3. Prepare. At home, you’ll want to drop everything to feed the baby the moment she cries for you. But Heather O’Donnell, a mom in New York City, suggests taking care of yourself first. “Get a glass of water and a book or magazine to read.” And, because breastfeeding can take a while, she says, “pee first!”
17. Ask Dad to take time off from work — after all the relatives leave. That’s what Thad Calabrese, of Brooklyn, New York, did. “There was more for me to do, and I got some alone time with my son.”
If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if you’re breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough.
Your husband, who helped you through your pregnancy, may seem at a loss now that baby’s here. It’s up to you, Mom, to hand the baby over and let Dad figure things out, just like you’re doing.
If your baby tends to be gassy, has gastroesophageal reflux, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your little one after every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.
Parent-to-parent advice on feeding, soothing, and more during baby’s first days at home.
Undress your baby and then place him or her in the water immediately, in a warm room, to prevent chills. Make sure the water in the tub is no more than 2 to 3 inches deep, and that the water is no longer running in the tub. Use one of your hands to support the head and the other hand to guide the baby in feet-first. Speaking gently, slowly lower your baby up to the chest into the tub.
2. Bite the bullet and leave the precious newborn with a trusted baby sitter (grandparent?) as soon as possible while you go out for at least an hour. And accept all offers to change nappies. Christine, Milton Keynes
Next, using baby shampoo, create a lather and gently wash your baby’s head and rinse. Using a wet cloth and soap, gently wash the rest of the baby, paying special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck, and in the genital area. Once you have washed those areas, make sure they are dry and then diaper and dress your baby.
For in-home help, you might want to hire a baby nurse, postpartum doula, or a responsible neighborhood teen to help you for a short time after the birth. Your doctor or the hospital can help you find information about in-home help, and might make a referral to home health agencies.
Begin bonding by cradling your baby and gently stroking him or her in different patterns. Both you and your partner can also take the opportunity to be “skin-to-skin,” holding your newborn against your own skin while feeding or cradling.
8. Take shifts. One night it’s Mom’s turn to rock the cranky baby, the next it’s Dad’s turn. Amy Reichardt and her husband, Richard, parents in Denver, worked out a system for the weekends, when Richard was off from work. “I’d be up with the baby at night but got to sleep in. Richard did all the morning care, then got to nap later.”
Umbilical cord care in newborns is also important. Some doctors suggest swabbing the area with rubbing alcohol until the cord stump dries up and falls off, usually in 10 days to 3 weeks, but others recommend leaving the area alone. Talk to your child’s doctor to see what he or she prefers.
2. Your life for the next two years will feel similar to a constant hangover. Don’t worry, go with it, even try to enjoy it – it will get better. Don’t listen to the advice gurus that use the principles of puppy training… the ones where you have to open the nursery curtains at 8.23am every day. Respond to your baby’s needs when required and give them all the love you can manage through your constant hangover. Social life? Forget it. Gilly Beddows, Manchester
Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your baby. Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
Support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down. Never shake your newborn, whether in play or in frustration.
Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking — instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on a cheek. Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller, or car seat.
Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy. Remember that your newborn is not ready for rough play, such as being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air. Bonding and Soothing
1. Avoid giving your toddler pineapple juice to drink. It has a spectacularly disgusting effect on their digestive systems because of the enzymes it contains. John Locke, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10–15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding, your baby will most likely take about 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) at each feeding.
Throughout the bath, regularly pour water gently over your baby’s body so he or she doesn’t get cold. After the bath, wrap your baby in a towel immediately, making sure to cover his or her head. Baby towels with hoods are great for keeping a freshly washed baby warm.
3. No-one on their death bed ever said “I wish I spent more time in the office” – don’t regret placing your children above your career. Secondly, loving your children is not equivalent to letting them do/get whatever they want. Think long-term – the goal is for them to be responsible contributing members of society who know they are loved by their parents. John Lee, Witney, UK
12. Play tunes. Forget the dubious theory that music makes a baby smarter, and concentrate on the fact that it’s likely to calm him. “The Baby Einstein tapes saved us,” says Kim Rich, a mom in Anchorage, Alaska.
