Newborn Baby Care Tips: Getting Through The First 30 days
- Newborn babies are constantly sensing the world around them and processing this information.
- To survive and protect themselves, babies have a set of reflexes that are a part of their behavior naturally.
- Newborns sleep for about 14 to 17 hours a day or more.
- It is normal for babies to poop five to six times a day.
- Letting your baby be diaper-free for some part of the day can help the skin get some air.
- It’s important to place babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Ever since you saw the positive line on that pregnancy test, you’ve dreamt of this day! However, the first few weeks of a newborn’s life involve a lot of adjusting. Newborn babies are constantly sensing the world around them and processing this information in their tiny heads.
Other than that, their life is pretty simple and focuses mainly on feeding, sleeping, and feeling the cuddles and love we offer. The newborn might be having a comfortable time but it’s the parents who need to buckle up to make this experience gentle for the baby.
Newborn care involves a lot of things. They need special attention so that they reach their newborn milestones. One of the foremost includes making a list. This newborn essentials list will have all the information needed to take care of your little one. Gripe water for newborn, diapers and bathing items will all be on the list.
In this article, you will learn all about newborn baby care in the first month and the child’s development, ways to make things more comfortable for the baby, health and newborn baby care tips, and a lot more.
Welcoming your newborn
Caring for your one-month-old baby can be challenging. Being a mother, the pains of a C-section or natural labor will be persistent during the first month. The responsibilities of looking after your baby might feel overwhelming. During this time, staying strong as a couple and bringing in the team spirit can help.
As parents, it is your responsibility to give your newborn the best care possible. Making the surroundings baby-friendly, maintaining hygiene, and religiously following a healthy feeding and sleep routine are the basics of welcoming your newborn into your home.
Read on to learn all about childcare during the first month of birth.
Important changes during the 1st month
To understand details of the newborn care in the 1st month, it is important to first understand the changes that they will be going through.
Here are some important changes that you must be mindful of.
The baby’s appearance
We see picture-perfect newborn babies in movies and posters all the time. They are far from reality as newborn babies don’t emerge from the womb looking like that. It can take months for your newborn to turn into the chubby and soft-looking cutie that you might be expecting.
Newborns might have flaky skin that is yet to develop, the umbilical cord that is yet to fall off and heal, and other such features that will slowly take better form over time.
It is advisable to ask your doctor about any of your concerns regarding your baby’s appearance or any bodily function.
A newborn’s reflex actions
To survive and protect themselves, babies have a set of reflexes that are a part of their behavior naturally. These instincts help them to navigate in their surroundings.
Some of these early reflexes include the rooting reflex (that helps them locate the breast or bottle for feeding), the sucking reflex (to help them eat), the Palmar reflex (that makes them grip your finger when you put it in their palm) and the Moro reflex (the jumpy reaction they have when startled).
You can note these reflexes as and when you see them in your newborn just to be safe. You can also consult your doctor to know more about these reflexes.
The senses of a newborn
Your newborn is born with all its senses intact in normal cases. These senses will continue to mature and progress as the baby matures.
- Vision: A newborn baby has swollen eyes post birth due to delivery or due to the antibiotic ointment that is administered. The baby's vision might be a little blurry and yet they can see close-up faces and objects around them. You may also notice that the baby's eyes sometimes cross. That’s because the muscles that control eye movement aren’t yet fully developed and that is nothing to worry about.
- Hearing: Though the hearing is not fully developed, the baby can hear your voice and get familiar with it over time.
- Taste: Newborns can differentiate between sweet and bitter. They develop a preference for sweet taste due to the initial feeding of breast milk and formula.
- Smell: Your child recognizes your scent even in the initial days as this sense is strongly developed in newborns.
- Touch: It is one of the most strongly developed senses and lets your baby feel your love in the form of kisses, cuddles, and the warmth of your body when you hold them.
The baby’s body is pretty curled up inside the mother’s womb. Their hands are in little fists, and the arms and legs are tucked close to the body. There is nothing to worry about as it will relax slowly in the next few weeks as the baby begins to show more movement.
Swollen sex organs
There is no need to worry about the swollen scrotum on your baby boy or the swollen labia on your baby girl. It’s normal and temporary due to hormones circulating in your newborn’s body. This swelling should go away within a week or two.
Early weight loss
Do not be surprised if your child drops some weight in the initial five days of being born. This is due to normal post-delivery fluid loss. This weight loss is about 5 to 10 percent. After losing some weight, your newborn will gain weight in the coming two weeks.
Newborn babies sleep a lot and wake up only to feed. They can sleep for about 14 to 17 hours a day or more. Breastfed babies need to be fed every two to three hours, whereas formula-fed babies eat every two to four hours.
Sleep in newborns is essential for the development of their brains and overall growth. A newborn's body is constantly connecting and developing while sleeping. Long sleeping hours are normal and not a worrisome issue in newborns.
Babies feed up to 12 times or more in 24 hours. This is responsible for their incredible growth, both physical and mental during the first month of birth.
If your baby is gaining weight, dirtying 5–12 diapers every day, and seems happy, then they are probably getting enough food for optimum development.
You can try pumping breast milk into a bottle so that your partner can also help in feeding the baby several times a day.
Tracking dirty diapers
The poop of a newborn can range from black and sticky to green and brown before it transitions into normal baby poop that is mustard yellow.
