When I finally sat down with my iPad to write about this post it was already 11:56 in the evening of March 30. I have 1 day left to finish it so I can publish it before the month ends (I said I was going to blog at least once a month). So, I pulled an all nighter for this one and surprisingly, I was still “inspired” by 1 am. 🙂
I have been slacking the whole month of March. I’m really sorry, but I was at what I call on a “vacation” mode, and since the family has had two out of the country trips this month, it’s hard not to be on “vacation” mode. So now I’m cramming haha.
Taking care of a newborn should be simple enough. I mean, all a newborn does is eat, burp, sleep, pee and poop right?
Taking care of a newborn can be overwhelming. I remember when we were expecting, I forced my husband to come with me to a seminar on how to take care of a newborn. I wanted to be as ready as I could be and at the same time, I was hoping that knowing more about taking care of a newborn would make taking care of a newborn Light easier. I don’t know if it was all the reading, talking with other moms or the seminars, but I think we, by we I mean I, did a pretty good job when Light was born. 😉
I also read that when a baby is born, a mother is also born. I believe in that statement. I kept worrying about how I was going to take care of Light but when she was born, I instantly became a mother. I knew what to do. I had zero experience taking care of a baby, especially a newborn, but I’d done it. How was beyond me. I guess mother instincts really do kick in. So don’t worry. You’ll know what to do when the time comes. 🙂
I believe that taking care of a newborn is one of the most delicate things to do for a new mom. That’s why I thought of writing this post. A newborn is when your baby is only a few weeks old, before she reaches her first month I think, so we do everything extra careful. I remember asking my mom and yaya (yes, our yaya since birth haha) a lot of questions. How to do this and what to do with that. How did they do it before with us. I’m hoping that having this post will help Light in the future. I will probably forget about it all by the time she becomes a mother. 🙂
The first and very important tip I can give to make taking care of a newborn easy is to breastfeed. Try to breastfeed and do direct breastfeeding. It will make the lives of new mommies easier. Imagine not having to clean up any bottles or prepare and heat up milk in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding was (and still is) so convenient for us and Light (especially since we don’t have a nanny or household help). I can’t tell you enough how it helped my husband and I take care of Light when she was a newborn. It immediately took away a big chunk of the work. So breastfeed if you can. At least try it. If the benefits of breastfeeding are not enough to make you do it, maybe making taking care of a newborn such a breeze will. 🙂
Taking Care Of A Newborn
I’ve already shared here how to prepare for your newborn. You can also check my 7 essential must haves for a newborn in this link. On this post would be some practical tips on how to take care of a newborn based on our experience with Light. I’ve broken them down to specific topics for easier reading. 🙂
–> General Topics <–
It’s crazy how fast these little newborns’ nails grow. I read that filing them is one of the safest way to go for the scared first time mommies out there. I went ahead and used a nail cutter though. I got a couple hand me downs (still in good condition) from Light’s cousins. I was brave. Besides, once you’ve cut a little bit of her skin (like I did), the next clippings will be nothing haha. I did feel bad and guilty for not being super duper careful with her though. I find not just clipping the nails, but also filing them the best way to go. I also did it while she was sleeping. It was super easy that way. 🙂
For the not so brave, you can try putting on mittens. I find the gartered ones better than stringed ones. But mittens can only work their magic up to a certain point, after that, you really have to toughen up and just do it! 🙂 If not, your baby will end up with lots of scratches on her face (which the liquid gold breastmilk can fix in no time!).
If you plan to use cloth diapers, I suggest either combining cloth and disposable diapers, or using disposable diapers on your baby first, until you’ve gotten the hang of it. That way, you don’t have to worry about washing your cloth diapers.
Hair falls on newborns are also normal. It can be worrisome to see a bunch of hairs on your baby’s crib when you pick her up but don’t fret. It’s normal for newborns to shed some hair. 🙂
For her belly button, since there was still the umbilical cord stump and it hadn’t fallen off yet, our doctor instructed us to use a cotton swab dabbed with alcohol to clean the area around it once a day. In about 2 weeks it came off. We continued cleaning her belly button, though. There was some blood after the stump fell off but it dried up after a while. No major problems there.
I cleaned her ears and nose with a cotton swab. The cotton swab should be for babies (smaller tips). Just be careful not to go too dip or you might hit something you shouldn’t.
We were also advised to sunbathe her because she was a little yellow when she came out. They called it Infant Jaundice. The perfect time to place your little ones under the sun was around 6 am to 9 am in the morning.
Doing the tummy time could be daunting at first. When you’re a first time parent, a baby to you is like this super fragile being that might suddenly break. As much as possible you don’t want to move her haha. But tummy time is important. How I did it was like this. I put my left hand under her head and neck, my arm supporting the rest of her body. Then I flip her on her tummy, my right hand would be supporting her face and neck. I flip her rather quickly. I fix her head and arms making sure that everything is at its proper place. I suggest watching videos on how to do the tummy time. I usually did this during her nap time so she wasn’t moving around so much and I can control her head and body better.
–> Feeding <–
BREASTFEED! ^_^ More on breastfeeding and burping soon.
