Bringing a new baby home is a time for great joy and celebration. But you might be wondering what to expect in the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life? There are so many exciting experiences waiting for the happy family.
But, it doesn’t take long for mom and dad to discover that caring for a newborn baby, while joyful, can be demanding and exhausting. They also discover that their baby definitely has a mind of his or her own and will make his or her presence felt in a hundred and one ways. As most parents will tell you, it’s all a matter of practice and patience.
You will soon learn that your baby shows normal reflexes that can initially alarm you. Such as the fact that newborns have irregular breathing patterns, especially during sleep. Start by following guidelines for safe sleep for babies and follow them as soon as possible.
Newborn babies don’t have a manual, to find all the answers you need to get to know your newborn. It takes patience to find out everything you need to know about caring for your new baby in these exhausting and wonderful first weeks.
You can bet that the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life will fly by as he or she slowly develops a small personality and reaches a few new milestones. As you navigate your new life with another family member, it will help you to stay rested, content and peaceful. Here are a few things to take note of in your baby’s early life.
Feeding your baby:
The first decision you will need to make is whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby. Research shows that, in most cases, breast milk is the best food for your baby. At first, it may look as if you are constantly feeding, but gradually your baby will get into a pattern and the amount of milk you produce will level out.
But for some mothers who cannot breastfeed; then baby formula is a healthy alternative.
Always remember to burp your baby gently after a feeding. While feeding on a bottle, make sure your baby is not taking in air bubbles. A newborn baby will need to eat every few hours around the clock so be prepared for interrupted sleep.
When your baby is ready to accept semi-solids and solids, introduce one food at a time. Allow him or her time to get used to each food. Avoid baby foods with additives.
You will need to decide if you are going to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. Each option has its own pros and cons. Parents usually make a decision based on time, convenience, environmental concerns and financial considerations. Some parents use cloth diapers at home and choose to use disposable diapers when out and about with the baby, visiting friends and relatives, or travelling.
Bathing and Grooming:
That first bath at home can be scary for a parent. Until your baby’s umbilical cord stub falls off, only give sponge baths. A baby bathtub makes giving your baby a bath easier and safer. Before placing your baby in the water, test it will your elbow to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. Never leave your baby unattended while he or she is in the bath.
After the bath, bundle your baby up in a nice fluffy towel and dry him or her. Make sure the umbilical area is dry and that the eyes, ears and nose are clean. You may need to clean these with a wet washcloth, but never insert buds into them. Trim your baby’s nails just after a bath.
Experts recommend putting your baby to sleep on his or her back. It’s not uncommon for a baby to wake at least once during the night until he or she is about a year old. The younger the baby, the more times he or she will wake during the night for feeding and changing. Feed, change and comfort your baby when he or she wakes up at night but don’t turn those “awake” periods at night into playtime or it will be harder for you to get your baby to the point of sleeping through the night.
In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, hold him or her close, read to him or her and sing as well. Your baby learns the best from hearing you communicate with him or her. As your baby gets older, get on the floor and encourage your baby to play as much as possible. Offer toys and get involved in safe activities, just interact and talk to your baby often.
In your baby’s early life, common health problems include colic, diaper rash, cradle cap, skin rashes and ear infections. Many of these problems need just a little extra care and patience. Call your doctor with any concerns or questions. If your baby is in pain, take him or her in for a doctor visit.
A common question of parents is “when it is safe to travel by air with a baby?”. You should wait at least two weeks or more after the baby is born to take him or her on a trip that includes a flight. After that, most experts say it is safe to travel by air with your baby as long as your baby is not sick. When travelling, pack all the items you need along with plenty of extra clothes and diapers.
If travelling by air, call the airline to make arrangements for taking your baby’s car seat or carrier and stroller (a combination car seat/stroller works great) on the plane.
Safety and comfort are very important things to keep in mind when you handle your baby. It is a good idea to have a fairly regular schedule for bathing, feeding, playing and sleeping. Your baby will always respond to a warm, loving environment. Hold your baby, cuddle him or her and respond to his or her cries.
Most of all enjoy early parenthood and your baby’s early days; they will grow up very fast.
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