Immediately after circumcision, the tip of the penis is usually covered with gauze coated with petroleum jelly to keep the wound from sticking to the diaper. Gently wipe the tip clean with warm water after a diaper change, then apply petroleum jelly to the tip so it doesn’t stick to the diaper. Redness or irritation of the penis should heal within a few days, but if the redness or swelling increases or if pus-filled blisters form, infection may be present and you should call your baby’s doctor immediately.
If your infant isn’t eating, he’s probably sleeping. Newborns log as many as 16 hours of sleep a day but only in short bursts. The result: You’ll feel on constant alert and more exhausted than you ever thought possible. Even the best of us can come to resent the severe sleep deprivation.
The original piece included the problem of “unbearably competent (borderline patronising) friends” and people who endlessly drone on about how parenting is “better in France”.
Babies eat and eat and eat. Although nature has done a pretty good job of providing you and your baby with the right equipment, in the beginning it’s almost guaranteed to be harder than you expected. From sore nipples to tough latch-ons, nursing can seem overwhelming.
More on this topic for: Parents Pregnancy & Newborn CenterBurping Your BabyLooking at Your Newborn: What’s NormalBringing Your Baby HomeYour Child’s Checkup: NewbornFeeding Your NewbornMedical Care and Your NewbornLearning, Play, and Your NewbornYour Newborn’s GrowthBonding With Your BabyRecovering From DeliveryCommunication and Your NewbornSleep and NewbornsJaundice in Healthy NewbornsCircumcisionBreastfeeding vs.
Formula Feeding View more
Practical tips Image caption Ben’s top tip is hold a child side-on
Newborns typically sleep for periods of 2–4 hours. Don’t expect yours to sleep through the night — the digestive system of babies is so small that they need nourishment every few hours and should be awakened if they haven’t been fed for 4 hours (or more often if your doctor is concerned about weight gain).
5. A decent first aid course (not just CPR but more detailed – burns, scalds, bandaging etc) can come in very handy. Kids have accidents, it’s just part of being a parent. The knowledge of how to deal with it helps keep you calm. Richy, Hawaii
Whether feeding your newborn by breast or a bottle, you may be stumped as to how often to do so. Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.
6. If you want baby to eventually take a bottle, introduce it after breastfeeding is established but before the 3-month mark. Many experts say 6 to 8 weeks is good, but “we started each of our kids on one bottle a day at 3 weeks,” says Jill Sizemore, a mom in Pendleton, Indiana.
22. Accept help from anyone who is nice — or naive — enough to offer. “If a neighbor wants to hold the baby while you shower, say yes!” says Jeanne Anzalone, a mom in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
Some babies can be unusually sensitive to touch, light, or sound, and might startle and cry easily, sleep less than expected, or turn their faces away when someone speaks or sings to them. If that’s the case with your baby, keep noise and light levels low to moderate.
Babies usually love vocal sounds, such as talking, babbling, singing, and cooing. Your baby will probably also love listening to music. Baby rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate your infant’s hearing. If your little one is being fussy, try singing, reciting poetry and nursery rhymes, or reading aloud as you sway or rock your baby gently in a chair.
As a new parent, you may be surprised to learn that your newborn, who seems to need you every minute of the day, actually sleeps about 16 hours or more!
3. Firstly and most importantly, give up all your cherished ideals. Such as believing that your child will never eat and watch TV; your children will never be given anything (bribed) to keep them quiet; you will always have time for your child and never fob them off; you will never compare them with other children; you will never be competitive about them; you will never wonder what it would have been like to remain childless; that all you want is for them to be happy; you will never wish you could have a minimalist, neat, tidy house; you will never resent having to always get up early because you can’t sleep with the squabbling, the toys banging or the singing. Once you’ve done this you will learn to love your kids for who they really are and enjoy them and realise that they really are one of the best things that happened to you. And when you are in your sixties and they ring you up for a chat, and you go out for a meal with them and they patiently listen to you reminisce on how you brought them up you don’t regret one minute of it all. Peter Marks, Chesterfield
9. The old adage “Sleep when your baby sleeps” really is the best advice. “Take naps together and go to bed early,” says Sarah Clark, a mom in Washington, D.C.
