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Newborn Care: Feeding, Sleep and Development Tips

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Being new parents, or even second/third-time parents, is the hardest job in the world. There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Although it’s true, in this day and age, most of us have to become our own village and take matters into our own hands.

Getting familiar with the baby is the biggest challenge in itself. The thought of taking care of this tiny human and being responsible for the way they turn out is enough to intimidate anyone. Nevertheless, once you hold your child, you will naturally become the nurturing parent you were meant to be. Here are some tips to guide you into becoming the parent that you are destined to be.


Feeding

As food is essential for survival, make sure your baby gets enough nutrition to stay healthy. As newborns have just arrived in this world, everything needs to be taught to them. It is similar to riding a bike – the minute you get on it and find your balance, everything goes smoothly.

Firstly, a newborn baby should be fed after every two hours. Along with the baby, it is just as important for the mother to take care of herself and her diet. As breastfeeding requires extra calories, the mother may need to increase her intake of food to around extra 500-600 calories per day. She must also increase the usage of proteins, fruits, vegetables and grains in her day-to-day diet.

It is alright for nursing mothers to take caffeine. While caffeine is passed into the milk, most babies are not affected by it. Hence, unless your child is irritable and fussy, it’s completely okay to drink the magic syrup which will make you less zombie-like. Mothers must also keep hydrated throughout the process as breastfeeding can make you thirsty.

To feed the baby, you need to be comfortable. It helps if you lay down in a horizontal manner and attach the baby’s mouth to your nipple. This is where the baby’s natural tendencies will kick in and they will start feeding. When they turn their head away from your breast, you will know that they are full.

From a psychological point of view, this stage is extremely important in the development of an infant’s personality. Referencing the work of Sigmund Freud, the child’s need to be fed properly and on time must be met in order to develop a healthy personality.

Once the baby has been fed, it is necessary that you burp them. Burping helps release a bubble of air that gets trapped in the baby’s stomach, making them less uncomfortable and fussy. Both bottle-fed and breastfed babies need to be burped, but the latter requires less burping. This can easily be done by resting the baby’s head on your shoulder and patting their back a little.

Nursing may cause the mother’s breast to get sore. Putting a cold ice pack after you are done may help get rid of the discomfort. Often, new mothers experience closed ducts, so to avoid this, you can try heating or microwaving a wet towel until it is warm enough and placing it on the destined area.

All babies require different amounts of milk but don’t worry about it as it is continuously being produced. Each mother has a different capacity to hold milk, but as it is constantly being produced, the chances of you running out of milk are highly unlikely.


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Sleep

While you have to stay fully alert, your infant requires up to sixteen hours of sleep a day. This takes place in a series of small naps, but sometimes, you are blessed with your baby sleeping for a period of one or two hours. During this period, new parents must try to squeeze in as much sleep as possible. Sleeping while the baby sleeps is the most effective method one can apply. To reduce the stress and discomfort, parents can take shifts to watch the baby so that the other partner can get some rest.

If the baby is being fussy or not falling asleep easily, a series of methods can be used such as playing a lullaby, swinging, wrapping them up like a burrito, taking them out on a drive or even holding the infant and taking small walks. If any of these methods work, be sure to keep using them.

For you to get a full night’s sleep, you need to limit the baby’s daytime naps. It is perfectly okay to wake the baby up during the day to play with them so that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and provide care the next day without exhaustion.

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Development

Although the development starts in the womb, it is crucial for parents to pay critical attention to the development of the infant. New parents must engage with the baby as much as they can. Talking, smiling, singing lullabies or even playing music has a positive effect on the kid.

The focus should be on ‘playing’ with the infant. The thought of playing with a newborn may sound preposterous initially, but this will become the basis for all your child’s skills. It is extremely important to interact with your infant from an early stage as recent studies show that the lack of interaction may result in the infant feeling lonely and isolated.

Newborns tend to recognize their caregivers’ voices and faces from an early stage. This provides them with a sense of comfort. Hence, smiling and singing should be used to further develop their auditory senses. Sometimes, it is even okay to let your baby cry as it helps in the development of vocal chords.

Floor time is also essential for the infant’s motor skills while providing them with a visual stimulus such as bright colors or dangling objects will improve their visual skills.

By following all these tips, you will not require a village to raise a child, but always remember that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help when it is needed. Enjoy all the time you have with your little one because it flies by quickly.


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