Becoming a parent is one of the most unique life experiences a person can have. Parenthood is an all-consuming journey filled with joy, love, laughter, and yes, a lot of hard work! As it is an entirely new experience, new parents can have a lot of questions in their minds. In this article, we answer the 7 most common questions new parents ask.
1. How can I tell if my baby is getting enough breast milk?
Many moms are concerned about whether or not their baby is receiving an adequate amount of milk from breastfeeding, as it cannot be measured accurately like bottled milk. However, there are many indicators for you to assess if your baby is well-fed. Your baby should feel calm and relaxed during the feed. They should come off the breast on their own after a feed, and your breasts should feel soft. It is important that your baby latches correctly while feeding, their cheeks should not seem hollow while suckling and your nipples should not hurt when your baby is latched to you! Other than this, if your baby shows a steady weight gain after the first two weeks, passes 3-4 yellow stools and over after 4 days, and wets their nappy 6 times or more after 5 days of age, it means that your baby is getting enough breast milk to stay alert and healthy. If you still have concerns regarding the issue, it is best to ask for professional help as soon as possible.
2. I'm going back to work in a couple of weeks and I'd like to continue breastfeeding. What's the best way to do this?
If you are worried about breastfeeding at work, you are not alone. Breastfeeding is about much more than merely feeding a baby, and only mothers can understand that feeling. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition from breastfeeding your baby as needed at home, to working in the office and still ensuring that your baby receives your breast milk in a similar schedule as before. If possible, start this process 3-4 weeks before you join back, so that you give your baby and your family members/caregivers some time to adjust to the change. Invest in a good breast pump. A good electric double breast pump can help you save a lot of time. Talk to your employers about having a safe, comfortable, clean, and private space in the office for you to pump. Also, you will need to plan extra hard to block time to pump at regular intervals—as that is better for your body and will prevent breast engorgement. Learn about storing breast milk safely. Ideally, you should store it in bottles or sealed zip-lock bags in a refrigerator, with the date and quantity labeled on it. As you and your baby get used to the new schedule, your baby might feed for longer at night—to feel more connected to you, so you will also need to ensure that you are getting longer sleep hours. Stay calm, plan everything out, and ask for help when you need it.
3. How long will it take for my baby's umbilical stump to fall off?
Your baby’s umbilical stump should dry off and fall within one to three weeks after birth. Till then, keep the area dry. Give your baby only sponge baths before the stump has fallen off, ensuring that the stump is still kept dry. You can also fold the front of the diaper so that it does not cover your baby’s umbilical stump and allows it to naturally air-dry.
4. How can I soothe my crying baby?
The first thing to remember is that all babies cry! Do not feel guilty about being inadequate as a parent if your baby cries for a longer duration of time, you will get better at understanding your baby’s needs and calming them down. Most of the time, attending to your baby’s needs, such as changing a wet or dirty diaper, feeding, turning down the lights to reduce stimulation, or singing them a lullaby to keep them entertained will be enough to soothe your crying baby. If that is not the case, you can try swaddling your baby and rocking him/her while making a shooshing sound. You can also try going out for a walk with your baby in the stroller, a change of scenery can be helpful. If you feel overwhelmed by your baby’s crying, take some time out. Ask a family member or another caregiver to take care of your baby while you take a few deep breaths, listen to some relaxing music, and come back to soothe your baby with some more patience.
5. How often should I bathe my newborn?
Newborns need to be bathed only twice or thrice per week. Since their mobility is limited, they tend to get dirtier lesser and do not need much cleaning. That said, it is important to clean up your baby’s burps, vomits, and nappy area after every change to avoid rashes and infections. It is also important to remember that you should be giving only sponge baths to your baby until his/her umbilical stump has fallen off. After that, you can move on to regular water baths in a baby bathtub. To know the basics of bathing your baby, read our previous article here.
6. Do babies need pillows?
The short answer is no. Pillows can be dangerous for your kids and you should avoid them completely at least for the first two years. Until your baby is 2 years old, he/she should be sleeping in a crib with a fitted sheet and nothing else in it, not even blankets. Pillows can suffocate your baby, restrict their movement, sprain their neck, and increase the risk of syndromes like Flat Head Syndrome and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If the pillow is stuffed with thermocol balls or sponges, there is an additional risk of choking involved. With so many negatives, it is best for you to wait until your baby has transitioned from sleeping in a crib to sleeping on the bed before you get pillows for them.
7. How many diapers does a newborn use a day?
On average, your little newborn can need anywhere between 8-12 diapers a day. This number is higher for newborns and can reduce to 4 or 5 daily as your baby gets potty-trained. Till then, you’ll need to plan a proper diaper-changing kit to make your life easy. A changing table or portable changing pad, comfortable diapers that have ‘pee indicators’, non-irritating baby wet wipes, a separate bin/ garbage bag to dispose off the diapers, and a good diaper rash cream—these are the essentials you’ll need.
When they said “every day is an adventure”, they were most definitely talking about parenthood! So we know you will still be having many more questions. But we hope we were able to answer the most pressing ones in this post, and we will try to cover a few more in another article very soon. Till then, happy parenting!
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