As you bring your baby home, you might think that your child is now safe and sound. The hospital isn’t always the safest place, with many bacterial infections and other diseases running around at times. But, surely, your home is the safest place for your baby right?
Well, it’s not as simple as that, because babies are not like regular people, just yet anyway. Their bodies are much more sensitive, their own protective barriers haven’t fully developed yet and you need to do some things to help them out in this department.
Early baby care is complex and new mothers will feel as if they need a little extra help to make sure they manage carefully. So here is a short guide to the basics of early baby care.
A newborn baby will do two things. He or she will want to sleep a lot. Getting him or her to sleep is a difficult task. Newborn babies tend to cry, a lot.
They’re just getting used to the feeling of clothes rubbing against their sensitive skin. They’re trying to get used to the changes in ambient temperature. They haven’t opened their eyes just yet and are sensitive to sunlight shining on their face. They have so many things that are trying to make them uncomfortable, no wonder they want to cry a lot.
However, your newborn baby must get the right amount of sleep every single day. So monitoring sleep patterns is therefore essential. A newborn baby should be sleeping at least 8 hours a day. This is the minimum and perhaps only permissible for a few days. He or she should be getting a normal amount of sleep for their age, which is 16-18 hours! The only times they should be awake is when they are being fed, going to the potty, having a bath or getting health checkups. That’s it.
Your newborn baby’s sleeping pattern should be 8 hours of sleep during the day, 8 hours of sleep during the night. Wake him or her up for feeding at every 3 to 4 hours and repeat this over and over for the next 6 months.
The most vivid health conditions that your newborn baby will face will always be related to his or her skin. When you see a baby with dry, peeling skin, you can become very concerned and if it’s your baby in particular, you can start panicking.
However, skin peeling is not painful for your child so don’t worry. These are the causes of newborn skin peeling and they are actually, quite simple to understand and treat. While your baby is in gestation, they are surrounded in what’s called amniotic fluid.
At week 20, the fluid forms are thin wax that layers onto the skin in order to protect the baby. The wax is called vernix and usually wears off naturally within a few days when the baby is born. Sometimes it stays on for longer. Don’t pull it off, allow it to drop off naturally.
The skin underneath can become dry when first exposed to the air. The wax has been doing the job of natural oils which protect our skin and when it suddenly isn’t there anymore, it can leave your baby’s skin vulnerable. So avoid long baths and hot water.
Only bathe your baby for 10 minutes or so and then pat the skin instead of wiping it. Using a bath oil could help to protect your baby’s skin while you’re cleaning him or her. When you are done bathing your baby, don’t put on a bathrobe or wrap a towel around them. Make sure the room’s temperature is lukewarm and allow their skin to naturally form a layer of protection from natural oils.
The ambient temperature of your home is very important to the health and wellbeing of your newborn baby. You can’t have it too cold or too hot, it has to be lukewarm. But, lukewarm is a matter of objectivity, as it all depends on your location i.e. locational weather.
All nations have a general temperature which is considered warm or hot. In many Western European countries, being over 20 degree celsius is the market. If you live in a part of the world where it’s considered warm above 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should have your ambient home temperature set to 18. Then will allow your baby to have just enough warmth to be comfortable but not too cold to make their skin dry.
If you’re from a hotter climate then you should act accordingly as well. If you’re from Jamaica and the hotter temperature is considered to be ranging in the high 20s or 70s, then you can have air-conditioning to set the home’s temperature to the low 20s and mid-60s.
Noticing the signs
Mothers and fathers to newborn babies have to become body language experts in a matter of months or weeks. They have to know what their baby is in need of whenever she or he is crying or making sounds.
There are some brilliant baby call books you can read to help you in this endeavour. Usually, babies make the same kinds of noises so it’s not just subjective to one child as in truth, their personality hasn’t developed yet. Your baby is purely going off of instinct and is going to make some basic calls and cries which you should know about.
Imitating baby talk is the best way to connect a bridge with your baby. Going ‘googoo’ and ‘gaga’ might seem silly at first, but your baby will pick up on this and think that he or she can communicate on this wavelength. If you hear an ‘oo’ sound, this is conveying curiosity, fun, enjoyment and general contentment.
If you’re hearing more ‘aa’ noises, then this is conveying alertness, worry, fear and confusion. High-pitched noises are usually joyful but can quickly turn into fear and crying. It’s a balance which you need to learn and study, so.
Your baby will first feel a little daunted by being in a room by themselves. But after 6 months, they should really get used to sleeping by themselves in their own room, to make good practice for the future.
It’s a good idea to do phased solo sleeping. To prevent nighttime scares, use toys and chimes to get your baby to calm down and get used to sleeping while being in the presence of items hanging over their head.
It gives the baby something to look at and focus on, rather than a blank ceiling in the dark. Of course, a baby light is a must at this stage in their life. So you should have a light which isn’t too bright and uses yellow light.
Blue light lamps are harmful to their eyes, so newborn babies should only have amber lamps in their rooms. Stand by the door for a while each night, generally talking and remind your baby that you’re still here even though they cannot see you.
This will prevent your baby from feeling abandoned and alone, which causes them to cry. Edge away and slowly but surely, your baby will become normalized to sleeping on their own.
It gives the baby something to look at and focus on, rather than a blank ceiling in the dark. Of course, a baby light is a must at this stage in their life. So you should have a light which isn’t too bright and uses yellow light. Blue light lamps are harmful to their eyes, so newborn babies should only have amber lamps in their rooms.
Stand by the door for a while each night, generally talking and remind your baby that you’re still here even though they cannot see you. This will prevent your baby from feeling abandoned and alone, which causes them to cry. Edge away and slowly but surely, your baby will become normalized to sleeping on their own.
These basics of early baby care are easy to implement and learn. It might sound bizarre but making the same sounds to communicate with them, which puts babies at ease most of the time. Make sure that you’re also bathing your little one the correct way, with baby oil as soap and short baths only.