a good nappy is bag easy and
comfortable carry around to
while juggling all the other
necessities of motherhood
, yet big enough to fit all of your
baby’s supplies – nappies,
bum cream, extra
clothes, a few toys inside your baby’s ear, as there is no need to, and you run the risk of damaging the baby’s eardrum.
Using another fresh piece of cotton wool or end of the facecloth, wipe your baby’s neck creases, hands and between their fingers. Very often, little threads from blankets and clothes can collect between fingers, so make sure those are wiped and clean.
As for the tail part, clean your baby’s bottom and genitals just as you would during a nappy change. You may find it easier to use baby wipes for this part, but make sure they are not perfumed and that they do not contain any alcohol. Apply a good barrier cream as you normally would before putting on baby’s nappy.
Once your baby is clean, you may want to rub in a moisturising lotion if his skin is dry, but this is not essential. Wrap the towel around him and pat his skin dry, but don’t forget the most important part as you lift him up while wrapped in the towel – a big cuddle!
Your newborn will need a nappy change at every feed and maybe even more frequently. Disposable nappies are excellent at absorbing the urine away from the sensitive skin of the bum area, but you do still need to take care and clean the area well at each nappy change.
Prepare the nappy change area by having two nappies on hand (there is a chance you will need to use two nappies if your baby wees in the middle of a nappy change).
Use water that has been boiled and allowed to cool down and cotton wool swabs for the first few weeks and then change to a gentle nappy wipe if your baby does not develop nappy rash in the first few months.
Wipe the nappy area well, as per the top and tailing instructions.
Use a simple bum cream to help protect the skin in the nappy area from irritation.
Nappy rash happens and it will probably strike your house at some point. Meg Faure, author of the Sense series books and founder of Baby Sense, who recently launched her new online parenting community on www.megfaure.com, has some helpful advice. “Nappy rash is disconcerting because often it appears out of nowhere after a niggly period, and mom or dad then blame themselves for causing it or not responding sooner,” she says. “The important thing with nappy rash is not to allow the wet acidic urine or stools to be left on the nappy area for too long, so regular nappy changes are essential if your baby is prone to rashes. Try to have a period of time each day when the nappy is off altogether and the bum area can dry out completely – parents can even dust the area with cornstarch to help it dry out well. When you change your baby’s nappies do not use store bought wipes, if they have a sensitive skin – rather use wet cotton wool to clean the area well.
“If your baby is prone to rashes you need to find a cream that works for him. Use tried and tested ointments as a treatment if your baby’s nappy rash is bad. If a nappy rash persists or is very red and angry and accompanied by little lesions, you will need to check with your doctor if it is due to thrush, which will not go away without an antifungal cream.”
It usually takes about ten days for your baby’s umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off, but in the meantime it requires a bit of taking care of.
Keep it clean At every nappy change and after each bath (or preferably, top and tail) lift the cord up and, using surgical spirits and cotton wool or surgical alcohol swabs, clean around the cord and at the stump.
Keep it dry Expose the stump to air whenever possible; if it’s warm, dress your baby in a nappy and T-shirt to improve air circulation around the stump. Fold the top of your baby’s nappy down in the front so that it doesn’t rub against his stump, and so that it’s exposed to air and not urine.
treat infection early If your baby has a fever, or you notice swelling around your baby’s belly button, or if the stump bleeds or oozes pus, then contact your baby’s doctor.
let the stump fall by itself Don’t tug on your baby’s cord stump, even if it’s hanging by a thread. It will fall off naturally, and when it does his little navel may ooze and bleed a bit. Continue cleaning the area as you did the stump and look out for signs of infection.
