The Newborn Guide

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Episode 1

By Tabibi 24/7

Being a new mom can be overwhelming, trying to adjust to a new schedule, new demands and a new little being. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition to motherhood less stressful,

Handling a newborn

  • Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your baby. Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
  • Be careful to support your baby’s head and neck. Support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down.
  • Be careful not to shake your newborn. Shaking that is vigorous can cause bleeding in the brain.
  • Make sure your baby is securely fastened. Whether it’s a carrier, stroller, or car seat; limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
  • Remember that your newborn is not ready for rough play, such as being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air.

Diaper Changing

Before diapering your baby, make sure you have everything you need so you don’t leave your infant unattended on the changing table. When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection.

Diaper rash is a common concern, try these tips to prevent or heal diaper rash:

  • Change your baby’s diaper frequently, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
  • After cleaning the area, apply a diaper rash cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
  • Let the baby go un-diapered for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.

If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, see your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.

Bathing

You should give your baby a sponge bath until:

  • The umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely (1-4 weeks)
  • The circumcision heals (1-2 weeks)

A bath 2-3 times a week in the first year is fine. More frequent bathing may be drying to the skin.

Circumcision and Umbilical Cord Care

Gently wipe the tip clean with warm water after a diaper change, and then apply petroleum jelly to the tip so it doesn’t stick to the diaper. Redness or irritation of the penis should heal within a few days, but if the redness or swelling increases or if puss-filled blisters form, infection may be present and you should call your baby’s doctor immediately.

An infant’s navel area shouldn’t be submerged in water until the cord stump falls off and the area is healed. Until it falls off, the cord stump will change color from yellow to brown or black — this is normal. Consult your doctor if the navel area becomes reddened or if a foul smell or discharge develops.

Feeding

Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand. Your baby may show signs of hunger like crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises. A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding; your baby will most likely take about 60-90 ml at each feeding.

Many mothers are afraid they don’t produce enough milk; you will know your baby is getting enough milk when she has 6 to 8 wet diapers per day, and starts gaining weight well. Formula-fed and breastfed baby weight gain will vary because they grow at different rates. In general, breastfed babies tend to be leaner. On a general note, it’s best to visit your child’s doctor regularly to monitor growth and development.

Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. You can prevent this by burping your baby frequently.

Stay tuned for more on feeding in the next issue!

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