Super-cute and practical newborn baby hacks
Tips and tricks that can help you better understand your newborn.
Don’t you wish your newborn came with an instruction manual?
All we have is our motherly instincts, and while that is a strong force that can make miracles happen, knowledge is always good and it sure does make things easier and ensure your “tiny little piece of heaven” also known as babies are always safe and sound.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you better understand your newborn:
Two things you should always remember as a mom of a newborn... crying is your baby’s way of communicating. Your baby can’t speak, so there will be a lot of crying. That is not negotiable! If they’re hot, cold, hungry, dirty, tired… they will cry that's the way it is. Constant feeding is huge, newborns feed every two or three hours, maybe more if there is a growth spurt approaching the 3rd week, the 6th week, 3rd month and 6th month. So if you’re wondering why your baby is crying, chances are they’re probably hungry.
A great breastfeeding hack is keeping track of the sides. Use a clip on your bra strap, or an elastic band/bracelet that you can easily switch from one wrist to the other. There are a lot of fancy apps out there, but you can keep it simple.
When you are breastfeeding, pay attention to your nutrition and hydration. Eat well and drink a lot of fluids, because everything that happens to you, happens to your milk.
It can be hard to know if your baby is getting enough nourishment, so keep track of their weight and their dirty nappies. As long as they are putting on weight from three weeks and on, and having about five or six wet or dirty nappies a day, they’re good.
To help your milk flow, talk to your babies, look at them and relax. It will also help you to connect! Newborn babies can only focus on objects that are up to 15 inches away, and that is just the distance of your face to your breasts and your baby's eyes.
Winding your baby is as important as feeding. If you don’t get the wind up, it can go down to come out the other way, bringing a lot of pain. Gently pat your baby’s back in circular motions, leaning them forward or straightening their back out. Getting your partner to do it is also very effective! Men’s hands are a bit heavy and they don’t smell as yummy as you do for a newborn, so they will get the winds out in no time.
Occasionally, the winds will go down their tummies and you can help relieve the pain by pulling their knees up or doing a cycling motion with the legs, which will also help their intestines to spurt the wind out of their bodies. The sun and moon massage technique is also great in helping your baby relieve gas.
3. Baby poo
Don’t get scared if your baby’s first poo is thick, black and sticky. That is the meconium poop, composed by milk and other biological material ingested during the time your baby was inside the uterus, like intestinal epithelial cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile and lanugo. That is completely normal.
After a couple of days, it will go from a greenish color to a bright yellow dijon-mustard looking hue. Midwives recommend that you use cotton wool and water to change your baby’s nappies in the first few weeks, but you can use pure water wipes as well.
It is common that your baby will have traces of umbilical cord still attached, so make sure they are always outside of the nappies, so that it can dry up and fall off faster. You can fold the nappy down or make two little cuts on the sides to help with that.
Baby boys have a funny mechanism: whenever they feel air hitting their private parts, they will urinate. Every time you change their nappies, wait for them to have their way or wipe their tummies with a baby wipe to help them go, preventing yourself and the ceiling from being hit by an unexpected squirt.
4. Nappy rashes
Develop the habit of checking your baby’s nappies every now and then. One good way to do so is to check every time after feeding them, this is important because your baby’s skin is very sensitive and proper cleansing will help avoid nappy rashes. Many nappies have a yellow stripe that turns blue when your baby is wet.
To prevent leaking, make sure you pull out and adjust the frilly bits around your baby’s leg to keep all the stuff in.
Every now and then, there will be an incident and some poo will get on their vest, however these vests are designed to make sure you don’t need to take it off over their heads, keeping the mess away from their faces. Choose vests designed with very wide necks to help you pull them down and off.
Have a changing basket always ready so you can take it with you wherever you go throughout the house, stacked with wipes, nappies, barrier creams, a change of clothes and a mat.
5. Settling your baby
To help settle your baby, hold both their head and their bum and start rocking and swaying. This makes them feel safe like they are still inside the womb, most moms will do this instinctively, but it is always worth mentioning.
Swaddling is a big part of motherhood, since it mimics the feeling of the womb. A big blanket or muslin blanket will do the trick. Just wrap them up and they will be safe and sound.
A good sleeping trick involves setting up bed layers for your baby’s crib coziness. Have a mattress protector, then add a sheet, another mattress protector sheet and finally a pram sheet. This will save you loads of time when you need to change the sheets and make sure the mattress is always dry and clean, no matter what.
6. Temperature and sanitization
Another great trick is to download a chart, you can find them on Pinterest, with the proper layers of clothing for different temperatures. Babies get colder than you think, so don’t take this for granted! Print it up and keep it on your nursery wall, that way you’re always ready for any weather. The ideal room temperature is 19 ºC and the baby’s bath should be 37 ºC.
Always ask your visitors or guest to wash or use hand sanitizer before holding your baby. It is not impolite to do so, actually it is impolite to deny a mom this kind of request! If you have other children, make them the “hygiene police”. They will take great pleasure commanding guests to wash their hands, with undeniable cuteness and also developing a sense of responsibility.
7. Baby wearing
Baby wearing is a must! You can get things done and keep your newborn happy and cozy, hearing your heart all the way into the chores, and they are kept nice and warm while you make dinner or wash the dishes. They may even fall asleep in there.
8. Clothing bundle
Whenever you are going out, make a little clothing bundle. Leave one always ready so you can just throw it in your bag on a short notice, and you will make sure your baby has a spare set of clothes whenever any accidents happen while you're out. And accidents do happen.
To do the bundle, get a baby grow and put a vest on top of it, place two socks in the middle, with the openings facing out. Roll the whole bundle and fold the socks up until you have a full change of clothes ready to go in a single piece. Put it in a bag for it will also help you store any dirty clothes when you’re out.
9. Dry skin
Dry skin is a major problem on newborns! Sunflower oil or olive oil are natural ways to keep the skin moisturized.
10. Baby nails
Mind your baby’s nails, especially if they were born past their due date since they can be quite long. If you cut their fingernails like you would cut yours, they may have problems because cutting makes them quite sharp. Bite or nibble their little nails to prevent self harm. Another great solution, is baby grows with built in scratch mittens.
11. Be prepared before birth
Make sure you stock up on a few basic things before you have your baby, that will save you a lot of time and worry. Saline drops, nose sucker, baby paracetamol are all paramount. Illnesses can strike in the middle of the night and everyone is tired enough already. A fever or a blocked nose can upset your baby, affect their feeding and sleep patterns which is bad for their health and your sleep.
And, whenever you’re in doubt, follow your instincts, they are the golden rules! If you feel it is not right, don’t do it. Having a newborn is exhausting, and you will have your first smiles only after 6 weeks, so they will look quite grumpy.
Don’t cut back on the fondling, though, because you are going to miss his cute little face, so the best tip is to hold them, kiss them, smell them as much as you can and take a lot of pictures before they start running around. And always remember to take care when posting them on social media to avoid unwanted attention from creeps.