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Your first days with the baby – Caring for the newborn

A newborn can bring you a host of exciting activities in your life. After the delivery, all lives connected to the baby start revolving around it. However, along with this happiness comes the responsibility of caring for the newborn. From feeding the baby to changing its diapers, clothes, their sleep habits, understanding their needs can be stressful at this point in time. But understanding the baby’s needs and providing with the best brings joy and excitement in parents.

Caring for a newborn, a baby under 28 days old is not easy. However, this challenging task becomes manageable, with the right advice on hand. Over time, parents too learn to understand their baby’s needs, desires and schedules.

Here is a list of tips which can help you manage your newborn well.

Breast feeds

Make sure that the newborn is fed once every three hours unless the little ones want more frequently. In the night , feeding on demand is more convenient. Also, during nursing, it is important for the mother to ensure that baby correctly latches or fastens onto her breast in order to eat. The baby may not eat if it is not comfortably placed. Formula should be given only if the pediatrician feels necessary. It can be best avoided otherwise.

Frequent meals help the baby develop well. Also, after a few months, as the baby starts consuming larger quantity of food per meal, they may reduce the meal frequency.

Change your sleeping habits – Sleep when your baby sleeps

Newborns sleep for at least 15-17 hours a day. In the initial days, a baby may wake up only during the time of feeding and changing. As these activities continue in the night as well, the mother’s sleep gets disturbed frequently. Therefore, it is important for the mother to sleep when the baby is asleep in order to take complete rest.

Few babies sleep more in the daytime compared to night. In such cases, you can wake up the baby after 3 hours of a nap. Starting a bedtime routine like feeding, changing clothes, playing songs can help in putting the baby to sleep easily. Also, this helps the baby follow the same routine after a few days.

Ensure the baby always sleeps on its back.

Keep the newborn baby clean:

Maintaining hygiene among infants is very crucial as they can contract infections easily. Clean your baby every day around its mouth, neck, and groin. Clean the face with a wet cloth so that the milk or formula particles are not sticking there. After the bath, consider applying a baby moisturizer to prevent dry skin.

Changing diapers:

Once the diaper becomes soiled, it is important to change the diapers to avoid any kind of irritation or infection. Breastfed babies will have several bowel movements in a day. Therefore, changing the diaper and cleaning the groin area is crucial. Once the diaper is removed, wipe the area with a damp cloth or tissues from the front portion of the groin area to the back portion and in skin folds.

Medical concerns in newborns:

  • Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Refuse to eat multiple feedings in a row
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Continuous cold
  • Dehydration, which you may be able to identify by a lack of wet diapers
  • Jaundice

Caring for a newborn can be a challenging and tiring activity for parents. But try to cherish these moments as they will give you the required motivation. If you have any concerns about your newborn’s development, talk to neonatologist and paediatrician.

By Dr Phani Bhushan, Consultant – Neonatology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur


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