You are having a baby, or, you have just had a baby. You have embarked on a time-old journey, like your many others before you.
You have many questions and if you must admit it, you are scared. A schedule is important at this time. You’ll want to use one for feeding and sleeping.
Are you breast-feeding or bottle-feeding or both? If you are breast feeding, you’ll need to ensure that you’re producing and giving him enough milk. Breast feeding – a. Clean your nipples b. Position baby and help to put the nipple in his mouth, ensuring that you are supporting his back and head. After you have nursed the baby on one breast, burp1 him before placing him on the other breast. After, burping place the baby on the next breast. Sometimes the baby will fall asleep so you have to gently but persistently tap the bottom of his feet, or lightly rub under his chin to get him to stay awake to finish feeding. If the baby is not full, he won’t maintain his sleep.
1. Burping – This is a belch. Place the baby on your shoulder and gently pat his back until he burps (belches). If it is a very small burp, you’ll want to keep patting back until you get a proper burp. You may burp the baby by placing your hand under his chin while having him sort of sitting on your lap, leaning forward; do not put too much pressure on his back. Use the other hand to tap his back until he burps. After burping baby, feed him on the second breast and burp again. Burping is also done when feeding with a bottle. Feed with portion from bottle, burp baby then let him continue feed from bottle; remember to burp again when he is finished feeding. Remember to place a bib at the front of your baby’s clothes to prevent a mess. Also, put a towel on your shoulder before putting baby on your shoulder to burp.
If you are going to bottle feed, make sure the feed is warm, not hot. Test the feed before giving it to the baby. You may do this by pouring a small amount of feed on your wrist. If too warm, set bottle in container of cold water and check until it is just warm enough for baby. You may also cool the feed by using two open containers such as two cups to pour feed from one into the other, and vice versa, doing it several times until it is no longer hot; be sure to test it. Remember the health, safety, and well-being of your baby is of paramount importance.
This is a must have for babies. They need their sleep. It is also a time for you to do stuff that you need to get done or a time for you to rest/recuperate. Babies often show you when they are ready to nap; you just need to read the cues. Your baby might display cues that are different from your friend’s baby; each baby is different, with his own personality, likes and dislikes and own sleep pattern. Here are some clues your baby might display: rubbing eyes, whimpering, moving about restlessly, yawning, and closing his eyes then opening them as though fighting to stay awake.
How you decide to help your baby nap is up to you. However, here a re a few tips:
- Be consistent. Try to get baby to nap at the same times every day.
- Have the place as quiet as possible
- For some babies, a little music/singing (lullaby) helps. If using this, introduce music that is soft (lulling music like some smooth, slow classical music; easy listening instrumental; slow, smooth gospel; or easy, slow children’s music). You may sing to baby or use a CD.
- Place baby on his back. Make sure that clothing is loose-fitting with nothing around his neck that could cause choking or discomfort. Also, make sure that area around baby is safe and free from clutter or objects that could cause harm (such as blankets, pillows, plastic bags, toys, small objects that he can swallow, or objects that may fir over his head or around his neck). This includes crib bars.
- The norm is to just put baby down to sleep, once you see that baby is drowsy. However, the reality is that some babies are difficult to put to sleep, so you have to use other strategies. You will either have to put the baby down and let him cry himself to sleep until he gets into the habit of napping, or do the following:
- Gently rock, either in your arm, place in a rocker, or rock baby gently while he is lying in the crib, if he or she is fussy and is just having a difficult time going to sleep. The problem with this is that they come to expect and rely on it, so do not use unless absolutely necessary.
- Check on baby from time to time to make sure he is safe. If you are able to, invest in one of those gadgets where you can hear baby while you are in other parts of the house.
- Make sure baby is full before you put to nap or he will just wake up and be fussy before he has taken a proper nap. (Remember to burp baby after eating – always – to prevent choking/spit up while trying to nap).