–> On Poop & Pee <–
If you’ve been to a breastfeeding seminar, then you probably know about the amount of urine and poop that your newborn baby should have (see images below). In our case, when it came to poop, Light didn’t actually follow these pooping schedules. Even when she was a few months old, she wasn’t pooping everyday. We’ve raised this concern to her doctor and he would always tell us that it was okay and normal. As long as she’s growing normally, then there’s no cause for alarm. His advice was to give it five days. True enough, Light eventually poops on or before the 5th day haha.
One trick we learned from other moms to stimulate your newborn’s behind and help her poop is using a cotton swab. You use the swab to tickle her, well, anus. This worked on Light a few times. 🙂
There is also a massage to stimulate poop for babies. It’s called the “I Love You” massage. Found this illustration over the internet.
Pee, on the other hand, is different. It’s important that your newborn pees everyday. Light didn’t pee much when she was born so her doctor was a little worried. They said I didn’t have enough milk yet so I had to ask some donated breastmilk from my sister-in-law (who also gave birth a few weeks earlier). The nurse also did a cold compress on her lower abdomen to help her pee that time.
To clean a newborn’s bum after pooping, I used unscented wipes followed by cotton balls soaked in clean water. To clean after peeing, I just used cotton balls soaked in clean water. I also always put diaper rash cream on her every diaper change.
–> Bath Time <–
I’m just going to say it now. It’s impossible to bathe a newborn under 5 minutes. The nurses at the hospital said to keep it under 5 minutes but it was just not possible. Even if I just gave her a sponge bath like I did. We timed it. Her shortest sponge bath was around 12 minutes.
I remember just using a wash cloth and wiping her when she was just a tiny baby. I would make a water-vinagre aromatico solution for her. My parents did it before to us. I would just wipe her first then change her diaper. On her face and private area, I used cotton balls soaked in clean water.
I also tried bathing her like how the nurses did it. My husband even recorded a video of the nurse giving Light a bath for the first time so we can watch it later on. It was scary. I had to hold her in one arm and use my other hand to lather soap and rinse her. As much as possible I didn’t want to put her under water for fear of drowning her.
We changed the way we bathed her after a while. Although this was already beyond her newborn days and we were confident enough as parents, this bathing “technique” can also be done. 🙂
What we did was give her a semi sponge bath. I readied everything (towel, new set of clothes, cotton swabs to clean the nose and ears if needed) before I bathed her. We had a table set up in our bathroom just for her. I placed a rubber mat on one side, and the wets stuff like the basin and container with clean water on the other side. Everything within reach. Of course never leave your baby unattended. EVER.
I placed her in a basin half filled with lukewarm water. I also had a container with plain, clean water and some cotton balls in it. I take one cotton ball, put a small amount of head-to-toe bath gel on it and gently rub it on her head and body, never on her face. I wash the soap away with the water from the basin using a wash cloth. When there are no more soap residues on her, I put her on the rubber mat (her towel already placed on top). Dab dab dab. Use the remaining cotton balls to wipe her face and private area. Dab dab dab. Dress her up in clean clothes. Done!
It’s also important to note that when giving your newborn a bath, the environment should be warm enough and there are no cold air gushing through.
We gave her a sponge bath once a day at the end of the day.
–> Monster Cries <–
There’s really nothing you can do when you’ve done all that you can and know and your newborn is still crying at night, in the morning, in the afternoon, the whole freakin’ day.
I remember when Light was just a few weeks old (it was December 13, 2014 to be exact), and I just couldn’t handle her crying that I snapped at her. I think I yelled at her. I just didn’t know what to do because she kept crying. I already checked for the common reasons why a baby is crying but all was well. Light wasn’t even a difficult newborn, but that time, I just didn’t know what she wanted and so I snapped. Of course I felt guilty immediately, thinking she probably just wanted me to keep soothing her, probably wanted me to cuddle her or just wanted to be near me. Or maybe she just wanted to cry because that’s what babies do.
I’m telling you right now, it’s totally normal and perfectly okay if you snap at your baby once in a while. We’ve all been there.
To calm yourself, always think and do this. Leave your baby in a safe and secure place like her crib or rocker, just for a minute. Go to another room and take a deep breath. Or scream. It’s up to you. Release the stress and frustration. When you’ve calm down and is ready to put a smile on your and your baby’s faces, come out of the hiding and cuddle your newborn again.
It also helped with Light when we changed scenery. I would go out of the room and point different things to her. Sometimes I played music. Sometimes I talked to or played with her.
–> Sleeping Time <–
Sleeping time you say? Bring out the white noises. I still don’t know how it works but it does (on Light at least). I remember my husband paid the Spotify Premium so we could have unlimited access to all the baby white noise albums and playlists. We could play sleeping baby music anytime, anywhere. My husband often played the Sleeping – Baby Mozart playlist when it was time for Light to sleep.
Plain “shhhhhh-ing” works too. When we noticed her stirring or when she was starting to make some noise, my husband and I would immediately “shhhhh” and she would fall back to sleep. Sometimes we accompanied it with some gentle patting on the butt. 🙂
Light would also fall asleep through cradling. When cradling your newborn, though, you don’t have to go all break dancing on her. A gentle sideways rocking is enough to calm her and put her back to sleep. For a time, when I stand up, I was unconsciously doing the sideways rocking. It’s just crazy how these habits stay with you haha.