The initial months with your newborn can be chaotic and overwhelming at the same time. You will get various contradicting advice about newborn baby care from everyone. It can be confusing to decide what advice to follow for care of the newborn. Caring for a newborn is exhausting and challenging, but it is also one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences of your life.

Following tips will assist you in taking care of your newborn baby:

  1. Feeding:

    It is very important to feed the baby on time. A newborn has to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. An infant should be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months as it contains vital nutrients and antibodies that are required for a baby’s survival and growth. In case breast milk is not an option, feed the baby with a doctor-recommended formula. The baby should get 60 to 90 ml of formula per feeding.

  2. Burping:

    Babies swallow air while feeding, which causes gas and colic in their tummies. Burping expels this excess air, thus aiding in digestion and preventing spit-ups and stomach colic. Gently hold the baby against your chest with one hand. Their chin should rest on your shoulder. Pat or stroke their back very gently with your other hand until they burp.

  3. Sleeping:

    Newborns need to sleep for about 16 hours a day in the first 2 months. They usually take naps that are 2 to 4 hours long and wake up if they are hungry or wet. You may need to wake them in order to feed them. Every baby is different and has a different sleep cycle, so don’t worry in case your baby does not follow the ideal newborn sleep pattern.

  4. Handling your newborn:

    It is very important to ensure that you are supporting your baby’s head and neck with one hand while holding her. Never shake your baby as her internal organs are delicate and can be damaged. Always disinfect or wash your hands before handling the baby, as their immune systems are not fully developed, and they are vulnerable to infections.

  5. Diapering:

    Changing diapers frequently is an important aspect when taking care of a newborn baby after delivery. If your baby is getting sufficient breast milk or formula, she will wet at least 6 to 8 diapers in a day, along with regular bowel movements.

  6. Bathing:

    Bathing a newborn is a delicate task. You should start bathing the baby 2 to 3 times a week after the cord stump dries and falls off. Make sure you have all the bathing and changing supplies ready before you take the baby for a bath. Bath time just before bedtime helps babies sleep more soundly.

  7. Massaging:

    Massaging is a great way to bond with your baby. It also helps in soothing the baby to sleep and in improving blood circulation and digestion. A good time to massage the baby is before bath.

Every day you and your baby will learn a little more about each other. As your baby grows and develops, you’ll learn more about what he needs and how you can meet these needs. Their brain is growing and developing as the see, hear and touch the world around them. The first few months are all about cuddling, sleeping and feeding for the baby. Your baby communicates with you mostly through crying. Remember, your own physical and mental health is an important part of being a parent. When you’re focused on looking after a baby, you might forget or run out of time to look after yourself. But looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally will help your baby grow and thrive.

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Dr Tanvi Gupta

Dr Tanvi is a public health professional. She has women related health issues in India as her major area of interest. She is currently engaged in an awareness programme about incidence of cancer among women in general and cervical cancer in particular.

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