Caring For Your Baby

By  on March 22, 2007

If this is your first child, you might feel overwhelmed at first. Feeding, bathing, diapering and dressing your baby is a lot of work.

Use the times that you are taking care of your baby bathing, changing diapers and more to sing, play and talk to him (or her). Spending time with your baby helps you get to know each other.


Lifting And Holding Your Baby

  • Newborn babies are fragile. Many new parents feel awkward even picking up and holding their new baby.
  • You need to support your newborn baby's head. Newborn babies cant hold up their heads for at least a month after birth.
  • Always hold your baby's head and neck. When you pick your baby up, put one hand under each of his heaviest parts: his head and his hips.
  • By two months of age, babies can begin to hold up their heads, but their heads will still be wobbly and can easily bounce forward.
  • Very young babies feel afraid of falling or being dropped. They need to feel secure. Thats why your new baby likes to be held close to your body.
  • Give your baby a chance to get used to your touch before you move and lift him.

Carrying Your Baby
When babies are awake, they love to be held and carried around.

Carrying them gives them a sense of love and security. There are many ways to carry your baby, even when you have things to do.

A baby sling or carrier is one good way. You can carry your baby and still have your hands free. Remember not to carry hot, sharp or hard objects when you are carrying your baby.

Taking Care Of Your Baby's Umbilical Cord
Right after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is a blue-white colour. In the next couple of weeks, it will dry up, darken and fall off on its own.

When the cord falls off, it may leave a raw, sore area. There may be a little blood spotting, but it should heal quickly.

Keep The Cord Clean

  • Keeping the base of the umbilical cord clean is important. Gently clean the base, using a cotton ball soaked in water.
  • You should clean the cord this way two or three times every day, until the area has healed.
  • Fold down the top of your baby's diapers so they do not cover the cord.
  • If the area around the cord gets sore and red-looking or if there is liquid coming from it, call your doctor.
Bathing Your Baby
Bathing your new baby is a good time for you to be close to him. As your baby grows, a bath is also a great time for play and exercise.

You don't have to give your baby a full bath every day, but you should clean the diaper area every day. You can do this with a washcloth or in a bath.

Keep Your Baby Safe In The Bath
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bath or on a table. It takes just a second for a baby to fall into the water or off a table. When reaching for something, keep a hand on the baby. If you need something thats on the other side of the room, take your baby with you.
  • Make sure the water is the right temperature before you put your baby in the bath. Never add warm or hot water when your baby is in the water.
Diapering Your Baby
Changing diapers is something you must do over and over again. Its also a perfect time for sharing tender moments with your baby. Your baby will look up at you, and you can talk or sing to him.
  • Choose a flat, comfortable place to change your baby. There should be no drafts from open windows or vents.
  • If you change your baby on a table, always keep one hand on the baby. It can take only a second for a baby to fall off a change table.
Dressing & Undressing Your Baby
Some babies don't like getting dressed and undressed. To make getting dressed easier, choose a warm, comfortable surface. You will learn to be quick as you get more experience

Try to get cotton clothes with wide necks. Cotton is comfortable for your baby and lets the skin breathe.

Outfits that open from the front are good, too. They make it easier for you to change your baby quickly. Remember, babies grow quickly. Buy sleepers in the 4.5 to 9 kilogram (10 to 20 pound) range, not the smaller size, so you will be able to use them longer.

Don't Let Your Baby Get Too Warm Or Too Cold
It's important to keep your baby warm - but not too warm.
  • A baby's body cant control body temperature as well as an adults body. Thats why babies can get overheated or chilled more easily than an adult.
  • Your baby's hands and feet are often cold, even when his overall body temperature is fine. Rather than checking his hands and feet, feel the back of your baby's neck to make sure he isn't too cold or too warm.
  • In the winter, keep your baby's hands and feet covered. Protect your baby's face from the wind. As a general rule, your baby should have one more layer of clothing than you.
Taking Your Baby Into The Sun
Your baby's skin is very sensitive. Babies can sunburn easily, and they can develop a heat rash if they get too much sun.

To Protect Your Baby From The Sun

  • Keep your baby out of the direct sunlight for the first year.
  • Don't use sunscreen on your baby before six months.
  • Put a light, cotton hat on your baby's head when you go outside. A hat protects your baby's eyes and head from the heat of the sun.
  • Use a covered stroller.
  • If you have a car, you can put up sun shades to protect your baby's eyes and to keep the inside of the car comfortable.

When Your Baby's Teeth Start To Come In
Teething is when your baby's teeth break through his gums. It usually takes about two to three years before all your baby's teeth come through.

Some babies have little or no problems with teething. Other babies may drool, be cranky and irritable, have red cheeks and red, swollen gums, or show a need to chew on things. This is all part of the normal teething process.

If Your Baby Is Uncomfortable Because Of Teething, Here Are Some Things To Try And Some Things You Should Know:

  • Let your four to six-month-old baby suck on a very cold washcloth (put a damp washcloth in the freezer to make it very cold).
  • After six months, give your baby a teething ring to chew on. Make sure the teething ring is clean and cool.
  • You can also give your baby hard, chewy toast or a bagel to chew on.
  • Do not give your baby pieces of raw fruit or vegetables, because he can choke on them.
  • Do not give your baby cookies or biscuits. The sugar in them can cause tooth decay.
  • Use teething gels or ointments only if your doctor has told you to use them. EY

For more information call:
Your local public health unit


March 22, 2007

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