Becoming a parent can be an intimidating role to take on. If you haven’t thought about it already, it’s important to take some time to educate yourself on the basics of parenting. Even if your match doesn’t become a placement, understanding the fundamentals of infant care is crucial during your transition to parenthood.
Loving Your Child:
It is important to take time to bond with your newborn. Keep your newborn close to you and exercise skin to skin as much as possible. The skin to skin method will allow your newborn to become familiar with your scent, warmth, heartbeat, and voice. Baby wraps can be a great tool to use when exercising the skin to skin method with your baby. Another way to create this bond is to practice good eye contact. Keeping eye contact with your newborn will help them recognize you. In addition to recognition, your newborn will start to associate love, care, and protection with you during good eye contact.
Contrary to popular belief, adoptive mothers can breastfeed. A woman can breastfeed without ever having been pregnant or given birth. This concept is defined as a woman’s ability to induce lactation also known as, “adoption breastfeeding.” However, before breastfeeding, it is important to speak with your doctor and your newborn’s birth mother. A birth mother might view adoptive breastfeeding as offensive. They need to be recognized as the child’s biological mother and in some cases, adoptive breastfeeding would go against that. However, some birth mothers are accepting of the act. Having this discussion will help you to figure out what’s best for you and your newborn. If breastfeeding is not an option, formula is a perfect alternative. Again, speaking with a doctor about what kind they recommend can be beneficial in the beginning stage of purchasing formula. However, do not become panicked if the first formula you try isn’t working. It is normal to switch formulas until coming across the perfect match with your newborn. Tip: Reach out to different formula providers. Often when you reach out, they will send you formula coupons.
Since 1992, it has been recommended that infants be placed on their backs for sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age. Even though there is no way of knowing which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things that you can do to ensure your baby’s safety. Babies need to be placed on their backs to sleep in a safety-approved crib. Your baby cannot sleep in bed with you or with anyone else. Your baby’s sleep area should be next to where parents sleep. Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Some mothers worry that the baby will roll over during the night. However, by the time your baby can roll over by themselves, the risk for SIDS is much lower. During the time of greatest risk, 2 to 4 months of age, most babies are not able to turn over from their backs to their stomachs. Do not use a pillow when putting your baby to sleep. Do not cover the baby’s head with blankets. A good alternative to blankets for babies is a sleep sack. Your baby should not be over bundled, and the temperature of the room should be comfortable. Do not be alarmed if your baby’s sleep schedule is sporadic. Your newborn will spend the majority of their time sleeping, and their other time eating, especially in the first few weeks.
Your baby should have at least 6 wet diapers every 24 hours. However, the number of bowel movements your baby has may vary. Many bowel movements could occur, but at least one should happen every day. The stool may appear pasty, runny, seedy, mushy, green, yellow, or brown. That is all considered normal. However, if your baby’s belly is bloated or if the stool appears bloody or different from the stool described previously, contact your doctor.
Keep the cord clean and dry until it falls, which usually occurs after 10-14 days. If your newborn has an accident and gets messy with stool or urine, the cord can be cleaned using a cotton ball/ cotton swab with alcohol to avoid infection.
Babies only need a bath 2-3 times per week. To ensure this, make sure you are keeping up with diaper changes and cleaning your baby’s spit-up. Do not give your baby a tub bath until after the umbilical cord has fallen out and the belly button looks normal. Until then, use a sponge or warm rag to bath your baby. Be gentle around the eyes of your baby using clear water. Do not use soap on their face.
Do not overdress your baby. The best way to dress your newborn in layers. A good guideline to follow is dressing your baby in one extra layer than what you would normally wear depending on the weather. Using this technique will ensure that heat is trapped between the layers of the clothing on your newborn. If your baby’s skin feels damp and warm, your baby is too warm and will be restless. Regarding sizing, newborns grow very fast. It is not uncommon for a 6-month-old baby to be wearing 9-12-month clothes.
Common Illnesses and Concerns:
Bringing home a newborn will keep you on your toes. Common illnesses that occur in newborns are colds, coughs, vomiting, and fevers. Skin irritations can also occur due to diaper rash. You know your baby best. If their symptoms aren’t going away or worsening, call your pediatrician for guidance. Common health concerns in babies can be skin conditions, jaundice, and feeding. Contact your healthcare provider if your baby has pale, cool, or blotchy skin, is not eating well, doesn’t produce enough wet or dirty diapers, has a high-pitched cry, has unusual swelling, smell, oozing, or bleeding, or performs forceful vomiting.
The key points for keeping your baby safe include two main points. The first key point includes how to hold your baby, ensuring safety standards, and attentiveness. When holding your baby, be sure to support their head. Make sure all of their baby equipment meets national safety standards. Lastly, never shake your baby and never leave your baby alone. The other key point of baby safety is abiding by the baby’s sleeping rules to reduce the risks of SIDS.
The relationship between your other children and your newborn is important. Introducing the idea as soon as possible can help this transition run smoother. Preparing your child by talking about what’s going on will help them adjust when your newborn is placed with you. Being as transparent as possible with your children has been a helpful tactful amongst many families.
You might feel trapped within your responsibilities. It’s important to make time for yourself. Take your parent’s offer up on babysitting, let your partner take a shift, let your trustworthy friends take the baby out for a few hours, etc. Taking some time for yourself is healthy and nothing to feel ashamed of. It will leave you coming back more refreshed and missing your newborn.
Your newborn is sweet and innocent and a lot of the things that they do, they cannot help. It’s important to cater to their needs because they do need your care. Discipline isn’t about punishment, but instead, it’s about setting a guideline. This can begin with differentiating between wants and needs. (4 – 7 months old) Your baby might be tugging at you and want to sleep with you, but he/she doesn’t need to. A tip for when your baby starts crawling, it is time to baby-proof the house. (7 – 12 months old) This is a smart safety precaution to take and will give your baby the freedom to crawl around. However, your baby doesn’t need the freedom to roam the entire house at a time. Making sure one or two rooms are completely baby-proofed will allow you to let them go. You won’t have to say “No” as much because you know they are in a safe spacious area. Learning how to switch gears can be another helpful trick. (12 – 18 months old) Babies have a very short attention span. Therefore, if your baby insists on trying to get into the dog food, try to switch gears with them. Invite them to play with a toy or to dance instead. They will most likely forget about the dog food.