Bringing your newborn home for the first time can be nerve-wracking. A new part of your life is just beginning! You might feel nervous that you won’t get the hang of taking care of a baby, but believe us when we say you will. It’s a learning process for everyone involved, parents and baby included.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Not only can you ask other parents what advice they have for taking care of a little one, but you can also turn to the internet. There, you’ll find hundreds of tips on how to soothe fussy babies and get them to sleep (as well as about 1,000 other things).
Just take the video of a mother using a tissue to get her baby to sleep as a perfect example. All she does is gently stroke the tissue over his face. For the first few minutes, the baby is still awake and playful. But in mere seconds, he starts to doze, and then he’s out like a light — all in less than a minute.
And that’s only the beginning. Here are 21 tips for promoting sleep, helping babies take medicine, removing cradle cap, and more.
1. Improve sleep with a Velcro swaddle.
Velcro swaddles are amazing for keeping your baby tucked safely in their crib. You can put their arms in or leave them out according to their preference. Just a warning, though — this shouldn’t be used after the baby starts to show signs of being able to roll.
2. Buy a nursery projector.
Figuring out how to get a newborn baby to sleep can be difficult, especially as they get used to being in a crib or bassinet. A nursery projector is a great way to give them something to focus on until they drift off.
3. Put the new diaper under the old one.
When you open up that diaper, you don’t know for sure what you’ll find. And there’s nothing more frustrating than hunting for a diaper while your poopy baby squirms around. Be prepared before you tackle their dirty diaper by putting a fresh one under your baby’s bottom.
4. Embrace the one-size-up rule.
Does your baby tend to wake up in the middle of the night because he’s soaked in pee? Avoid nighttime leaks and extra wake-ups by putting them in a diaper one size up from what they need.
5. Use those ugly onesies as backups.
Did your well-meaning neighbor give you a onesie you can’t stand? Keep it in your diaper bag as your backup so it won’t go to waste. You won’t have to put it on your baby unless they have a diaper blowout.
6. Don’t get peed on.
Your beautiful baby boy will probably pee on you a couple of times in his life. Put a cold wipe on his belly before you open up the diaper. That will make him shiver and often help clear his bladder in his diaper instead of on you.
7. Use open sleepers.
There are lots of options for sleepers that are open at the bottom like a nightgown. They’re a great way to change diapers in the middle of the night without having to completely undress the baby.
8. Avoid middle-of-the-night interaction.
Your natural instinct might be to cuddle and coo at your baby while they eat, and that’s fine during the day. At night, though, try to keep things all business. Interacting with your baby or making lots of eye contact may keep them awake and, in the mood, to play.
9. Keep the baby’s room cold.
Babies sleep better in cool rooms. The ideal temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees. Keep things nice and cool and dress your baby warmly rather than vice versa. Also, bear in mind that overheating is related to a higher risk of SIDS.
10. Do zips, not snaps.
There are so many cute options for baby pajamas, but aside from size, one thing should be your priority: always buy footed pajamas that zip instead of snap. This will save you the annoyance of trying to fumble with closing the PJs in the dark, especially with a baby whose patience is wearing thin.
11. Buy gender neutral.
If you’re planning on having more children — or passing your baby’s clothes down to a friend — opt for gender neutral clothes as much as possible. This will give the clothes a lot more mileage and make them easier to reuse.
12. Wash socks in a mesh bag.
Baby socks are so cute! And so tiny and hard to find when they come out of the laundry. Keep the socks together by washing and drying them in a mesh bag.
13. Use those onesie shoulder flaps.
Most people don’t know what those shoulder flaps on onesies are for. They make it possible to pull baby clothes down over the body in the event of a diaper blowout, instead of up over the head.
14. Pack an extra outfit…for yourself.
Just ask any parent about a time when their baby peed or spat all over them in public and they had no change of clothes on hand. When you throw an extra baby outfit in the diaper bag, include one for yourself!
15. Use lotion during bath time for cradle cap.
Cradle cap isn’t harmful, but it does look bizarre. To get rid of it, apply lotion to the baby’s head during bath time. This works great for moistening the skin. Then, gently dry with a towel, letting the texture pull off the dead skin.
16. Wait 20 minutes to cut their fingernails.
If your baby tenses or flails while you’re trying to cut their nails, wait until they’ve been asleep for about 20 minutes. This gives them the chance to drift off into the deep part of their sleep cycle. That way, you can trim those sharp little nails without any problem.
17. Fight newborn congestion.
It’s common for newborns to be congested. It may be real mucus or it may be vestiges of amniotic fluid caught in their sinuses. Make sure you have a nasal aspirator like a NoseFrida on hand to help them breathe.
18. Put the medicine on a pacifier.
Newborns can’t have most medications unless cleared by a pediatrician. But giving it in a syringe or dropper can be difficult when they’re so little. Instead, dip a pacifier in the medicine or squirt it into the pacifier nipple and let baby suck until it’s gone.
19. Do bicycle legs.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, your baby will probably have some digestive problems as their tummy adjusts to food. To ease painful gas, learn how to bicycle their legs. It can be a lifesaver!
Most of the times mothers are shown holding their baby with the hand closest to their baby’s head while holding their breast with the opposite arm. While this is ok it’s typically recomended for older children and it’s better to do the opposite with newborns. By doing the opposite it allows a mothers free hand to move the baby’s head, making it easier to switch sides and adjust the head.
21. Help your baby take a pacifier.
There’s nothing wrong with pacifiers and there’s no evidence that they cause feeding confusion. In fact, pacifiers have been linked to a reduced risk of SIDS. To help your baby take a binky, gently tap the back of it or rub it along the roof of their mouth to encourage them to suck.
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