Important Tips to Keep Your Newborn Healthy
Starting a new and beautiful phase of life as a parent? Congratulations! The coming years will be all giggles and lots of love!
But as you revel in the joy of parenthood, it is important to remember that your little one is fragile and requires special care.
The first few months are the most crucial. The WHO reported nearly 2.4 million neonatal deaths in 2020 globally. Issues like heart and lung defects, infections, and childbirth injuries were at the forefront of these deaths.
We understand that, as a parent, these figures and thoughts can be scary. But they aren’t something you can’t prevent. You only need the right tips, from feeding and bathing to soothing and diapering. And we can help.
Learn What You Can
The moment you leave the hospital after delivering your little bundle of joy, the entire responsibility of ensuring their safety shifts to you. You are their nurse, best friend, and guardian angel. So, it’ll help if you familiarize yourself with their cries and observe their behavioral changes and developmental milestones.
You must also read up on childbirth injuries. Sadly, they are more common than you’d like to believe. Studies report that almost 7 in every 1,000 newborns suffer from some form of birth injury.
This is why it’s important to look for any symptoms that could indicate something wrong. For instance, a lump on your child’s forehead could be due to cephalohematoma.
Other signs that you must look out for are:
- Blue-tinged skin
- Leg weakness
- Yellowish skin
If you spot any of these, consult your pediatrician right away. If you want to learn more about this, search the web for cephalohematoma newborn.
Breastfeed for At Least Six Months
It’s no secret that breast milk is the most nutritious food for newborns. It contains colostrum, which helps protect your baby against infections and diseases. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding till six months. Later, you can gradually introduce complementary foods.
Feeding on demand is the best strategy. When hungry, your child will cry or open their mouth. That’s your cue. Newborns typically need to be breastfed every two to three hours with episodes of cluster feedings.
Don’t worry if you’re struggling with latching or a supply of milk; most moms do. To make it easy, seek the help of a lactation consultant. You can also include foods like fennel, sesame seeds, and chickpeas.
Maintain Good Hygiene
This one’s for you and everyone else in the family. Your child is still developing their immune system and may be unable to fight off germs and bacteria easily. That’s why it’s important to keep their environment free of germs.
The basics of good hygiene start with clean hands. So, before you hold your baby, thoroughly wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. You must also disinfect their crib and toys carefully. As for their feeding bottles, sterilize them after every use.
In the first few months, keep visitors to a minimum. Avoid anyone with flu symptoms. You should also vaccinate your baby on time, as per the schedule prescribed by your doctor. The initial shots are usually administered between the first two months. They will protect your child against whooping cough, Diphtheria, and Hepatitis B, among other diseases.
Also, avoid taking them out for social events or crowded places as much as possible.
Bathing Your Newborn
Bathing a newborn is a tricky task. They have sensitive skin, and there’s always a risk of over-drying it. That’s why you must use mild, chemical-free products for their bath time.
You don’t have to bathe your baby daily, either. Twice or thrice a week should be enough to keep them clean. Before bathing your baby, fill the tub with warm (not hot) water. Add mild baby products and gently lay them in. Bathe your baby for just five to ten minutes.
On the rest of the days, gently use a damp cloth and water to clean their face and diaper areas.
If you’re not yet accustomed to holding them, you can use a baby wrap or slings to keep them secure.
Develop a Sleep Routine
Sleep is as essential for babies as it is for adults. During sleep time, their bodies and brains work effectively to grow faster. Plus, they’ll be happy and active when they’re awake.
Newborns usually sleep 16 to 20 hours daily. But that doesn’t mean their schedule is fixed. In the first few weeks, they’ll sleep intermittently throughout the day, with short bouts of playtime in between.
This cycle gradually changes as your baby grows. You can help them maintain a routine by setting up the right environment for sleep. Place the crib in a dark, quiet room and make sure the temperature is right.
It’s best to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around three weeks old. Start by dimming the lights and playing some soothing music. Then, finish it off with a story or lullaby.
Wet diapers are a sign that your baby is getting sufficient milk. It also gives you signs that their digestion is working correctly. You must get 6-8 wet diapers a day.
Now, when you have to change their diaper, you must do it quickly and carefully. Pick a flat surface like your bed or changing table for the task. Place your supplies within reach so that you don’t have to leave the baby unattended. Clean their diaper area with warm water and mild cleanser or wipes.
You must also use a rash cream to prevent any irritation and rashes. It is especially important when your baby has just started solids. You can prevent rashes by changing diapers every two hours. Also, avoid using wipes with alcohol or fragrances.
Prioritize Your Overall Well Being
In order to take care of your child, you must take care of yourself. Your body has gone through an immense transformation and will need time to heal. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel tired all the time or have mood swings. Take time off from your daily chores and delegate tasks if you can. You’ll need plenty of sleep, nutritious food, and lots of hydration to stay energized.
Most of all, don’t forget to spend some time with yourself. Take a shower, read your favorite book, or just relax with a warm cup of tea. Acknowledging your own needs will help you take better care of your baby.
Newborns grow incredibly fast, so you want to enjoy every moment with your little one. With a few healthy practices, you can ensure their early growth is completely safe and healthy. Make sure to follow all the tips mentioned above. Sometimes, it’s the smallest of things that make a world of difference. If you notice any issues like a missed milestone or a strange rash, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor immediately.