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6 Essential Newborn Care Tips for First-Time Parents

6 Essential Newborn Care Tips for First-Time Parents

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.

Many parents lament that there isn’t an instruction manual for raising kids. However, these days, there are many classes that can provide the same support as an instructional guide for first-time parents. Expectant parents can take classes that will teach them everything from changing a diaper to breast or bottle feeding. This kind of additional support can be perfect for first-time parents who are eager to make sure they are ready to care for the baby after it is born.

Newborn Genital Care

This is one of the most overlooked and often neglected aspects of baby care for new parents. Knowing how to ensure that a baby’s genitals are cared for correctly is key so that parents can avoid infections, diaper rash, and other skin health issues.

Parents need to use a soft and clean cloth and a gentle soap when washing genitals during bath time. Lukewarm water is recommended for babies for their early baths. When doing a diaper change, make sure to use unscented wipes and wipe gently.

For female babies, wipe front to back to avoid moving bacteria into the vaginal area. For baby boys who have been circumcised and have not yet healed, don’t pull back the foreskin until this area has healed.

Know Your Shades of Poop

The first bowel movements for all babies will be dark green, tar-like, and have no real smell. This is the meconium that is expelled in the first stools. Once breastfeeding begins, stools will be mustard-like in color and runny. Babies on formula will usually have tan, pasty stools that look a little like peanut butter.

All of these are normal appearances for your child’s stool. However, there are other kinds of stool that can be reason for concern, and new parents should be aware of which kinds of stool to look out for:

  •       Red stool can indicate blood and requires a trip to the doctor as soon as possible. It is possible that breastfed babies are ingesting blood from the mother’s nipples, but other more serious problems should be ruled out.
  •       Black stools can indicate that the baby is suffering from internal bleeds. This color of stool is often mistaken for the early meconium stools that are normal in babies. However, if you see black stool after the first few bowel movements, you should be concerned and talk to your pediatrician.
  •       White or gray stools are very rare in babies and also require an emergency trip to see a doctor. There are various reasons that this might be happening, and early diagnosis is key.

Baby Nail Care

Babies need to have their nails cared for properly because they can easily cut their faces with their little fingers if you don’t trim their nails. Newborn nails grow very fast and can be very sharp. You will want to trim baby fingernails about once a week with proper, newborn-safe nail clippers.

Toenails grow more slowly, so you will not need to attend to this set of nails nearly as often. Make sure that if you do cut your baby’s skin by accident, you hold a clean, dry cloth to the wound and put pressure on it until it stops bleeding. Do not bandage the cut, as this can be a choking hazard for young children.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap can happen to all babies, and they typically occur on the top of the head, behind the ears, and on the back of the neck. It can also show up on other parts of the body. This is not contagious, but it can be itchy and uncomfortable for your baby. You can typically treat cradle cap at home without the help of a doctor unless it spreads or shows signs of infection.

Make sure to wash baby’s hair frequently, and gently brush over the hair with a soft brush to loosen scaly skin and remove it. Don’t rub or scratch the loose tissue, as this can lead to irritation and damage to the skin.

Baby Acne

Babies can sometimes get pimples on their faces, particularly their cheeks. This is not abnormal and can usually be cleared up by washing baby’s clothes and bedsheets in detergent that is made for sensitive skin. You should wash affected skin daily with warm water and pat it dry. Don’t bother or pop the acne spots, as this can lead to infection and scarring.

While not pretty to look at in some cases, baby acne will resolve on its own with a little bit of care. Resist the urge to touch it too much or hide it, and your baby’s immune system will do the rest.

Ear Infections

Babies can get ear infections due to the small size of their ear canals. If your child is tugging or pulling at their ear, crying, or showing irritability, they might have an ear infection. Children with ear infections also have trouble sleeping, might have a fever, and might experience fluid draining from their ears.

Your doctor can help you to treat this common health concern. Make sure that you do not ignore the symptoms of this kind of infection, as long-term ear infections can lead to damage to your baby’s hearing. Ear infections are usually quite easy to recognize, which makes it simple to get your child seen by a doctor before their infection is too far advanced.

Caring for Baby Requires Preparation

Knowing what your baby needs is easy when you have prepared in advance for their arrival. Between first-time parenting classes and the assistance and wisdom of your pediatrician, there is no reason that you cannot take care of all of your baby’s needs with ease.

Caring for a baby is not much different than caring for yourself or an older child. While newborns can sometimes struggle with skin issues and things like ear infections, most of these concerns are not serious and are easily resolved. Always remember that you can call your pediatrician at any time to schedule an appointment if you think that your child is sick. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to infant care.

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.

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