Looking after a newborn baby can be like a whole new world to you. A newborn can be very complex, demanding and confusing; needing what seems like an endless cycle of feeding and changing. To help you out, we have some tips for caring in the right ways and looking out for what is important for your newborn. In addition, should you need any help, we are able to provide you with help and advice (more information).
Crying is one of the only ways babies can communicate with you and the world around them. Bear in mind that a baby’s cry is their way of telling you that they are uncomfortable, hungry, tired etc. As time goes on, you will learn which kind of cry means what and what you can do to soothe your child. When a baby is first born, it is common for them to begin crying. If they do not, do not worry as the baby may wait after a little after to let out their first cry. It is also normal for the first cry to involve the baby going red in the face and drawing their knees up in the foetal position.
The amount of crying is subjective, some babies may be inclined to cry frequently, while others only reserve crying for times in which they are very hungry or very tired. It is usually the case that babies are more likely to cry in the evenings, which we appreciate as difficult because you may be tired and find it harder to cope.
Something a lot of people don’t consider is that a baby has no concept of day or night. Unlike us, they sleep when they are tired whether that be at 1pm or 3am, and wake up when they are not whether that be 4pm or 6am. Therefore, you cannot expect newborn to sleep during the night when you would naturally be sleeping.
Some babies will be sleepier than others and can sleep up to 20 hours out of 24 hours. Meanwhile, other babies will be a lot more restless and will sleep considerably less, perhaps waking up sporadically throughout the day or the night. Your baby should be sleeping the same room as you for the first six months at least. This should be the case during the day and during the night.
Nappy Changing Newborns
Do not be alarmed by the contents of your newborn’s nappies. At first, their stools can appear rather sticky and blackish-green in colour. This happens due to a baby digesting amniotic fluid. This colour and consistency should change once a feeding routine is established. The colour may change to a yellowish-orange if breastfed and a pale brown colour if bottle fed. Your baby will need to be changed whenever it becomes wet or soiled, as soon as you notice, you should have the baby changed.
When changing a nappy, you should hold it in place for a moment as babies have a tendency to urinate when they feel cold air on their skin. Use the clean parts of the nappy to wipe away anything on the skin initially, then follow it up with a baby wipe or cotton wool with warm water. When changing and cleaning a female baby, you should always wipe from front to back to avoid any germs entering her vagina, which could lead to infections.
When changing and cleaning a boy, you must thoroughly clean around the testicles and the penis, but never pull back the foreskin. A baby should get through about six to eight nappies each day in the first few weeks of their life.
Bathing a Newborn
It is not advisable to bathe a baby everyday if they object to being undressed or immersed in water. A method called “topping and tailing” which involves washing the face, neck, hands and bottom can be done daily in between the 2 to 3 times a week that you will bathe your baby.
Always choose a time where your baby is content and awake to bathe or “top and tail”. Make sure you undress your baby in a warm room to keep them content. When bathing, never use any products on their face and never try and clean inside of their ears or nose. You should check the temperature of the bath with a thermometer, you should find the water to be between 36-37 degrees. Once you have bathed your baby, pat him or her dry with a towel rather than “towelling” him or her.