Getting home from hospital after birth with your newborn is a wonderful time for you, but it can also be daunting. You may worry about lifting your baby without hurting her, carrying her without dropping her, bathing her without losing your grip.
Handling your baby
Carrying your newborn safely and comfortably when she’s so small and her head is so much heavier than the rest of her body can be a little worrying for you. But the more you handle her, the more confident you’ll become. Make sure you hold your baby gently but firmly, always supporting her head, as this will make her feel much more secure.
*Try to relax when you’re holding your baby, as she can sense your nervousness
*Talk to or gently touch your baby before you pick her up so she isn’t startled
*When you’re picking your baby up, slide one hand under her neck and the base of her head and the other hand under her bottom and lift her, holding her as close to your body as you possibly can - this will give her a feeling of security
*When holding your baby, always support her head, either with your hand as you hold her against your shoulder or in the crook of your arm
*To put her down, support her head and bottom with each hand and lower her until she’s lying comfortably, then gently slide your hand from underneath her.
This is a skill that no first-time mum will be familiar with, and even midwives acknowledge that it’s not always easy and doesn’t always come naturally. It takes time to get used to it and that’s why it’s so important that you got the positioning right.
If you decide to bottle-feed using formula milk, you’ll need at least six bottles and teats which should be sterilized after each use. When you are preparing formula milk, always follow the instructions on the label and never be tempted to add more or less powder than is recommended.
*Make up several feeds in advance and store them in the fridge, but don’t keep the made-up milk for longer than 24 hours
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*When warming your baby’s milk, always check its temperature by dripping a little in the inside of your wrist before giving it to her.*Warm the bottle in hot water in a jug, never in a microwave, which allows the milk to continue heating up, even after you take it out
*Always throw away any milk that your baby leaves
With a newborn, this can be quite a daunting experience. However, many midwives and doctors suggest that you don’t actually need to bath your newborn every day. They suggest that if bathing your baby is an upsetting experience for both of you, leave it at least for the first two or three weeks, and just stick to topping and tailing. This means cleaning her with damp cotton wool and it can be done in either the bathroom or on your baby’s changing table or mat.
*Make sure the room temperature is warm
*Use both hands to lower your baby into the water and lift her out, keeping a firm but gentle grip under her head with one hand
*Never leave your baby unattended when she’s in the bath
Sensible sleep tips
1. Always put your baby down to sleep on her back
2. Don’t let anyone smoke in your baby’s room, and preferably not in the house at all
3. Use a cotton sheet and several layers of cotton, cellular blankets. Don’t use a baby duvet or pillow until she’s at least a year old.
4. Lie her with her feet touching the bottom end of the cot. Make up the cot from the bottom to help you do this.
5. Leave an item of your clothing in her cot, as the smell will comfort her
6. Leave a dim light on in the room for comfort and also so you can see when you feed her at night.