Here we will see the first steps for mothers and fathers coping with his or her newborn, in the early days of life. Baby care tips can be found all along the website for taking good care of babies in later stages of life.
- Mothering and Fathering
Within minutes of birth, both parents may be encouraged to hold and nuzzle the newborn right in the delivery room-the first step ill tying the lifetime knot that unites child to mother and father.
This get acquainted time is important as well as enjoyable for all three of you. It may last a few minutes up to an hour, if the baby is in what doctors call the “quiet alert” phase. You’ll find your baby responds to touch, warmth, skin-contact, a soft voice and gentle handling. That’s why mothers the world over sing to their newborns and croon lullabies to them.
Don’t feel disappointed, though, if this idyllic first meeting doesn’t occur for you. Some babies are born sleepy, or if yours was a particularly difficult delivery, several hours may pass before you and your baby meet for the first time.
Doctors now agree that there is no critical period for parent-child bonding and that the lifetime: bond is just as strong if that first meeting is delayed for hours or even days even if the delay is for years, as in the case of adopted children.
Tender loving care comes naturally to most people, but some are more spontaneous about expressing it. Parents sometimes feel that newborns are very fragile and perhaps should be handled only gingerly or not at all. It’s true babies can’t support their heads at birth. That’s why you cradle yours in your arms but they’re surprisingly durable creatures who thrive on physical affection.
Some doctors believe that babies in institutions suffer most from lack of flesh-to-flesh contact, and other studies have shown that newborns prefer physical contact to food.
What Will My Baby Look Like?
Your newborn seven pounder will offer some clues at birth though not many to his or her appearance as an adult. The arrangement of facial features, the set of the eyes, the shape of the head usually won’t change drastically with the years.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Newborn Birth Certificate?
By law, your baby’s birth must be recorded with state authorities. It’s a simple procedure: A nurse or aide will visit your bedside and obtain pertinent data, including parents’ names, nationality, citizenship, and the child’s given name, length, and weight. Your obstetrician or attending physician signs the form to certify his or her presiding at the birth, and the application is filed, usually by computer, with the state central registry.
You’ll receive a certified copy of the document by mail, usually within a month. Always review it to be sure the information is correct, then store it in a safe place. A birth certificate is an important document in your child’s life. It’s required for enrolling at school, proving citizenship, and obtaining a passport, among other formalities.
If you lose it, fortunately, you usually can obtain a duplicate for’ a few dollars.
Newborn Screening Tests – Which Ones Your Baby will Have and Why?
About an hour after birth, the baby’s eyes were treated with silver nitrate or erythromycin. This treatment was compulsory in most states to prevent potential blindness if gonorrheal infection is present at birth. Nowadays this is rare.
Silver nitrate may cause the baby’s eyes to redden and swell, which is why the procedure now usually is delayed until the baby has passed the “quiet alert” phase (the first hour after birth). In all states, the baby also receives an injection of vitamin K, which aids blood clotting.
Some states also require other tests to detect several types of inborn defects of metabolism that can cause retardation and death if not detected. Any problems usually can be prevented with a treatment begun shortly after birth. These simple tests involve nothing more than obtaining a small blood sample from the baby’s heel for immediate testing.
Should the Baby Be Circumcised? How Many Baby Boys Get Circumcised in America?
For religious or other reasons, you may wish to have your baby boy circumcised. In this minor operation, the foreskin, or movable fold at the end of the penis, is trimmed away. The operation usually is performed within three days of birth.
- Circumcision has been practiced for centuries, and the majority of American male babies today are circumcised. But, religious strictures apart, circumcision’s medical value still is questioned.
Advocates maintain that circumcision helps to keep the penis clean and reduces the chance of infection; that it protects against cancer of the penis; that it lowers the risks of adult prostate cancer; and that women married to circumcised men have less cervical cancer than the general population. But these claims have largely been refuted.
In 1971, a committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, investigating circumcision, concluded there was “no valid medical indication for routine circumcision.” Four years later, the committee reviewed the subject and found no reason to change its original conclusion.
