How To Handle A Newborn
Like any other life-changing event, motherhood is a beautiful adventure that you won’t be entirely prepared for no matter how much you’ve physically, mentally, or emotionally conditioned yourself for this new chapter in your adult life. Every experience is unique, whether it’s your first child or your fifth one. But while experienced mothers may have the advantage of hindsight, new moms with newborns will likely have a more difficult time traversing the rocky waters of parenthood.
But don’t fret—handling newborns may seem difficult at first, but it only gets better over time. To make it a little easier for new moms, keep the following tips in mind to ensure that you and your baby will start your journey on the right foot.
1) Listen to Your Baby
At first, new moms handling newborns won’t be able to tell why their baby is crying, which can get very frustrating. However, as the days pass, you will be able to develop an ear that distinguishes one kind of crying from another. The trick is to assume any of the following when they start wailing:
- They’re hungry
- They need to have their diaper changed
- They’re sleepy
- They’re gassy
It’s also easy to assume the possibility that they’re crying because they’re in pain, but this will sound different from their usual cries for food or sleepiness. Try feeding, changing their diaper, burping, or putting them to sleep first. If these don’t work, that’s when you can see if something else is wrong.
2) Keep Everything Within Arm’s Reach
Newborns are unpredictable. They have yet to develop a solid routine at this stage and are still trying to get used to life outside of the womb. They will eat as they please and poop as they please, too. In this case, it’s helpful to keep everything within arm’s reach, especially in the middle of the night when you’re navigating the dark with one eye open. Some essential things to keep nearby are:
- A diaper changing kit and a plastic bag for used diapers
- A clean towel or baby wipes with which you can wipe yourself while breastfeeding
- A milk shaker and bottles if the baby’s on formula
- A change of clothes in case their clothes become collateral damage to spit, vomit, or poop
- A glass of water or juice
The faster you can attend to your baby with everything set nearby, the quicker you can go back to sleep or to what you were doing.
3) Hydrate as Much as You Can
Taking care of a newborn can be physically taxing. At the very least, always have a tumbler or glass of water or juice nearby. This is especially important if you’re breastfeeding, as you’ll need to replenish your liquids constantly. Otherwise, you will have a hard time producing any breast milk. To take it up a notch, try as much as you can to include soups in your meals to augment your breast milk production further.
4) Rest When Able
Sleep will be the first thing to go when you become a new parent. If possible, rest whenever the baby’s asleep or whenever you can. This can be a bit tricky for working moms. But a 20-minute power nap during the day will do wonders, and it’s better than nothing. Stealing time for short naps won’t just improve your mood. Feeling rested will lower your stress levels and make you less susceptible to sickness.
5) Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
As a new mom, you might have this overwhelming urge to do everything by yourself, lest you feel guilty for neglecting your baby. But motherhood is not a solitary journey, even for single moms. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, so seeking help when you sorely need it will not make you any less of a mother.
You’ll be surprised to know that your family, friends, and even coworkers will be willing to support you even in the smallest of ways. At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself when you can’t seem to figure out if something is wrong with your child, and certainly don’t feel guilty for having some rest whenever you can.
6) Embrace New Beginnings
Motherhood is a challenging yet enriching experience. The key to handling newborns is not to panic, even if you feel like a headless chicken on most days. Your maternal instincts will kick in at the time you need them the most. Embrace this new beginning, and don’t be afraid to be surprised by your baby. There’s a lot of that coming your way. So, brace yourself, but always a welcome change.
If you are a new mother in the Toledo, Ohio area and need assistance handling your newborn baby, please reach out to our women’s clinic for free assistance!