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Best Survival Guide for the First Month with your Newborn


Aesthetic baby room with a rug, table, sofa, chandelier and crib.
Baby Room

After months of planning, preparing, and decorating, the greatly anticipated day has finally arrived. Congratulations, you are a parent now!


We’re pretty sure you’ve already stocked up on things you think you’ll need in the initial months of parenthood. Such a long wait gives you time to go full out with designing your baby’s room. It brings difficult decisions like hanging up the curtains of the right size and colour, matching the furniture, rug, dresser, small couch, and everything else.


You might be asking yourself questions like, "Should I place a huge frame or something else on the wall behind the crib?" Taking care of these joyful tasks can help you feel prepared, however, the actual job of caring for your child's needs awaits you, and it can make you feel not so prepared.


This survival guide for the first month with your newborn intends to give you an insight and a reality check on what the next week will look like and things you should keep in mind.

The perfect room aside, the essentials your baby will need in the first week will be some diapers, wipes, washed baby clothes, and YOU!



Baby’s First Cry


Despite her body being wracked with pain, the mother breathes a sigh of relief when she hears the sound of her baby’s cry reverberating in the labour room. When the baby cries for the first time, it means that the air passages have begun to function properly.


The first cry is the indicator that the baby’s respiratory system has shifted from getting oxygen from the placenta, when he was inside the uterus, to getting oxygen from the air.



Breastfeeding


Hopefully, both you and your baby have made it through labour and delivery successfully without complications. After such a painful delivery, you must be drained. No wonder, the pain that your body endured was enormous.


A lot of things must have come as a surprise throughout the process. You are drowsy, but your baby needs to feed. It was not easy for the baby either, leaving the warmth of the mother’s womb and being shoved out.


Studies show that doctors now know that,

The newborn baby most likely feels pain during labor, but up to what degree is debatable.

Therefore, it is ideal for placing the baby right after birth on the mother’s chest. Making skin-to-skin contact releases and floods you and your baby’s body with oxytocin ‘the love hormone’. Oxytocin helps initiate the milk flow, it also helps in shrinking your uterus and expelling the placenta naturally to decrease blood flow.


It is not definite that all babies will be fed in the first attempt, but allowing them to do so is essential. Your first milk called colostrum is fully loaded with multiple nutrients and protein. It nourishes the baby and helps build a healthy immune system. It’s thick and yellow, unlike the milk that your breast will start producing after a few days.


The more you’ll latch your baby to your breast and give them space to suck, the more it’ll help your milk production. Otherwise, you can also pump colostrum from your breast and feed it to your baby.


Consult a professional lactation therapist to help you through the process until it becomes comfortable for you and the baby.


“Those first three days are a crucial time for establishing breastfeeding, If you can get things right during this time, you’re likely to get good lactation and the baby growing well”.

Professor Hartmann from Medela


It is natural to feel pain in the beginning and breast engorgement later, but it’ll all be so worth it for the health and well-being of your baby that you’ll be proud of yourself for not giving up. But yes, never forget to take care of your diet during lactation.


Infographic: Survival Guide: Your First Month With Newborn
Infographic: Survival Guide: Your First Month With Newborn

Putting Your Baby in a Placid Position


Newborn babies need comfort, feeding, and sleep. Holding the baby to your chest, swaddling, and swinging them in your arms will give them a sense of security and a feeling of warmth.


Skin-to-skin contact also helps maintain the baby’s body temperature. Newborns tend to sleep more than half of a day after making it to the world.


According to The National Sleep Foundation, Newborns should get 14-17 hours of sleep over 24 hours. They’ll wake up every two to three hours to feed. Breastfed babies feed more often whereas bottle-fed feed a little less.



Surviving on Little to No Sleep


Once you’ve fed, burped, and patted your baby to sleep, you’ll finally have a chance to relax after such a chaotic day. However, that’s exactly when all the trauma that you survived will gush forth and reality will kick in.


Try not to exhaust yourself any further by thinking about it again. Take that time as a golden opportunity and sleep because after gaining this miracle, the first thing you’ll lose is your beauty sleep.


Keep in mind that these initial few months are the hardest. The only time you’ll get to sleep will be when your baby is asleep. Babies do not have a sense of day and night or a routine, therefore, they only like to wake up for the things they need like when hunger strikes, their diaper irritates or someone’s making noise.


Baby with a teddy bear yawning
Baby Yawning

Changing Diapers


As a new parent, the early few days may seem unnerving with diaper changing drills consisting of eight to ten dirty diapers daily. Soon it’ll become a daily chore in the coming months and easy to manage. Over time, with practice, you’ll become a pro.


It is recommended to change your infant’s diaper as soon as it is soiled. Urine may not be harmful but if stool stays in touch with the baby’s skin for too long it will give your little one a painful rash.


What you will need

  1. Diaper

  2. Diaper cream or ointment

  3. Disposable bag

  4. Changing pad

  5. Wipes (recommended; Pre-moistened with water, containing no alcohol)

  6. Clothes in case of a blowout


How to change diapers?

