Seeing your newborn for the first time is one of life's greatest joys. However, it also comes with an immense obligation, especially for first-time parents. The first few weeks and months of a baby's life are crucial for their development and well-being, so parents must have the knowledge and skills to care for their newborns.
From feeding and sleeping to hygiene and health, every aspect of newborn care is crucial for ensuring that your little one grows up healthy and happy.
Below we discuss the most effective ways parents can care for their newborns. Whether you're a first-time parent or have kids before, these tips and strategies will help you navigate the early days of parenthood with confidence and ease.
1. Take your child for regular medical checkups
The medical checkup routine can vary for every child after their birth. Nevertheless, the parents must ensure frequent doctor visits after their birth.
As per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should get your baby checked at the time of birth, after three to five days of birth. As for medical screenings in the ensuing months, you can consult with your doctor. In general, a baby needs to see their doctor about six times from birth to their first birthday.
These medical checkups are important in diagnosing any problems your newborn might face or be born with. For instance, some babies are born with birth injuries that become more visible as time passes. Regular medical checkups can discover these problems.
It is widespread knowledge that parents of babies born with birth injuries are eligible to get compensation if the injury is found to be caused by medical negligence of the doctors. Lawfirm.com is an online website that helps parents take legal action against the culprits.
Beyond asking for compensation, early diagnoses of birth injuries help you take prompt measures for better treatment. The compensation received due to a lawsuit provides financial help to arrange proper medical help for your child.
2. Ensure proper nutrition
Approximately 83% of newborns in the United States are breastfed initially, but by the time they are one, only 36% of infants are exclusively breastfed. That means many parents choose other options, such as formula milk or a combination of breastfeeding and infant formula.
Mother feeding offers significant benefits to both the baby and the mother. Did you know that breast milk contains essential nutrients and antibodies that can protect against infections and diseases? The antibodies directly or indirectly trigger an anti-inflammatory response.
A study found that breastfeeding could prevent 820,000 child deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths worldwide yearly. And that's not all! Breastfeeding for six months or more was associated with a 42% reduction in the risk of childhood obesity, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine.
But if breastfeeding isn't for you, don't worry! Formula feeding is also a feasible option that offers all the necessary nutrients for your baby's healthy development and growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that formula feeding can still provide the same benefits as breast milk, including attachment with your baby and meeting its nutritional needs.
3. Ensure peaceful sleep
Getting your newborn to sleep is often challenging but crucial for their growth and development. Did you know newborns need between 14 and 17 hours of daily rest?
Your baby's posture matters a lot when it comes to comfortable sleep. Placing babies on their backs to sleep can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), responsible for over 2,300 infant deaths in the US annually.
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can also improve sleep quality and duration. And when you recognize your baby's sleep cues, like rubbing their eyes or fussing, you can help prevent overstimulation and make it easier for them to fall asleep.
4. Be vigilant about diapering
Diapering may not be the most likable part of being a parent; nonetheless, it's essential. It is common for newborns to go through 8 to 10 diapers per day. That's a lot of diaper changes!
If your baby is particularly fussy during diaper changes, singing a song, or making silly faces, can help make it a more entertaining experience for both of you.
Choosing the right diaper type can also make a difference. Generally, it is seen that disposable diapers are better at keeping your baby clean and dry than cloth diapers. They prevent leakage, which keeps the baby wet and interferes with their sleep, especially at night.
Apart from choosing the right diapers, change your baby’s diaper frequently to avoid diaper rashes, allergies, and other skin conditions.
If by chance the baby gets any rash, consult the doctor before using any ointments on your own. A newborn's skin is very sensitive, so save it from dabbling.
5. Keep your newborn clean
Bathing keeps your baby clean and comfortable. However, you must check with your doctor about the frequency of these baths. Generally, bathing them 2 to 3 times a week, using mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water, is a good idea. You can find a bathing regime that works best for you and your baby.
Besides keeping your baby clean, practicing good hygiene yourself can also help protect your baby's health. Washing your hands before handling your baby to help prevent the spread of microbes and illnesses makes sense, as a newborn's immune system is not very strong.
You can also ask the visitors and relatives coming to see the baby to wash their hands and not to touch the baby's face, as it can cause germs to transfer.
Caring for a newborn is nothing less than a roller coaster ride of feelings. Parents go through many phases, from sheer joy to fears about their baby’s safety and proper development. However, besides emotions, one should not miss that parenting is extremely exhausting.
With that said, the availability of the right knowledge and tools can make caring for your newborn much easier. Remember, making mistakes is not prohibited, for caring for every new child is a novel experience.
Plus, asking for help should not feel embarrassing. So here we are, trying to help you care for your newborn with the above-mentioned tips. Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all exercise, so follow what suits you and your baby the best.