Caring For Your Newborn Baby
Congratulations on your beautiful newborn baby! Without a doubt, newborn babies are delicate, requiring close monitoring and care
Learning how to care for a newborn can often be overwhelming for new parents, but you and your baby will quickly get in a routine and it will all feel like second nature.
There are two options for feeding your newborn – breast or bottle.
Breastfeeding is widely advocated by health organisations and medical professionals, as it provides newborns with the vitamins and antibodies they require. It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months, although your baby will continue to benefit from your milk for longer.
Some mothers will opt for bottle-feeding. In this case, there are many baby formula brands to choose from and you will need to stock up on bottles, teats and a steriliser to ensure every piece of equipment is fully sterilised after each feed. Babies should be fed according to their weight and age (most formulas will state these on the label).
Be prepared to spend a lot of time changing baby nappies – your newborn will need changing at least eight to 12 times a day. And yes, it will happen that you will change your baby’s nappy only for him to fill it a minute later – every baby manages to do it!
You have the choice of disposable or reusable cloth nappies. Disposables are more convenient, usually more absorbent and an easier choice than reusables. However, reusables are cheaper in the long run (despite a larger initial outlay to stock up on what’s needed), and are thought to have less of an impact on the environment. Have a look at both options and decide which is right for you and your baby.
When it comes to changing your newborn’s nappy, it is important to have everything you need to hand and avoid leaving him unattended. Cotton wool and cooled boiled water for the first few weeks is advised, however you may wish to move to wipes for convenience at some stage, and these days, there are plenty of gentle products available.
When you are venturing out and about, a well-stocked changing bag is essential. Plan for lots of nappy changes and potential disasters by bringing at least one full change of clothes for baby, plenty of nappies and nappy bags for disposing of them (nappy bags are also great if you end up with wet or dirty clothes to bring home), wipes for easy cleaning on the go, a change mat to lay baby on during nappy changes, antibacterial hand gel, muslin cloths or bibs, and bottles for feeding if needed.
Your baby’s skin is very delicate. It’s important to find the balance between keeping him or her clean, but not aggravating their baby-soft skin and causing rashes or irritation.
Young babies don’t usually need to have a full bath every day, so start with a simple top-and-tail routine. Once your little one is crawling and enjoying solids, they will probably need daily bathing.
Many doctors and midwives recommend avoiding any kind of baby skincare products in the first few months, relying instead on warm water to bathe them. However, as and when you decide to introduce products, a great brand to start out with is the Johnson’s ® Baby range.
The decision is yours, although make sure to check the ingredient listings if your child has displayed any sensitivities.
Although babies don’t need to be bathed every day, they do need daily cleaning, and the top-and-tail method is ideal. This involves cleaning the baby, without putting him in a bath or wash basin.
If you would prefer to bathe your baby properly, in either a baby bath or the main bath, remember to keep the water warm, but not hot. A temperature of 36-37°C is ideal, and you can check this with a bath thermometer or by dipping your elbow into the water (it should feel the same temperature as your skin). All views are those of the author.
This article has been sponsored by the JOHNSON’S® brand.