Caring for Your New Baby16/08/2018
If someone asked me to name one miracle that exists on this earth, I would say the miracle of bringing a life into the world. Being a parent is the hardest thing to do and I congratulate you on being one. In this hard but wonderful journey of raising a baby, we would do with all the help we could get.
How to Choose a Pediatrician for Your Baby
Caring for your child will naturally be one of your biggest concerns. Here is what to look out for when choosing your paediatrician:
- Find a doctor who has a nice personality and communication style. Finding a doctor that is patient and listens to all your concerns is very important. Try and start the search for selecting your paediatrician ahead of your baby’s birth.
- Ensure that the paediatrician’s office has a good staff. Remember that your baby will spend time with nurses, medical assistants, and other support staff. When going to the office see how the place is, the atmosphere and the way the staff dress can be indicators of the type of place it is.
- Does he or she come recommended? One of the best ways of finding a good paediatrician is by talking to someone who has had first-hand experience. Do you have close family or friends who have used a good paediatrician?
- The location of the office may also be a factor. We live in busy and stressful times so if time is a factor, make sure that the paediatrician’s office is fairly close by.
- Ask Questions. This is the only way that you can “feel out” prospective doctors and see if their philosophies closely mirror your own.
What to Expect
Your first baby can be a daunting thought as not all the preparation in the world can probably ease the anxiety that can be felt. But if it is any help, even doctors get overwhelmed when they bring their firstborn home from the hospital.
Before we go into the topic of caring for your baby we will talk a bit about what the mother can come to expect the day after labour. First, the mother will probably expect an all-over pain derived from the stresses of labour. The arms and legs are likely to be sore. One point to note is that although aching legs are normal, it would be prudent to go to your doctor if you get symptoms of tenderness, warmth or pain in the calves.
The mother may also notice some hair loss about three months after birth. This is due to the change in the level of hormones and can be expected to stop within a couple of months after starting. Now that we are aware of a few of the common issues that mothers face immediately after childbirth, let’s go on to caring for your new baby.
The First Few Days From Hospital
The first few days home from the hospital are important for both baby and parents. As parents, you will have gone through an intense birth process that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced. As a new mother you will be drained both emotionally and physically. The father can often have feelings of being overwhelmed by the huge responsibility he now faces. There probably is not much anyone can say or do to help you to fully prepare for what you are about to experience.
During your first days at home it may be wise to limit the amount of visitors that you welcome into your home because you’ll need a lot of time to recover from the birth process. Other than your immediate family and good friends you might want to ask other friends to wait a week or two before they descend on you with gifts and wanting to hold the new baby.
New mothers will want to pay attention to the way that they feel so that those “baby blues” don’t creep up and surprise you unexpectedly. It is normal to feel a bit out of sorts and sad for the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Your body is going through some major physical changes after the birth of your baby. Your hormones will be changing and you likely will be feeling a lack of sleep. It is important to remember that this is natural and to allow yourself a good amount of time to recover from this. If you find yourself feeling more and more depressed, it is advised that you should discuss it with your doctor.
During the first few days at home, your family will be adjusting to the additional member of your family. If you have other children at home you may be dealing with feelings of jealousy as the new baby takes centre stage. Make sure that you include your other children in the day-to-day activities that are part of the new baby’s routine. Remember that you are trying to adjust to some huge changes in your life so allow yourself the understanding and care that you would give to family and friends in your situation.
Why is Your Baby Crying?
Your child could be crying for a number of reasons, the most common of them is hunger. The other reason is indigestion or colic pain. Usually babies swallow some air while feeding which makes them uncomfortable and therefore they cry. So after every feed it is good to carry the baby upright and pat on his back gently till it burps. Below are a few more of the common causes of crying and how to deal with them:
- Lack of comfort. A soiled nappy, tight or irritable clothing can cause crying in some babies. Ensure that your baby’s nappy is always clean and discover what clothing is most comfortable for her.
- Sudden temperature changes. Some babies may cry when exposed to temperature changes, for example while bathing or having their nappies changed.
