What Essentials Do You Need For Your Newborn
Having a few essential items on hand for the hospital and when you bring your newborn home will help ease the transition.
Make sure you remove these items from their packaging. Familiarize yourself with the instructions and assemble them, if necessary. This will ensure theyre ready to use as soon as you need them.
Other Medical Concerns In Newborns
Let your pediatrician know if you notice any of the following with your newborn:
- frequent vomiting or diarrhea
- refuses to eat for multiple feedings in a row
- a rash that doesnt go away on its own
- a cold that doesnt improve or gets worse
- dehydration, which you may be able to identify by a lack of wet diapers or a sunken soft spot
Talk to your pediatrician if you have any other concerns about their health or notice any changes you arent sure about.
Healthier Conception And Pregnancy
Even before you’re pregnant, begin eliminating hazards from your life . Whether it’s in your kitchen, where you work or play, there are potential hazards you encounter every day. Knowing what’s a hazard and how to avoid it can be helpful. In addition:
- Discontinue smoking before trying to get pregnant. Many people think that they will stop once pregnant, but smoking can damage both sperm and eggs. It’s much better for both partners to quit prior to conception.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol. There is some evidence that excessivecaffeine use can increase the risk of miscarriage and possibly impair fertility in women. But moderate use of caffeine and alcohol seem to be safe prior to conception .
- Have a health insurance check-up. Does your insurance need revamping before baby? While the vast majority of health insurances will cover pregnancy, you should find out what is covered and what your potential out of pocket expenses would be. Financial planning for pregnancy will help decrease your stress levels.
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What Routines Can I Start With My Newborn
It helps to remain flexible with newborns. However, you might choose to start doing simple things with your baby in a similar order when it comes to sleeping, feeding and playing:
- when your baby wakes from a sleep, offer them a feed
- in the middle of, or at the end of the feed, change your baby’s nappy
- have cuddle, talk and play time
- settle your baby down to sleep
At night you may prefer to skip play time and simply try to settle them back to sleep.
You should do what you feel is best for you and your baby, but seek advice if you are not sure. Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to talk to a maternal child health nurse.
Months: Play With Blocks
Good to know: Blocks can be used to hone fine motor skills, says Michele Morrison, director of training and program support for The Parent-Child Home Program in New York. Theyre also wonderful for looking at similarities and differences try grouping them by size, shape or color. They can be used for counting activities and teaching basic directional concepts and colors too.
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Months: Play With Dolls
Or stuffed animals. Or plastic food. The actual toy doesnt really matter what matters is imagination, and props such as toys, stuffed animals and play food have long been used to inspire pretend play. Starting at around nine months, many babies will enjoy rocking a baby doll or pretending to feed it, or pretending to talk on the phone, says Jessica McMaken, owner of Razzbelly Early Childhood Consulting Services.
Good to know: You might feel kind of silly playing with dolls, but old-fashioned imaginative play is critical for a childs intellectual development, McMaken says. While engaged in pretend play, kids are learning to solve problems, practicing crucial social skills, developing self-confidence, mastering language skills and he or she can even practice literacy and numeracy skills.
Months: Read Or Sing Nursery Rhymes
The old Mother Goose nursery rhymes can seem a little uncool, but theyre classics for a reason. Whats wonderful about Mother Goose is the rhythm and the rhyme, Morrison says. The classic rhymes also contain all kinds of unique and unusual vocabulary , which is great for your childs cognitive and verbal development.
Good to know: Studies have shown that the more words kids are exposed to, the better they typically do in school. So the more we can stretch his or her vocabulary, the better. And children between the ages of 16 and 24 months are real sponges for language. Thats when language is really blossoming, and a very important window in terms of child development.
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Special Concerns Of Pregnant Teens
Even though most teen girls are biologically able to produce healthy babies, whether they do often depends on whether they receive adequate medical care especially in those critical early months of pregnancy.
Teens who receive proper medical care and take care of themselves are more likely to have healthy babies. Those who don’t receive medical care are at greater risk for:
- fetal death
- labor and delivery complications
- low birth-weight infant
The earlier your teen gets prenatal care, the better her chances for a healthy pregnancy, so bring her to the doctor as soon as possible after finding out she’s pregnant. If you need help finding medical care, check with social service groups in the community or at your child’s school.
Your teen’s health care provider can tell her what to expect during her pregnancy, how to take care of herself and her growing baby, and how to prepare for life as a parent.
Some topics that will be addressed include:
Months: Look At Books
You already read to baby, but at this age, you might have a better time if you set aside time to just look at books instead of trying to go through the story word for word. So stock up on sturdy books and give your child a chance to hold and handle the book. At this age, kids are still learning basic concepts, so simply holding the book and learning how to orient it right-side up and how to flip the pages from front to back is a huge pre-literacy skill that sets kids up for eventual school success.
Good to know: Follow your babys lead. If he or shes interested in looking at the pictures, look at and label the pictures: cat, cow, car. Youll help expand his or her vocabulary, and he or she will begin to understand that books represent things in the real world.
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Months: Go For A Walk
Youve probably been on hundreds of walks with your child already. But how many times have you gone at his or her pace? Find out what sparks his or her interest when he or shes given the time and space to explore whatever he or she wants .
