There's an old saying that every child is a blessing. Well, every mother can attest to that. However, when you baby won't stop crying, throws tantrums, refuses to feed/eat, won't let you get quality sleep, and demands so much of your energy, it's hard to picture them as such. Raising a child can be tough and fulfilling at the same time; not to mention, it's one of those jobs for which you might feel least prepared. Once you bring them into this world, it's upon you to take care of them physically, financially, emotionally, and socially.
People often find themselves confused and frustrated by the seemingly endless challenges of parenthood, even as they try to be great parents for their kids. For a lot of first-time mums, the thought of giving birth and caring for a newborn can be scary - even worse than buying your first car! After going through pregnancy, labour, and delivery, it's time to go home and start a new life with your baby.
You might get nervous and start feeling clueless about what you are supposed to do when you finally get home with your new baby. This article provides tips that will help new mothers gain confidence in their ability to care for their newborn, so they can enjoy the baby's arrival and early growth.
Things can get hectic and overwhelming after childbirth, which is why you should consider getting some help. In the hospital, you are surrounded by experts who can assist you get around some of the challenges associated with childcare. A lot of hospitals have lactation consultants or feeding specialists who can help with issues to do with bottle feeding or nursing. Hospital staff can help with things such as burping, changing, and caring for the baby.
Once you leave the hospital, you might want to ask for help from friends and family members. Alternatively, you can hire a baby nurse to help you take better care of your newborn. Hiring a postpartum doula is also a good idea as they can facilitate recovery from birth and help you adjust to parenthood. The hospital, or your doctor, can provide you with essential info on in-home help, and may even recommend places where you can get such.
Handling a newborn baby can be scary. Their fragility is intimidating for most people, especially if you haven't cared for or assisted with caring for an infant before. Here are a few tips to help you take good care of your newborn baby:
Clean hands: Always make sure that your hands are clean before handling your baby. Wash your hands with soap or apply hand sanitizer to kill germs and reduce the risk of infection. At this stage, the baby's immune system is still developing, which is why you need to minimise exposure to germs.
Don't shake the baby: Shaking a newborn baby can lead to haemorrhaging in the brain. Never shake the baby, whether you are playing or are frustrated, as it may result in complications. If you need to wake your baby from sleep, do it by tickling their feet or gently blowing on their cheek.
Support the baby's neck and head: Support your baby's head and neck when you lay them down and when you're carrying them upright. This will prevent causing injury to the baby's fragile body during handling.
Keep in mind that your baby isn't quite ready for rough activities such as being thrown in the air or jiggled in the knee. Be sure to limit bouncy activities or anything that could be too rough. Last but not least, always ensure that your baby is firmly secured into the car seat, stroller, or carrier.
Physical growth refers to an increase in height and weight. The first year of life is an amazing time during which babies grow 10 inches in length and triple their birth weight. Is there anything you can do to help with your child's growth? Most importantly, how can you tell if your baby is growing properly? Here are three key factors that affect growth at an early age:
Sleep: Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to the growth of a child. About 80% of the growth hormone is secreted during sleep. Therefore, work to ensure that your child gets the recommended 14-17 hours of sleep per day.
Nutrition: A child will not grow normally without a good diet. Ensure your child is getting wholesome calories to avoid derailing growth. Do not feed your baby incorrectly mixed formula or attempt to keep the baby from getting 'fat.'
Emotional well-being: Without a loving, nurturing, and supporting family environment, children can't reach their full growth potential. Anxiety, excessive tension, and emotional neglect can derail physical growth.
Children grow in fits and starts. Expect a lot of growth between 0-12 months. Increased hunger is the usual sign for a growth spurt. During this stage, the baby just can't seem to have enough to eat. By age one, a typical baby will have grown 10 inches and tripled their birth weight. The growth rate slows down after 1 year, and most kids will have grown to about half of their ultimate adult height by the time they turn 3.
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When it comes to childcare –especially from infancy to when your child becomes a toddler, it's the little things that make all the difference. For instance, daily routines are essential. Kids thrive in a predictable environment. This means that daily routines such as mealtimes, toileting, nap times, as well as arrivals and departures should be handled with consistency by all caregivers. This allows children to learn more about themselves, the people surrounding them, and their environment.
A daily routine also offers children a feeling of warmth and a sense of stability. Through tasks such as nappying and feeding, we communicate with our babies that they can trust us to nourish and provide for them. The trust and attachment created in the first two years of baby growth plays a huge role in a child's future emotional health.
There are a few other things you can do to develop a strong attachment bond with your child. For instance, don't rush through daily tasks such as feeding, bathing, and nappying. Use that time to talk to your baby and learn to listen and pay attention to what they are trying to communicate. In other words, be sensitive to his/her cues to facilitate the development of a strong attachment and raise a happy, healthy baby.
As you can see, childcare entails a lot of things. These are just but a few to get you started. That being said, there's no owner's manual for how to be a good parent or care for a newborn. Every child is different, so learn as you go along. Most importantly, be patient and enjoy the ride –they tend to grow up so fast.
Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind.
Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.