Newborn Checklist - Let's Start with Newborn Care
Home And Panicky
Congratulations! You are the proud, albeit somewhat tired, parent of a gorgeous little baby. Now that you're home and dealing with everything yourself, no doubt you are feeling slightly overwhelmed. Perhaps anxiety hits you like a ton of bricks every so often. The good news is that you're going to be just fine and so is the baby. It does, however, take some time for life to find a groove and for you and baby to fit into it. Most important is to be patient with yourself and rest as much as you can. When you're tired, nothing goes well and patience is at a premium. Remember, women just like you have been exactly where you are (more or less) for thousands of years and mankind has managed to live on. You're going to make it!
Newborn Care & Development
When it comes to newborn care, you will discover that everyone you know has a suggestion or idea about how it should be done. Some of the suggestions are great, some you can definitely live without. You will have newborn checklists of what "to do" and "to buy" around the house, but neither of them will be terribly long or expensive. The most important things you have to give to your newborn are time and patience, and they are the most necessary.
Of course, you've already had the baby checked by the doctor, and the public health nurse will be making a visit, if she hasn't already done so, to ensure you're managing alright. Any concerns you may have about your baby's health or situations you don't feel you are equipped to handle, can be fielded by the nurse or healthcare professional. How soon is too soon to bathe the babe? Right away is fine. Don't forget your baby has just spent many months swimming around in amniotic fluid, so water feels familiar and safe. Belly tubs, as used in Europe, are gaining popularity as a great way for baby to be bathed in a position that is familiar. Just make sure the water temperature is comfortable. Your newborn's development at this stage is based on reflexes. He or she will be curled up for some time and will enjoy just laying on your chest in a little scrunched ball. That's because life in the womb was shaped that way. By the time baby is about six months old the limbs and little body will be unfurled. The reflexes your baby is born with include the Moro (startle) reflex which causes an arched back and splayed arms and legs when a loud noise or sudden movement occurs. It goes away in a few months. The Babinski reflex (big toe bends back and other toes fan out when the foot is stroked), the step reflex (when it looks like baby is going to walk when placed on a firm surface) and the tongue-thrust reflex (where the tongue pushes out when something is placed on it) are the other reflexes baby is born with. Then, there's the rooting reflex which helps baby find your breast and learn to eat - it's all instinctive - you don't have to teach baby how to suck.
When it comes to newborn feeding schedules, if you are breastfeeding, you may have decided to make it demand feeding. Or, you may want to schedule your newborn's feedings so baby is sleeping longer at night and getting the bulk of food throughout the day. Remember, food rules in a newborn's life and sleep is a close second. Most newborns eat every two or three hours and that's around the clock feedings. At this stage, baby will sleep most of the time and eat when he or she is awake. At this stage of the experience, don't force a schedule. You'll probably find that the baby regulates by the end of a month. In the meantime, feed when the baby is hungry and preferably before crying starts.
Newborn Clothes & Pictures
Of course, your newborn checklist will include all sorts of things like diapers, blankets, bath towels and lots of newborn clothes. Remember that baby will grow quickly and those newborn clothes won't fit in about two weeks. Take as many newborn pictures as you can when baby is dressed in that cute little outfit - it may be the only way you'll see it more than once. When taking newborn pictures, try to do so with the flash off - those little peepers are delicate and you don't want to hurt them.
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