Newborns. They are so delicate, so sweet, and they are such miracles. And yet they seem so fragile which they both are and are not at the same time. That said, they do require special care which wouldn’t be necessary to do as the newborn ages and matures into an older baby and beyond. And everyone in your family is so excited about the new baby, and your sister or your sister-in-law gave you some cute baby clothes aunt sayings shirts, onesies, and sleepers. However, you are both scared and excited because the responsibility is on you to take care of this being. This is what you need to know about newborns and the care they need:
The Umbilical Cord
This is the part of the newborn that provided his or her life you had given and it looks nasty on the outside. That is because the stump is the only thing left of it which ends of blackening and shriveling up, and then falling off. That is what becomes the baby’s belly button or naval cavity. However, you will be afraid to tamper with it.
All you need to do each time the diaper is changed, just wipe the area around the stump with warm water and allow it to dry so it ends up drying up quicker and falling off. Then there is no need to worry about it after that and it should take about a week or 2 the most for that to happen.
During the first week of life hold off on giving the newborn a bath as he or she is covered in vernix caseosa which is a protective layer from the womb that keeps the skin nourished and moist. However after that, only give the newborn sponge baths with warm water and only use soap if necessary such as after explosive diaper messes or messy spit-ups. And the soap to be used in those instances should be for babies as their skins are extremely delicate.
When you are changing nappies, it’s best to just use warm water with cotton wool to begin with. For girls, wipe gently from front to back so there is no spread for bacteria. And for boys make sure that his penis is pointed down so he doesn’t wee over the top of the nappy. You may also want to cover his penis with a clean cloth whilst you change him so he doesn’t wee on himself – or you!
The skin of newborns is very soft and delicate but it can dry up and become patchy. This is why it is best to always apply some baby-friendly moisturizer on the baby’s skin each day so it lessens the chances of dry itchy patches developing and this tends to happen after 2 weeks of age. If this is done daily, then there should not be any problems at all. And the problem with dry itchy patches is that it can become a breeding ground for fungi, viruses, and bacteria which will cause infections that you would want to avoid.
Parents know to be mindful of the soft spots which are called the fontanelles which are on top of the baby’s head. That is where the skull has not fused together and it won’t until the baby is a year old as it is delicate and can be scratched easily. That means to not scrub the head too hard. And oftentimes cradle cap which is a dry skin condition where it becomes flaky on the scalp develops. And parents are often worried about this but it will usually resolve on its own. But a great remedy to help it resolve quicker is by using some olive oil. This way the skin will be moistened well and it is natural, and safe to be applied gently to the baby’s head.
The newborn’s nails will be long but it is never advisable to use clippers to cut the nails because you may be cutting the baby’s cuticles which is what you want to avoid. This is why infants are given mitts after they are born so they don’t scratch themselves. The best way to maintain the newborn’s nails is by using a nail filer to file the nails down which you will be able to see where the cuticle ends.
You have to know that newborns do not run on schedules. They will sleep when they need to, wake up and be hungry when they need to, and will need a change when they need it. And it will happen at any time during the day and night every 2 to 3 hours. So you will want to make sure as well that the infant is comfortable so that he or she can sleep. If it is in the middle of summer, put on one of those baby onesies that you were given or had purchased and let the baby nap. If it is during the winter, add an extra layer so the baby is kept warm but comfortable.
Now you know that newborns are fragile but at the same time, they are more resilient than you think. That is why there are things you need to do to make sure you are careful with their care but you also don’t have to panic. If you accidentally, for instance, scratch the newborn’s noise while attempting to feed him or her, don’t worry about any damage. The baby will cry and you will feel bad that it happened but the baby will forget it and will heal from it and it will be as if nothing had ever happened.
And the newborn phase is definitely hard but it will not last forever. As the newborn grows and matures, then you will need to learn about the next steps of babyhood, then eventually toddlerhood, and so on. Before you know it, the newborn will grow into an adult and you will not know how that even happened. So don’t stress out and just do your best!