Spread out the receiving blanket, with one corner folded over slightly. Lay the baby face-up on the blanket with his or her head above the folded corner. Wrap the left corner over the body and tuck it beneath the back of the baby, going under the right arm.
Bring the bottom corner up over the baby’s feet and pull it toward the head, folding the fabric down if it gets close to the face. Be sure not to wrap too tightly around the hips. Hips and knees should be slightly bent and turned out.
Wrapping your baby too tightly may increase the chance of hip dysplasia. Wrap the right corner around the baby, and tuck it under the baby’s back on the left side, leaving only the neck and head exposed.
To make sure your baby is not wrapped too tight, make sure you can slip a hand between the blanket and your baby’s chest, which will allow comfortable breathing. Make sure, however, that the blanket is not so loose that it could become undone.
Babies should not be swaddled after they’re 2 months old. At this age, some babies can roll over while swaddled, which increases their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). All About Diapering
27. If you’re on your own, “stick to places likely to welcome a baby, such as story hour at a library or bookstore,” suggests Christin Gauss, a mom in Fishers, Indiana.
14. You’ll need other tricks, too. “Doing deep knee bends and lunges while holding my daughter calmed her down,” says Emily Earle, a mom in Brooklyn, New York. “And the upside was, I got my legs back in shape!”
Help… Image caption Christine used to leave her children with their grandma
Image caption Annie, with Rosie, 5, and Eddie, 3, recommends supplies of chocolate
a soft, clean washcloth mild, unscented baby soap and shampoo a soft brush to stimulate the baby’s scalp towels or blankets a clean diaper clean clothes
Relatives and friends often want to help too. Even if you disagree on certain things, don’t dismiss their experience. But if you don’t feel up to having guests or you have other concerns, don’t feel guilty about placing restrictions on visitors.
Image caption John Whittington thinks parents should follow their instincts
Heather Swain is a mother and writer in Brooklyn, New York. Her novel is Luscious Lemon (Downtown Press).
You’ve gone through pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and now you’re ready to go home and begin life with your baby. Once home, though, you might feel like you have no idea what you’re doing!
If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, their fragility may be intimidating. Here are a few basics to remember:
4. Buy some ear plugs and Nytol. Oliver and Danielle Reed, Warminster, England
BBC News Services On your mobile On your connected tv Get news alerts Contact BBC News
1. Men – please don’t assume that because we have the baby that we know what to do. We are in the same boat as you, with the same information and screaming baby. Work together, don’t accuse each other. Sue, Folkestone, Kent
2. When my first child was born a friend gave me a warning: Everyone, including complete strangers, will give you advice (or “instructions” because they expect you to obey them) and they will be offended if you don’t accept their advice. His advice was the best I every received: Never argue – smile and say, “That is very interesting.” Then ignore the advice unless I actually agree with it. (NB Do not ignore the advice of a doctor or other health professional!) He was right. Never let other people bother you, or make you feel like a poor parent. Michel Hey, Derby, UK
29. Stash a spare. Holland Brown, a mom in Long Beach, California, always keeps a change of adult clothes in her diaper bag. “You don’t want to get stuck walking around with an adorable baby but mustard-colored poop all over you.”
Another good way to tell if your baby is getting milk is to notice if your breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s growth or feeding schedule.
For infants, the attachment contributes to their emotional growth, which also affects their development in other areas, such as physical growth. Another way to think of bonding is “falling in love” with your baby. Children thrive from having a parent or other adult in their life who loves them unconditionally.
