Lots of new parents worry a lot because they are unprepared to take care of a newborn baby. Some of them even think that they are not ready to take care of a newborn. If you are one of them, and has not taken a newborn care class during pregnancy, it is time to learn about taking care of your newborn baby. Here are some basics about how to take care of your newborn.
Seeking Help After Childbirth
While in the hospital, take help of nurses to learn about newborn basics, such as holding, handling, and changing (diapering) safely. They have lot of experience in taking care of newborns. You can also talk to and get guidance from lactation consultants and feeding experts regarding breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Request the nurses or other experts to show you how to do something more than once, so that you can get familiar with it.
Newborn Care Basics
Before going home, make sure to learn as much as possible regarding the following newborn care basics:
- Bonding with your newborn baby.
- Calming or soothing your baby.
- Supporting the baby’s neck when you hold your newborn baby, as the necks muscles of a newborn babies remain week for a few months.
- Changing your baby’s diaper.
- Bathing your baby.
- Dressing your baby.
- Swaddling your baby.
- Feeding and burping your baby.
- Cleaning the umbilical cord.
- Caring for a healing circumcision
- Using a bulb syringe to clear your baby’s nasal passages.
- Taking a newborn baby’s temperature.
You can also arrange home visits by a nurse, health care worker, or lactation consultant. Having a support person stay with you for a few days can give you the confidence to go at it alone in the weeks ahead. Try to arrange this before delivery.
Baby Care Precautions
Take the following precautions to keep your newborn baby safe and happy:
- Don’t leave your baby alone or in the care of another child
- Don’t shake your newborn baby, as it may damage the baby’s brain
- Don’t heat the feeding bottle in the microwave, as the formula inside it could be much hotter than the bottle surface.
- Don’t ask the babysitter to bathe your newborn baby
- Always keep one of your hands on the baby while the baby is in your bed, on a changing table, or other place.
- Make sure that baby car seats and all other baby’s equipment, such as cribs, strollers, carriers, bassinets, change tables, playpens, and toys meet all safety standards.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is also known as crib death or bed death. SIDS is the unexplained, sudden death of a baby under age of 1 year. SIDS is a major cause of death in infants under 1 year old. Thousands of babies die of SIDS around the world each year. Latest research studies show that SIDS is most likely to occur between 2 and 4 months of age and it affects boys more often than girls. Most SIDS deaths occur in the winter.
Causes Of SIDS
The cause of SIDS is not clearly known. Many doctors and researchers believe that SIDS is caused by many factors, including:
- Sleep arousal (problems with the baby’s ability to wake up)
- Inability for the baby’s body to detect a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood
Risk Factors Of SIDS
The following factors may increase the risk for SIDS:
- Sleeping on the stomach
- Being around cigarette smoke while in the womb or after being born
- Co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed as their parents)
- Soft bedding in the crib
- Multiple birth babies (being a twin, triplet, etcetera.)
- Premature birth
- Having a brother or sister who had SIDS
- Mothers who smoke or use illegal drugs
- Being born to a teen mother
- Short time period between pregnancies
- Late or no prenatal care
- Living in poverty situations
Reducing The Risk Of SIDS
There is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS. However, doctors recommend that infants should be placed to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Doing the following things may reduce the risk of SIDS and may keep your baby safe:
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, even for naps. This is the safest sleep position for a healthy baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Place your baby on a firm mattress, such as in a safety-approved crib. For more information on crib safety, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772. Research has shown that placing a baby to sleep on soft mattresses, sofas, sofa cushions, waterbeds, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces raises the risk of SIDS.
- Remove soft, fluffy, and loose bedding and stuffed toys from your baby’s sleep area. Make sure you keep all pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, and other soft items away from your baby’s sleep area.
- Do not use infant sleep positioners. Using a positioner to hold an infant on his or her back or side for sleep is dangerous and not needed.
- Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows to place your baby on his or her back to sleep and about the dangers of soft bedding. Talk to child care providers, grandparents, babysitters, and all caregivers about SIDS risk. Remember, every sleep time counts.
- Make sure your baby’s face and head stay uncovered during sleep. Keep blankets and other coverings away from your baby’s mouth and nose. The best way to do this is to dress the baby in sleep clothing so you will not have to use any other covering over the baby. If you do use a blanket or another covering, make sure that the baby’s feet are at the bottom of the crib, the blanket is no higher than the baby’s chest, and the blanket is tucked in around the bottom of the crib mattress.
- Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby and make sure no one smokes around your baby.
- Don’t let your baby get too warm during sleep. Keep your baby warm during sleep, but not too warm. Your baby’s room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many layers of clothing or blankets can overheat your baby.