During the first 10 days home with your baby, some things will come very naturally, others may not. To help you get off to a good start, we created this quick guide for navigating the baby basics.
First 10 Days
During the first 10 days, knowing how to take care of your newborn baby can make these days full of fun and excitement and lead to minimal stress.
Your new-born may feel fragile and delicate to you, but don’t be afraid to touch, handle or hold her! In fact, studies show that babies who are held for more than 2 hours per day thrive better and cry less. No baby care guide can be complete without this valuable advice!
Remember: Your newborn’s neck muscles are not yet developed, so you will need to support her head whenever you pick her up. You should also support her head against your shoulder or with your opposite hand while carrying her.
Baby care after birth invariably involves bathing your baby, which is one of the biggest challenges for a new mom. Learn how to give your baby a bath and make sure you have all of the bathing supplies ready before she arrives so you don’t have to miss out on a moment with your new little one. Go for a gentle cleanser formulated for babies. If your baby has more hair, you might try a gentle shampoo. Don’t be afraid to gently wash the soft spot (called fontanels) on your baby’s head.
How to Choose Products for Your Newborn
Parenting tips for babies are incomplete without guidelines on how to choose the right baby products. An ideal baby product should not be harsh on your baby’s skin or eyes, dry out your baby’s skin or disrupt the skin’s natural barrier. A baby product should be:
- Safe, gentle, mild: Safety is an understatement when you are dealing with skin as delicate as that of your baby’s. It is expected that any product which claims to be specifically a baby product would be safe for baby skin.
- It should be tested for allergies: Allergens are widespread which means that no substance can be said to be entirely free of any allergic reactions. However, for a product to be considered as a baby product, it must be tested and have proved negative for any allergic tendencies. In other words it must be “Clinically Proven Mild”.
Many first-time parents are surprised at how many diapers their baby goes through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, store plenty of diapers before you bring your baby home. It’s also helpful to learn how to change your baby’s diaper ahead of time (and even practice!).
Also, be prepared for nappy rashes as most children aged 0-2 years develop a diaper rash in some way. When you see the first sign of redness, apply a safe yet effective zinc oxide based cream on the diaper area.
Most babies cry for an average of 2 hours a day during the first 3 months. As shocking as it may be, it’s also normal.
To comfort your baby, first try to determine the cause of your baby’s discomfort. Is your baby hungry? Does she have gas? Does her diaper need changing? Is it time for a nap? Is your baby over-stimulated by noise, lights or activity? A host of simple tips on how to handle a newborn baby can help you manage the situation with minimal panic. Your natural motherly instincts will also come into play without you even noticing!
To help soothe a sleepy or over-stimulated baby, hold her on your shoulder while gently rocking her. Sing or speak softly to your baby—reassure her with your calm voice. Rubbing your baby’s back as you do so can also help calm her. Try different positions to find one that’s comfortable for both of you.
Something else to consider: Your baby doesn’t have much mobility in the first few weeks and may cry for help if she is lying uncomfortably in the crib. You can help your baby get comfortable by gently shifting her position. For safety though, always place your baby on her back while sleeping.
The First 10 Days Can Mean So Much More
By age three, 85% of your baby’s brain is developed; every experience leading up to this time helps to shape your baby’s brain. Multisensory experiences that are repetitive, consistent, predictable and nurturing can help your little one’s healthy development.
So don’t worry too much about whether you’re doing things “right”! What matters most is that you spend a lot of time with your new little one while engaging her sense of touch and smell, thus helping the two of you bond, while nurturing her growth.
Research has shown that massages can relax babies, improve their sleep patterns and calm them when they are irritable. Giving your baby a massage is also a great way to bond with her.
Many healthcare professionals agree that nothing is better for your newborn baby than breast milk. Nutritionally speaking, it’s tailor-made for your infant. Unfortunately, sometimes mothers cannot breastfeed, due to medical problems or other special circumstances. Consult your paediatrician on how to feed your newborn most effectively.
No matter how you decide to feed your baby, always be sure to hold your baby while feeding. The cuddling that comes with nursing and feeding helps in building a strong, loving bond between you and your baby.
Freshening your little one can be a great bonding experience after every bath and diaper change.
For those times when you’re out and about or when washing hands is simply not convenient, you can still comfortably keep your baby clean and fresh.
Your baby’s sleep patterns change as she grows up. Newborns sleep through a major part of the 24 hours, waking up often during both day and night. Even so, you can still begin to develop a bedtime routine for your baby from as early as 6 to 8 weeks. Read up about how to take care of baby after birth and plan her sleep routine accordingly!
As your baby grows up she starts to develop a more concrete night-time sleep routine with fewer daytime “naps.” You can help her with this by teaching her that night-time is for sleep, and not play.