Before diapering your baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your infant unattended on the changing table. You’ll need:
Swaddling, which works well for some babies during their first few weeks, is another soothing technique first-time parents should learn. Proper swaddling keeps a baby’s arms close to the body while allowing for some movement of the legs. Not only does swaddling keep a baby warm, but it seems to give most newborns a sense of security and comfort. Swaddling also may help limit the startle reflex, which can wake a baby.
4. Try a warm compress if your breasts are engorged or you have blocked ducts. A heating pad or a warm, wet washcloth works, but a flax pillow (often sold with natural beauty products) is even better. “Heat it in the microwave, and conform it to your breast,” says Laura Kriska, a mom in Brooklyn, New York.
It’s often hard to decipher exactly what baby wants in the first murky weeks. You’ll learn, of course, by trial and error.
3. Never underestimate the power of sleep deprivation. It can turn the most pleasant of persons into a raging psychopath. Craig Redmond
If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.
7. Stop obsessing about being tired. There’s only one goal right now: Care for your baby. “You’re not going to get a full night’s sleep, so you can either be tired and angry or just tired,” says Vicki Lansky, author of Getting Your Child to Sleep…and Back to Sleep (Book Peddlers). “Just tired is easier.”
5. Heat helps the milk flow, but if your breasts are sore after nursing, try a cold pack. Amy Hooker, a San Diego mom, says, “A bag of frozen peas worked really well for me.”
4. I have a three-year-old tornado and after pulling my hair out trying to keep my house, toddler and myself perfect, my friend gave me great advice. Don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as both you and your little ones are in clean-ish clothes (seriously unless they have covered head to toe in spaghetti sauce, a little ice lolly juice on their front is no worries), they are fed (always keep snacks on hand – fruit, jelly, yogurt, cheese), happy and healthy you are doing great as a parent. Samantha Browne, Las Vegas, US
Bonding, probably one of the most pleasurable parts of infant care, happens during the sensitive time in the first hours and days after birth when parents make a deep connection with their infant. Physical closeness can promote an emotional connection.
4. Keep a box of tissues handy in every room to mop up nasty spillages. If they offer, let your visitors make tea for you. David Walker, Kent, England
If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, change the baby’s position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over, then keep him or her in an upright position for at least 10–15 minutes to avoid spitting up.
2. Buy a drop-sided cot for your first child so that you can still reach in to get them out when you are pregnant with the next (assuming having the first hasn’t put you off). Marian Campbell, Pill, North Somerset
Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you’ll develop a routine and be parenting like a pro! If you have questions or concerns, ask your doctor to recommend resources that can help you and your baby grow together.
These tips can help even the most nervous first-time parents feel confident about caring for a newborn in no time.
4. Prioritise time alone with your baby over everything else in the early days, trust your instincts, and remember that most problems can be solved with breast milk (for baby) and chocolate (for mummy). Annie, Suffolk, UK
Be realistic Image caption Louise McKinney thinks it’s important to be realistic about how life changing children can be
3. Put a clock with a very loud ticking sound close to baby to simulate the sound of the mother’s heartbeat. Breege O Neill, Drogheda, Ireland
Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. To help prevent this, burp your baby often. Try burping your baby every 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.
Tub baths. When your baby is ready for tub baths, the first baths should be gentle and brief. If he or she becomes upset, go back to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the bath again.
24. But don’t give other people the small jobs. “Changing a diaper takes two minutes. You’ll need others to do time-consuming work like cooking, sweeping floors, and buying diapers,” says Catherine Park, a Cleveland mom.
5. There are only two things any new parent needs to know: a) it’s fine to make mistakes as your child will be OK, b) buy a tumble dryer. James Parry, London, UK
You’ll probably decide before you bring your baby home whether you’ll use cloth or disposable diapers. Whichever you use, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week.
