Welcome to Parenthood: A Guide to Caring for Your Newborn Baby
The arrival of a newborn baby is one of life’s most precious moments. As you embark on your journey into parenthood, it’s important to learn how to care for your little one during these critical first few months. This article provides tips and advice to support your newborn’s health, development, and overall wellbeing.
Establishing a Sleep Routine
Sleep is essential for your newborn’s growth and development. Although it may seem impossible to implement a sleep schedule at first, setting a consistent bedtime routine will help regulate your baby’s circadian rhythms. Aim to put your newborn to bed at around the same time every night. Swaddling, rocking gently, and soft music can cue your baby that it’s time to sleep. Remember to always put your newborn to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Feeding Your Newborn Baby
Providing the proper nutrition is vital during your baby’s first year. Both breastmilk and formula contain the ideal mix of vitamins, protein, fat, and nutrients for a growing newborn. If breastfeeding, feed on demand every 1-3 hours and offer both breasts per feeding. If formula feeding, stick to 2-3 ounce bottles every 2-4 hours. Don’t forget to burp your baby halfway through feeds to prevent gas!
Tracking Developmental Milestones
In the first 3 months, your newborn will reach exciting milestones like lifting their head, smiling, cooing, and holding objects. Track milestones with monthly checklists and note pediatrician appointments on your calendar. Comparing your baby’s progress to developmental charts can provide useful insight. But remember, each child develops at their own pace. If you have concerns, consult your pediatrician.
Calming Your Crying Baby
It’s normal for newborns to cry up to 3 hours per day. Hunger, discomfort, overstimulation, and fatigue are all common triggers. Attempt the five S’s: swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking. Sometimes a warm bath, lullaby, or ride in a stroller does the trick. Stay calm and be patient. Crying typically peaks around 6-8 weeks and then improves.
FAQs About Newborn Baby
Q: How often should I feed my newborn baby?
A: Newborns need to be fed every 1-3 hours, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Feed on demand when your baby shows signs of hunger such as rooting, sucking, or putting hands to mouth.
Q: How much should a newborn sleep?
A: Expect your newborn to sleep 14-17 hours per day, including both nighttime sleep and naps. Newborns typically sleep 2-4 hours at a time. Proper swaddling and white noise can help promote longer stretches of sleep.
Q: What is the best way to swaddle my newborn?
A: Place baby on their back and wrap the swaddle firmly over their arms and middle. Make sure it’s tight enough to contain movements but allows some leg motion. Stop swaddling once baby shows signs of trying to roll over.
Q: How do I know if my newborn is getting enough nutrition?
A: Monitor their diaper output. Expect at least 1 wet diaper for every feeding and soiled diapers after each day of life (i.e. 3 on day 3). Track baby’s weight at pediatrician check-ups. Breastfed babies should gain 4-7 ounces per week.
Q: When does colic peak and how can I comfort a colicky baby?
A: Colic typically peaks around 6-8 weeks. Gently rock, shush, or swing baby using rhythmic motions. Take a walk outside, run a vacuum, or drive a car to provide white noise. Burp frequently and bicycle legs to ease any gas pain.
Q: What are signs my newborn is ready for sleep training?
A: Look for the ability to self-soothe, falling asleep independently, and long sleep stretches. Most experts recommend waiting until 4-6 months for formal sleep training to allow feedings and development to stabilize.
Q: How can I boost my milk supply when breastfeeding?
A: Nurse frequently, pump after feedings, stay hydrated, massaging breasts during nursing, avoid tight bras, get proper lactation support, and allow baby unlimited time at the breast to increase supply