Category - Care Baby

Your Newborn: 30 Tips for the First 30 Days

Newborn: 30 Tips for the First 30 Days

Breastfeeding

It’s been six weeks since our daughter, Clementine, was born. She’s finally sleeping better and going longer between feedings. She’s also becoming more alert when she’s awake. My husband and I, on the other hand, feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. I’m amazed that we’ve muddled through. Here are tips from seasoned parents and baby experts to make your first month easier.

Hints for Nursing

Babies eat and eat and eat. Although nature has done a pretty good job of providing you and your baby with the right equipment, in the beginning it’s almost guaranteed to be harder than you expected. From sore nipples to tough latch-ons, nursing can seem overwhelming.

1. Women who seek help have a higher success rate. “Think of ways to ensure success before you even give birth,” suggests Stacey Brosnan, a lactation consultant in New York City. Talk with friends who had a good nursing experience, ask baby’s pediatrician for a lactation consultant’s number, or attend a La Leche League (nursing support group) meeting (see laleche.org to find one).

2. Use hospital resources. Kira Sexton, a Brooklyn, New York, mom, says, “I learned everything I could about breastfeeding before I left the hospital.” Ask if there’s a nursing class or a lactation consultant on staff. Push the nurse-call button each time you’re ready to feed the baby, and ask a nurse to spot you and offer advice.

3. Prepare. At home, you’ll want to drop everything to feed the baby the moment she cries for you. But Heather O’Donnell, a mom in New York City, suggests taking care of yourself first. “Get a glass of water and a book or magazine to read.” And, because breastfeeding can take a while, she says, “pee first!”

4. Try a warm compress if your breasts are engorged or you have blocked ducts. A heating pad or a warm, wet washcloth works, but a flax pillow (often sold with natural beauty products) is even better. “Heat it in the microwave, and conform it to your breast,” says Laura Kriska, a mom in Brooklyn, New York.

5. Heat helps the milk flow, but if your breasts are sore after nursing, try a cold pack. Amy Hooker, a San Diego mom, says, “A bag of frozen peas worked really well for me.”

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4 Things to Know About Newborns

baby sleeping

Baby may be, well, a little funny-looking.

His head may be smooshed from his journey through the birth canal, and he might be sporting a “bodysuit” of fine hair called lanugo. He could also be puffy-faced and have eyes that are often shut (and a little gooey). After all, he just spent nine months in the womb. But pretty soon, he’ll resemble that beautiful baby you imagined.

 

 

 

 

baby

Don’t expect rewards — smiles or coos — until about the 6-week mark.

Up until then, you’re working for a boss who only complains! To get through the exhaustion and emotional upheaval, keep this in mind: your efforts aren’t lost on baby in those early days. “He feels comforted by his father or mother, he feels attachment, he likes to be held,” says Los Angeles-based pediatrician Christopher Tolcher, MD.

 

 

 

mother bathing baby

Give baby sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off.

If it’s kept dry, it falls off faster — usually within two weeks. Besides, newborns don’t get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the cord falls off, that’s okay, too, as Alyson Bracken, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, learned. “It scared me at first,” she says, but then she found out that, as with a scab, mild bleeding was normal.

 

 

 

father holding baby

The soft spot can handle some handling.

“I was terrified of the soft spot,” admits April Hardwick, of New York City, referring to the opening in the skull, also called the fontanel, which allows baby to maneuver out of the birth canal. “Gemma had a full head of hair at birth, and I was initially afraid to comb over the soft spot,” Hardwick says. But there was no need to worry: “It’s okay to touch the soft spot and baby’s hair near it,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls. The spot may pulsate because it’s directly over blood vessels covering the brain.

5 Sleep-Through-the-Night Strategies

Get Baby to Sleep!

That newborn of yours took a while to figure out the difference between night and day — and you expected this. But you didn’t anticipate that his whole first year could leave you feeling like you got a job working the graveyard shift. If sleep deprivation has you weeping into your coffee mug, take heart: It’s possible to put an end to those 2 a.m. wake-up calls. “After 4 months, a baby’s natural preference is to sleep,” says clinical social worker Jennifer Waldburger, coauthor of The Sleep-Easy Solution. “He just doesn’t always know how to stay asleep. But even bad habits are usually fixable in just a few days.” Use our advice to sort out what’s keeping your baby up at night.

 

Wean Baby Off the Pacifier

Slumber-buster: Your baby loses his paci again and again, waking him often.

Sleep-through solution: By 8 months, most Binky babies have the fine motor skills to put their paci back in their mouth — a good thing since experts say using a nighttime pacifier can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the first year. “Until then, your choice is either to get rid of the pacifier altogether, or to let your baby cry it out in the middle of the night,” says Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, a sleep-consultation service. She’s helped many babies with this problem, including her own daughter when she was 5 months old. “From 4 to 5:30 a.m., we were constantly going to her room to put in her paci, so I finally just let her cry it out. It took a couple of days and was really brutal at first, but she was eventually able to go to sleep with a pacifier and then not need it again.”

 

Play White Noise Sounds

Slumber-buster: Slight noises — even you clicking off a lamp — wake your baby.

Sleep-through solution: Use a white-noise machine or a fan to create a gentle hum that masks other sounds. “A whooshing white noise becomes a sleep association,” says Dr. Kennedy. “If you turn it on as part of your baby’s bedtime routine, it’ll cue her to relax and go to sleep.” Don’t want to buy a noise machine? Search online for “white noise MP3s” for downloadable sound tracks, like one of a hair dryer.