We all know at least one super mum; the one who juggles feeding, changing and bathing at the same time managing to make it all look incredibly easy while you look on in awe. As all first time mums will inevitably learn, it doesn't all come naturally. If you've found yourself starting to worry about how to bathe your little one, or stressing over sleep schedules, don’t panic. This useful guide will take you through some quick tips to get you started – even super mum had to start somewhere.
Until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off and the area is healed, stick to sponge baths using a damp, lukewarm cloth. Baby’s face and hands will need to be cleaned regularly and the genital area should be cleaned after every nappy change.
Next you’ll be able to move up to baths in a baby bath or in the sink, then moving up to the bathtub when your child outgrows them. Your first few attempts at bath time will probably be a little stressful; trying to hold on to a soaped up, wet, wriggling baby is not easy, particularly if they don’t enjoy their baths, but keep a firm grip, be cautious and the two of you will begin to relax.
Stay safe; don’t make the water run while your baby is in the bath as there could be a sudden change in temperature. Keep the water warm, but not hot, and fill to around two or three inches high. A good way to test if the water is the right temperature is to dip your elbow into the water. This should go without saying, but never leave your baby unattended in the bath, not even for a second.
Feeding a Newborn
If you choose to breastfeed, remember to position your baby comfortably in a way that ensures they doesn't have to twist or turn at all. His mouth will need to be open wide and your nipple will need to be back into the top of his mouth. Babies are born with great natural instincts for breastfeeding and will often manage with ease, but it isn't always easy. You should receive plenty of practical help and advice at the hospital.
When bottle-feeding you should hold baby close and tip the bottle at an angle where the teat fills with formula and not air. Watch your baby as you feed and take the bottle out if he starts wriggling or fussing as he may need to burp. Some babies prefer warm milk while others are happy with cold ones. If you feed your baby with warm milk, remember to always check the temperature by shaking a few drops on the inside of your wrist; it should feel warm, but not hot.
Remember also when bottle feeding that you will need to sterilize all feeding equipment after each use; this is to help protect your baby from bacteria as he will not have the same natural protection when he is bottle-fed.
Creating a Bedtime Routine
A solid bedtime routine is important for your baby to learn to sleep. While you can expect a newborn to wake frequently during the night, as time goes on you will need to establish a firm routine. In the rundown to bedtime, keep the environment calm and quiet, the lights low, have a quiet cuddle and set your baby down to sleep while he is still awake. Continue this kind of environment when he wakes in the night and speak in hushed tones and he will soon learn that night time is quiet time – and you’ll be one step closer to getting a full night sleep.