He’s arrived! And he's so adorable, but so helpless and frail. The responsibility of caring for your newborn can be a huge burden for parents, whether this little baby is the first, second or eighth child. A gift from heaven, babies always bring joy and comfort to your home. But it is important to know what to do with your newborn to make sure he stays safe and sound.
Don’t let anyone kiss your newborn
It may sound like an old wives’ tale, but it’s true. During the first weeks of your baby’s life, contact with bacteria and germs can cause some serious problems for your little guy. Kissing (and unwashed hands) can introduce unwanted illnesses, because their little immune systems just aren’t quite up to protecting their body from getting sick. As a parent, ask people to not kiss your newborn, wash their hands before holding him and to come back later if they are sick. Avoid taking your child to crowded places where there’s a higher risk of getting sick. Soon he’ll be ready for these kinds of adventures, but you’ll need to be a little patient first.
Don’t change the pace of the home
Your newborn may need a lot of attention, but try not to disrupt the home for everyone else inside. Don’t feel like you need to close windows or curtains during the day so he will sleep better. You don’t have to stop everyone from chatting, watching TV or listening to the radio because he is napping. During the evening, try to keep your routine. Put everyone else to sleep, and turn down the lights like you would normally do to get your baby used to the daily routine of things. Don’t worry if he has noisy little siblings; the sooner your new baby gets used to the noise of the day, the better he will sleep, no matter the time.
Don’t leave dirty diapers on too long
This seems like common sense, but it’s important to remember. They may be tiny, but newborn babies excrete and urinate much more than a 6-month-old baby. This means that newborns will need to be changed more frequently (and will need to eat pretty often, too). Check your baby’s diaper on a regular basis to make sure they aren’t uncomfortable or need to be changed. This will also help prevent diaper rash.
Don’t offer a pacifier
Your baby was born with a strong instinct to suck, and your breast milk is the best food for him. Sucking on a pacifier too early can create confusion with their eating schedules. Your baby is used to your body heat, your heartbeat and your scent — breastfeeding is a comfortable experience for your newborn. Of course, not all mothers can breastfeed, and should by no means feel poorly if this is the case. If your baby needs to be bottle-fed, follow the instructions of your doctor. And never forget to sterilize items well before feeding your baby.
Don’t over-do the outfits
Your newborn may always appear to be cold, but don’t go to the extreme. It’s true that little babies don’t get much warmth from moving around, but excess clothing can cause fever and dehydration if you aren’t careful. Dress your newborn in layers so you can easily add or remove clothes to keep the temperature just right.
Don’t skip an appointment
Rain or shine, morning or night, be sure to take your little one to the doctor if there are problems. Always schedule your appointments regularly, and don’t skip visits. As new parents, you may be worried about something that is totally normal, but only a professional will be able to tell for sure. Your doctor will be able to separate the normal from the abnormal; let him or her be the judge of things.
Our list could be much longer, but these are some things to keep in mind as you are giggling and snuggling with your little babe. After all, is there anything more precious than a newborn baby?
This article is an adaptation and translation of the original article “6 coisas que você NUNCA deve fazer com um recém-nascido”. It has been adapted, translated, and republished here with permission.
Emily is a graduate of Brigham Young University and loving her adventures in Salt Lake City, as well as those abroad. Read more about her travels, tastings, and musings at ercummings.blogspot.com