The First Few Weeks of Newborn Babies
Adjustment to the Outside World
The period between birth and 3 months is one of adjustment of your baby's immature nervous and digestive systems to life in the outside world. A smooth adjustment is harder for some babies to achieve than others. There are several ways to make your newborn baby happy, calm and comfortable. Most of us know about the five S's:
- Swaddling (wrapping baby)
- Sucking (pacifier)
- Swinging (baby swing)
- Shushing (Shushing baby to calm down)
These methods are normally used to quiet and calm baby especially when crying. However, please note that baby should not be wrapped too tightly/warmly for fear of SIDS (Sudden Instant Death Syndrome). You can take your baby for car rides. The movement of the vehicle soothes baby. Remember, baby is accustomed to movements in the womb as Mom was always walking, climbing, dancing. It is also a wonderful idea to sing for your baby and even start reading. It is never too early to start.
Feeding Baby - Breast or Bottle
For every half ounce of feed, you should burp your baby. Keep baby on your shoulder for a while for proper digestion (similar to adults, who should sit awhile before lying down). Do not give your newborn any water as the breast milk contains everything that baby needs. When baby gets sufficient breast milk, there should be 3 - 5 bowel movements (that is one way mothers know that baby is feeding well).
For bottle-fed babies who suffer from gas, the moms should hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle and burp between feeds. Remember that swallowing air is more common in bottle-fed babies. Burping releases any air that has been swallowed whilst feeding. You should smile and talk with baby whilst feeding as this is nurturing your baby's body, mind and spirit.
Do not feel guilty if you do not breastfeed your baby. There may be several reasons why you may not. Reasons vary from emotional to psychological. You can express your milk and bottle feed or use the prescribed baby formula - as long as your baby is well-fed. Baby will cry when hungry so do not be alarmed if he/she sleeps past his/her feed time. It is not a rule that your baby has to finish the bottle at each feeding. That will make baby over-fed and cause him/her to spit up. Baby will determine how much he/she needs by his/her actions (baby cues).
Mention should be made of storage of breast milk.
- 4 - 10 hours - room temperature
- 4 - 7 days - refrigerator
- 3 - 6 months - freezer
- 6 mths - 1 year - deep freeze
It is hardly likely that anyone would want to store the milk after 7 days, however it is good to note the time frames. Do not fill breast milk bags.
Do's and Don'ts
Your baby does not need a pillow for his/her head and it is best to keep stuffed animals out of the crib - to prevent suffocation. Do not cut baby's nails before 3 weeks. It is advisable to wait 2 days after the umbilical cord drops off before bathing baby. You should not use wipes before 6 weeks as they remove the natural oils. Please note that a baby who suffers from RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome) is always placed on his/her stomach (check your doctor).
A massage is quite beneficial to your baby from 2 weeks old and onwards. You do this with warm hands in a warm room. Massage is a wonderful way to express your love for your baby. It helps to calm baby when he/she is unsettled and it helps to instill a sense of trust. A massage helps to relieve pain, promotes relaxation and aid digestion. It is good for pre-mature babies as it stimulates growth-promoting hormones.
Establishing Sleep Routines
Moms should try to establish a sleep routine around 7-8 weeks. You need to separate day from night. Bedtime Routine - You must try to follow the same pattern at around the same time every evening. For example, you can start with a warm bath, followed by cuddling and gentle play. Feed baby and put him/her in the crib drowsy but awake. Putting your baby down to sleep while he/she is still awake means that he/she would not depend on your breast or bottle in order to fall asleep. It also means that if baby stirs, he/she will know where he/she is and may feel secure enough to drop off again without disturbing anyone unless he/she is hungry or uncomfortable.
It is not necessary for your baby to play or amuse himself/herself in your lap. Allow baby to get accustomed to his/her space. You can place a mobile over the crib when your baby is 2 months and over. The brightly colored objects would amuse him/her without your interference.
I do hope that this article will help you Moms. BE HAPPY!