Parenting comes in many different shapes and forms. But if there’s one thing that all parents can agree on, it’s this: the goal is to eventually raise a kind and empathetic human being. However, before thinking about what type of person you want your child to become, let’s go back to basics. Are you ready to become a parent? Do you have the necessary skills in order to become an effective role model for your child?
Let GetWell walk you through the various baby care skills every new parent should have. Keep scrolling!
Holding Your Baby
If you think holding a baby is child’s play (no pun intended), then you can never be more wrong. It may not be obvious but the first step is to thoroughly wash your hands. Babies have underdeveloped immune systems which make them prone to all sorts of diseases. Make sure that your hands are squeaky clean and are rid of virus-carrying germs that might infect your baby.
The next step is to know which body parts you need to be extra careful with. The baby’s head is the heaviest part of its body, therefore you need to put extra emphasis on holding the baby’s neck for support. Babies lack the necessary muscle strength needed to keep their head upright so supporting the baby’s neck is a must. Keep this in mind so that no matter what position you’re in when holding your baby, you should always keep the head and the neck properly supported.
Feeding Your Baby
Having trouble with breastfeeding is perfectly normal. And, to some lucky moms out there, breastfeeding can also come naturally. Newborns are constantly hungry so as a result, they need to be constantly fed. Lactation, or the amount of milk that a mother produces, varies from mom to mom and some may not even produce milk at all.
Mom365, a website dedicated to helping new and seasoned moms (and parents in general!), has come up with helpful breastfeeding tips to help your baby get the best out of you. It is important to note that your body produces milk depending on the demand. The more frequent you feed your child, the more frequent your breasts lactate. One important thing to remember is that you need to keep yourself hydrated as water plays a big part in the lactation process. Your body needs a lot of water to make milk and ensure that your baby gets the right amount of nutrients when feeding.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Parents should understand that they can’t do it on their own. Parenting should be a combined effort for both parents to be involved in the growth and development of their children. Having said that, it’s important to go back to the drawing board to see how you can complement each other based on each other’s strengths, schedules, and knowledge on taking care of your baby. For instance, when you’re on maternity/paternity leave to take care of the baby, your partner should be the one taking care of chores and errands for the family. Both parents should be able to pitch in to make taking care of your child as easy as possible for the other. Another way that parents could complement each other is to come up with a task list that would not only help you effectively and efficiently carrying out tasks but also promote accountability for both parents. Always remember, accountability promotes leadership and responsibility. Some of the traits you would definitely want your child to have!
Swaddling is a necessary trick for parents to easily put your baby to sleep. Sure, it doesn’t look so comfortable for us adults but swaddling actually calms and soothes a baby and keeps it cozy enough to fall asleep. Swaddling also helps your baby to stay calm and sleep more soundly without you worrying about your child tossing and turning in their sleep.
Enfamil, a popular baby formula brand, has come up with an easy 6-step swaddling technique for parents, new and old. Check it out below:
- Spread out a blanket and fold down one corner
- Place your baby’s head above the fold
- Wrap one side of the blanket over the body, arms inside
- Tuck it underneath
- Now fold up from the bottom and make sure that your baby’s legs can bend and that the blanket isn’t too tight
- Finally, wrap the other side of the blanket across the body and then tuck it under!
Now you can enjoy looking at your precious little baby burrito all tucked in and ready to sleep!
Contrary to popular belief, your baby doesn’t have to be bathed every single day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying a baby’s first bath until 24 hours after birth. In addition, during the baby’s first year, about two to three baths a week should be enough for your baby as babies don’t tend to get dirty. However, once there is an increase in movement and activity, it would be wise to start transitioning to a daily bath.
Pro tip: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests giving your newborn sponge baths only until the umbilical cord falls off. It takes about seven to eight weeks.
While we’re on the subject of cleanliness, it’s also important to master the rocket science that is diaper changing. Diaper changing, along with swaddling, is probably the most talked-about skill when it comes to being a new parent. Put the clean diaper underneath the one you’re replacing to prevent any sprays or spills. And, if possible, change your baby’s diaper while you’re on his/her side. In that way, you wouldn’t be within range in the event that there are leftover spills/sprays. (We know you’re laughing but this really happens!)
Caring for your baby should come naturally. But it doesn’t hurt to also gather as much knowledge and learn as many skills as you can to be ready for the coming of your child. By no means is this a comprehensive list but, by learning all of the techniques we mentioned above, this is definitely a great way to start!