BURPING AND SPITTING UP
Burp your baby in between feedings. If breastfeeding, burp between breasts and at the end of nursing. If bottle feeding, burp after each 1/2 ounce of formula. This aids digestion of the formula and prevents gas pains.
To burp your baby lay baby on your shoulder and gently pat baby's back in an upward motion. Or lay baby on your lap over your leg and gently pat his back. Be sure to support your baby's head. I like to hold a newborn in my hand with baby's chest on the palm of my hand. I sort of flop baby over my hand and support baby's head with my thumb and fingers. Gently tap baby's back back with the other hand. Placing baby high on your shoulder and gently patting baby's bottom often works well. Pat in an upward motion. Use the palm of your hand or several fingertips.
Newborns and infants only need a bath every 2-3 days until they are about 1 year old. Otherwise their skin can dry out. Baths are not recommended until the cord falls off and circumcision is completely healed. Just sponge bath your baby until then. Once you begin giving your baby a bath, use tepid, body temperature water to avoid burning your baby's skin and a mild soap. I highly recommend DOVE white soap.
NEVER leave your baby unattended near water.
If you choose to circumcise your baby boy, it can be done at the hospital before you go home or later at your pediatrician's office. Keep the circumcision clean with warm water and a mild soap, and again I recommend DOVE white soap. I've used it for 35 years, with 8 children of my own and my pediatrician husband recommends it to his new moms...we have never had a child develop an allergy or problem with it. Circumcisions take 1-2 weeks to heal. If at any time you notice red, hot, swollen or blistered skin or a discharge or foul odor, contact your pediatrician. It could be a sign of infection.
I was taught to use alcohol on a cotton ball, or an alcohol pad, to wipe the umbilical cord at every diaper change after birth until the cord falls off. That is no longer recommended. Just keep the cord open to the air as much as possible so it dries up. Disposable newborn diapers now come with umbilical cut-outs, a little dip along the top edge. Or you can roll the front down so the edge of the diaper is below cord. The cord will fall off after about 2 weeks. If it bleeds a little when it's cleaned or when it falls off, that is normal. If it smells bad or becomes red or swollen, call your pediatrician.
Infant girls sometimes have a white or bloody vaginal discharge. This is caused by the hormones in her system that she received from mom. It is normal and just needs to be cleaned up by wiping away from front to back.
To help prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep. Newborns do not know night from day, so help your baby learn the difference by not changing the noise level for your regular household tasks. Go ahead and vacuum, run the dishwasher, let in the sun, let the phone ring etc. Then be quiet at night and darken baby's environment.
Wrapping your newborn snugly, aka swaddling, will often help your newborn feel safe and secure. But realize some babies like to be swaddled, others not so much. To swaddle your baby, lay a receiving blanket on a bed and fold down the top corner. Lay your baby on the blanket with head a little above the folded corner. snugly, but not too tightly, wrap the left corner over baby's body and tuck around behind his or her back. pull up the bottom corner and tuck into the top edge of the leftside wrap, just under baby's chin. Then wrap the right side across baby's body and tuck around the back and into the blanket edge at baby's neck. Be sure you don't wrap too tightly and that legs are drawn up in fetal position but can stretch down if baby desires. Practice until perfect!
DO NOT swaddle a baby over 2 months old. Once baby can roll over, swaddling can contribute to SIDS.
EXPOSURE TO ELEMENTS
Babies are more sensitive to sunburn and cold. Never put sunscreen on an infant, check with your pediatrician for when it is safe to use it. Keep baby out of direct sunlight altogether and cover baby with a sunhat and light clothing to avoid indirect exposure and overheating. In cold weather, keep a hat on your newborn as babies lose heat through their heads and skin.
Diaper rash is common and your baby is likely to get it at some time. Keep diaper dry and skin clean. Coat diaper area with ointment, I recommend Balmex, a zinc-oxide cream that contains balsam, but it is hard to find. Ask your pharmacist to order it for you. If it worsens or lasts more that 3-4 days contact your pediatrician. Occasionally a newborn will get "baby acne" on the face. It usually goes away on its own. Do not try to treat by popping the pustules or use medications on your baby's skin. Eucerin cream may help this or if your baby has dry skin. "Cradle cap" a crusty rash on the head can be helped by applying olive oil to your baby's scalp.
Realize the following are normal to newborns. Do not panic if your baby exhibits these behaviors. Sneezing, crossed eyes, fitful sleep, hiccups, yawning, passing gas, startle reflex from noise, trembling chin when crying, quivering upper lip. Remember your baby communicates with you by crying. It's how your baby tells you they are hungry, have a wet or messy diaper, are bored, tired or lonely. As your baby grows you will learn to distinguish the various cries of your baby and you will learn how to soothe and comfort him.
Article by Ruth Grunstra
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Hi I'm Ruth
What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your children? My husband and I have 8 children ages 14-32. We've been married 36 years and we are always learning new ways to engage our kids. We would love to hear from you. Contact us and let us know what you have found that works and what doesn't. Or ask me a question.