and creating deep connections. A gentle massage on his feet or simply stroking your baby’s fingers can enhance bonding too. It even promotes growth and development. This, also gives an opportunity to a baby-parent physical closeness and attachment.
Babies love sounds. While cradling your baby, try talking to your baby or make babbling sounds or even recite poetry or nursery rhymes. These enhance bonding while stimulate the baby’s hearing. When putting him to sleep, try singing your baby a song to give him a calming, soothing feeling of security, warmth and affection.
How to Change Baby’s Diaper
Whether you are going to use cloth or disposable diapers, your baby will surely dirty diapers six times or more in a day. Thus, when changing your baby’s diaper, make sure that you have everything you need ready and within reach as to not leave the baby unattended.
These are what you need to prepare:
- safety pins or fasteners (if using cloth prefold diapers)
- diaper rash ointment/ cream
- baby wipes (or basin with lukewarm water, cotton balls or clean washcloth)
When changing diaper after each vowel movement, lay your baby on his/her back and remove the dirty diaper. Use diaper wipes or the water, washcloth or cotton balls to clean the baby genitals area. Take note that when changing a boy’s diaper, be careful as he may suddenly urinate upon exposure to the air of his genitals. On the other hand, when changing a girl’s diaper, wipe the genitals area clean starting from the front to back to avoid urinary tract infection (UTI) . Finally, you may apply diaper rash ointment or cream on the baby genitals to treat or prevent the occurrence of diaper rash.
You may also try the following tips:
- Change your baby’s diaper often and soon after each vowel movement.
- Wipe or wash his/ her bottom/ genitals thoroughly clean.
- Apply diaper rash ointment or cream to treat or prevent diaper rashes.
- Use fragrance-free detergents if using cloth diapers.
- Spare some time in a day to keep the baby undiapered for the skin to air out.
And lastly, remember to wash your hands clean after each diaper changing.
When the umbilical chord falls off and the navel heals completely (1-4 week) , a sponge bath should be given to your baby. The same with the circumcision which takes 1-2 weeks to heal. A bath, two to three times a week in the first year will be fine. Take note that frequent bathing may leave to skin dryness.
Before bathing the baby, make sure to prepare the following:
- Soft, clean washcloth, cotton balls
- Unscented, mild baby soap and shampoo
- Soft brush to stimulate baby’s scalp
- Towels or blankets
- Clean clothes
Bathing Basics Tips
- Choose a safe, flat area such as changing table, floor or counter in a warm room.
- Fill in the sink (if nearby) or bowl or basin with lukewarm water.
- Undress the baby and wrap with a towel.
- Dampen the washcloth or cotton ball and wipe the eye starting from the inner corner going to the outer corner.
- Do the same with the other eye using the clean corner of the washcloth or cotton ball.
- Then, clean your baby’s nose and ears using the washcloth.
- Wet the washcloth again and using little soap, wash and clean the baby’s face gently and path it dry.
- Using a little shampoo, create a lather and gently wash the baby’s head and rinse.
- Using the washcloth and little soap, gently wash the rest of the baby. Significantly, pay attention behind the ears, around the neck, creases in the arms and the genitals.
- Once washed and cleaned those areas, make sure to have them dry, thoroughly. Then, you can diaper and dress your baby.
Circumcision and Umbilical Cord
Safety Tips to Remember
After circumcision, the tip of the penis is covered with gauze. It’s also coated with petroleum jelly to prevent it from sticking to the diaper.
When changing diaper, gently wipe the tip of the penis to clean it. Apply petroleum jelly to keep it from sticking to the diaper. Do it in every diaper change. Once redness and swelling increase and pus-filled blisters are form, call the doctor immediately. This can be a result of infection.
It’s important that umbilical cord is well taken cared of. Clean and swab the area with rubbing alcohol until it dries and falls off. Remember to keep the navel from being submerged in water. This is until the umbilical cord falls off and the area is healed.
The umbilical cord normally changes its color to yellow, brown or black. Once it turns red accompanied with foul odor, call your doctor in no time.
Feeding and Burping
When to Feed Your Baby
It is always recommended to feed the baby whenever he’s hungry. You’ill know that your baby is hungry when he is crying, putting his fingers inside his mouth or making sucking noises. Newly born babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, let the baby feed 10-15 minutes at each breast. Sometimes, babies need to be awakened every few hours. This is to make sure they get enough food they need. When breastfeeding, you will know if the baby gets enough to eat when he changes diaper often, sleeps well or gain weight. Another hint to know is when the breast feels full before feeding and becomes less full after feeding.
Babies swallow air during feedings making them fussy. To prevent this, burp your baby often.
- Hold your baby upright with his head on your shoulder.
- Support the baby’s head and back while gently patting his back with your other hand.
- Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby’s chest and head with one hand by cradling his chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest.
- Be careful to grip his chin and not his throat.
- Use the other hand to pat his back gently.
- If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, try changing his position and try burping him again for another few minutes before feeding him again.
- Always burp your baby when feeding time is over. Keep him in an upright position to prevent him from spitting up.
Babies usually sleep 2-4 hours as they need to be nourished every few hours. That’s why they are to be awakened if haven’t fed for four hours or more. Babies sleep in the night for 6-8 hours at 3 months of age. Sometimes, they don’t as they also must develop their sleeping patterns and cycles just like adults. Besides, as long as the baby is healthy and gaining weight, then it would not be an issue of great concern.
Sleeping Practices to Observe for Baby’s Safety
It is important to remember to make your baby sleep on his back in order to avoid sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Also, be sure to change or alternate your baby’s head position during sleeps to avoid development of flat spot on one side of the head. Other safety sleeping practice to consider is avoiding the use of baby blankets, quilts, sheepskins, stuff toys and many pillows inside the crib as these may suffocate the baby during sleep. Another is to share your room with the baby for a period of at least 6 months to 1 year to ensure safety and security. This will likewise, help develop trust, promotes closeness and attachment.
Baby’s Sleeping Hours and Routine
Newborns change their sleeping patterns , many times. At times, they tend to be more awake at night and sleep more during the day. This happens to be very difficult for a parent especially for a left-alone mom or dad. To help your newly born baby with his sleeping routine, try to minimize stimulation during the night. You may set the light dim and reduce your baby activity with your newborn. During the day, you can keep him awake a little longer by playing and talking.
Whether or not you’re still lacking confidence on how to handle your baby or feeling anxious about how to take care of him more effectively, one thing is sure: that someday, you will be able to manage your baby and do parenting like a pro! And more significantly, it will always be a remarkable and rewarding experience being a parent, lifetime!