5. Those who truly understand what you are going through as a new parent will not offer advice but empathy, a meal, and/or respite from your new bundle of joy in order for you to get a nap. Valerie, Cleveland, US
1. Love them a lot. Keep one end clean and the other fed. Everything else is optional. Seriously though, even as a grandmother of five, I try not to offer unsolicited advice. I have sometimes discussed parenting with my offspring, but I generally try and do it in an uncritical fashion. They do some things differently to the way I did, but they’ve also sometimes said “that’s a good idea!” The little ones are happy and cared for. That’s the main thing. Caroline, Rochester, UK
4. When we had our first child, I bought a magazine with a free book by a well-known doctor. I read it carefully, thinking it would be all my answers, but all it did was explain what hard work boys are (we had had a son). After what had been a traumatic birth and first two weeks it had me in pieces. My husband took the book, tore it in half and threw it out of the bedroom window. It stayed in the flower bed for about two weeks – it was the best thing he could do and it felt like a weight was lifted. Baby number two, I didn’t read a thing and we did it our way. It was much better and child number two is far more relaxed. Freckle, Freshwater, Isle of Wight
an infant tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm — not hot! — water (to test the water temperature, feel the water with the inside of your elbow or wrist). An infant tub is a plastic tub that can fit in the bathtub; it’s a better size for babies and makes bathing easier to manage.
Babies, especially premature babies and those with medical problems, may respond to infant massage. Certain types of massage may enhance bonding and help with infant growth and development. Many books and videos cover infant massage — ask your doctor for recommendations. Be careful, however — babies are not as strong as adults, so massage your baby gently.
1. When pregnant and you hear yourself say “this baby is going to fit in to our life and we’ll carry on as normal”. Don’t believe a word of it. Louise McKinney, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby’s head and back while gently patting the back with your other hand. Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby’s chest and head with one hand by cradling your baby’s chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest (be careful to grip your baby’s chin — not throat).
Use the other hand to gently pat your baby’s back. Lay your baby face-down on your lap. Support your baby’s head, making sure it’s higher than his or her chest, and gently pat or rub his or her back.
16. Let him be. Many first-time dads hesitate to get involved for fear of doing something wrong and incurring the wrath of Mom. “Moms need to allow their husbands to make mistakes without criticizing them,” says Armin Brott, author of The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (Abbeville Press).
15. Soak to soothe. If all else fails — and baby’s umbilical cord stub has fallen off — try a warm bath together. “You’ll relax, too, and a relaxed mommy can calm a baby,” says Emily Franklin, a Boston mom.
The Magazine’s recent piece on irritating advice for parents – ahead of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child – prompted lots of readers to email examples of good and bad practice.
Sponge baths. For a sponge bath, select a safe, flat surface (such as a changing table, floor, or counter) in a warm room. Fill a sink, if nearby, or bowl with warm (not hot!) water. Undress your baby and wrap him or her in a towel. Wipe your infant’s eyes with a washcloth (or a clean cotton ball) dampened with water only, starting with one eye and wiping from the inner corner to the outer corner. Use a clean corner of the washcloth or another cotton ball to wash the other eye. Clean your baby’s nose and ears with the damp washcloth. Then wet the cloth again and, using a little soap, wash his or her face gently and pat it dry.
5. Advice to new parents – make sure that when choosing a new T-shirt (after the birth of your child) that it will be long enough to cover your posterior (whilst bent over) and when covering your nose. This is essential, as the T-shirt-over-nose helps avoid some of the more ripe nappy-pongs and the extra length avoids builders’ bum when bending over. Mike Powell, Havant, England
Wise words? Image caption Father-of-four John Lee on the importance of leaving the office on time
A bath two or three times a week in the first year is fine. More frequent bathing may be drying to the skin.
28. “Keep your diaper bag packed,” says Fran Bowen, a mom in Brooklyn. There’s nothing worse than finally getting the baby ready, only to find that you’re not.
5. The best advice? Ignore all the other advice. Ask the questions you want answers to, follow your instincts and ignore all unsolicited advice. John Whittington, Stoke, UK
Many newborns have their days and nights “mixed up.” They tend to be more awake and alert at night, and more sleepy during the day. One way to help them is to keep stimulation at night to a minimum. Keep the lights low, such as by using a nightlight. Reserve talking and playing with your baby for the daytime. When your baby wakes up during the day, try to keep him or her awake a little longer by talking and playing.
