I did a Baby Basics workshop 5/3/09 for oh! baby fitness. It is so much fun to teach prospective first-time parents about how easy it is to take care of a newborn. We have to remember that the fourth trimester is all about the baby figuring out that life is different outside the womb. And like everything else, it's a process. Mostly, as parents, it's our job to help them make that transition and if we realize that they don't have a clue, it makes our lives alot easier.
We talked about infant CPR and how important a responsibility that is. Get certified. Have the car seat inspected. Four out of five aren't installed properly.Another responsibility. And babies move, even as newborns. NEVER LEAVE A BABY ON A BED OR CHAIR OR COUCH or anywhere, but its bed or the floor. Nothing worse than the guilt you feel when you knew that baby was going to roll.
We talked about feeding, whether breast or bottle, and about how important it is to get up the last burp. A bellache is a big bad deal for an infant, and if they can't get that last one up, you don't sleep. They are screaming! And if you don't sleep, you are at increased risk for post-partum depression.
We talked about bathing. Don't forget all those hidden folds: labia and under the chin that has no neck, so everything collects there. Water without soap is just fine and lotion without perfumes too. Just don't forget to dry the baby really well before you grease him up. Don't tub bathe until the cord falls off ( about a week after birth ) and keep a cord dry; fold the diaper under the tummy. Keep a circimcised penis wet with a dollop of petroleum jelly topped off with a guaze square with every diaper change. Everyone diapered a doll or stuffed animal and learned that you don't need babywipes for just a wet diaper. Dry that bottom with a tissue, just like you would for yourself. Urine is sterile so you don't have to sterilize further with a wipe.
Swaddling mimics the close comfort of the womb, tighter is better, remember how the squirming at the end of pregnancy lets you know that. Shushing mimics the mom's blood flow; it's really the only sound the baby is truly familiar with. White noise is better than lullabyes. Swinging or gently rocking is the way the baby is most comfortable in the womb, as you move around baby nods off. So if your baby is cranky, do some walking the floor with that kid, tightly swaddled and don't forget to "shush" while you're at it. Sucking is the best. They know how to do that instinctually, so put a pacifier in the kid's mouth ( after you have burped him, again ) if it's too soon to feed again.
After about 12 weeks, they are ready to be a little more human. Just a little. Sleep through the night, once and awhile and smile on command. You'll see. And remember, your baby doesn't belong to you; you belong to your baby. They'll never let you forget it.