Congratulations on your newborn! There are so many feelings that come along with postpartum life—relief, joy, stress, exhaustion, and concern.
For first-time parents, taking care of a baby can seem overwhelming. This is partially due to lack of experience, and partially due to exhaustion. It may seem impossible to take care of a newborn properly!
After all, there’s so much to know, and so many rules. When can you feed them honey? Will you ruin them forever with baby talk? Can they sleep in the car?
We’ve assembled 11 tips for parents taking care of a baby to help allay your concerns. Let’s get started.
Talk to Your Child
Children are absorbing everything from the world around them at a fantastic rate. There are so many neural connections and building blocks being laid during this time.
However, some people wonder about talking to their child. Are you supposed to speak in full sentences? Is baby talk wrong?
In most cases, the sound of your voice is enough. It will often soothe a fussy child. But even better, narrating your day helps your child ‘learn’.
It probably won’t help them become a genius who speaks in full sentences at two months old. But it will help them become accustomed to the natural flow of language, and they will piece sentences together better when the time comes.
What’s Their Schedule?
Trying to keep a newborn on task is impossible. Why even try? However, you’ll find that they set their own schedule. When they sleep, eat, cry, wake up … it often falls into a pattern.
Try tracking them for two weeks as soon as you bring them home. This will help you tune into their natural patterns. If you’re able to accommodate them, these patterns can help your baby feed more, sleep for longer, and so forth.
Your newborn may spend lots of time ‘nursing.’ But are they actually eating? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if they’re nursing or sucking.
This can lead to issues if they aren’t eating enough. If you’re spending hours ‘feeding’ them, and it turns out they aren’t getting enough, what can you do? Try counting their swallows.
It will help you tell if they’re actually eating, or whether you should put them down again and try to get them to eat later.
Use the Resources Available
Most first-time parents are understandably concerned about postpartum life. Depending on who you ask, there’s nothing easier than a baby—or it’s the most difficult time of your life.
One of our top tips for parents is aligning your resources before you ever take the baby home. Ask about lactation consultant recommendations—even if you don’t think you’ll need them! Coordinate your mom’s visit so she can help when you are most exhausted.
This can seem like one of the most difficult tips when taking care of a newborn. However, think about advice given to animals—they can pick up on your emotions.
If you’re nervous or scared, they’ll react in a similar fashion. While this seems like advice that only applies to horses and dogs, many parents have found it true for their newborns!
When taking care of a child, how can you integrate your return to the real world? You can’t live in a bubble of isolated sleep deprivation forever.
Take advantage of the resources available. For instance, is your best friend a seasoned parent? Take them with you the first time you go grocery shopping!
That way, you aren’t alone if your newborn decides to have a meltdown in the produce aisle. You’ll be equipped to take your baby and leave, or deal with it and finish shopping—whichever feels right to you.
Stash Spares Everywhere
It’s common knowledge to include a change of clothes for your baby in the diaper bag. Depending on how disaster-prone your newborn is, you may stash more than one change of clothes!
However, don’t forget to pack extra clothes for yourself and your partner. Babies are prone to spit up, diaper blowouts, spills, and much more. And it always seems to happen at the worst times, too!
If you have a change of clothes for yourself, you can walk around without being covered in spit-up. It helps give peace of mind and will spare you some embarrassment!
You’re the Parent
For first-time parents, it can feel tempting to take advice from everyone. It’s especially tempting if you’re getting input from relatives with children. After all, they have children.
That must mean they know what they’re doing. And they love you, so they want the best for your baby. They’d never steer you wrong.
While this is true, you’ll soon learn that there’s no one ‘expert’ on taking care of a baby. Some things, like removing choking hazards, are common sense. Other things are up to the parent.
Remember that you’re the final authority, and you’re the one that loves your baby the most. Follow your gut, and you should be alright.
Involve Your Partner
For some parents, it’s hard to let go. Whether you’re the mom or the partner that just spent nine months reading every scrap of baby literature you can get your hands on, it can be difficult.
Let them take care of your newborn. Even if they make mistakes, or do things differently than you would, let them! They’ll learn, just like you are.
Find the Best Baby Clothes
You need to be able to keep the baby warm, remove all choking hazards, with clothing that’s easy to take off for diaper changes. Finding the right baby clothes can feel challenging, but not if you look in the right places.
Many family members will give you cute clothes during your pregnancy and events like baby showers. To shop on your own, Hanna Andersson has some great options available.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
Exercising, staying hydrated, keeping a pristine house, cooking gourmet meals. If you stayed on top of everything pre-baby, a newborn can change everything. Many first-time parents beat themselves up when taking care of a child.
After all, when was the last time you dusted the countertop? How long have those dishes been sitting there?
Let it go! You have decades for a clean house, but taking care of your newborn is a one-time experience.
Taking Care of a Baby
When taking care of a baby, give yourself some grace. You’re learning, and your whole life is changing! It will only get easier from here.
If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of our posts here.