Your newborn may feel fragile and delicate in the first 10 days, but don’t be afraid to touch him. In fact, studies show that babies who are held for longer, thrive better and cry less. Because your newborn’s neck muscles are not yet developed, you will need to support his head whenever you pick him up. You should also support his head against your shoulder or in your opposite hand, as you carry him.
Some parents find that a sling or baby carrier gives them an extra sense of security when carrying their newborn babies. And your baby will love it too!
Top & Tailing
Until your newborn’s cord heals and falls off (usually in a week or two) you may prefer (or find it easier) to clean your baby with a sponge or cloth.
- Lay your baby on a soft towel, or use a changing mat. Support your baby’s head and limbs throughout.
- Clean around each eye – from the inside corner outward – with a separate cotton ball dipped in warm water.
- Keep your baby covered with a towel to stay warm: uncover only the area you are washing. Using a warm, wet washcloth and mild baby cleanser (such as JOHNSON’S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash) wash arms, legs, tummy and nappy area, in that order. Always clean the nappy area from front to back. Clean the umbilical stump, separately, with a cotton ball or cotton bud dipped in surgical spirits.
- If your newborn has hair, clean it with baby wash and rinse with water.
- Next, dry your baby in the same order you washed him from head to toe. Dry thoroughly, without rubbing too hard. Then wrap him in a dry, hooded towel.
For more information, see our how to bath baby video & step-by-step guide.
Many first-time parents are surprised by how many nappies they go through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, have plenty of nappies on hand before you bring your baby home. Be sure to wash your hands before changing your baby’s nappy. It is important that you never leave your baby alone on the changing table or surface, so make sure that you have the following items close at hand before you begin:
- A clean nappy
- Baby wipes
- A plastic bag to dispose of soiled nappies
- A barrier cream or petroleum jelly
- A change of clothes for baby (just in case)
Read more about nappy change.
Most babies cry for an average of two hours a day in the first three months. So while it may be disconcerting, it’s also normal. To comfort your baby, first try to determine the cause of his discomfort. Is he hungry? Does he have wind? Does his nappy need changing? Is it time for a nap? Is he over-stimulated by noise, lights or activity?
If the source of his discomfort is hunger, wind, or a wet nappy, the solutions are obvious. To help soothe a sleepy or over-stimulated baby, hold him on your shoulder while gently rocking him. Sing or speak softly to him – reassure him with a calm voice. It can also help to rub his back as you do so. Try different positions to find one that’s comfortable for both of you.
Read more about Comforting.
Research has shown that massage can relax babies, improve their sleep patterns, and calm them when they are irritable. Infant massage should last around 15 minutes. Don’t worry if you have only 5 or 10 minutes: even a short massage is good for your baby. Choose a warm, quiet room and play background music if you like.
Using a lotion or oil will help reduce friction and make the massage more soothing. Make sure you use a product that is gentle enough for your infant’s sensitive skin. Whether you choose lotion or oil, place a small amount in your palm and rub your hands together to distribute.
Read more on Baby massage.
Healthcare Professionals agree that nothing is better for your newborn baby than breast milk. Nutritionally speaking, it’s tailor-made for your infant. Of course, sometimes mothers cannot breastfeed, due to medical problems or other special circumstances. Discuss with your midwife how best to feed your newborn. No matter how you decide to feed your baby, be sure to always hold him while feeding. The cuddling that comes with nursing and feeding helps to build a strong, loving bond between you and your baby.
Should your baby appear to have a fever, knowing the best way to gauge your baby’s temperature is the first step. A fever is a temperature of over 37.5ºC (99.5ºF). Fevers are quite common in young children but are usually mild. If your child’s face feels hot to the touch and they look red or flushed, they may have a fever.
Read more on Taking Temperature.
Visit our Bedtime section for helpful guides and information about helping your newborn baby sleep better.
For additional information on JOHNSON’S Baby read here.