As natural as it is to breastfeed your baby, it takes a bit of work to get it right. Take the time to get the basics right. To help you find your feet, here are Meg’s top five breastfeeding tips: 1 Prepare for breastfeeding ahead of your baby’s birth by having one session with a lactation consultant who can show you the basics or ask a seasoned mom who is breastfeeding to show you how she feeds. Within an hour of birth, latch your baby onto the breast. Use the help of the midwives, nurses or
a lactation consultant to help you get the latch right. 2 Breastfeed on demand for the first six weeks, until your milk supply is established. This does not mean offering a feed every time your baby squawks but when your baby is crying around a feed time, feed. 3 Drink loads of liquids such as water (or even Jungle Juice), eat well and sleep at least once in the day when your baby sleeps – this helps your body produce milk. 4 Have realistic expectations – breastfeeding takes time and commitment, it is sometimes sore, and it is not an easy task, but it is worth taking the time to get it right. 5 And finally, if you can’t or don’t breastfeed, don’t feel guilty – parenting is about far more than just the way you feed your baby.
Bonding with your Baby
Each mom’s experience of bonding (another word for connecting with your baby) is different. Some moms fall in love with their babies in utero, long before birth. Other moms experience anxiety as the birth date approaches, not knowing for sure if they will love their baby and then experience love at first sight on the day their baby is born. Another very normal approach is to feel somewhat intimidated by your baby and not very connected to this new life for a while after birth. This can create anxiety as you start to worry if that “natural” maternal instinct will ever kick in. Don’t worry, you will fall in love, sometimes it just takes time. It is a researched fact that skin to skin contact in the first few days after your baby is born releases wonderful “feel good” and love hormones, as well as assisting in the establishment of breastfeeding. Touch is a language that babies understand. Stroking, nuzzling, massaging, cuddling, and napping together – these are the ways you and your partner can communicate your love for your child and develop that special bond with him.
Keeping Baby healthy
Your newborn’s immune system is not yet fully developed and so it needs to be protected for a while. You can do this with these tips:
Always wash your hands after each nappy change and after top and tailing.
Always wash your hands before preparing any feeds.
Sterilise your baby’s dummy and anything that goes near his mouth until he is six months old. You can do this using a microwave steriliser, or sterilising solution or tablets in water.
The thing you’ll miss the most, daydream about and laugh maniacally over the thought of during your baby’s first one hundred days will be sleep. Sleep is the one prize that all new parents seek out, but it’s most often the one trophy that can’t be claimed.
A well established routine can and will save your sanity, once set down properly and well established. But this is not going to work with a newborn. So, at least for the first few weeks, follow your baby’s cues as he gets used to the world outside the womb. Remember that he will be waking up often for a feed.
Newborn babies sleep a lot, and the amount a baby sleeps during a typical day will decrease as they grow. Our biggest tip of all – and we’re sure you’ve heard this one before, though it’s the truth – is sleep when the baby sleeps. Even if you don’t manage an actual nap, use the time your baby sleeps to relax and build up some energy reserves. Don’t fret about cleaning the house or entertaining visitors – it can all wait! During the day, and especially in the evening, keep an eye out for signs that your baby is sleepy. It’s very common for tired babies to rub their eyes, pull at their ear, yawn or even become quieter than usual. Tired babies are generally cranky too, so they may protest when stimulated or startle in response to noise, even perhaps crying and moaning afterwards. As soon as you see any of these signs, cuddle up with your child and take him to his cot to sleep. Pretty soon, you’ll become adept at knowing when your child is most likely to be tired – newborn and young babies usually work on a three to four hour cycle, so it’ll become super easy to gauge when your baby will need a nap during the day.
It’s quite common for newborn babies to swap their day and night sleeping patterns around. You’ll know this is happening when your baby is sleeping much more during the day and seems more alert at night, waking up a lot for feeds. To correct this, encourage your baby to feed more frequently during the day by waking him up for a feed every three to four hours, and try to stretch the time between feeds at night. Keep the night feeds calm and quiet, as any stimulation will just wake baby up.
From about two months in, make sure you do the same thing every night as this will signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. Bath and dress him in pyjamas, sing a lullaby, feed and rock him if you would like to – it’s at this age that you’ll establish a routine and “system” for bedtime so whatever you do now, know that you’ll be doing it later on too.
These first hundred days of your child’s life can be a tumble of learning, surprises and adjustments, so above all remember that you have created a life. Love this time with your baby, even when you’re so sleep deprived you think you can’t function. Before you know it, it’ll be over.