My babies have grown but I still have many friends that are having children for the first time and dealing with the overwhelming exhaustion a newborn can bring. Sometimes they tell me how stressed out they feel after receiving newborn tips from everybody around them, especially in laws, moms, grandmas, aunts and well-meaning friends. I’ve been there and even though I have been covering parenting topics for almost 20 years, it is really hard to figure out what advice to follow when taking care of a baby.
So, I decided to share a few life-changing tips that really worked for me when I had a newborn. Hopefully, they’ll work for you, too.
Life-changing newborn tips if you have a new baby
- Nursing? Use chilled cabbage leaves if you are engorged or your breasts are congested after giving birth or during breastfeeding.
- Need to leave your baby with somebody you trust? Help calm your baby when you are not with him or her by leaving an object that has your scent close to his or her crib. A pillowcase, t-shirt or stuffed animal works. However, don’t leave anything that could suffocate your little one inside the crib.
- Fussy baby? Softly and rhythmically tap your baby’s bottom or back to help calm him or her.
- Don’t forget Mom needs to heal. After giving birth, take sitz baths to get some relief from an episiotomy, stitches or hemorrhoids. Basically, you sit in no more than an inch or two of warm water for no more than five minutes. Some women add Epsom salts to heal faster. Some of my friends also swear by using a hairdryer to blow warm air on their sore (and itchy) areas.
- If your baby has diaper rash, leave his or her bottom uncovered for a while and let it air dry.
- If your newborn gets jaundice, alert the pediatrician. It’s a very common condition that is extremely treatable. Your child’s skin might look tan or golden. exposing her or him to the sun’s rays can help. However, you do need to alert your pediatrician because jaundice is very common but needs to be monitored.
- Baby asleep during the day but awake at night? This is so common but can be truly exhausting. To adjust your baby’s inner clock, make sure to take your baby for a walk in the stroller or go outside using a baby carrier or wrap. Slowly get your little one used to daytime by reading to her or him, singing or simply talking, so they associate daylight with play. Also, keep any stimulation at night to a minimum.
- Prefer clothes that snap in front. Diaper changes will be easier if you can simply unsnap your baby’s onesie or pajamas.
- Worried whether your baby is eating enough? This is a common concern among new parents, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Count how many diapers your baby is wetting and soiling each day. Mention the number to your pediatrician or nurse practitioner so they can guide you.
- Get your baby used to napping in the stroller. That way it will be much easier if you are not home when it’s time for your child to sleep. I had a few friends who actually had to rush home to put their babies in their cribs or else they were unable to take a nap.
Always remember you’re the parent. Trust your instincts but make sure to be well-informed. If too many people volunteer unsolicited advice, it might be best for your own sanity to listen politely, say thanks for the tips and then do whatever you believe is best for your baby. Save your energy to take care of yourself and your little bundle of joy!