You are probably reading this because you are a brand new parent and are looking for advice on a number of different topics. The good news is that we have some tips and insights that we hope will be helpful during this wonderful, exhausting, thrilling, and bumpy ride. Life with a newborn is as enjoyable as it is confusing — they can’t tell you why they’re upset, and you can’t stop marveling at this tiny human you made. Continue reading to learn some of the basics when it comes to caring for your newborn.
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While many friends and family members will tell you that nursing is the most natural thing in the world, the truth is that it’s not always that simple for everyone. From latching problems and low milk production to postpartum depression and more, there are a variety of reasons why nursing may be a bit more challenging for you. With that in mind, be sure to seek help early and often. Talk with friends who had good nursing experiences, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a lactation specialist, and utilize any resources offered at the hospital.
Newborns can sleep for as many as 16 hours a day, but their sleep is in short bursts rather than one continuous period, which is why new parents feel so tired and worn down. You can choose to respond to sleep deprivation with anger or acceptance. Do your best to remember that the goal is to care for your baby, and choose to let go of any anger you may feel about being so tired. Ask for help when you need it. If possible, take turns between mom and dad with getting up at night. During the day, ask a friend or family member to take care of your baby so you can take a nap.
When your baby is crying and you can’t figure out what they want, it’s important to have some soothing tricks up your sleeve. If you know they’re not hungry or in need of a diaper change, chances are they’re just struggling to adjust to this radically new environment. With that, try to use or do things that mimic the environment of the womb.
- Many babies will fall asleep when you turn on the vacuum or a fan as it simulates the noises they’re used to hearing.
- Swaddling is another great way to help them feel secure and soothed.
- Try holding your baby sideways in your arms and gently swing from side to side.
- See if your baby will take a pacifier as the sucking motion can help trigger a calming reflex.
There are a number of other tips to try to soothe a fussy newborn. If nothing seems to work and you feel as though you are on the verge of losing it, walk away. Place your baby safely in their crib, and give yourself permission to walk to the other end of the house or step out into the yard to give yourself 10 minutes to calm down and practice some deep breathing. Your baby is safe in their crib, crying for a short time won’t harm them, and you can be a better parent when you’re not so keyed up.