Good to know: Too many kids spend the vast majority of their waking hours inside. Heading outside puts your child in touch with nature and gives him or her a chance to use his or her senses to explore the natural world. Touch and explore the grass, trees and flowers. Watch bugs. Talk about what you see, hear, smell and feel, McMaken says. This activity stimulates language development, attention skills and observation skills. It also enhances the emotional connection between you and your child as you share the excitement of the outdoors.
Out And About With Baby
26. Enlist backup. Make your first journey to a big, public place with a veteran parent. “Having my sister with me for support kept me from becoming flustered the first time I went shopping with my newborn,” says Suzanne Zook, a mom in Denver.
27. If you’re on your own,“stick to places likely to welcome a baby, such as story hour at a library or bookstore,” suggests Christin Gauss, a mom in Fishers, Indiana.
28. “Keep your diaper bag packed,” says Fran Bowen, a mom in Brooklyn. There’s nothing worse than finally getting the baby ready, only to find that you’re not.
29. Stash a spare. Holland Brown, a mom in Long Beach, California, always keeps a change of adult clothes in her diaper bag. “You don’t want to get stuck walking around with an adorable baby but mustard-colored poop all over you.”
30. Finally, embrace the chaos. “Keep your plans simple and be prepared to abandon them at any time,” says Margi Weeks, a mom in Tarrytown, New York.
If nothing else, remember that everyone makes it through, and so will you. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded with your baby’s first smile, and that will help make up for all the initial craziness.
Heather Swain is a mother and writer in Brooklyn, New York. Her novel is Luscious Lemon.
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How To Feed A Newborn
For the first two to four days of life, newborns who are breastfeeding will need to be fed every two to three hours, or on demand.
It might not seem like your baby is eating much as your milk supply comes in, but the colostrum you produce immediately following delivery is all they need at this stage.
Transitional milk will replace your milk for the next two weeks, then your mature milk supply will come in.
After the first few days, formula-fed newborns need 2 to 3 ounces of formula per feeding. Theyll need to be fed every three or four hours for the first few weeks.
During the first two weeks of life, if your newborn sleeps longer than four or five hours at a time, you may need to wake them up to eat.
At about 1 month old, both formula- and breastfed babies will need up to 4 ounces per feeding. At this point, formula-fed babies will be on a more predictable schedule, eating about every four hours. Some breastfed babies will eat every four hours, too, but some will still feed more often than this.
How Much Do Newborn Babies Sleep
A newborns schedule can feel unpredictable. Newborns will sleep an average of eight to nine hours in the daytime. They may sleep up to another eight hours total at night. But this wont usually be for the same stretch of time.
Newborns also have very small stomachs. Theyll need to get up about every three hours to eat until around 3 months of age. Once theyre a little older, theyll be able to go longer between feedings.
Some babies will sleep through the night starting at 4 months. Others wont sleep through the night until later. Your pediatrician is your best resource for letting you know how often your newborn will need to be fed throughout the night as they grow.
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When Can A Baby With Covid
According to the CDC, your child who tested positive for COVID-19 can leave the house again when she meets the following criteria:
- If she had symptoms: After five full days if her symptoms are improving and she has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medications.
- If she was asymptomatic: At least five full days after testing positive.
Reducing The Risk Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
SIDS is rare, so do not let worrying about it stop you enjoying your baby’s first few months.
Putting your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the same room as you, for the first 6 months is one way to reduce your baby’s risk even further.
Not smoking during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and not letting anyone else smoke in the same room as your baby, will also help protect them.
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When Should You Avoid Taking Your Newborn Out Entirely
There are some times when youll want to think twice before loading baby into their car seat or stroller. You may wish to stay inside your home if:
- Extreme weather conditions are occurring. Mail carriers may brave wind, snow, sleet, and hail, but your newborn should avoid extreme temperatures and being outside in bad air quality whenever possible.
- Your child has a medical condition. If your newborn has special medical needs that leave them particularly susceptible to germs, youll want to consult with their doctor before taking them out and about.
- Its peak sunlight hours. The middle of the day can be an especially hard time to find shade and protect your babys skin. For this reason, you may wish to avoid excessive time outside when the sun is at its strongest.
If you do need to go outside with baby for any reason, especially in warmer weather and for longer periods of time, be sure to bring plenty of breast milk or formula to keep them hydrated.
Get Help To Stop Smoking
Smoking affects fertility in men and women. If you stop smoking now it will improve your chances of conceiving. Smoking has also been shown to damage the DNA of your baby. During pregnancy smoking is the biggest risk factor for serious complications in pregnancy that you can change.
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If You Have Symptoms Or Have Tested Positive For Covid
If you have or think you have COVID-19, you must isolate yourself at home. You can still hold your baby skin-to-skin and stay in the same room as them, especially when bonding and breastfeeding.
You should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your baby.
- When awake, wear a medical mask when you’re in the same room as your baby.
- If unavailable, properly wear a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask.
Learn more about:
When feeding your baby:
- put a clean towel on your nursing pillow each time you use it
- clean any breast pump equipment carefully before and after each use by:
- washing the pump and containers after every use with dishwashing liquid and warm water
- rinsing with hot water for 10 to 15 seconds
You may be too ill to breastfeed or provide routine baby care. If so, ask a healthy adult to feed and care for your baby. Ideally, the baby’s caregiver would be someone who is part of your immediate household. As there may be COVID-19 in the home, the baby’s caregiver should: