Caring for your Newborn Baby

Having a newborn baby is such an exhilarating feeling. The way your baby looks at you for the first time is simply priceless, and that is why you need to make sure that your baby is healthy and safe.

Bathing

  • Make sure that the water is warm and in a draft-free environment. Always test the water before carefully putting down your baby in the water
  • Sponge baths are recommended
  • Wash your baby’s face first with plain water
  • Make sure that you use a non-deodorant soap and a soft washcloth to wash the rest of the body
  • The baby’s genitals are very sensitive so if you have a baby girl, wash her genitals from front to back. If you have a baby boy, be gentle on the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis.
  • As much as possible, do not use too many lotions, and oils. If your baby’s skin is too dry, ask your pediatrician to prescribe creams that are fragrance and alcohol-free.

Diapering

  • Frequently change your baby’s diaper as soon as it’s wet to prevent them from any complications
  • Prepare the necessary items that you need before changing a diaper.
  • When using a changing table, make sure it is sturdy and always use a safety strap. Also, be sure you have plenty of space to place all of the things you’re going to need and never turn you back away from your baby.
  • Clean your baby’s genitals gently and thoroughly.

Circumcision

Since circumcision is no longer medically necessary, as a parent, you have the choice to have your son circumcised. If you have decided to have him circumcised, make sure that you choose the right doctor to avoid bleeding, infection, and improper healing, which can cause irritation, and urination problems.

Feeding

  • For the first six months your baby should be drinking breast milk or formula unless instructed otherwise, so do not let your baby drink water, sugar-water, and electrolyte drinks.
  • When preparing a formula, always follow the preparation instructions. To ensure that your baby will receive the exact amount of benefits a formula has, never try to “stretch” the formula by adding more water.
  • Never warm your baby’s formula in a microwave. Not only will it unevenly heat the formula, but it can burn your baby’s mouth as well.
  • Washing your baby’s bottles thoroughly is very important. Use hot, soapy water and rinse well. Check bottle nipples for any tears, cracks, stickiness, or enlargement. If the it has one of those, throw it out right away. It is not necessary to use antibacterial soap or sterilize the bottles.
  • If you choose to use a pacifier, make sure it is always sanitized. If the pacifier gets torn, cracked, or sticky, replace it at once, and use only store-bought pacifiers.
  • Every baby is unique and the approximate number of feedings per day depends on your baby’s appetite.
  • Some babies vomit occasionally, so, you do not need to be scared. However, if vomiting is persistent, consult your pediatrician right away.
  • Hold your baby while feeding him to avoid choking and to promote bonding between you and your newborn. Your baby should also be in a semi-sitting position to eat to keep air from entering the stomach.
  • Let your baby burp in between feeding by holding your baby against your chest with his head on your shoulder and gently pat his back with your hand.

Diaper Rash

To avoid diaper rash, keep the diaper area clean and dry. Use petroleum jelly, ointments, or zinc oxide to prevent and/or treat diaper rash. If you’re using a cloth diaper, remove them during the day as much as possible and try washing them with a different soap and carefully rinse. If you’re using disposable diapers, switch to a different brand.

Constipation

Babies who drink formulas are prone to constipation. Their stools will look hard and pellet-like. If constipation persists, notify your pediatrician right away.

Diarrhea

Notify your pediatrician immediately if your baby’s stool is watery, green, foul-smelling, and/or contains mucus. Babies get dehydrated fast so make sure to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Fever

If your baby’s temperature is higher or lower than 97.7 degrees to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, consult your pediatrician immediately. The safest method in taking your baby’s temperature is through inserting a thermometer in his armpit.

Choking on mucus or milk

If your baby begins to choke on mucus or milk, turn him over with his head slightly lower than his body. If possible, assist him gently in clearing any visible liquid from his mouth or nose.

Jaundice

For the first 3 to 5 days, it is common for newborns to have a little jaundice. If your baby’s bilirubin level is above normal but not high enough to require treatment, your doctor may schedule you for a follow-up bilirubin test. If left untreated, some babies may suffer brain damage so make sure you notify your doctor if your baby becomes more yellow.