The 1975 report agreed that infection and penile cancer had been shown to be lower among circumcised boys in primitive populations. Teaching uncircumcised American boys to keep their penises clean avoided the risks of surgery and was as effective or nearly as effective, the committee reported.
The pediatricians found no convincing evidence that circumcision in infancy protected against prostate or cervical cancer decades later.
The committee said that circumcision should never be performed on premature babies, those with congenital defects, or those with known bleeding problems, and the committee advised that circumcision be delayed until the boy was at least 12 hours old.
- The committee suggested that parents discuss the topic with the physician in advance so a thoughtful decision could reached before delivery.
Changing the Baby Tips
A comfortable chair (many mothers and fathers prefer a rocking chair) allows you to feed the baby, nurse the baby, or just spend some relaxing moments together. A footstool placed nearby will keep your feet up. Add a small table beside the chair to place items needed for feeding.
A dressing table or other surface for changing the baby is not handy if the dresser top isn’t practical. It should be padded and moisture proof. A bassinet dressing table with convenient compartments below for diapers and clothing is nice but may be unnecessary expense. Make sure that whatever you choose is the height of your hip, so bending and lifting are easier.
- You’ll want a shaded lamp of night light so you can occasionally peek in at your sleeping baby without disturbing him or her.
A covered pail for soiled diapers may be kept in the nursery or bathroom. A diaper service, if you decide to use one, usually furnishes a deodorized container. If you launder diapers at home, buy a pail that will accept a standard size plastic bag for soiled diapers. Even if you do neither and use disposable diapers, a container should be used.
You should fasten the plastic bag securely before disposing of it in the garbage. The nursery also should have a hamper for soiled clothes and a wastebasket. And you’ll probably want some pictures, mobiles, or other decorations to catch the baby’s eye.
Bathing Newborn Baby at Home
Now is a good time to choose a place to bathe the baby. Using the bathtub for a newborn is neither convenient nor safe. It requires more water than necessary and you must kneel to use it, so that you are in an awkward position if the baby slips. Some parents use the kitchen sink or buy an oval-shaped plastic baby tub, big enough for the baby to kick and splash in. There’s also a type of tub, which can be deflated and stored between baths.
Buy a fitted sponge liner for the sink, available in most baby equipment stores. The sponge provides a soft cushion under the baby and reduces the possibility of slipping, allowing you to hold the child with one hand and wash with the other. It also serves as a nonskid surface for sponge baths. You can clean it periodically by washing in the top rack of the dishwasher. A large folded towel in the bottom of the sink also helps to steady the baby.
A small tray or basket is handy to keep all the bath articles together, so they can be carried from place to place.
- Here is a List of 7 Bath Necessities:
- Mild, pure soap. A castile based soap is least drying. Liquid soap in a bottle or tube is less wasteful.
- A soap dish or jar.
- Diaper pins with plastic heads. You may wish to use diaper clips, which are easier to open and close.
- Cotton balls.
- Soft, terry cloth washcloths – at least two.
- At least tour bath towels large enough to wrap the baby completely. Receiving blankets also may be substituted for towels.
- A bath apron. Babies will splash.
- Baby powders, lotions, oils, and creams are a matter of personal choice, but aren’t necessary. Powder may be dangerous because it can be drawn into the baby’s lungs, and cornstarch, sometimes used as a substitute, can be a medium for yeast infections. A baby’s skin is naturally soft. Adding oil or cream may prevent air from keeping skin dry and may pro mote rash.
You’ll want to stock a small medicine chest, including a rectal thermometer (a child’s temperature is taken rectally until the age of four) and a nasal aspirator with a two inch bulb. Most doctors discourage the use of cotton swabs to clear a baby’s nose and ears because the sticks may damage delicate membranes.
What to Do When Your Baby Cries and How to Soothe Them?
Babies have only one way to communicate at first: they cry. Your job is to interpret your baby’s cries and decide how to respond, if at all.
In time, translation will become second nature. You’ll earn to distinguish the tired cry, the hungry cry, the “I’m lonely someone come and pay attention to me” cry. But at first all cries may sound alike: what is that child crying about?
