A Guide for First-Time Parents

A Guide for First-Time Parents

You've had your kid and are ready to go home and start a new life with your baby. But once you get home, you may feel lost! It's easy to feel confident about caring for a newborn baby with this advice.

Getting Help after the Birth

Consider receiving support during this stressful and overwhelming period. Talk to the professionals in the hospital. Nursing or bottle-feeding assistance is available from many hospitals. Nurses can also assist you in withholding, burping, changing, and caring for your child. For a few hours following the birth, hire a baby nurse, postpartum doula, or a responsible neighborhood teen to assist you. Your doctor or hospital may be able to refer you to home health services or give you information on in-home care. Family and friends are frequently eager to assist. Respect their experience, even if you disagree on some things. Don't feel guilty about limiting their visits if you aren't ready for them or have other concerns.

Handling a Newborn

The fragility of newborns may be intimidating to those unfamiliar with them. Remember these basics:

  • Wash or disinfect your hands before going to touch your infant. Infections can occur because newborns lack a robust immune system, so handle your infant with clean hands.
  • Carry your baby upright or lay your baby down with the head cradled.
  • Never shake your baby, whether in joy or annoyance. Shaking can cause brain bleeding and death. If you want to wake your baby, tickle his feet or gently blow on his cheek.
  • Secure your kid in a carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit rough or bouncy activities.
  • Keep in mind that your baby is not ready for hard play like jiggling or being thrown.

Bonding and Soothing

Bonding occurs during the delicate period in the initial hours and days after the delivery when parents form a close connection with their newborn. Physical proximity can foster emotional bonding. Attachment helps infants grow emotionally, which allows them to thrive physically. Bonding is often known as "falling in love" with your baby. Unconditional affection from a parent or other adult is beneficial to children. Begin connecting by softly touching your infant in varied patterns. You and your partner can also "skin-to-skin" while nursing or cradling your baby. Premature or sick babies may respond to infant massage. In addition, massage can help bonding and aid in infant growth and development. Ask your doctor for recommendations on infant massage books and videos. But be careful; babies aren't as strong as adults, so massage gently.

Talking, babbling, singing, and cooing are all favorites of babies. Your baby will probably enjoy music as well. Baby rattles and musical mobiles can also help your baby's hearing. If your baby is cranky, try singing, reciting poetry and nursery rhymes, or reading aloud while gently rocking him. Some babies are hypersensitive to touch, light, or sound and may cry easily, sleep less than expected, or turn away when spoken or sung. If so, keep noise and light levels moderate.

Swaddling is another soothing method that new parents should master. Swaddling keeps a baby's arms close to their bodies while permitting leg movement. As a result, swaddling a newborn provides them with a sense of security and comfort in addition to keeping them warm. Swaddling may also reduce a baby's startle reflex.

How to Wrap a Baby:

  • Lay the receiving blanket out with one corner tucked in.
  • Place the baby face-up on the mantle above the folded corner.
  • Wrap the left corner around the baby's back, under the right hand.
  • Pull the bottom side up over the baby's feet, folding it down if it gets too close to the baby's face. Be careful not to overwrap the hips. Knees and hips should be bent and turned out. Tightly wrapping your baby may cause hip dysplasia.
  • Tuck the right corner under the baby's left side back, leaving only the neck and head exposed. Make sure your baby can breathe comfortably by slipping a hand between the blanket and their chest. But make sure the blanket isn't too loose.
  • You should not swaddle babies over two months. This is because some babies can roll over when wrapped, increasing their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

All About Diapering

You'll probably choose cloth or disposable diapers before your kid arrives. Your baby will need to change diapers ten times each day or 70 times per week. Prepare all supplies before diapering your baby, so you don't have to leave him alone on the changing table. Needs:

  • a new diaper
  • tacks (if cloth diapers are used)
  • diaper ointment
  • baby wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)

Lay your infant on their back and remove the dirty diaper after each bowel movement. Next, gently clean your baby's genital area with water, cotton balls, and a washcloth or wipes. Carefully remove a boy's diaper to avoid exposing him to the air. You should wipe the baby girl from front to back to prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Prevent or treat rashes using the ointment. Remember to wash your hands after diaper changing correctly. Diaper rash is common. The rash is usually red and bumpy and goes away in a few days with warm showers, diaper cream, and a break from diapers. The sensitive skin of the newborn is irritated by the damp or poopy diaper. Tips to avoid or heal diaper rash:

  • Change your baby's diaper frequently and as quickly as possible.
  • Apply mild soap and water to clean the area gently, then apply a thick coating of diaper rash or "barrier" cream. Creams containing zinc oxide are favoured because they repel moisture.
  • Let the infant sleep part of the day. It allows the skin to breathe.

Suppose the diaper rash persists for three days or worsens, consult your doctor. It may be a fungal infection that requires a prescription.

