Are you concerned that you won't know what to do when your baby arrives? Check out our tips that can help you become a confident new parent.
Taking care of your newborn is both satisfying and nerve-wracking. Every little thing they do will melt your heart and scare you at the same time. They spend the first few weeks of life simply bonding, sleeping, and eating. They’re so small and fragile, and you’re doing your best to make them healthy and happy!
You’ve heard it throughout your pregnancy: taking care of a newborn is hard work! As you begin to plan the rest of your lives together, it’s good to slow down and take everything day by day.
You’re getting used to all their tiniest noises, reactions, and needs. Some of the things they do may not be cause for alarm as much as it seems!
We’ve made it a little easier for you and thought of everything for your newborn care plan.
Before Leaving the Hospital
They will be taken to complete their first tests after you have had some time to hold and connect with your baby. It will be the first and hardest thing you will have to do after your baby is born!
Doctors will check every part of your baby's health as part of a routine checkup to see if they need urgent care. Their heart and respiratory rates will be checked, along with their reflex response and muscle tone. Any skin discoloration will be noted as well.
Premature babies and babies that go through difficult labor tend to score lower on this scale. This doesn’t predict the future health of your baby, but it will require them to take more steps to ensure their health and safety.
Doctors will give your baby a few other tests during this time, including hearing and heart disease screenings. It’s also customary for newborns to receive their very first hepatitis B vaccine.
Once they bring your baby back, focus on bonding and feeding! You can bring a breastfeeding pump with you to the hospital to try and squeeze out some breast milk while they’re gone.
The First Few Weeks
Once you bring your newborn home, motherhood begins! There are some things you might find alarming these next few weeks. Here are just a few of those newborn care tidbits.
- Jaundice - You might notice a slight yellow or orange tint to your baby’s skin or eyes. This is called jaundice, and at least 60% of infants will develop it. It’s a common condition, especially in premature babies.
Treatment isn’t really necessary unless a doctor explains that their bilirubin levels are low. Otherwise, just keep feeding them lots of breastmilk and let them get a little bit of sunlight.
- Swelling and redness – Your baby might appear to have a little bit of swelling and spots of redness on their face and head. The swelling is only caused by the stress put on their face and head by the pelvic bones during labor. This will go away in a few days or months.
Tiny red spots on your baby’s neck, scalp, or eyelids will appear like birthmarks. These appear because their tiny capillaries are clustered together close to the surface of the skin. These will go away within their first year of life.
- Umbilical cord – Your baby’s umbilical cord will dry up and fall off on its own within the first few weeks. Never pull it off yourself! After it naturally falls off, you can keep the area clean and dry until it heals, and you see your baby’s belly button.
Caring for Your Newborn
You’re doing a great job, mom! Taking care of your newborn takes lots of love and patience. Your newborn care plan is moving along, and you’re mindful of everything they need and when they need it.
Schedule your baby’s first bath within a week of coming home when you have a moment where you won’t be interrupted. Newborns don’t need too many baths; therefore, once every other day or so will be fine. Try to manage quick sponge baths until their cord falls off.
Trimming their nails can be stressful. You don’t want to cut too close to them to hurt them, but if you don’t trim their nails, they can hurt themselves. Try using an electric nail trimmer with interchangeable heads that allow you to get a close trim without any fuss.
It will be helpful to have your baby sleep flat on their back in a crib or bassinet. You can keep an organizer or diaper caddy close by with everything your baby needs for quick care. This is where you can store diapers, wipes, extra clothes, aspirators, and more.
Aside from taking care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself! Let your partner, friends, or family occasionally take control of the newborn care plan and get some well-deserved rest.
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