This week’s Small Talk focuses on giving you 4 tips on how to make your daily “newborn” tasks less stressful for you. A little bit of know-how goes a long, long way in giving one self-confidence !
When you first arrive home with your new baby there is great excitement and lots of relatives and friends hovering around, trying to help! You may also be feeling a little nervous if you are a first time mom and be wondering how on earth you are going to cope when everyone has gone and you are trying to get into a daily routine with your little one! Unfortunately, babies don’t come with their own manual on how to care for them so in this weeks’ Small Talk blog, I’d like to give you some really helpful tips on how you organize those little daily tasks of taking care of your baby. Let’s get started with 4 handy tips!
Your first step should be to get everything you need in one place, easy to reach before you even pick your baby up to change him or her. When your baby first arrives at home, he or she is pretty helpless and doesn’t move around or squirm whenever a nappy change is done. But that doesn’t last for long and soon you will have a little wriggling body to cope with! This is when it is important to have everything you need within easy reach so that you don’t have to leave your little one to squirm his or her way off the change table!! Be aware that lots of babies don’t take happily to nappy changing (especially in the cold months) and they cry and perform for as long as they can which can be rather nerve-wracking for a new mom. Trust me, this is normal and don’t think you are doing anything wrong. Just make lots of eye contact and talk or sing to your baby as you are changing him or her and they should settle down and accept the inevitable!
Cleaning the nappy area is important before you put on the new nappy. For girls, wipe from front to back (wet wipes come in very handy here!), wiping away any poo or wee from their skin, but leaving any protective mucous in the vagina. Don’t be freaked out if you see a small loss of blood from the vagina in the first week – its normal, provided it is only a small amount of blood and it only lasts for a few days.
For little boys it is important to clean all around the folds of skin of the penis and scrotum, leaving the foreskin in place – if this is pulled back too early, scarring of the penis head may occur. The foreskin may take a few years before it rolls down naturally. Be warned, little boys can spray urine everywhere so have a wash cloth ready and place it over his little penis whilst you are putting on the bum cream! Replacing his nappy as quickly as you can is a good idea!
2: How many wees/day? How many poos?
Now, you may ask – how many times a day will my newborn wee and how many poos/day can I expect?
Until breastfeeding is established you may only have one wet nappy on the first day, two on day two and three on day three and so on. Once breastfeeding is established you could expect to have 8 really wet nappies every day with the wee being a pale yellow in colour. If your newborn is formula fed, your 8 wet nappies will probably happen sooner than a breast fed baby. It is quite difficult to determine if a disposable nappy is really wet as they absorb the moisture. Generally speaking, you will find that the nappy feels very heavy and some disposables even have a “wetness indicator” which changes colour when the nappy is wet through.
Your baby’s first bowel motions are called meconium and this is black to dark green in colour (don’t freak out!!) and should occur within the first 24 hours after birth. After a few days of feeding, you will notice that your baby’s poo changes to brown/green and then to a yellowish mustard colour which is loose and has small curds in it like cottage cheese.
Breastmilk has natural laxatives which prevent constipation so in the early days your little one may have a bowel motion with every feed. This will eventually slow down. There is quite a range of what is considered to be a “normal” number – ranging from 8 per day to 1 per week but if you have any concerns don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or doula for advice. Formula fed babies do not get the natural laxative present in breast milk so they may be prone to constipation – again consult your doctor or doula for advice if you think this is the case.
3: How do I know if I am dressing my baby appropriately?
Babies are not very good at controlling their own temperature, so you have to do it for them. The general rule is to dress your baby in clothes of a similar weight as to what you are wearing and then add one layer extra, which is usually a light wrap. Your newborn doesn’t need a hat whilst at home as a baby needs to lose excess heat from their heads and faces. Ideally the room or rooms in your house should be kept between 24˚C and 26 ˚ C but if you don’t have an air conditioner this might be quite difficult to accomplish. So check out how you are dressed and dress your newborn in a similar way. If you go out for a walk with your baby, then remember to dress him or her appropriately for whatever the outdoor temperatures are.
4: How much weight should baby gain?
New moms sometimes panic when they see their baby is losing weight in the first few days but this is totally normal. By 2 weeks of age you can expect your baby to have regained their birth weight, provided that breastfeeding has been established. In the case of formula fed babies, it is much easier to monitor how much your baby will drink. To keep a check on how your baby is doing, he or she will be weighed at every visit to your doctor or clinic and their change in weight is supposed to be proportional to the amount of milk that they are taking in.
And there you have it – 4 simple, practical tips on the daily care of your precious newborn. Remember moms…your instinct will serve you well. YOU are the one who is there every day (and most of the night!) and so you will get to know your newborn the best. And you will ALWAYS be the best mom for your baby!!
Happy parenting until next week when I shall delve into the topic of bath basics!
Yours in newborn photography