A newborn baby is the most precious thing you will ever hold. If you’re about to become a brand new parent, you may be anxious about holding him “right,” feeding him enough and bathing him correctly.
If you have family members, a baby nurse, or a babysitter who is willing to help you in the first few weeks as you adjust to your new routine, you should feel free to say “Yes!” You need all the helping, loving hands you can get. Here are a few tips to prepare you for basic newborn care.
Babies only need to be bathed about two or three times a week until they are a year old.
Until your baby’s umbilical cord drops off, you should only give her baby sponge baths. You can clean her on a changing table or other soft surface with a bowl of warm (not hot) water nearby. Use a washcloth dipped in the warm water to clean her eyes, nose, and ears. You can use a little baby soap to clean her face and body, but be sure to rinse with warm water.
To clean around the umbilical cord stub that extends from the navel, soak some cotton balls in warm water, squeeze out the excess and gently swab the stump and the area around the cord. Discard the cotton balls.
If she needs her hair washed, use just a small amount of diluted baby shampoo and rinse it off with a damp sponge or washcloth.
Wrap baby in a towel and pat dry, then dress her immediately to keep her warm and clean.
The umbilical cord should fall off in about one to four weeks. At that point, you can bathe baby in an infant tub with just two or three inches of warm water. She can lie face up as you gently massage soap and water onto her body, being careful not to get any soap in her eyes. Drizzle a little warm water on her tummy from time to time to prevent her from becoming cold. Pat her dry with a soft clean towel and dress her to prevent chills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding the baby for her first 6 months at least to build up her immune system. Breast milk has all of the nutrients a growing baby needs, plus it contains antibodies that protect against disease. Breastfeeding also offers skin-to-skin contact that helps mothers and infants bond.
If you weren’t able to take a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy, be sure to have a nurse show you the correct way to latch the baby and encourage him to nurse before you leave the hospital. Breastfed babies should be fed every time they cry for food.
If you can’t breastfeed, or choose not to do so, a commercial baby formula provides newborns with all of their nutritional requirements. Formula feeding makes it possible for other family members and caretakers to help with baby’s meals.
Bottles of baby formula or breast milk should only be warmed up by holding them under running hot water or by setting them in a pan of warm water (not on the stove).
Never microwave the milk or formula; microwave ovens tend to heat unevenly. Even if the formula seems like a comfortable temperature, it could have hidden hot spots that could burn your baby’s mouth.
Newborn babies should be fed every one to three hours. You should keep track of each of your feedings, but if your baby is hungry, she’ll usually let you know! Here are some signs that your baby’s ready to eat:
He licks his lips
He sucks his fingers, tongue, feet, or clothes
He opens and closes his mouth
He turns his head from side to side
Try to feed your baby as soon as she shows signs of hunger. Waiting until she cries makes feeding more difficult.
Your baby is doing a lot of energy-intensive growing and learning, and will probably sleep between 14 and 19 hours a day. Breastfed babies wake up for food more frequently than bottle-fed babies; about every 2 hours and every 3 to 4 hours, respectively.
Babies should be placed face up on a firm mattress to minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Do not put blankets, bumper pads, toys, or other objects in the crib or on the bed with your baby.
Always dress baby for room temperature. If the nape of her neck is damp, she is overheated and overdressed. She can have a pacifier in the crib to help her sleep.
Baby should be swaddled at night and day until she’s about 1-month-old. You can continue swaddling at night until she is almost 2-months-old, but be sure to stop before that age or as soon as your baby is able to turn herself.
You need to train your baby to recognize the difference between day and night by keeping lights low and minimizing play or stimulating interactions at night. But don’t try to keep her up during the day — if she doesn’t get the naps she needs, she may have disrupted sleep and have even more difficulty falling into slumber at night.
If your newborn wakes up at night, rocking or singing him to sleep won’t spoil her; in fact, it will probably help him sleep sooner and better.
4. Take Care of Her Future
To help ensure your baby’s health and safety throughout his life, consider cord tissue banking/storage. If you make arrangements before birth, you can bank her umbilical cord as soon as she’s born. The health-giving stem cells are extracted and stored until she or another family member is ready to use them.
Make an informed choice. Select a cord banking service that is licensed to offer complete coverage for all stem cell therapies derived from your stored cord.
Umbilical cord lining tissue banked by non-licensed cord blood banks may not provide the stem cell yield or quality that CellResearch Corporation’s proprietary and patented protocols can provide — this may affect its suitability for future therapeutic use. In addition, these blood banks and medical institutions that offer CellResearch Corporation's patented protocols — which include ALL cord lining stem cell therapies — are at risk of patent infringement.
GlobalCord is operated by CellResearch Corporation and its partners. Cords banked through GlobalCord are covered by CellResearch Corporation’s patent licensure which extends to 41 territories around the world, including the U.S.A.