Here are a few guidelines:
Swaddling your baby helps your baby feel warm and secure like in the womb. Lay the blanket in a diamond shape. Fold the top point inwards. Lay your baby down on its back on the blanket with his head just a bit above the folded point. Take one of the side points across the baby’s chest and tuck it under his thighs. Bring the bottom point over the baby’s feet. And follow through with the last point of the blanket across the baby’s chest and tuck it also under the opposite thigh.
Dressing your baby
Avoid disposable diapers as much as possible. Use them only for outings. Use cloth diapers at home to the greatest extent possible. Wash all clothes, blankets and linens before using them the first time. And always use a mild detergent to protect your child from skin-allergies and rashes.
When selecting clothes for your baby, realize that they will be repeatedly soiled and have to undergo many washes. Check for sturdy zippers and well-stitched seams. The inside seams should be soft and not rough and itchy.
Bunch up shirts before pulling them over your baby’s head. Look for shirts with side or front openings, shoulder buttons and stretchable necklines.Clothes should be comfortable and loose. Purchase a few inexpensive and durable clothes for sizes 0—3 months as babies will outgrow them very quickly.
Infants lose heat rapidly from their uncovered heads. It is important to cover the head with a cap and also feet with socks when outside, and also on chilly days.Dress your baby as you would yourself. With just one extra layer when your baby is younger. Avoid exposing them to cold or chill or humidity or heat for long periods. Do not overdress them as this would dehydrate or give heat rashes.
After the first tooth erupts, pay extra care to dental hygiene. Family history of gum problems and cavities should be always kept in mind. Schedule a visit for the baby between 6—12 months of age and then follow up regularly. Do not allow the child to go to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. The baby should be removed from your breast when done feeding. Check with dentist on what toothpastes can be used
Crying is your baby’s way to communicate a whole range of needs and responses. It is also a way to relieve tension and stress. Sometimes going to a quiet place really helps.
Hunger, in the early days and weeks of life is the most prominent reasons for crying. Wet diapers are another big cause as they make your baby very uncomfortable. Disposable diapers feel heavy and warm when wet. Illness can be another reason for crying. If a baby is crying too much, contact your pediatrician. Gas can be yet another reason. Newborns need to be burped often.Rub your baby’s back gently or move your baby’s legs back and forth towards the chest in a cyclic motion to relieve gas pains.
It might get frustrating or anger you trying to constantly comfort your baby if he is fussy or not responding to your efforts. It is completely alright to be frustrated or angry and you needn’t be hard on yourself. Get someone to help if possible.
Never shake a baby or throw them up into the air. The rapid movement causes severe whiplashes around the spinal column, neck or head. The younger the child, the more serious the danger. Avoid raising your hand on children of any age in any way and learn to control your temper and stress and release it in a more mature way.
Babies with colic cry frequently and may twist their face in pain, and draw their knees up to the abdomen and pass gas. They usually feed well and gain weight normally, but soothing colicky babies is difficult. Check with the pediatrician to rule out any issues. Cuddle your baby, gently rock or place your baby on your knees to try and soothe. Warm water bottles on the abdomen also help to an extent. After feeding your baby, carry him around on your shoulder and gently rub his back to relieve any gas.
Bathing your Baby
Babies needn’t be bathed every day; every alternate day works just fine. Use a sponge to gently bathe the face, hands and genitals every day.Never leave your baby alone while bathing him. Use a mild soap always and that the bathwater is lukewarm and never too hot. A way of testing is to dip your little finger to check the heat.
Diapering your Baby
A major decision parents face is deciding which diaper to use. Cloth and disposable diapers both have their advantages and disadvantages. Availability of time, concerns about environment and costs determine choices. A combination of cloth and disposables has been found viable by several parents. Change diapers after every bowel movement or if the diapers are wet to prevent rashes.Use plain water to clean your baby’s bottom. Use disposable or commercial diapers only for long outings because they usually contain chemicals and alcohol. The elastic around the legs and waist also irritates your baby’s skin. From time to time let your baby go without diaper
Mothers need good amount of rest after delivery. And those who have undergone C-sections need even more recovery time. Parents need to go an extra mile to render support to each other in their new roles.
The biggest change that comes over is the relationship between spouses.As parents you also need to spend time away from the baby and with each other to understand yourself and relax. Divide duties between yourself and don’t place the entire onus on just the mother. Take time out with your partner,enjoy an evening out for a few hours with friends, call relatives over etc.
Sexuality and Gender Roles
For women, sexuality and gender places multiple roles and responsibilities according to the society as well as their own aspirations and dreams. Avoid roles dictated to you by the media and society and create a balance that benefits you as well your family. Do not try to be perfect or be hard on yourself. Small compromises here and there are completely fine. A father needs to present as much for his wife as for his baby. Parenting is a combined role. Never just a mother’s job.
Sex and Post - partum changes
Many couples get worried about their sexual relationship and whether it will ever be the same again after a baby’s birth. Rest assured that it will once a mother’s basic healing process is complete. Vaginal discharge stops usually three to four weeks after birth and stitches if any will usually dissolve in this time frame too. Sexual intercourse may be resumed after this period but do understand and grant yourself the leeway that sex might be uncomfortable the first few times. Use forms of birth control to prevent becoming pregnant right away. Your vagina will be dry and tender because of low estrogen levels, you will be fatigued and the baby might provide distraction often. Try using a water soluble lubricant, contraceptive cream for breastfeeding mothers to help any dryness of the vagina during intercourse. If you are still breastfeeding, your breasts may tend to leak during intercourse. You may get a special bra lined with breast pads.