Use a washcloth to wash his or her face and hair. Gently massage your baby’s scalp with the pads of your fingers or a soft baby hairbrush, including the area over the fontanelles (soft spots) on the top of the head. When you rinse the soap or shampoo from your baby’s head, cup your hand across the forehead so the suds run toward the sides and soap doesn’t get into the eyes. Gently wash the rest of your baby’s body with water and a small amount of soap.
Diaper rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.
1. The best advice I can give for those new parents on the receiving end of unwanted advice is to smile sweetly, nod politely and go and do things exactly how you want to. Mum knows best. Mandy, Middlesbrough, England
13. Warm things up. Alexandra Komisaruk, a mom in Los Angeles, found that diaper changes triggered a meltdown. “I made warm wipes using paper towels and a pumpable thermos of warm water,” she says. You can also buy an electric wipe warmer for a sensitive baby.
2. Use hospital resources. Kira Sexton, a Brooklyn, New York, mom, says, “I learned everything I could about breastfeeding before I left the hospital.” Ask if there’s a nursing class or a lactation consultant on staff. Push the nurse-call button each time you’re ready to feed the baby, and ask a nurse to spot you and offer advice.
3. Befriend your neighbours – just so they are not inclined to call social services when the noise (screams/tears etc from parent and child) gets a little excessive through the walls. And remember that what goes on indoors, stays indoors – try to appear cheery and in control when you step outside your front door. Elizabeth Howat, London
It’s important to always 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 or bassinet (these can suffocate a baby); and sharing a bedroom (but not a bed) with the parents for the first 6 months to 1 year. Also be sure to alternate the position of your baby’s head from night to night (first right, then left, and so on) to prevent the development of a flat spot on one side of the head.
4. This is not a competition. I had friends who were constantly boasting of their children’s achievements and I would worry if my daughter wasn’t doing the same. By the time she was two I had had enough of the boasting and realised that children do things in their own time. Ignore the bragging and the boasting. Deborah Kirwan-Devlin, Lymington, UK
An infant’s navel area shouldn’t be submerged in water until the cord stump falls off and the area is healed. Until it falls off, the cord stump will change color from yellow to brown or black — this is normal. Call your doctor if the navel area looks red or if a foul odor or discharge develops.
Do it your way Image caption Mother-of-four Mandy advises the “nod and smile” tactic
About 25 students were injured when unidentified youths assaulted demonstrators, reports say.
3. My boss gave me the best piece of advice when I was pregnant with my eldest and that was to ignore anything anyone says if they had a baby more than two years ago as they won’t remember it clearly. Stood me in good stead. Ali, Bristol, UK
When can you expect your baby to sleep through the night? Many babies sleep through the night (between 6–8 hours) at 3 months of age, but if yours doesn’t, it’s not a cause for concern. Like adults, babies must develop their own sleep patterns and cycles, so if your newborn is gaining weight and appears healthy, don’t despair if he or she hasn’t slept through the night at 3 months.
No matter how excited you are to be a mommy, the constant care an infant demands can drain you. Find ways to take care of yourself by lowering your expectations and stealing short breaks.
But below are 30 of the best bits of advice from readers to any new parent.
21. “Forget about housework for the first couple of months,” says Alison Mackonochie, author of 100 Tips for a Happy Baby (Barron’s). “Concentrate on getting to know your baby. If anyone has anything to say about the dust piling up or the unwashed dishes, smile and hand them a duster or the dish detergent!”
Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat. Call your baby’s doctor if you need to wake your newborn often or if your baby doesn’t seem interested in eating or sucking.
BBC Culture: The 30-year-old cult film too shocking for 2018?
2. When baby sleeps, you sleep. Housework can wait. Sam, England
20. First, ignore unwanted or confusing advice. “In the end, you’re the parents, so you decide what’s best,” says Julie Balis, a mom in Frankfort, Illinois.
23. Got lots of people who want to help but don’t know how? “Don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what you need,” says Abby Moskowitz, a Brooklyn mom. It’s one of the few times in your life when you’ll be able to order everyone around!
