Essential Cheat Sheet for First-time Parents - North Brisbane Newborn Photographer
Navigating the wonderful world of newborns can be daunting when expecting your first baby. Here are my top tips of the simple things you will do every day with your new baby.
How to swaddle
Babies are houdinis. They can get out of almost any wrap you do. Photographer wraps are not suitable for home as we are always eagle-eye watching babies in our studio, so do no use a photographer style wrap at home. My tips for wrapping at home are to use a stretchy wrap and wrap it really firm. As your baby wriggles they will naturally loosen it, so start strong. Leave an arm out if that's what they like, but if you can wrap both arms in, you have a better chance of the wrap staying tight for longer.
There are a few ways to wrap safely at home, heres how I do it:
How to tell if your baby is too hot or too cold
Babies can't truly regulate their body temperature until after around 18 momths old and are more sensitive to temperature than adults.
Cold babies will have a grey skin tone with a marbled effect across the surface of the skin. Add a layer or two plus a blanket and snuggle them warm again and breastfeed if possible to help regulate their body temperature. Do not use hot baths or heaters as this can be too much too quick.
Newborn babies don't usually sweat to cool themselves so we look for other signs of overheating. Hot babies will be very red, sometimes with blotchy skin tone, if they have "stork marks" these will be very pronounced. Your baby could possibly even start panting. Undress to nappy and singlet and use skin to skin contact to your own body. If possible, breastfeeding will also help regulate their temperateure. Do not give a cold bath.
Always support the neck
Babies are an odd mix of super delicate and quite hardy. This sentence will make sense when you see the midwives and paediatricians handle your new baby. Possibly the one thing that applies at all times, no matter what, is to support your newborn's neck. They will gain strength to support their own heavy heads after around one month old, but until then it is so very important to keep them carefully supported at all times.
How to tell if they're hungry
Well, this may be news to no-one, they cry. However, if you can start to feed them before they really realise they are hungry they will latch on quicker and not get distressed waiting for their milk. Babies go from zero to 100 pretty qucikly.
making the "food" face (frowny, closed eyes, shaking head "no")
chewing on their fists
sucking on your shoulder or wrist
crying "neh neh neh" sound
If your baby shows these signs - even if they have just fed - turn on the milk supply quick smart to avoid a meltdown.
How to burp
It wasn't until I had my second baby that I worked this out. You need to stretch the burps out. Place a burp cloth over your shoulder. Place baby up high on your shoulder and supporting the neck, hold them with a soft pressure across their shoulders and let their body strech out down your chest with legs long and low. Then firmly pat the bottom upwards to bounce any bubbles upwards and out.
How to tell if burps are not all out
As soon as you lay your burped baby down, they start to cry. Pick them up, they stop. Lay them down, within moments they are upset again. This is a classic sign that there is still an air bubble causing trouble, keep trying with the burping technique, it can take some time to get them out.
How to do up a nappy
Newborns can be extra tiny. Sometimes even too tiny for the "Newborn" size nappies. The things to check when you put a nappy on a baby is that the "escape areas" are all intact. If the nappy is too loose around the belly, you might have an explosion erupt upwards and out. If it is too loose around the leg holes, same deal. Don't be afraid to cross the tabs over each other right in the centre of the nappy if you need to, and check that the elastic is against the skin around the leg holes, if the little curtain part is tucked it it is like a gate for mess to get straight out.
Everyone probably knows what #1 and #2 are. One day you will find out what a #3 is. Be prepared for this day.
How to settle your baby to sleep
Ooh I did a whole PDF on this one! You can grab your copy here.
There are at least 7 different thigns to try, from swaddling to shushing and swaying, check out the details in the link above.
How to tell if you're nailing this parenting gig
Well, if you have made it to the end of this blog it is a pretty good indication you are doing all you can to give your bub a great start to life. Ultimately, love concurs all so trust that you are doing a great job, even when it feels like you are fish out of water.