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When it comes to caring for your newborn, there is a lot to remember. Don’t feel awful if you’re having a tough time keeping up with the routine. Many new mothers feel overwhelmed by the care of their newborn, which can contribute to feelings of the baby blues.

Every mother has her own routine and preferences for caring for her baby, but you should always remember your baby has basic needs. Those basic needs mean that your baby needs to be kept warm, needs to sleep, needs to eat, and needs to be loved. The good news is, you are fully equipped to take care of all of these needs.

Keep your baby clean by changing the diaper frequently, caring for the umbilical cord area and bathing frequently. Newborns can be cleaned with a warm washcloth and a mild soap, until the umbilical cord falls off and the navel and circumcision are healed. You can bathe your baby two or three times a week for the first year, in order to prevent the skin from drying out. Use a clean washcloth and warm water when bathing your baby; never use hot water. When caring for your baby’s umbilical cord and circumcision, cleaning is the first thing to remember. Gently wipe the tip of the penis after changing the diaper and apply petroleum jelly and even gauze to prevent the scab from sticking to the diaper. You should swab the navel area with rubbing alcohol every time you change the diaper to prevent infection. Don’t put the baby’s navel area in water until the umbilical cord stump falls off.

When you’re feeding your baby, be in tune with the baby’s cues for feeding time. This is most often shown through crying. You might need to awaken your baby every couple of hours throughout the night to make sure he or she is fed—if your baby goes five hours asleep without feeding, wake it up and make sure it eats. You can tell if your baby is eating enough if he or she has a few bowel movements a day and wets the diaper at least six times. Regular sleeping patterns as well as weight gain are also good signs that your baby is well-fed. Make sure you burp your baby after every feeding. This consists of holding your baby upright with the head on your shoulder or sitting or laying the baby on your lap and gently rubbing or patting (very gently) the back. Many babies will burp after a few minutes of this. If not, try finishing the feeding and attempting to burp the baby again. Keep the baby upright for some time to avoid spit-up.

Your baby will sleep a lot throughout the day. The sleep is generally in intervals of 3-4 hours at first, which means you might not be getting a full night’s rest for a while. Many new mothers are worried about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and fear letting their baby sleep alone. If you place your baby in its back, the risk of SIDS is greatly reduced. Don’t put any extraneous pillows or stuffed animals or blankets in the crib with the baby and check on it frequently.

When you are loving your baby, make sure you hold it in the right position. That means supporting the head and neck at all times. Never, ever shake a baby because this can easily lead to brain bleeding or death—it’s never safe.

You will want to bond with your baby, and this is great for stimulation. Talk to your baby, rock your baby and touch your baby. Recent studies suggest that “kangaroo-care” or skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby are great stimulation for health, growth and development in newborns.

Click below to read about related topics.

Introduction
Care
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding
Behavior
Safety