  1. Wash your hands

  2. Put together your supplies

  3. Lay your baby down

  4. Unfasten your baby’s dirty diaper

  5. Slide it away

  6. Clean the area with wipes (It is recommended to use warm water and cotton cloth in the first week to avoid any skin irritation)

  7. Place a clean diaper underneath your baby’s bottom and fasten it

  8. Wrap the dirty diaper and throw it away in the trash

  9. Wash your and the baby’s hands.



Baby’s First Bath


It's better not to bathe your newborn right after birth for various reasons. According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended to delay the baby’s first bath up to 24 hours or at least six hours from birth.


Why is it important?

  • Taking away the baby for a bath right away will delay the skin-to-skin contact with the mother, which helps in initiating the production of breastmilk.

  • Vernix, a waxy white substance covering the baby’s skin before birth acts as a moisturizer and helps in preventing drying out the baby’s delicate skin. Therefore, it is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics to let vernix stay on the baby’s skin for a while before washing it off.

  • Early baths can give your baby a cold and develop a risk of hypothermia.


Umbilical Cord


Bathing your baby twice or thrice a week is more than enough for the first year. Only give sponge baths until the stump of the umbilical cord dries out and falls itself. This usually takes a week or two.


Do not try to pull on the baby’s umbilical cord before it falls off by itself as it might cause bleeding. If it stays for longer than the normal period then pay a visit to your doctor. When the umbilical cord falls off, the area may not look fully healed.


This unhealed area does not need any dressing but it should be kept clean and dry so that it will not become infected. When the umbilical cord falls off, the child can take a tub bath. If you notice any discharge from that area or the skin around it becomes red, consult a doctor.



Sponge Bath


"Cleaning each part of the body on its own and not in a tub is known as a sponge bath". This may be done when:

  • The umbilical cord is still attached to your baby

  • They are sick or low-weight

  • They are very nervous in the water


How it is done?

  1. Using a soft sponge or a flannel, slightly dip it in lukewarm water to rub on your baby’s skin.

  2. Use cotton-dampened wool to clear the corners and edges of the eyes.

  3. Clean the outside and the inside of the ear but not inside the ear canal. Do not use a cotton bud or Q-Tip. It may damage the eardrum.

  4. Clean the nostrils with a cloth or flannel. Do not dig too deep.

  5. Do not miss wiping the folds of the neck gently.

  6. Rub the dampened cloth on their entire body covering the underarms and wiping the genitals.

  7. Wrap them up in a dry towel.

  8. Moisturize using baby oil or a lotion.

  9. Cover them with clothes, put a cap on their head, and socks on their tiny toes.

  10. It is best to clip the baby’s nails while they are asleep.


Diaper Changing Bed
Diaper Changing Bed

Circumcision


Circumcision is a very ancient custom and a tradition among many people. In 2007, The World Health Organization officially regarded circumcision as a means of protection against AIDS.


Several other studies carried out in South Africa have also confirmed that circumcised men are at less risk of contracting venereal diseases than those who are not circumcised.


Benefits of male circumcision

  • It reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

  • It reduces the risk of circumcised males contracting urinary tract infections during childhood.

  • It reduces the possibility of the partners of circumcised males contracting cervical cancer compared to the partners of uncircumcised males


Best time for circumcision


The best time for circumcision is within the first month after birth. Local anesthesia



Jaundice


Jaundice is a common disease affecting a large number of newborns, turning their eyes and skin yellowish. This happens as a result of elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood.


Most countries have vaccination schedules as a series of vaccinations given at certain stages in a child’s life starting from birth. This is compulsory in some countries and recommended in others.



Postpartum Self-Care


  1. Rest, rest, and rest!

  2. Do not lift any heavy items.

  3. You should only carry your baby to breastfeed and take bed rest as much as possible.

  4. It is recommended to take some vitamins to help replace the blood that was lost during childbirth. This should be done as prescribed by the doctor.

  5. Keep checking the site of the wound and tell the doctor immediately if you notice any unfamiliar changes.

  6. Drink a lot of fluids and make sure you eat nutritious and healthy meals that are rich in vitamins.

  7. Limit stair climbing and avoid exercising until after consulting a doctor.

  8. Avoid using vaginal douches.

  9. Avoid marital relations.

  10. For healing your wounds, you can take a sitz bath or use witch hazel or spray peri bottle at your perineal area to relieve the pain of stitches or haemorrhoids.

  11. Your partner needs to help; asking a nurse or a relative to do the laundry, cleaning, cooking, and other tasks that require you to bend or stand up for a long should be kept to a minimum during the first few weeks after childbirth.

For more details, read here!


Self Care Equipment. Brush, towel, scrub and lotion.
Self Care Equipment

Remember


With so many things to do, the first month will pass by quickly. With that in mind, try to be present through everything consciously. Slowly acknowledging everything that has happened and coming to terms with it can minimize the chances of postpartum depression and trauma.



Takeaway


This Best Survival Guide for the First Month with your Newborn has all the essentials you must know. The first month with your newborn will be difficult. It's going to be hard to adapt to your new lifestyle and try to balance your needs and your baby's needs. However, researching and knowing what to expect can make it less nerve-wracking.


Don't beat yourself up if you are having trouble changing diapers or putting your child to sleep. Even if you already have kids, it can be hard to adjust. By taking it one step at a time, you can fully experience the joys of being a mother.

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