Handling an infant can be exciting and challenging, especially for first-time parents. It is a constant cycle of feeding, cleaning, bonding, comforting, and more. Being responsible for another individual's life can sure be stressful.
If you find yourself struggling with how to juggle all these responsibilities, don't worry; you are not alone.
First-time parenting is no easy job. Infants depend entirely on their caregivers for their physical and psychological needs, which is undoubtedly a big responsibility.
Illnesses during these initial few months can be particularly anxiety-provoking, and with the prevalent COVID-19 pandemic, even minor flu or cold can be frightening.
A baby's newly developed immune system is not as well equipped as ours to fight off viruses and bacteria; it is usual for an infant to fall ill frequently.
After making it through the challenging nine months before the big day, the next challenge is looking after the newborn after delivery.
If you are a nervous first-time parent or just a super cautious couple, the following are some handy tips for keeping your newborn healthy and happy;
1. Learn The Right Way To Handle A Baby
One might underestimate how frail a newborn's body can be and how delicate the newly developed bones are.
Such fragility can be intimidating for first-time parents, and guidance on handling a newborn can be of tremendous help.
Even trained nurses can make mistakes that can have terrible consequences for the child's future, especially during the delivery process; pulling the infant's frail body the wrong way can lead to severe problems like Erb's Palsy.
New parents can refer to childbirthinjuries.com to claim justice against childbirth injuries.
Thus it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to handle an infant correctly. First and foremost is cradling the baby correctly; always support the head and neck when carrying.
Since the baby's bones are brittle, don't shake the infant, even if it is just for play or to arouse the baby from sleep. Such shaking can cause internal bleeding in the head and even pose a risk of death.
2. Bond Well With Your Child
The most enjoyable part of raising a newborn is developing a deep love connection. Babies are especially receptive to love and affection from their parents during the initial period following birth.
Such attachment is crucial in ensuring good psychological development and emotional growth. Infants who receive insufficient care and attention from their parents initially tend to develop attachment problems when they grow older.
How you hold and talk to your infant is one factor that affects this bond; gentle stroking, cradling, skin-to-skin contact, and speaking in a soft tone communicate love.
Similarly, specific massages can also foster this connection, particularly for premature babies with some medical deficits.
However, give any massage following the doctor's instructions because strong massages can have adverse effects.
3. Watch Out For Fevers
A fever considered mild in an adult can be much more severe and concerning in an infant.
In a newborn, if the temperature rises to 100.4 degrees, it is considered a fever and demands immediate medical attention.
If your infant has a fever, it could indicate a severe infection because most newborns are not yet vaccinated against most infectious diseases.
This is why fevers in infants younger than two months old are much more alarming than fevers in older children
If the fever persists for more than a week or is recurring, it could indicate a chronic illness. Doctors would first have to rule out the possibility of such infections as UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or meningitis.
What is more noteworthy is that sometimes babies with an infectious disease do not get a fever because their immune system is not strong enough to generate one.
This means that you should also look for unusual changes in behavior, like a loss of appetite or prolonged sleep.
4. Take The Necessary Sanitation Measures
As frightening and grueling as the COVID-19 situation was, some of the SOPs it helped enforce are worth keeping when dealing with your newborn.
Infants with underdeveloped immune systems are not yet prepared to handle infections independently.
In the initial few months, it is best to keep the child away from strangers and safe inside your home where you can ensure sanitation.
Outdoor crowded spaces are the places most likely to pose an infection threat to your infant.
You must monitor closely who comes into contact with your child. Anyone who does touch them should only do so after washing their hands.
An additional precaution you must take considering the pandemic is to ensure that anyone who comes close to your baby is fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, you and your family are equally prone to carrying infectious diseases and must take necessary precautions too.
Your contact with the baby is inevitable; ensure your hands are properly washed before you prepare food, feed the baby, cuddle them, bathe them, and for every other such activity.
5. Ensure Appropriate Dressing
A newborn's homeostatic control is not as well-developed as an adult's, and they must be kept warm because their body is not as efficient in maintaining a constant temperature.
Ideally, your baby should be dressed in the number of layers of clothing you wear with one additional layer. Also, be cautious not to layer the child with too many clothes as it can overheat them.
When a newborn is welcomed into this world, it is a new responsibility for the parents. Your decisions can have severe consequences for the child.
Thus, remember to be mindful of how you handle them, bond well, watch out for fevers, and ensure sanitation.