Regular baby poop can be seedy or pasty and it is normal for them to poop five to six times a day. While cleaning your baby's behind, it is advised to use wet cotton balls or wet wipes and clean gently.
Tips to take care of a newborn baby
Now that we are all caught up on what to expect in the first month of your newborn’s birth, here are some gentle tips on how to take care of a newborn baby. It can even help you to form better connections with your baby.
1. Love connection
This is one of the most beautiful parts of childcare wherein you get to fall in love with your newborn baby. Forming connections by being in close contact with the baby can promote a deep emotional connection.
This emotional connection between the baby and its parents can positively influence its growth and well-being. Cradling your baby, letting them experience the skin-to-skin touch, and stroking them in different patterns can help in forming a strong love connection with your baby.
2. Bathing essentials
It is essential to bathe your newborn at least two to three times a week. Applying baby oil can help their skin develop better. Using a mild and hydrating soap or shampoo for bathing can help. Using mild lukewarm water for bathing can relax the baby.
Using a soft brush to brush the baby’s head can help stimulate hair follicles. Frequent bathing may dry out the baby’s skin so avoid doing it. Use a clean towel to clean your baby. Using baby powder on the baby’s skin can help keep the baby clean and dry.
3. Diaper basics
A newborn might dirty the diapers almost 10 times a day. Cloth diapers are more breathable and disposable diapers can help you during outings. It is important to change your baby’s diaper meticulously to avoid any infection. Use diaper wipes to clean your baby’s potty area and use diaper ointment or baby powder to keep the area rash-free. Wash your baby’s diapers in dye-free and fragrance-free detergents. Letting your baby be diaper-free for some part of the day can help the skin get some air.
4. Swaddling for comfort
Swaddling a baby can help them feel secure and comfortable outside the womb. A baby spends nine months in the womb curled up with its arms close to its body and with little or no movement. They get habituated to this life and may need to be swaddled in the first month for comfort. Swaddling the baby helps them keep their arms closer to their body and permits little movement, which helps the baby feel secure.
5. Circumcision and umbilical cord care
The circumcised penis requires care in the beginning. It is usually coated with petroleum jelly and topped with cotton to prevent irritation or sticking to the diaper. This will slowly heal and get better. If redness or irritation occurs, it is important to contact the doctor immediately.
It might take around three weeks for the umbilical cord to shrivel and fall out. Do not force it and make sure you keep the area clean.
6. Burping for relief
Babies tend to swallow air while feeding which can lead to fussy behavior and even vomiting. Burping your baby can help them release the tension in their gut and be more comfortable. To burp your baby, try to gently tap them on their back while holding them against your chest. This can help them pass the air.
7. Good night’s sleep
It's important to place babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Other safe sleeping practices include not using blankets, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, and pillows in the crib as these can suffocate a baby while they sleep.
It is advised to share a bedroom but not a bed with the newborn for the first couple of months. Alternating the position of your baby's head from night to night can help prevent the development of a flat spot on the baby’s head.
8. Love Language
Your baby can recognize your voice. Talking and interacting with your baby every day can make them more receptive to your voice. It helps in the formation of deeper connections and understanding between the baby and the parents.
Ways to engage with your newborn
Spending time with your newborn is one of the most blissful experiences of parenthood. Here are some ways to do that.
1. Get playful
Play with your newborn even if they can’t engage much. Showing them bright-colored toys and talking to them can attract babies’ attention. They will turn their heads and respond to your actions. Showing them attractive shapes like animal figures, birds, fish, etc., can grab their attention.
2. Be talkative
Spending time talking to your newborn can seem silly but it is in reality a great activity for bonding. Addressing them by their name, telling them about your day, reading stories to them, and singing songs and lullabies to them can help form a stronger parent–child bond while encouraging the child to gurgle.
3. It’s fun to be silly
Making silly faces at your toddler, smiling wide, sticking your tongue out, funnily raising your eyebrows, and dressing up in colorful clothes are all ways to be playful around your baby. Slowly, they will be able to imitate various expressions and have fun.
4. Step outside
Strap your baby to a stroller or a carrier and take them outdoors. Gardens or open skies can help the baby observe many new things in nature and respond to different stimuli like the light and the wind.
These activities are great ways to get closer to your baby and expose them to various environmental stimuli.
The first 30 days after birth are pretty crucial for a newborn baby. The baby is going through constant changes and so are the parents. Newborn care is an important task that cannot entertain any setbacks. Being aware and mindful of the changes that a newborn undergoes can help the parents deal with them efficiently.
Being familiar with newborn baby care tips can help them be healthier and develop without any complications. Spending time with your little one in every way that you can, and ensuring they know your skin-to-skin touch and voice are some intimate ways to form a bond with your baby. This also ensures the optimum newborn baby care in the 1st month. All these activities will also help newborn milestones, such as smiling for the first time or grabbing your finger, to be reached faster.
Along with the emotional bond, you also need to be aware of their physical needs. Babies need to be burped after being fed so that they can pass gas easily. In case of colic, gripe water for the newborn will also be helpful. It is ideal to make a newborn essentials list, so you can tick off all the important tasks and responsibilities for each day.
We hope that after reading so far you’ve found the answer to your question on how to take care of a newborn baby.
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- Perez BP, et al. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.
- Bigelow AE, et al. Frontiers in Psychology. 2020:1921.
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