Basics of Baby Care for Newborns

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Written By NewtonPatterson

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This guide was published in NYT Parenting on May 6, 2019.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding should be continued for at least six more months. To help your baby regain his birth weight, breastmilk or formula should be used.

Your newborn should be able to lie down on her back, without any toys, blankets, or loose bedding. The average newborn sleeps 16-17 hours per night. You might consider a bedtime routine for every night.

Every day, sponge bathe your baby wherever he’s dirty. This is usually around his mouth, neck, and diaper area. A newborn only needs to be bathed in a tub or full sink once or twice per week. Dry skin can result from frequent baths.

You can bond with your baby through skin-toskin contact. Also, you can try different techniques to calm fussiness. To help him develop his head and neck strength, give him “tummy time” twice to three times per day.

If you feel depressed, exhausted, or struggling with your emotions, it is a good idea to seek support. Postpartum depression affects one in nine mothers. However, there are ways to treat it.

The Gist

If your baby experiences a high temperature in the rectal area, if she is unable to eat or cries out uncontrollably, or if her skin and eyes become yellowed, consult your pediatrician immediately.

The joys of being a parent to a newborn can be overwhelming, exhausting, and frightening. I can still recall the moment I brought my son home after he was born. I thought, “How do I take care of this little creature?” Is there a manual for his owner? You’ll be fine, no matter how difficult it is to become a parent. Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician in Atlanta, said that babies are stronger than their parents might think. (I recall our week-old son rolling on a couch and thinking we had hurt him. He was fine. Parents learn to recognize and understand their baby’s needs, wants, and schedules over time. Although it is difficult to care for a newborn (a baby younger than 28 days) it can be done with some help. Three pediatricians and a certified pediatric sleep specialist were consulted to help me create this guide for newborns. They shared their tips and advice on what parents should be paying attention to, the best schedules to follow, and what they shouldn’t worry about.

You should feed your baby often, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or using formula.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed for at least six month. After this time, her body will normally start to produce breast milk within three days of giving birth. Her breasts will first produce colostrum, a thick yellow, nutrient-rich liquid.

Nursing mothers may need to be patient at first to make sure that their baby latches correctly onto her breasts. Talk to a certified lactation consultant if you have difficulty getting your baby to eat or latching properly. Most hospitals and birthing centres have at least one. The United States Lactation Consultant Association can help you find a private lactation specialist.