Tips to Raise a Baby: A Parenting Guide
There is hardly anything more beautiful and satisfying than the joy of bringing a new life into the world. However, if you thought that the days running up to the day of delivery were the toughest, be cautioned, because your duties as new parents are going to grow much more intense. The care and attention you provide your newborns in the first few months will have a great impact on how sound their physical and mental health is. To better understand the question of how to raise a happy baby, we have created an extensive guide on the right way to deal with handling the everyday activities of your newborn.
#1 The Right Way to Feed
It is universally acknowledged by experts and parenting guides around the world that the newborn baby needs to be fed breast milk for the first 6 months before it is introduced with certain solid foods while continuing to be breastfed. Most babies will require feeding about every 2 to 3 hours in the day. Make sure that equal time is provided for the baby to nurse at both the breast as they will need about 1.5 to 3 ounces (45-90 milliliters) on each feeding session. While this amount may increase to about 4 to 5 ounces (120-150 milliliters) and the frequency may drop to every 3 to 4 hours after a couple of months, remember that each baby has a different feeding pattern and you should consult your pediatrician to make sure that your baby is feeding appropriately.
#2 How to Bathe
Newborn babies do not require a bath every day of the week. Sponge baths, three times a week should be good enough for young ones in the first few weeks. It is only after 6 to 8 months that you should look towards bathing them every day. Remember to use only clean towels, diapers, and clothes as your baby’s skin is still fragile and can easily fall prey to infections. Never rely on adult bathing products and only pick a set of mild soap and shampoo specially crafted for babies.
#3 Things to Remember Before Handling the Baby
Even though their senses aren’t fully developed at a young stage, babies tend to get easily startled while being placed on their back or while being picked up. Remember to swaddle your baby gently and never shake them as this can lead to complications like cerebral palsy, bleeding in the head, blindness, long-term brain damage, etc. Make sure that anyone who handles the baby has their hands washed or sanitized well to prevent the risk of infectious diseases. Singing a lullaby to help your baby sleep or taking out your baby in a stroller can be a good way to calm your baby down when it is crying. While it is normal for babies to cry it out, if the crying lasts for longer than 90 to 120 minutes or if it is accompanied by fever or vomiting, you should contact your doctor right away as this may indicate an underlying sickness.
#4 Towards a Proper Sleep Health
One of the most important elements of health and parenting is making sure that your baby receives the right amount of sleep on a consistent basis. Newborn babies require a good sleeping environment for the proper regulation of the growth hormones and improving the mental aspects such as learning and mood. However, the sleeping patterns of a baby are much different from adults as they sleep for a shorter period of 2 to 3 hours throughout the course of the day. Infants can therefore require close to 15 to 16 hours of sleep every day which inevitably include extended naps of about 3 to 4 hours. Just as sleep affects the heart health of people above the age of 50, babies also require good sleep to help build a stronger heart.
New parents should never try to co-sleep with the baby to minimize the risk of complexities like sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS). You should therefore always go for a specialized mattress for babies that is firm enough to prevent suffocation yet comfortable enough to aid an uninterrupted sleep. Maintaining a diary to record the sleep routine of your baby as it grows and discussing it with the pediatrician is a very helpful step towards improving your baby’s sleep health.
#5 Facilitating Wholesome Growth and Bonding
Babies do listen to you and may even understand your facial expressions after 4 to 5 months of age which is why it is crucial to talk or sing to them and smile at them often. Engage in playful activities with your baby and gently stroke them to boost their mood. Once the baby crosses about 6 months of age, try introducing them to various colors and sounds through various games. Pay attention to how they respond to such activities as this is a crucial step towards increasing your bonding. Remember to allow a little space for your young ones once they are mobile enough to help grow their senses naturally rather than rushing to aid them at their every step.
Raising your children through their first few years can be tough but you don’t have to make it tougher than it actually is. Let go of that anxiety with handling the baby and never hesitate to ask for assistance from your partner or family members. It is certainly a great feeling to watch your baby grow into a healthy and happy child and we hope that the points mentioned above help you do just that.