Taking care of a newborn can prove overwhelming for even the most experienced parent. For first-time parents, those first few weeks can prove particularly nerve-racking. Babies in the first few months of life require specialist care that some parents can struggle to provide. Many families find it useful to hire a professional newborn care specialist to help lighten the load. Here at NannyCity, we can help you find the ideal candidate to help with your newborn childcare requirements. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and an unrivaled network of professional candidates, we’re the most reliable nanny agency NYC has to offer.
Even if you’re thinking about hiring help, it makes sense to brush up on the basics of newborn care. Below, we break down the dos and don’ts you need to remember when taking care of a newborn for the first time.
Taking Care of a Newborn: The Most Important Do’s and Don’ts
Getting to grips with newborn care basics can prove daunting to first-time parents. However, taking care of a newborn needn’t be overwhelming. By following a few basic steps, designing a nursing care plan for a newborn is relatively straightforward.
1. Always Provide Your Baby with Proper Support
When taking care of your newborn, it’s vital you remember just how fragile your little bundle is. The head and neck require particular attention when handling your child. The head of the average baby is incredibly large relative to the body, while newborns also lack the muscle development to support the weight of their head. Even when cradling your child on the couch, you must ensure their head and neck are always properly supported.
While parents have little trouble sticking to this fundamental piece of newborn baby advice, family members and visitors will need to follow suit. Make sure anyone visiting your newborn for the first time is always cradling your child properly. You’ll also need to be extra vigilant when moving your child from A to B. Make sure you’re providing sufficient support for your newborn’s head and neck when laying them down or moving them into car seats.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
First-time parents are often sailing in the dark, but there’s no shame in seeking out advice from medical professionals for tips for taking care of a newborn. You can start your education before you give birth. Make sure you’re asking plenty of questions from doctors and nurses as they carry out prenatal care and checks. You’ll be able to amass a wealth of information that will make those first few days of parenting far less stressful.
Once you’ve given birth and have taken your child home for the first time, the prospect of taking care of a newborn can become overwhelming. At this point, turn to your family members for insights to help fine-tune your parenting skills. If you think your newborn nursing plan needs work, investing in the services of a newborn care specialist might be something to consider. For parents who need to get back to the office quickly after birth, long-term nanny services may be required. If this applies to you, make sure you’re using an established nanny placement agency with pre-vetted candidates with relevant experience in newborn care.
3. Enjoy Interacting with Your Newborn
Bonding with your baby is important during those first few months of life. However, many parents are too focused on taking care of a newborn to truly enjoy those first few weeks and months. Once you’ve got your newborn home, make sure you’re setting aside plenty of time to simply enjoy them. Watching your child grow is incredibly rewarding and helps you familiarize yourself with their distinct mannerisms.
When interacting with your child, strengthen the bond by making regular eye contact. As newborns are non-verbal, you’ll also want to ensure you’re using exaggerated facial expressions and soothing sounds. These interactions not only allow you to bond with your child, but they’re also useful for spotting early warning signs of developmental delays in slightly older babies.
4. Keep an Eye on Temperatures
New parents often struggle to determine a suitable temperature for their newborns. If you’re unsure of what thermostat setting to choose, there are a few factors to consider. During warmer months, you can go a little easier on the thermostat, while winter periods may require a higher setting. A thermostat setting of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit will result in ideal temperatures for your baby.
You also need to pay close attention to the actual temperature of your child. Newborns need to be always kept warm, so avoid clothing them in loose-fitting garments. Ideally, you should aim to keep them swaddled and ensure the surface of the skin is consistently warm. The colder your child is, the more calories they will need to burn to keep warm. In extreme cases, this strain can impede physical development. If you’re concerned your baby is unwell, use a digital thermometer for an accurate temperature reading.
5. Make Sure Your Child Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night
Sleepless nights are something every new parent is going to have to contend with. As such, many new parents look forward to those nights when a newborn sleeps through the night. However, this sleeping pattern isn’t recommended for newborns.
The sleep patterns of newborns can seem erratic. Generally, they will sleep for several hours at a time throughout the day. This is perfectly normal if a little difficult to accommodate as a grown adult. This sleep pattern also allows you to keep on top of a regular feeding schedule. Newborns need to consume milk or formula once every few hours, so their natural sleep-wake cycle can be used as a guideline for the best time to feed them. If your child is a particularly deep sleeper, don’t be afraid to wake them regularly for feedings. As your baby grows older, they’ll naturally adopt a more conventional sleep cycle.
6. Don’t Adopt Poor Burping Techniques
Every first-time parent will need to grips with burping techniques. Over-the-shoulder burping is the most used approach. This technique involves you holding your newborn on your chest and resting their chin on your shoulder. With their stomach placed against your chest, you then gently rub or pat their back until they produce a burp.
Most of us focus on burping a baby after they’ve been fed, but you should also be focusing on pre-burping. Ideally, you should burp a newborn for a couple of minutes before their feed. This will greatly reduce the chance of them spitting up milk or formula, ensuring they gain as much nutrition as possible from their feed. Failure to burp a baby before and after a feed can also lead to a build-up of gas in their stomachs and gestational tracks. Gas problems are particularly common with newborns and can lead to significant discomfort and disturbed sleep.
7. Don’t Let Your Newborn Sleep in Bed with You at Night
During the first few weeks of life, the urge to keep your baby close to you is hard to resist. However, never let your newborn sleep in bed with you during the night. For starters, it’s more difficult to ensure your baby remains in a suitable position when kept out of the crib during the night. You want to encourage your newborn to sleep on their back during the first few months of life to prevent breathing difficulties. If you’re a restless sleeper, you also run the risk of rolling over onto your child and injuring them.
During sleepless nights with a crying newborn, it’s tempting to place them in bed to calm them down. While this might have the desired effect, it can lead to dependency. As your child grows older, this degree of attachment may make it difficult for them to sleep on their own.
8. Think About Hiring Help
With so much to consider when it comes to caring for a newborn, it’s no surprise that many new parents find those first few months overwhelming. If you’re feeling the pressure, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Many families find it useful to employ the services of a professional newborn specialist to help during the early stages of a child’s life, especially if they’re first-time parents or have demanding work commitments. At NannyCity, we take the hard work out of finding experienced newborn care specialists. Unsure about inviting a stranger into your home? All our candidates undergo extensive background, driving, and reference checks for peace of mind.
Find a Newborn Care Specialist Today
As you can see from the above, caring for a newborn can be a daunting prospect. To help ease the strain of caring for a newborn, hiring a childcare specialist is something to consider. A professional newborn care specialist will be able to guide you through all the basics, from burping techniques to keeping track of sleep schedules. They can also help lighten the load when it comes to actual childcare, allowing you to focus on bonding with your child and enjoying those precious few months of life.
Contact Us Today
Looking to fill a newborn nanny vacancy? At NannyCity, we offer an unrivaled network of professional candidates, ensuring the perfect fit for every family. Looking for newborn care specialists in New York? Our Manhattan nanny agency and Brooklyn nanny agency network have hundreds of suitable candidates ready and waiting to help with your childcare needs.
Looking for childcare professionals further afield? Our nanny agency Connecticut (CT) network is one of the most established around, while our Greenwich (CT) nanny agency is on hand if you’re looking to fill a vacancy in the southwest of the state.
Ready to start your journey? Get in touch with the NannyCity team today to see how we can help you.