11. “The key to soothing fussy infants is to mimic the womb. Swaddling, shushing, and swinging, as well as allowing babies to suck and holding them on their sides, may trigger a calming reflex,” says Harvey Karp, MD, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block books, videos, and DVDs.
1. When you pick up a child hold them side-on. That way they can’t kick you in the groin. Also you can’t have too many muslin squares. The rest of it you can pick up as you go along. Advice honed from having four children. Ben Cronin, London
It’s been six weeks since our daughter, Clementine, was born. She’s finally sleeping better and going longer between feedings. She’s also becoming more alert when she’s awake. My husband and I, on the other hand, feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. I’m amazed that we’ve muddled through. Here are tips from seasoned parents and baby experts to make your first month easier.
18. Divvy up duties. Mark DiStefano, a dad in Los Angeles, took over the cleaning and grocery shopping. “I also took Ben for a bit each afternoon so my wife could have a little time to herself.”
While bathing your infant, never leave the baby alone. If you need to leave the bathroom, wrap the baby in a towel and take him or her with you.
2. Don’t wrap them in cotton wool as they grow up. Let them climb things, jump off things and generally play. Let them get dirty and don’t sterilise everything around them. They need contact with germs to build an immune system. Julian Pickering, Todmorden, Lancashire
Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after bowel movements. Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes sometimes can be irritating), then apply a very thick layer of diaper rash or “barrier” cream.
Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture. If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents. Let the baby go undiapered for part of the day.
This gives the skin a chance to air out.
What’s in this article?Getting Help After the BirthHandling a NewbornBonding and SoothingAll About DiaperingBathing BasicsCircumcision and Umbilical Cord CareFeeding and Burping Your BabySleeping Basics
Consider getting help during this time, which can be very hectic and overwhelming. While in the hospital, talk to the experts around you. Many hospitals have feeding specialists or lactation consultants who can help you get started nursing or bottle-feeding. Nurses also are a great resource to show you how to hold, burp, change, and care for your baby.
25. Reconnect. To keep yourself from feeling detached from the world, Jacqueline Kelly, a mom in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, suggests: “Get outside on your own, even for five minutes.”
If nothing else, remember that everyone makes it through, and so will you. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded with your baby’s first smile, and that will help make up for all the initial craziness.
After each bowel movement or if the diaper is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty diaper. Use the water, cotton balls, and washcloth or the wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI). To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper.
Image caption Father of two Mike Powell thinks a long T-shirt is an essential buy
10. What if your infant has trouble sleeping? Do whatever it takes: Nurse or rock baby to sleep; let your newborn fall asleep on your chest or in the car seat. “Don’t worry about bad habits yet. It’s about survival — yours!” says Jean Farnham, a Los Angeles mom.
19. Remember that Dad wants to do some fun stuff, too. “I used to take my shirt off and put the baby on my chest while we napped,” say Bob Vonnegut, a dad in Islamorada, Florida. “I loved the rhythm of our hearts beating together.”
26. Enlist backup. Make your first journey to a big, public place with a veteran mom. “Having my sister with me for support kept me from becoming flustered the first time I went shopping with my newborn,” says Suzanne Zook, a mom in Denver.
30. Finally, embrace the chaos. “Keep your plans simple and be prepared to abandon them at any time,” says Margi Weeks, a mom in Tarrytown, New York.
Image caption Samantha Browne, with Abby, 3, says “don’t sweat the small stuff”
the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely (1–4 weeks) the circumcision heals (1–2 weeks)
1. Women who seek help have a higher success rate. “Think of ways to ensure success before you even give birth,” suggests Stacey Brosnan, a lactation consultant in New York City. Talk with friends who had a good nursing experience, ask baby’s pediatrician for a lactation consultant’s number, or attend a La Leche League (nursing support group) meeting (see laleche.org to find one).
a clean diaper fasteners (if cloth prefold diapers are used) diaper ointment diaper wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)