- Lack of attention. Some babies will cry when they feel the need for reassurance. There is a need here to find the right balance (for example if you cuddle your baby when she cries at the dead of night she may come to expect this night after nights).
Now that you know a few of the things that can cause your baby to cry, let us go on and see how we can give the bay and you a beautiful night’s sleep.
How to Give Your Baby a Nice Night’s Sleep
When a baby is born she does not know what is night and what is day. In case you are reading this post in anticipation of your first child then (as if you didn’t already know) you should expect to be woken up persistently, no matter what the time, for the first few weeks. Partly, this is due to the fact that a baby’s stomach carries a maximum of three to four hours’ worth of nutrition. Hence every few hours she will be waking up and crying. Without wanting to sound cruel, you should whenever possible try to impose the fact that night is for sleep from very early on – this does not mean letting her cry when she needs attention but doing things in a way that gives her less attention than she would expect in the daytime (e.g. try and keep the lights off for instance.)
You can also try to make her nap a little less in the afternoon time as this will naturally tire her out more during the night-time and help her sleep better. Did you know that for a lot of adults with persistent sleep problems stem from the early development years of a child’s life? Hence it is important for your child to associate sleep with a sense of restfulness and peace, and you can help create those conditions. Here are the tips that you can use to induce far better sleep for your baby:
- When your baby naps in the day time, use a well-lit area. This will help keep the naps shorter and may encourage him to sleep better at nights.
- Feed your baby more during the day. This will help him meet his needs during the night so that he is likely to sleep better.
- Carry your baby more, particularly in the evenings as this keeps him relaxed which is likely to lead to a more restless transition to sleep.
- Remain flexible. If the sleep routine you are trying does not seem to be working then do not be afraid to try something new. Be alert too – where do you notice your baby sleeping well? If there is a “special place” then try to make that her sleeping place.
- Try and ensure your baby has a pleasant day. As odd as it may sound, the more peaceful your baby’s day the greater the chance that your baby will also enjoy a good night’s sleep. Some research shows that babies that are held more during the day sleep better at night – is there any way you can work this into your daily routine?
- Depending on the baby, sometimes a warm bath and massage can lull babies into sleep at night. You do need to see if this is right for her as this method can actually make some babies more stimulated. Trial and error is the way to find out.
- A blend of soothing stimuli can help your baby sleep better too. For instance after a warm bath and massage, hugging your baby and then breastfeeding her is very soothing and can help bring the onset of sleep.
- What your baby wears during sleep can also be a factor. Babies in the early months are known to prefer sleeping slightly tighter (snugly wrapped in a nice baby blanket). If your baby is prone to allergies it may irritate her more during the night – when this is the case remember to use pure cotton sleep-wear.
- Try and minimise the chances for physical discomforts. Things such as having a peaceful and quiet environment, ensuring that her diapers are dry and comfortable and making sure that the air is free or irritants are very important.
- The room temperature can also have a significant impact on your baby’s sleep. Apart from ensuring that the bed is suitably warm the best temperature for sleep is 70 degrees with a 50% humidity.
You also need to decide exactly where your baby should be sleeping. Some parents insist that your baby sleep in his own crib in his own room. Still other parents want their baby in their bedroom. Neither is right or wrong and there are advantages to both. If your baby sleeps in her room you will likely get more rest for yourself since you won’t be disturbed by the snuffling and other sleeping noises that newborn babies make. Your baby may wake less often if she is in her own room but this is not always the case. If your baby is sleeping in the same room as you are, you might find it less disturbing and easy to be able to attend to your baby’s needs right there.
If you not only have your baby in the same room as you but also in the same bed, you should be aware of some of the dangers of sleeping in the same bed together. Baby experts are completely divided over the issue of sharing the same bed with your baby. You will have to research the safety versus the emotional issues and decide for yourself if you are going to be bringing your baby into bed with you.
You will likely need more sleep than your new baby. New babies most often are not able to sleep through the night until they have at least doubled their weight. This usually happens when your baby is between four and five months old.