HOW TO CARE FOR A NEWBORN BABY
A newborn can be very demanding so the first few days with your little one may seem like one endless round of feeding and changing. Here we look at the basic care that your baby needs during these early days.
Your baby may make her first cry as soon as her chest is delivered, or she may wait until she’s been born and begins breathing normally.
These first cries are often no more than a whimper, with full-bodied crying following on later. It’s quite normal for your newborn to go bright red when she cries and to draw her knees up.
Crying is one of the ways your baby communicates with you. Her cries are her way of telling you that she is tired or uncomfortable or, if you have missed her feeding cues, she may be telling you she is hungry. You will quickly learn to distinguish why she is crying and how best to soothe her.
Some babies naturally cry a lot, others cry very little. Your baby may cry more in the evening, which can be difficult as you are likely to be tired and you may find it harder to cope. If you are concerned about your baby’s crying, or you suspect that she is ill always contact your midwife, health visitor or GP.
Your newborn has no concept of night and day so there is no point in expecting her to sleep during the night and to stay awake during the day. Some newborn babies are sleepier than others and will sleep for up to 20 hours out of 24, others sleep a lot less but these periods of wakefulness can take place at any time.
For the first six months your baby should sleep in the same room as you, both at night and during the day.
Keeping your baby safe
Although sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is rare, there are some simple precautions you can take to help reduce the risks:
- Always place your baby on her back – in the feet-to-foot position (feet at the foot of the cot) – when you put her down to sleep.
- Don’t let your baby get too hot. Keep blankets tucked no higher than her shoulders and keep her head uncovered. Keep her cot away from radiators and out of direct sunlight.
- Use a firm new mattress and don’t use duvets or pillows.
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy, or allow anyone to smoke in your home once she’s been born.
- Don’t share a bed with your baby if you are excessively tired, have drunk alcohol, taken any form of drugs, or if you or your partner smokes or if your baby is premature.
- Never sleep with your baby on the sofa or in an armchair.