In the first days after delivery every new mom should have access to support and advice due to the difficulties in maintaining the normality and preventing some complications. All pregnant women should get counsel regarding baby's care during the antenatal period itself, to help them being mentally prepared to take care of their child after birth. It is important that during the time mothers stay in the hospital that they get to know their child, that they rest and get to know what care to give to their baby and what to do if the baby is not well. Health care providers should help mothers during this crucial time period especially if they are dealing with first time moms. Your baby's everyday care refers to the care needed to all new born babies after the first few hours of birth and they must be continued when mother and child are at home. The main areas of baby's everyday care should be breastfeeding, hygiene, warmth and cord care.
In the first few days after birth, only a small amount of thick yellow milk, also known as colostrum, is segregated. This small amount is sufficient for a normal baby in the first two days and all mother should have in mind the importance of giving colostrum to their babies. Gradually the amount of milk will increase.. For the first six months your baby will be enough to be fed with breast milk or formula. Don't give your baby any juice, water or sugar-water and electrolyte drinks unless your doctor says so. Cow's milk should not be given to your baby too until he has one year old. One of the important choices you will need to make is whether to give your baby breast milk or formula. It is good to get the facts as you decide. The choice is very personal and should be one that works best for you and your baby. Breastfeed any time your baby seems hungry.
You do not need to wait for crying. Babies often need to nurse 8 to 12 times each day for the first week or two. If your baby is very sleepy, you
will need to wake them up at least every 4 hours to nurse. To show they are ready to nurse, babies may wake up and fuss, move their head around to find your breast (rooting) and suck on their hands or smack their lips.
Burping your baby
When you feed your baby he will swallow some air. Air bubbles form in your baby's tummy and he will start fussing. You can help him pass that air. If your baby is breastfed, burp him before switching breast and at the end of each feeding. If you are bottle feeding, stop for a burping break halfway through the feeding time. There are three good positions for burping a baby. Try which one works best for you and your baby.
1. The shoulder burp - hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby's head and back while you gently pat his or her back with your other hand.
2. The sitting burp - sit your baby on your lap. Support you baby’s chest and head with one hand and gently rub his or her back with the other.
3. The lap burp - lay your baby on your lap with his or her back facing up. Support your baby’s head in the crook of your arm and gently pat or rub his or her back.
Diapering your baby
If you have never changed a diaper be prepared because newborns will go through 10 to 12 diapers a day. Initially, you may feel clumsy diapering, but as with any new skill, you’ll get better with practice. Here are some tips:
1. Have the necessary items within easy reach.
2. If you use a changing table, it should be sturdy and have a safety strap. Also be sure it has plenty of room to contain all the items you need to change your baby. Even with a safety strap, you should never turn your back while changing the baby.
3. Gently and thoroughly clean the skin.
• Girls: Wipe the genitals from front to back. For the first 4 weeks after birth, it’s not unusual for girls to have a white, milky discharge that may or may not be tinged with blood.
• Boys: Clean under the scrotum. Do not push or pull the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis.
4. If you use cloth diapers, watch out for open safety pins. Always point them outward, away from the baby.
5. Baby powder may smell good, but it can irritate your baby’s lungs. If can also irritate the broken skin of a diaper rash. See page 17 for tips for preventing and treating diaper rash.
For the first year of life, your baby will only need to be bathed every 2-3 days. Until your newborn’s umbilical stump falls off , you can keep your baby squeaky-clean with sponge baths. There is no one right way to bathe a baby, but there are some basic guidelines to follow.
How to give a sponge bath:
- The room should be warm (about 75º F) and keep your baby covered with a towel. Uncover only one area at a time.
- Start with the baby’s face: use one moistened cotton ball to wipe each eye from the inner corner to the outer corner. Then wash the rest of the baby’s face with a soft, moist washcloth. Also clean the outside folds of the ears.
- Wash the baby’s head with a shampoo on a washcloth, create a lather and rinse.
- Add a small amount of baby soap to the water or washcloth and gently bathe the rest of the baby from the neck down. Rinse with a clean washcloth or a small cup of water. Be sure to avoid getting the umbilical cord wet.
- Pay special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck and the genital area. After washing these areas, make sure they are dry. Then you can diaper and dress your baby.
The bathtub bath has the same basic rules, the difference is that your baby will be naked for the entire bath and will be submerged in warm water. You'll still need to support your child's back and neck. Always keep on hand on the baby even if the tud is designed to support the baby.
When the baby be able to sit up on his own with no great effort you can move him to a full-size tub.