Important Baby Care Skills Every New Mom Needs To Learn
Are you expecting your first baby soon? Or do you have qualms on as to go about some basic baby care skills? Do you think you won’t be a good enough mom?
There is no school or training for motherhood, what happens most often is that you are given an opportunity to learn in order to grow to become a better mom. There is no formula for raising your child because every child is unique in his or her own ways.
Although there is no training for motherhood is a learning process, every mother should at least be equipped with some basic baby care tips. There is no way you can be perfect with it for the start but you need to know how to go about it.
Many new African parents have their moms, aunties or grannies stay with them for a period of time in order to take care of the baby and to teach their daughters or daughter-in-laws the way forward. Unlike the diaspora where they have nurses and doctors constantly checking and visiting them, first-time moms rely on their mom’s experiences at the beginning stage.
Having their parents stay with them for a few days or weeks gives them the confidence to go at it alone in the weeks ahead. Try to arrange this before delivery.
Here are some important baby care skills you should try and master:
- Handling and supporting your baby’s neck.
Make sure your baby’s head is resting against your chest. Slide your hand up from the baby’s bottom to support their neck. Gently move your baby’s head to the crook of your arm, still supporting the baby’s neck. Place your other hand under the baby’s bottom.
2. Bathing your baby
Most new moms are afraid of bathing the baby for the first time, they are afraid of the harm they might cause. It’s one of the difficult things to do at the beginning, however, you get used to it with time. But first, you need the confidence to do it. Make sure you avoid any form of mistakes when bathing your newborn baby.
When bathing for your newborn, use a washcloth or baby bath sponge, wash the face and hair. Then use water or a cleanser designed for babies to keep baby warm during the bath. Cup your hand to let handfuls of water wash over baby’s chest. Gently pat baby dry.
3. Changing your baby’s diapers
Changing your baby’s diaper is as important as feeding your baby. Although changing a diaper takes a little practice, it’s something you must do several times a day. It becomes a daily routine once you finally get to find your way around it. Make sure you wash your hands before changing the diaper and also after.
For baby boys, you’ll want to cover his penis with a diaper or burp cloth while changing him to prevent getting wet yourself, or pee getting on the wall. Also, make it a point to place his penis in a downward position before closing the diaper as this can help prevent leaks.
For baby girls, wipe them from front to back to prevent infections such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), as these are especially common among young girls. Don’t forget to gently and thoroughly clean between the folds of skin.
4. Dressing your baby
When dressing your baby, supporting your baby on your lap or the bed, stretch the garment neckline and pull it over your baby’s head. Use your fingers to keep it from catching on his or her face or ears.
5. How to hold your baby right
You can’t just hold a newborn baby like you would hold a toddler. The muscles of an infant are still not well developed and you thus need to support your baby’s head when holding them. When one of your arms supports the head, the other should hold them at the hips. You should do this until the baby’s muscles are strong enough to support their neck without help.
4. Swaddling your baby
Babies love being swaddled and it keeps them calm and warm. Make sure you don’t swaddle them too tight or too loose or they will be fussy. A swaddle helps your baby feel safe and secure as she adjusts to life outside the womb. Swaddling helps prevent her from flailing her arms and legs, which can trigger her startle reflex and potentially cause her to wake up. A swaddle keeps baby cozy and warm until her internal thermostat kicks into gear
- Feeding and Burping your baby
After every feed, you should help your baby burp. But what does this mean? It’s simply helping your baby remove any gas that they might have taken in when feeding. If not burped, they might develop discomfort due to a lot of gas.
- Latching the baby
If you have problems breastfeeding your baby, do not hesitate to seek help. When at the hospital, the nurses will help you get started. Be keen to learn since how you hold your baby when feeding them is pretty important.
6. Cleaning the umbilical cord
The umbilical cord is clamped immediately after birth. The clamp is removed before the baby goes home from the hospital. The cord stump should fall off in seven to 14 days. When it falls off, a small amount of blood or wetness is normal. At home, you should:
Keep the cord clean and dry. The drier the cord, the sooner it will fall off. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean around the base of the cord three times a day or when soiled with urine or stool. You may continue to apply alcohol even after the stump falls off until the area is dry.
Do not give your baby a tub bath until the cord falls off and the area looks healed. This will take seven to 10 days. Give him or her a sponge bath instead. Roll the diaper as low as you can so that when the baby kicks, the diaper does not hit the cord.
7. Caring for a healing circumcision
Leave your infant’s dressing (lubricant gauze) on for 24 hours after the circumcision. While your child is healing, apply a petroleum-based ointment (such as Vaseline) to the end of the penis after every bath and with each diaper change.