During the first 10 days at home with your baby, some things will come very naturally to you, others may not. Here’s a quick guide for navigating you through the baby basics.
Your newborn may feel fragile and delicate to you, but don’t be afraid to touch, handle or hold your new baby! In fact, studies show that babies that are held more than 2 hours per day thrive better and cry less. Because your newborn’s neck muscles are not yet developed, you will need to support your newborn's head whenever you pick her up. You should also support her head against your shoulder or, with your opposite hand while carrying her.
Bathing your baby is one of the biggest challenges for a new mom. Learn how to give your baby a bath and make sure you have all of the bathing supplies ready before your baby arrives. You can use a gentle cleanser formulated for babies. If your baby has more hair, you might try a gentle shampoo. Don’t be afraid to gently wash the soft spots (called fontanels) on your baby's head.
Many first-time parents are surprised by how many diapers they go through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, store plenty of diapers before you bring your baby home. You can also consider cloth diapering, which is safe and eco-friendly.
Also, be prepared for nappy rashes as most children aged 0-2 years old develop diaper rash in some way. Read a pediatrician’s advice on how to deal with nappy rash.
Most babies cry for an average of 2 hours a day in the first 3 months. So while it may be disconcerting, it’s also normal. To comfort your baby, first try to determine the cause of your baby’s discomfort. Is your baby hungry? Does your baby have gas? Does your baby’s diaper need to be changed? Is it time for a nap? Is your baby overstimulated by noise, lights or activity?
To help soothe a sleepy or overstimulated baby, hold your baby on your shoulder while gently rocking her. Sing or speak softly to your baby—reassure her with a calm voice. It can also help to rub your baby’s back as you do so. Try different positions to find one that’s comfortable for both of you.
Healthcare professionals agree that nothing is better for your newborn baby than breast milk. Nutritionally speaking, it’s tailor-made for your infant. Seek help from a lactation consultant immediately if you face any issues. Always be sure to hold your baby while feeding. The cuddling that comes with nursing and feeding helps to build a strong, loving bond between you and your baby.
The way your baby sleeps changes as she grows. Newborns sleep a lot throughout the 24-hour day, waking up often throughout both day and night. Even so, you can still begin to develop a bedtime routine for your baby, even as early as 6 to 8 weeks.
Your baby doesn’t have much mobility in the first few weeks and may cry for help if she is lying uncomfortably in the crib. You can help your baby get comfortable by gently shifting your baby’s position. But for safety, always place your baby on her back for sleeping. Also try baby wearing, it has worked wonders for some mothers we know.
Multisensory experiences that are repetitive, consistent, predictable and nurturing can help your little one’s healthy development. So don’t worry so much if you’re doing things “right,” what matters most is that you spend a lot of time with your new little one, engaging her sense of touch and smell, helping the two of you bond, while nurturing her growth.