You waited nine long months for baby to come, and now you are wondering what do you actually do with a newborn? Don’t worry, I was there once too as a new mom, and I had to do figure out how to take care of a newborn times two! It was not an easy feat to say the least.
Newborns are really pretty simple. They only do a few things: eat, sleep, pee, poop, and cry. In the first few days, that’s all you’ll get. No smiles or coos or laughs. Those don’t start to show up until around 6+ weeks. So enjoy any sleep smiles or gas/potty related smiles that may happen incidentally during the first few weeks, because you won’t see them in full force until later.
The key then to taking care of a newborn is meeting their needs, which means interpreting their cries and cues. The main concern for any new parent is to make baby stop crying, because the crying is their way of saying they need something. So, knowing how to care for a newborn is as simple as knowing what to do when a baby cries.
How to Take Care of a Newborn
(Or what to do when a newborn cries)
1. Make sure baby is fed.
Newborn babies need to eat often, about every 2-3 hours, no matter if they are formula-fed or breastfed. Let them drink until satisfied and they pull themselves away. If they aren’t drinking very much and are very sleepy, try to tickle their toes, or their cheek, or undress them first. A good feeding can help them sleep longer (and grow better).
After the feeding make sure to give them a good burping session, even if they are sleepy.
Know that a baby doesn’t need to be fed every time they cry or fuss though. Establishing a good routine to feedings from the beginning is important. Babies aren’t always hungry even with their small tummies.
2. Make sure baby has a clean diaper.
If the diaper feel full enough of pee or has poop in it, (which in the first few weeks you can always hear them doing!) then be sure to change them. Just make sure to wait at least 5 minutes after you hear that first initial blow or you may be greeted with a poo shower during the diaper change.
When changing diapers, you don’t need to use a baby wipe for diapers that only have pee in them. You’re just added more moisture to their bottom and throwing money away. They don’t need to be wiped for pee.
But, when they poop, be sure to wipe really well, getting in all those lovely chunky folds and flaps (especially for females). Then be sure to use a no-mess and easy to apply diaper rash cream like the one made by Aquaphor. It’s proven to relieve diaper rash within six hours of application and protect babies’ sensitive skin from irritation throughout the night.
Veteran moms know that nasty diaper rashes are one of those things that will make you cry about as hard as your baby. It’s terrible. Get Aquaphor diaper rash cream and protect your baby’s bum. They’ll love you for it and love Aquaphor too.
3. Make sure baby is comfortable.
Sometimes a baby cries because they aren’t comfortable. Make sure they aren’t wrapped up too tight, nothing is pinching them (like a car seat buckle or snap on piece of clothing). Gauge how warm or cold they are and make sure baby is warm enough, but not super bundled as then they’ll sweat and develop a heat rash. You may even want to make sure there aren’t stray hairs wrapped around their toes. Babies can also cry when it’s too loud or there is too much stimuli. Take them to a dark, quiet area instead.
4. Swaddle the baby.
Newborns are kinda used to being cocooned in warmth in their mom’s womb. Swaddling is a great way to calm a baby down, especially when they are crying because they are tired. My husband and I were given these larger baby blankets and we love wrapping them up tight in them, and eventually literally rolling them up in the blanket to keep their arms down by their sides. Swaddling helps babies sleep!
5. Try different positions.
Sometimes babies get gassy, even with a good burping. Try holding them facing outward, holding your arm gently, but firmly against their belly, against your body. Or lay them along the top of your forearm, with the heel of your palm in their belly a little bit. Both positions help with moving gas along and calming crying babies.
6. Play with baby.
Okay, newborns don’t really play, but they love to look at mom! I have found most babies love to rest on your legs (bent at 45 degrees or flat), looking at you as you talk to them, sing to them, stroke their faces and arms. It’s a great time to bond with baby, telling the little one that you are their mommy and that you love them, and what their name is.
7. Pick baby up and snuggle.
Sometimes babies just want you, their parent, and they just want to be held. Enjoy the snuggle time. I particularly love nuzzling my nose in the crevice of their neck. Mmmmm.
8. Give baby a pacifier
Some people hate these, and that’s okay. But, pacifiers can sure help end some of the crying. Or at least give you some time until you better address their needs (like if you are driving in a car and can’t feed them yet and they are hungry). And pacifiers help baby drift to sleep.
9. Walk around with them
Babies know when you are standing and when you are not, unfortunately. So even if you are holding them in the exact same position while standing as you are now sitting, they know, and they don’t like it. Babies often enjoy being swayed, rocked, bounced, and walked around the house as you hold them.
10. Let baby fuss (a little).
During the night when you hear your baby start to cry, your first thought is always to jump up and get them. However, if you let baby fuss and cry a little, they will sometimes just go back to sleep. If the crying gets louder, more intense, or more consistent, then go get your baby and take care of them. But, if it’s a little “waah” and fuss and then nothing, let them continue to lie down until they are really ready to wake up and be tended to. This is why it’s helpful to have a video baby monitor – you can see if baby is really waking up or just giving out a little cry for a moment and falling back asleep.
From now until October 3, 2015 at midnight EST you can enter to win an Aquaphor Giveaway basket valued at approximately $35 that will include the following items (will not be exactly the same as pictured above):
- One Aquaphor Diaper Rash Cream
- One Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo
- One Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment Jar
- Two Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment .35 oz tubes
- One Aquaphor Baby brag book
Compensation was provided by Aquaphor via MomTrends Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Aquaphor or Momtrends Media.