As the nine months come to a close, most first-time parents think that the preparations that they had been doing to welcome the new baby are also ending. The truth is; they are only beginning!
Most will assume that buying clothes, frequenting the clinic, feeding right, and having a decorated baby crib are the most important preparations for the big moment. However, there are much bigger tasks that they ought to be prepared for.
The following is a list of the most critical things every new parent should know; whether adopting a newborn or giving birth to their own.
First-time parents are likely to panic over many physical reactions that the baby might display. These include vomiting, spitting up, or crying. This is, however, nothing to worry about since most babies do them as they adapt to living in a new world.
The baby will cry a lot when still young. Many new parents assume that their job is to ensure their baby does not cry. However, this is wrong. Babies can cry even when they have been provided with the best conditions and this is because crying is part of their young life. If the crying however persists for over 1 hour, consulting a doctor is necessary.
Feeding the newborn is a commitment the parents should expect to be round-the clock. This is because they need to understand whenever the baby needs to feed. Again, this should be done before the baby gets to the point of crying or fussing. Early signs of hunger include lip movements, stretching, sucking motions, and stirring.
It is also important for the parents to learn that the baby will require at least 12 feeding a day. Finally, it is recommended that the baby be fed on breast milk or formula only until they attain 6 months of age.
Still on feeding, it is important that the first-time parents learn how much a baby should be fed especially in the first year. The chart can be obtained at the hospital or clinic. A feeding chart may for instance state that;
- From birth to 6 months, the baby should only be breastfed or fed on formula
- From 6 to 8 months, the above, plus pureed foods (fruits, yogurt, legumes, vegetables, potatoes)
- From 8 to 10 months, the above, plus finger foods, mashed vegetables and fruits and cereals fortified with iron
- From 8 to 12 months, all the above, plus solid, not-hard to chew foods
Skin rashes are common in babies and may appear a few days after birth. This is an indication that their skin, which is very sensitive, is adapting to a new environment. Therefore, it should not be a cause for alarm. Most of these rashes will appear and disappear without medication. However, the parents should learn what is, and what not a normal rash. Harmful rashes may be caused by blocked oil glands (milia), ringworms, sweat rash (miliaria), baby acne, eczema, nappy rash, or impetigo (bacterial infection).
Finally, the parents should be sure to obtain a vaccination schedule from the pediatrician. These are meant to create antibodies that strengthen the child’s immunity against diseases. The most common vaccines include Hepatitis A and B, Rotavirus Vaccine, Diptheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine, and Inactivated Influenza to mention but a few. It is critical that they know the exact timings to avail the baby for the vaccines.