So you have waited nine months for this moment and now you get to go home with your new little human. At this point, parents are likely exhausted, exhilarated, and overwhelmed at the same time. And while there is no step-by-step guide to being a perfect parent, it’s good to take it a few steps at a time.
There is a lot to take in, but there is no reason to panic. As you come home with the new family member, here are a few practical tips to get you into the swing of things.
Common Newborn Concerns for Parents
It is not uncommon for new parents to experience stress and see everything as a bad sign or harmful to their baby. This is normal. Newborns are quite fragile and do experience a variety of issues that may raise alarm. Here are a couple of the main concerns:
A crying baby is normal. It’s the way that they communicate. As a parent, your job is to try and figure out what’s making them cry and soothe them. As time passes, parents begin to recognize the different tones of their baby’s cry. They can identify the hunger crying or the sleepy crying. When your baby cries, they might be saying: I’m hungry, lonely, tired, wet, I want to move around, I’m cold, etc. If you try everything and your baby continues to cry, it might be something else like colic.
Colic is somewhat common. MayoClinic defines it as crying for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, or three or more weeks in a row. Colic crying appears to have no cause and can be very confusing to parents. You can try rocking your baby, giving it a warm bath, singing, or humming softly. If it doesn’t work and you are still concerned, consult your doctor or bring your baby into a pediatric clinic to get checked.
Another common issue with newborns is called jaundice. This refers to a baby with skin that looks yellow. This slight yellowish discoloration may begin on the face, then the chest, stomach, and legs. This is often caused by very high bilirubin levels—a yellow pigment of red blood cells. According to the MayoClinic, you can press your infant’s nose and forehead lightly and if the skin looks yellow once you remove your finger, it’s possible your baby has jaundice.
If you are concerned about your baby having jaundice, call your doctor to have them examined. Most hospitals examine babies for jaundice before they are discharged home.
Sometimes newborns have a bloated belly. The cause may often be slight constipation or gas. Parents might notice their newborn babies have a firm stomach. If the problem persists for long, you can take your baby in to see if there is another cause for this.
5 Tips for Parents Bringing Baby Home
Now that we have discussed some of the more common newborn ailments, you can explore some tried and true advice about how to deal with the stresses of new parenting.
Brush up on your nursing before your baby is born. According to Parents Magazine, women who seek help with nursing have a higher success rate. Read articles, talk to friends, parents, or nurses that know a thing or two about nursing a child to get some advice. There are usually plenty of hospital resources available for parents to guide them in the right direction.
Sleeping is important for both you and your baby, but let’s face it, you’ll likely be sleep-deprived for a good while. It might be good to accept that some level of sleep deprivation is bound to happen. Don’t let that tiredness get to you. Instead, try to strategize with your partner or family members helping you to take shifts, sleep when your baby sleeps, and keep yourself as healthy and relaxed as possible.
#3 Soothing Your Baby
Being a new parent means that you are in a bit of a discovery stage. It will take some time to get to know your baby’s cries and decipher what they are trying to tell you. A couple of tips to help fussy babies:
- Mimic the womb. Your baby remembers being safe and comfortable in the belly, so swaddling, swinging, slowly rocking, or shushing your baby can trigger the calming reflex. You can also try playing music, warming up their wipes, or a warm bath.
#4 Managing Time and Taking Shifts
If you have a baby in a two-parent household or you have grandma or grandpa helping out, it’s ok to let others help you with the baby. Sometimes new dads will hesitate to get involved as they fear making a mistake, but time with dad is important!
#5 Doing Things to Stay Sane
In addition to your new responsibility, you still need to remain sane and take care of your health as well. So how do parents stay sane? Find ways that de-stress you and every parent is different. Consider taking a walk by yourself, taking time to read your favorite book, listening to soothing music, etc. Other tips include:
- Don’t stress about the housework. Your house might be a little messy for a while, but it’s ok.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be specific. People around you want to help. Maybe someone can go shopping for you, cook dinner, buy diapers, etc.
Need More Help or Advice with Your Newborn? Call Peds on Demand.
Parenting can be stressful, but the newborn stage only lasts a short moment in time! If you have a concern or are looking for questions or a lactation consultant, we can be a helpful partner in your journey to getting through parenting.
Looking for trusted pediatricians for your little ones. Call Pediatrics and Demand and find doctors you can trust.