- Usually, a child cries because another feeding is in order. If the dock shows the baby hasn’t eaten in three or four hours, you almost can be sure the message is “Come feed me.”
When babies continue to cry after eating, it may mean they’re not getting enough to eat. If you’re breastfeeding, allow time for a longer feeding, or offer a supplementary bottle. If the baby is bottle fed, increase the amount.
Sometimes the cause of crying is obvious. It may be something as simple as a soiled diaper or the discomfort of diaper rash. A few babies cry at sudden change, or are startled by a loud noise. Some cry when they are too warm or too cold.
- Older babies may cry because they’re lonely. The infant, wanting to see faces and hear voices, may call for a visitor.
The cry seldom signals a real emergency. Despite parents’ fears, an open diaper pin is seldom the cause. A medical explanation is equally rare and is usually indicated by other signs, such as fever, decreased appetite, nasal congestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. Thus you seldom need to drop what you’re doing and respond to the baby’s cries. But don’t let crying continue for more than a few minutes without investigation.
For many of these babies, a daily “crying hour” develops, mostly in late afternoon, but sometimes in the morning or late at night. The baby often reddens, draws knees up to chest, and kicks and screams loudly. As each cry subsides, another begins. The length of the “crying hour” varies. Some normal infants cry six to seven hours a day.
This regular, persistent crying is sometimes called “colic,” because it was previously believed to result from intestinal cramping. Most doctors now doubt this explanation. It is based on the observation that “colicky” babies draw up their legs, distend their abdomens, and pass gas. But babies do this at other times, too.
Intolerance of formula is sometimes blamed for colic, but changing the ingredients seldom lessens crying. (And breast-fed babies cry, too.) Other theorists, noting that the crying hour often coincides with late afternoon when parents are likely to be most frazzled, attribute the baby’s crying to family emotional stress.
- Emotional stress may indeed exist when babies cry for hours on end, but it is difficult to determine which came first, crying or stress. Moreover, babies of experienced, calm parents are not immune from crying.
The most logical (and comforting) explanation for persistent crying is a developmental one. Babies cry because their nervous systems are still maturing. The regular daily pattern and the fact that the baby seems to “grow out of it” by the age of three months, no matter what steps are taken, supports this point.
It is further substantiated by folklore parents have known for centuries that soothing, rhythmic sounds and motions have a calming effect on a crying baby.
To soothe a crying baby, the first step is an age old one. Try rocking to and from in a rhythmic, tick-tock way. Holding the baby upright or semi sitting position seems to work.
However, no harm is done if you simply let the baby cry until he or she stops, as he or she eventually will. Persistent crying does no physical damage. That presupposes that you can tolerate it, and that it does not disturb the neighbors.
The “crying hour” can be a great strain for parents. It is normal and natural to feel frustrated and angry at a tiny child who continues to shriek hour after hour despite your most solicitous efforts. It is particularly difficult for a parent who is left alone with the child and calls for plenty of mutual support.
How Do I Know if My Newborn is Hungry?
Whether you feed by breast or bottle, baby’s meals will consume time. At an average of 30 minutes per session, you’ll devote three full hours to six or more daily feedings.
You won’t have difficulty recognizing when it’s time for a feeding. Even before the baby is fully awake, you’ll hear fussing a restless moving in the crib. Next will come a sucking, slurping noise as the baby tries to get fists into mouth and, succeeding, gnaws on them. Then there will be a tentative cry or two, the cries coming closer together until-if you wait long enough a series of lusty squalls will send the message in no uncertain terms.
Even if you’re fast asleep, your subconscious will pick up the baby’s signal. In fact, some nursing mothers say the baby’s first cries unconsciously start the milk let-down reflex.
Round the clock feedings usually continue for approximately one to three months. Then the baby may begin to sleep through one of the feedings, lengthening that particular nap to six or more hours. Your baby may be erratic for a time, missing a feeding, then reverting to the old schedule for a night or two, then missing it again.
- You may try to induce a longer sleep by providing an extra large feeding in the evening or by waking the baby for feedings during the day, so the rest at night is a longer one.