Welcome to the first few days of your sweet newborn's life. It's a brief period, this newborn stage and I hope to help ease the burden of your fears and doubt.
You are probably scared and worried that you won't be able to keep this new baby alive for long when your mom leaves your side. Or maybe you don't have anyone to come alongside you and help you. I'm here to tell you that YOU'VE GOT THIS!
I have a little something I say to my patient when they are scared that they can't finish the race of childbirth. Squatting down I tell her, “Mama, You were made for this baby, and this baby was made for you,” and it's true. I believe this to the depths of my soul. I believe this whether your newborn baby was birthed by your body or birthed in your heart. So, picture me squatting down, beside you saying, “Mama, this baby was made for you and you were made for her” You have what it takes to care for this baby. Don't let anyone imply otherwise!
Okay, here are my newborn baby care tips in no particular order.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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Newborn Baby Care Tip Numero Uno:
Many first time moms realize that when they have baby number two that they spent way too much time worrying and not enjoying. So my first newborn tip is to enjoy your newborn.
Educate your self on the stages, the physical needs, the warning signs, and the milestones ahead of time, so that you can relax when you're exhausted after birth. (You should take this Baby Care Class over at Birth Boot Camp)
Be sure to document your baby's milestones and rapidly changing looks through journaling and photos.
If the baby isn't born yet then head over to our Budgeting for Baby tips.
Newborn Baby Care Tip #2:
Proper handling of the baby is essential.
- Your baby's head and neck are shaky. Be sure to support it at all times. Always, always help it!
- You and everyone else need to wash your hands often.
- Do not let Grandma hold your newborn baby with any signs of illness. Er on the side of caution.
- Bathing your baby can remain simple if you let it. Your newborn only needs a sponge bath 2-3 times a week. Make it happen in a draft-free room that is comfortably warm. Newborns can not regulate their body temp as you can.
Related Post: The Baby Products you shouldn't skip!
Newborn Baby Care Tip 3:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is rare, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your little one's risk.
- Always have your baby sleep in his back.
- Ensure a safe sleep environment. Including a safe crib, a tight-fitting mattress, and nothing loose in the bed with the baby. When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING! Keep the baby in the room with you (the healthcare provider in me inform you not to keep her in the bed with you, but I draw the line) Ok, I repeat nothing in the crib, none of that hokey stuff claiming to reduce SIDS, like wedges and stuff.
- Breastfeed! I swear this isn't a trick, it's true! Here are my tips for your very first breastfeed after birth!
- Breastfeeding for even two months cuts the risk in half!
Newborn Baby Care Tip 4:
Visit a certified technician and get a car seat inspection before your baby is born. Keep your baby in the car seat while in the car. Do not take a chance and take the baby out. The baby will scream in protest, but a safe, crying baby is better than an injured one. Use a rear-facing infant car seat until at least two years old.
I am a total advocate for rear-facing until as long as humanly possible. Greyson was facing the rear until a few months ago at 3.5! That boy had no idea there was a world out the front of our car.
Newborn Baby Care Tip 5:
- Know your newborn baby's hunger cues. Keep your little one nearby so that you can recognize the early signs and feed that little booger.
- A newborn baby needs to eat about eight zillion times a day. Well, about 8-12 per 24 hours. But it feels like eight zillions. But it's pretty darn fabulous.
- Feed your baby according to how long she wants to eat!
Newborn Baby Care Tip 6:
Your newborn's umbilical cord stump needs special care. First off, follow the advice of your provider.
- Keep it clean and dry
- Fold the diaper down so it won't rub against it.
- Admittedly, this doesn't have to be said but don't pick at it. It will fall off on it's on time. Usually, it falls off in a few weeks.
- If you notice a foul order, hot to the touch, or reddened surrounding skin, call the DR!
Newborn Baby Care Tip 7:
Pooping and Peeing is your newborn baby's favorite things next to eating, oh and sleeping. The baby's first poop is called meconium, and it looks like tar, and it's stickier than heck. Usually, it's all gone by the 24 hour period, and you're in the clear.
Most often by five days (if breastfeeding) your newborn's poop will become more loose, yellow, and seedy. I refer to this as the yellow cottage cheese stage. Oh, fun!
Know the signs of dehydration in a baby. It is a dire situation for a newborn. Keep track of your little one's diaper changes and feedings. We have an excellent free baby log tracker here, grab yours, put it in a frame and monitor your baby!
Signs of Dehydration:
- Dark, yellow urine.
- Fewer than six wet diapers a day.
- A reddish-colored stain in more than one diaper. (after the baby is over 72 hours)
- Dry mouth or Lips.
- Not alert.
- The baby's soft spot appears sunken down.
Newborn Baby Care Tip 8:
Diapering is a full-time job, honey! Change your baby often to avoid rashes and keep her comfy. Do not use baby powder just let your baby's butt air out a few times a day. Imagine having pee or poop against your as Greyson says “Privacies” all day. Yuck.
If your newborn baby gets a severe diaper rash, stop using wet wipes and use a clean, warm cloth to cleanse her bottom.
Some babies are sensitive to certain types of diapers. If you notice your baby's behind is always reddened despite your consistent care, change diapers. My oldest son could only wear Huggies. Every other brand I tried, resulted in a rash.
Newborn Baby Care Tip 9:
Oh, the crying, the crying, the crying! If it's your first newborn baby, then you might also be crying. It's ok momma. It's not unusual for your newborn baby to complain a whole lot in those first few months. It can be nervewracking.
Crying is the baby's means of communication informing you that they have a need. Many times, it means that the newborn is hungry, wet, or tired. But sometimes, it just says the baby wants to be comforted by your touch. Sit down and snuggle in because as I stated in the beginning, these days are going to move by you in a speedy minute.
Important to remember: No matter how frustrated you feel if the baby is crying for hours on end, NEVER SHAKE THE BABY. The smallest of shakes can harm her. Lay the baby in her crib and walk away. Gather up your wits and return when you're able.
Newborn Baby Care Tip 10:
Newborn breathing is concerning in the beginning. Remember this is a new skill for them. They have been cozying it up in there using amniotic fluid to survive.
A newborn's breathing pattern stables out as he gets older but, It may scare you when he pauses in his breaths. Don't be alarmed. Keep an eye on his lips, tongue, and mouth. Pink is good, blue is not! You should most certainly get a monitor that lets you know the baby is just fine.
Otherwise, you will be disturbing her sleep to make sure she is alive. I'm not joking.
Your newborn baby will most likely gag a lot and scare the pooh out of you. It's due to the amniotic fluid bath. Your baby might gag a lot especially if they were born via a cesarean. Coming through the vaginal tract usually gives a pretty good squeeze and gets most of the fluid out.
Newborn Baby Care Bonus Tip:
Ask for help from your family and friends. You definitely should accept help when offered. Don't be a superwoman and try to do it alone. We were made to be in a tribe of women. Walk together and survive together. We have a new facebook group for moms to support one another. Check it out here!