Becoming a first-time parent can be a daunting experience. You can read all the parenting books you like, but nothing prepares you for the real-life job of caring for a baby that is 100% dependent on you. As scary as it is, the concerns you might have as a new parent are common. Also, many can be alleviated by remembering the following:
- You care for and love your baby.
- Common sense and instinct is everything.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, support, and guidance .
Just bond with your baby and the rest comes naturally. However, for some common concerns you might have can be answered here.
Are Flat Head Pillows Safe for Babies?
It’s imperative to ensure your baby is comfortable. Yet, it is more important to secure their safety as well. It’s a tragic fact that many newborns pass away while they sleep. Sometimes this is caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and unexplained phenomena where babies stop living. However, in most cases, the tragedy is caused by suffocation due to an unsafe sleeping environment.
You can prevent this using baby pillows and safe sleep recommendations such as:
- Don’t put stuffed animals or toys in the crib.
- Place the baby on its back.
- Dress only in light sleepwear.
- Do not sleep with the baby.
- Leave anti-roll pillows out of the crib.
Following these points will help ensure maximum safety for your newborn when it sleeps. So, to answer the question, no, flat head pillows are not safe for babies. Instead, pediatric doctors and baby experts recommend positioning your baby on its tummy when awake and supervised to help with the flat head syndrome.
Do I Wrap the Baby when Sleeping?
While it’s traditional and tempting to swaddle your baby, it isn’t necessary. Most babies are fine without a swaddle blanket, and they only require loose sleepwear. This is recommended because should a baby be swaddled and roll over onto its front, there is no way for it to use its legs and arms to position itself on its back.
This can increase the risk of suffocation and SIDS. However, some babies demonstrate discomfort if they’re not swaddled, and there is no harm in wrapping your baby. If this is the case, however, a swaddled baby should always be supervised.
Therefore, swaddling is not recommended if you go to bed and will not be with the baby. In addition, swaddling can become too warm and might cause your baby to overheat.
However, it should be noted that the research into baby sleep is ongoing and typically varies from nation to nation, culture to culture. For example, doctors in one country, Australia, say swaddling may help prevent SIDS, while US researchers disagree.
How Do I Feed a Baby?
Feeding your child is one of the greatest joys as a parent. Not only does it give the baby what it needs, but it is soothing for parents and the child and helps to establish a bond. For most mothers, breastfeeding is a natural choice. Yet, some mothers rely on formula from a bottle or bottled breast milk.
However you decide to feed your baby, there are some things you need to be aware of:
- Consistently feed your baby every two to three hours.
- Burp the baby when it stops feeding.
- The baby is full when it won’t take more feed.
- A strong bond can be established during feeds.
These feeding basics will help keep you on track. But you may also wonder about holding the baby. You should rest the baby firmly in the crook of the arm opposite your feeding hand with which you hold the bottle. For example, if you need to feed with the left breast, hold the baby in your right arm. You should also support the baby’s head with your free hand at the base of the neck.
Is it OK to Have Some Time to Myself?
Being a new parent, mother or father, is exhausting. First, you can say goodbye to sleeping because the baby doesn’t care about that when it needs feeding or a diaper change. Second, you need eyes at the back of your head because they like to move around, even when it is dangerous. And when they begin to crawl, well, they’re gonna try to get moving anywhere and everywhere they can.
But even with all the sleepless nights, dirty diaper overloads, and spitting up milk on your new clothes, you probably don’t want to leave the little ones. This is perfectly normal. It is, in fact, the most natural thing to stay close to your children as a protector and caregiver.
But you need time off. The exhaustion alone means you cannot hope to provide for your child at 100% if you are too tired to do it. So straight to the point, you need a little “me time.” Of course, this means different things to different people. But for most women, it’s a spa treatment, even if it’s at home.
Take a relaxing bath, get your hair done, and maybe a manicure or foot rub. The baby will be fine with dad, grandma, or a qualified babysitter. And when you get back, you will be re-energized and ready to be the best mother again.
How Can I Encourage a Routine?
Newborns can be unpredictable, but for the most part, their daily routine revolves around sleeping and feeding, with the occasional joyous awake time. But as they get a little older, they begin to come out of their shells a little and begin to experience the world. As such, they want to stay awake a little longer, and they have no regard whatsoever for your busy life.
Yet, babies are too young to understand when they are manipulated, and you can use this to your advantage:
- Teach your baby that day is for play and naps while the night is for restful sleep.
- Set a bedtime as early as possible in their developmental stages.
- Watch for cues when your baby needs to go to bed at night.
- Don’t work the baby routine around your own. Babies should come first.
- Accept and adapt to routine changes as the baby ages.
Establishing a solid routine from an early age helps the baby recognize when it’s time to sleep. This promotes wellbeing for all and will likely carry on to adulthood. It can also help establish boundaries in the household as you try to set the lines of acceptable behavior later on.