Once you have your little bundle of joy in your arms, you may be on cloud nine but at the same time, you may be posed with a hundred critical questions on baby care. To add to your dilemma, there are friends and relatives doling out advice, of which you have no idea what to filter out.
Here are a few must-knows to make it a bit easier for you:
Don't get anxious about people telling you that you may not have enough breast milk. If the baby gets hungry again in an hour or two, feed again. Frequent feeding is the best and the only way to increase the flow of breast milk. Breast-fed babies feed approximately 7-10 times in 24 hours, including 2 feeds at night. Consult a lactation expert and/or, pediatrician if your baby is restless, not regaining weight after 10-12 days, wets less than 6 nappies a day or continues to pass green stools.
Don't hesitate to pick your child up when she cries. It is important for a baby to have a feeling of security after birth. Crying is often a signal that she needs something. Your baby will usually get into a proper night time sleeping schedule of 5-6 hours or more by 2 months of age.
The umbilical cord starts drying up within the first week and separates towards the end of first week or in the second week. It should be kept clean and dried properly after the bath. Nothing needs to be applied on it other than what your doctor advises. Also, do not allow urine to come in contact with the cord.
Newborns will usually sleep for 16-20 hours in a day. Waking the baby is appropriate for a feed or an activity. Gently patting, undressing or changing the nappy is enough to awaken the baby. Avoid vigorous movements or loud sounds because it can over stimulate the baby.
Seek help from nurse/attendant on how to swaddle your baby right. It helps recreate the environment inside the womb. Some babies like to have their hands out while they are sleeping but others may like an all-wrapped feel. Gradually the duration of being unwrapped has to be increased unless it is very cold weather. If the baby's sweating too much, release her from the wrap else she may get fever due to dehydration.
Bathe your newborn baby with plain lukewarm water for the first 7-10 days of life. Soap and oil may be used later. A daily bath is ideal but in extremely cold weather, daily sponging and bath twice a week should be adequate. The face and diaper area need more frequent cleansing.
Cut your baby's nails while she is sleeping after a bath. Cut the nails straight across with a nail clipper.
Never use ear buds or cotton buds for the baby. After a bath, use the corner of the towel to clean the external ear. Don't put oil into the ears and nostrils of newborn. The baby's nose may sometimes be obstructed by thick secretions. These should be moistened with cotton soaked in water and then removed gently with a clean cloth.
Avoid pacifiers, a mother's clean finger is safer than a pacifier for soothing the baby. Do not clean the tongue and mouth of a baby.
Never use surma/kaajal for baby's eyes. Quite a few such preparations contain lead, which can be dangerous for the baby.
Consider wearing your baby close to you using a baby carrier (Cotton cloth is the best) especially if you are travelling. This has multiple benefits.