While new mothers need to embrace the fact that the first few days will be chaotic, there are ways in which baby care can be provided without too much stress, say experts.
Prerna Kohli, Clinical Psychologist, who is an expert on the Huggies panel, and Ravi Khanna, Founder of New Born Critical Centre, list down some tips:
* Making the baby feel safe and secure: A pivotal part of a new mother’s life is to assure her baby’s complete safety, with the challenge of not being able to verbally communicate so for many months to come. In such a case, all that you need to do is harness the power of your hugs. While hugging your baby will be natural to you, the positive impact of your embraces go beyond mere instinct. A child who is hugged feels safe, thereby reducing stress.
A survey by Huggies pointed that 85 per cent of doctors encourage moms to hug their infants.
* Developing healthy sleep patterns: Babies need to be eased into healthy sleeping habits. Newborns sleep for most part of the day, but in irregular durations. While it may seem unpredictable at first, you can overcome this challenge by ensuring the baby knows the difference between night and day. Interact and play a lot with your baby during daytime, and keep your baby’s room suitably bright. At night, keep the lights low, and reduce any possible sounds that may wake your baby up.
* Go for Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC): This involves babies being held in skin-to-skin contact with mother’s chest for a minimum of two hours. KMC not only ensures sound sleep in premature babies, but has been proved to improve weight gain and neurocognitive outcomes.
* Diapering the right way: A newborn’s skin is soft and delicate, and needs to be handled with care. Diapering the right way is critical to ensure that your baby’s tender bottom is safeguarded from diaper rashes. It is best to use disposable diapers that help keep moisture at bay, which is the root cause of rashes.
To protect your baby’s skin further, practise washing your hands before and after every nappy change. Changing the diaper immediately after it is soiled is of utmost important. Ideally, the baby’s bottom must be allowed to air-dry before the next change. Even so, if the newborn’s bottom shows signs of redness, apply zinc-oxide diaper cream and petroleum jelly before every diaper change.
* Basics of bathing: The ideal way to bathe a baby till the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals is to give a gentle sponge bath. Sponge baths are fairly simple.
For these, you may keep a couple of easily available items handy, such as a soft and clean sponge or washcloth, a baby soap, towels, a disposable diaper and, of course, clean clothes. Once you select a flat, safe surface for the bath, fill a bowl with some tepid to warm water.
Dip the sponge or washcloth in it and softly pat your baby’s skin with it to wet it. Use baby soap and gently lather it on your baby’s skin, and be extra cautious of avoiding the eyes, nose and ears. For these parts, a simple wet cloth can suffice. Once done, wash off the soap lather with a sponge or cloth. Pat dry with a soft towel, apply a baby moisturiser and dress the baby.