Basics Bathing


Give your baby a sponge bath until:

  • The umbilical cord slips off, and the navel heals completely (1–4 weeks).
  • Healing time (1–2 weeks)

In the first year, a bath twice a week is fine. Bathing more frequently may dry the skin. Prepare the following before bathing your baby:

  • a soft washcloth
  • mild baby soap and shampoo
  • a soft brush for the baby's scalp
  • linens
  • a new diaper
  • sanitized cloth

Spa baths: For a sponge wash, choose a warm, flat surface (such as a changing table, floor, or counter). Prepare a warm sink or dish (not hot!). Your baby should be undressed and towelled. Start with one eye and wipe it with a damp towel from the inner corner to the outer corner (or a clean cotton ball). Then, using a clean washcloth corner or a cotton ball, wash the opposite eye. Wash your baby's nose and ears after that. After that, re-wet the cloth and wash and dry their face carefully.

After that, gently wash your baby's head with baby shampoo. After that, wash the rest of the baby with a damp cloth and soap, concentrating on around the neck, the creases under the arms, behind the ears, and around the genital area; diaper and clothing the baby after washing and drying these areas.

Tub baths: When your infant is ready for tub bathing, start with gentle, quick baths. Please return them to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the bath again. Next, add to the above supplies:

  • A 2 to 3 inch warm (not hot!) infant tub (check the water with your elbow or wrist).

Undress your baby and quickly place them in warm water to avoid chills. Ensure that the water in the tub is no deeper than 2 to 3 inches and that it is not running. One hand supports the head while the other guides the baby in feet-first. Gently drop your infant into the tub. Wash his face and hair with a washcloth. Next, gently massage your baby's scalp, especially the area over the fontanelles (soft patches) on the top of the head. When rinsing your baby's hair, cup your palm across the forehead to direct the suds away from the eyes. Next, wash your baby's body with water and a little soap. Throughout the bath, gently pour water over your baby's body to keep him warm. After the bath, wrap your infant in a towel, covering their head. Infant towels with hoods keep a clean baby cozy. Never leave your baby alone when showering. Wrap the infant in a towel if you need to go to the bathroom.

Circumcision and Umbilical Cord Care

Gauze coated with petroleum jelly is frequently applied immediately after circumcision because it protects the incision from sticking to the diaper. After a diaper change, rinse the tip with warm water and apply petroleum jelly to keep it from sticking to the diaper. If your baby's penis becomes red or swollen, or if pus-filled blisters appear, you should notify your baby's doctor right away. Newborn umbilical cord care is particularly vital. Some doctors advise wiping the area with rubbing alcohol until the cord stump dries up and falls off, but others recommend letting it alone. See what your child's doctor prefers. The cord stump should come off and the area healed before submerging an infant's navel. The cord stump will change color from yellow to brown or black before it breaks off. Call your doctor if your navel becomes red, odorous, or discharged.

Baby Feeding and Burping

You may be wondering how often to feed your baby, whether by breast or bottle. Generally, newborns should be provided on demand — whenever they are hungry. Your infant may cue you by crying, sucking, or putting fingers in their mouth. Infants need feeding every 2–3 hours. If you're nursing, allow your baby 10–15 minutes each breast. If you're using the formula, your infant will likely drink 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) per feeding. Some newborns need to be woken up every few hours to eat. Contact his doctor if you need to wake your infant regularly because he isn't eating or sucking.

You can track your baby's intake if you're formula-feeding, but breastfeeding can be more difficult. If your baby is happy, has six wet diapers and stools per day, sleeps well, and gains weight regularly, they are eating enough. You can also detect if your baby is getting milk by how full your breasts feel before and after feeding. Concerns about your child's growth or eating schedule? Frustrated babies often swallow air during feedings. Burp your baby frequently to help. If you bottle-feed, burp your infant every 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) or every time you switch breasts. If your infant is gassy, has gastroesophageal reflux, or is irritable during feeding, consider burping every ounce or 5 minutes during bottle-feeding. Tips for burping:

  • Support your baby's head on your shoulder. Then, with one hand, gently support your baby's head and back.
  • Hold your baby. With one hand, cradle your baby's chin in your palm and put his heel on his chest to support his chest and head (be cautious about grabbing his chin, not his throat). With your other hand, pat your baby's back.
  • Sit your infant on your lap. Pat or rub your baby's back while supporting their head higher than their chest.

If your baby does not burp after a few minutes, switch positions and try again before feeding. After feeding, burp your baby and keep him upright for 10–15 minutes to avoid spitting up.

Sleeping Basic

As a new parent, you may be astonished to hear that your baby sleeps 16 hours or more! Newborns sleep for 2–4 hours. Babies' digestive systems are so tiny that they require feeding every few hours and should be awakened if not provided for 4 hours (or more often if your doctor is concerned about weight gain). When will my kid sleep through the night? Don't worry if your baby doesn't sleep through the night (between 6–8 hours) by three months. Don't panic if your kid hasn't slept through the night by three months if they are gaining weight and is healthy. To lessen the risk of SIDS, always sleep your baby on their back (sudden infant death syndrome). Blankets, quilts, sheepskins, plush animals, and cushions in the cot or bassinet might suffocate a newborn. Alternate your baby's head position from night to night (right, then left, etc.) to prevent a flat patch on one side of the head. Many neonates have "mixed" days and nights. They are more attentive at night and tired throughout the day. Keep nighttime stimulus to a minimum to help them. Use a nightlight or dim the lights. Leave baby-talking and playtime for the day when your baby wakes up during the day, chat and play to keep them awake.


Fear not; in only a few weeks, you'll have a routine and be parenting like an expert! If you have queries or concerns, ask your doctor for suggestions.