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4 Key Skills EVERY New Parent Needs

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Newborn know-how to help you through the first few weeks

If life was fair, parenthood would come with a manual. Alas, most of us have to flail around panicking and learning as we go. Here’s some top tips to help you on your way.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritional way to feed but it is a new experience for you and your new baby. It may take a while for both of you to learn together and it takes practise, patience and plenty of support. The secret is correct attachment and positioning – ask your midwife for help before you leave the hospital. When you get home, take full advantage of your health visitor, asking them to sit down with you for hands on advice if you are running in to difficulty. And definitely look up a breastfeeding support group in your area – other breastfeeding mums will give you the confidence and know-how you need.

Bathing

Bath time can be a nice time for both you and your baby, but it will take a couple of baths for you to feel confident with handling your newborn. Some babies miss the security of having their clothes on and may not enjoy bath time but as they grow older they will come to love it. A baby only needs to have a full bath once or twice a week and the rest of the time keep the bottom clean at every nappy change and clean the face, neck and hands daily. Our top tip is to get everything you need ready before you start, including towels, baby shampoo, clean nappy, clean warm clothes and baby oil or moisturiser.

Nappy changing

You will need to change your baby’s nappy regularly to avoid sore skin and nappy rash. The number of times a nappy needs to be changed will vary from baby to baby and from day to day but is usually between 8 to 12 times a day for newborns. At night time, it is worth changing the nappy when your baby wakes for a feed to avoid her waking up again an hour or so later because she is uncomfortable. Always change your baby on a soft, warm, waterproof and flat surface; padded changing mats are ideal for this. Never leave your baby alone on any surface that is above floor level. There is no need to wash your baby’s bottom with soap in every change: just gently wipe the faeces with a nappy corner then clean your baby’s bottom with water or a baby wipe. Boys often urinate when changed, so cover the penis with a clean nappy as you take the old one off.

Sleeping

Do not worry about getting too much structure in your life for the first 6 weeks.  It is said that mum and baby need at least this amount of time to get to know each other and find out what seems to work for you.  At this stage, you should really start putting things in place so that baby starts to realise the difference between day and night. Sleep is natural, it is the environment we create that causes problems. Prime your baby for sleep with a calming bedtime routine. Start with a bath, turn the lights down low and have a cuddle during her last feed. Put her down just before she falls asleep so that she gets used to falling asleep by herself. When trying to settle baby to sleep, turn off the lights, keep things quiet and remove distracting toys and mobiles. Swaddling your baby in a blanket will help her feel safe and secure and could have the calming effect your are both craving.

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