Preparing For Your First Baby

Preparing For Your First BabyPreparing for your first baby is a joyous occasion but it can also leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

If you are becoming a first-time parent, you are not alone in these feelings. The narrative around parenthood is that our instincts kick in and motivate us to know how to take care of our baby the moment they’re born.

However, more recently people are becoming more vocal about the fact that parenthood is more like “learning on the job”. You need guidance, instruction, and practice to perfect it.

Let’s take a look at this guide to prepare you for your first baby, get you feeling more confident and well-equipped as a new parent.

At Home Aftercare

Bringing your baby home from the hospital will feel chaotic in the beginning. There are many people at the hospital to help you, but once you are home, caring for your baby is up to you.

You may want to get some extra help during this hectic time. You can hire a baby nurse, a postpartum doula, or even a well-experienced sitter to assist you. Of course, not everyone can afford to hire professional help.

Consider a grandparent or other relatives to help you. Family members are often willing to help during this time. It gives you the assistance you need and it gives them a chance to bond with the new baby in the family.

Here are some ways to ensure proper aftercare for your first baby:

  • Start breastfeeding right away (if you choose to breastfeed)
  • Be ready to nurse on demand
  • Dedicate lots of “skin-to-skin” contact time from both you and your partner
  • Accept help from family
  • Dress your baby according to the temperature

It may seem like there is a lot to remember during the first few weeks as a new parent. It is normal to feel like this and with practice, you and your baby will create a symbiotic routine.

Holding and Handling Your New Baby

Holding your baby for the first time can be intimidating. They can seem incredibly fragile and difficult to “maneuver”. These helpful tips will come in handy when holding and handling your baby.

  • Ensure that your hands are clean before you take your baby into your arms
  • Do not shake your baby and or use sudden movements
  • Always support your baby’s neck and head
  • Securely fasten your baby in the stroller and car seat
  • Limit bouncy or rough activity

You should be as gentle as possible while holding your baby. At this time, your baby is not ready for rough play. Instead, you can gently tickle your baby’s feet or use affectionate facial expressions to interact with your baby.

Proper Newborn Hygiene

First-time parents often fret over even the smallest of changes in their baby’s bodily functions. There are many common conditions that newborns experience that are no cause for alarm.

These are some ways in which you can use proper hygiene and care for some of these conditions.

  • Wash your baby’s face with mild soap for red or blotchy facial skin
  • Use a moistened cotton ball for discharge or crusting in your baby’s eye
  • Limit hair washing to three times per week and use mild baby shampoo
  • Use a gentle baby brush to brush a scaly scalp
  • Use saline solution to clear your baby’s nasal passage and loosen mucus
  • Clip your baby’s fingernails after a bath when the nails are soft
  • Use mild soap and hypoallergenic cream for red or itchy patches of skin
  • Change diapers frequently to avoid rashes on your baby’s bottom
  • Rinse your baby’s bottom with warm water and avoid wipes
  • Use petroleum jelly on the site of a circumcision

These are just some of the conditions that most babies will experience in the beginning few months. Most are very common and can be relieved with these hygiene tips.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep

As a new parent, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that newborns can sleep from 11-16 hours per day. Of course, these hours come in periods of two to three hours at a time. Your baby needs to wake up in order to feed at least every three hours.

It takes time to develop a sleeping routine. Although it widely varies baby-to-baby, many adjust to a sleeping pattern by six months of age.

There are some helpful ways to help create a sleeping schedule:

  • Encourage sleep at nighttime
  • Keep your baby busy and stimulated during the day
  • Dim the lights and use slow movements during the night
  • Create an order to the activities that lead to bedtime
  • Use lullabies, baths, rocking, and reading as rituals before bedtime
  • Rock your baby to get them relaxed
  • Allow your baby to naturally establish a nap time

Creating and maintaining bedtime routines is important not only for your new baby but for you as a first-time parent. You need proper rest in order to care for your baby.

Your Baby’s Milestones

There are so many “firsts” that you get to experience as a new parent. Some can be difficult and others can be a cause for celebration. Preparing for these milestones will help you when they arise.

First Baby Tooth

Generally, babies begin teething between four to seven months of age. Your baby’s first tooth is exciting but it can be a frustrating time for you.

Your baby can be extra fussy while their first few teeth are coming in. To soothe your baby, you can try massaging their gums, providing a safe chew toy, applying pressure, and keeping the area cool with a cold spoon.

It may also be helpful to look at reasons why some baby teeth don’t fall out when they are supposed to.

First Words

It is a very exciting moment when you hear your baby’s first words.

Many babies respond to their parents’ voices by three months of age with cooing. At six months, babies use baby talk and begin babbling sounds without any real words. Babies can start to understand small words at nine months and by 12-18 months they use simple words and understand simple sentences.

Doing It All for Your Baby

Many new parents feel insecure and ill-prepared for parenthood. Although you can never fully know what to expect with your first baby, this guide will help you feel more prepared and ready to take on some of the challenges as a first-time parent.

Remember to take the time to enjoy each milestone with your first baby and take every opportunity to strengthen your bond.

Keep visiting our super-informative blog for more parenting and baby-prep advice!

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