Baby Care Basics
Good baby care begins with the way the newborn is held. Support should be provided at the back and head with your arm and hand. Touch your baby often. Use skin-to-skin contact and hold your baby close to you.
Some of the fundamental baby care basics have been discussed underneath:
• Cord Care-
Many parents wonder when the umbilical cord stump will fall off. The cord stump should fall off within one to three weeks after birth. At each diaper change, clean the cord with alcohol.
Crying is a baby's means of communication. Babies cry when they have to burp or are wet, soiled, tired, bored, or just lonely. As time goes by, a mother learns what her baby's crying means. If feeding cues accompany crying, it's usually a sign of hunger. You will not spoil your baby by responding promptly to crying. Your baby only cries if he or she needs something. When you satisfy his or her needs, your baby is learning to trust people and begins to know that someone cares for him or her. After taking care of physical needs, there are many things you can do to calm a crying baby. Try holding your baby over your shoulder, or place your baby on his or her stomach across your knees or arms. But these should be avoided when the baby have has been fed immediately. If breastfeeding, you should try to avoid the use of a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established (usually by three to four weeks).
Most newborn babies sleep more than they do anything else. Babies develop their own sleeping pattern. It is normal for a tiny baby to sleep 16 to 20 hours a day. Take advantage of your baby's sleep periods to get the rest that you need. During sleep, your baby may make sucking motions, whimper, smile, or move his or her eyes. It is recommended that all healthy full-term infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
• Nail Care-
During the first days of life, the baby’s nails may be long and adhered to the skin high on the nail. Trim nails frequently with blunt edged small scissors or file with an emery board to prevent scratching. Cut nails straight across. Utmost care should be taken not to injure the baby while cutting or trimming his or her nail.
Provide sponge bathe for your baby until the cord falls off. After this, tub baths may be given. Bathing every one to two days is all that is necessary. Shampooing hair two to three times a week is adequate. Bathing can be done any time of day. It should, however, be given before a feeding or at least one hour after feeding. Gather baby equipment before you begin. The bath can be given in a basin, a small tub, or kitchen sink. Never leave your baby unattended during the bath. If you have forgotten something, bring the baby with you! Be sure to test the water temperature with the inside of your wrist to make sure that the water is not too hot! Use a mild soap sparingly, but not on baby's face. Lotions and oils are unnecessary. Always support the baby's head and neck and keep a good grip on baby while bathing. Babies can get very slippery. Wash the baby from head down leaving the diaper area to last. Don't leave any soap on baby. Clean the outside of the baby's ear with a washcloth around one of your fingers. Cotton tip swabs should not be used in the nose or ears.
Diapering is probably the most dreaded of all baby care activities. Diapers should be changed when wet or soiled. Disposable cotton diapers are the best the baby and this also saves the mother from unwanted diaper-changing activities like washing etc.
One should be prepared with all diapering supplies like a couple of diapers, wipes, ointment, etc., before starting to change the diaper. Choose a specific flat and secure area for the diaper change of the baby. This can be a changing table or changing pad. Be sure to use the strap for baby's safety. Never leave baby unattended while changing him or her. Unfasten the old diaper, but don't pull it out from under the baby yet. This allows for some margin of safety in case the cold air inspires baby to let go.
Grasp the baby's ankles and gently lift their bottom up and begin to wash their bottom with the wipes. If the area is heavily soiled you can use the front part of the old diaper to remove part of the mess. As you finish with each wipe, gently place in under the baby (clean side up) for easier clean up. When the baby's skin is clean pull the diaper and wipes out from under baby and set it aside.
Place the new, clean diaper under baby and secure the fasteners. If your still have a newborn, you might need to fold down the top of the diaper to make room from the umbilical cord. Don't be afraid to pull the diaper on snuggly.
After putting baby's clothes back on, take the old diaper and use the fasteners to make it into a small ball, criss-crossing the fasteners. Place it in the diaper pail or trash. Wash your hands properly after changing the diaper each time.