Newborns - Caring For Your Newborn

Nothing is more precious to parents than a newborn baby, and rightly so. But caring for them can seem quite daunting. Fortunately, there are a variety of helpful ideas to get parents over those first big humps.

Choosing a pediatrician is just one difficulty that pops up right away. Newborns need vaccinations almost from birth. They are more susceptible to disease because their immune systems are still developing. And, they often go through colic and other infant conditions that have mysterious origins.

Since the skin is the body's first line of defense caring for it should be a special focus. Caring for the umbilical cord until it dries and falls off is one example. Avoiding or treating diaper rash is another. Daily bathing and avoiding sunburn is needed, though, even for those in perfect health.

One way to approach all those issues is to find out what newborns need right away. There are a few dozen simple and easy to obtain items that every parent will want to stock up on. Diapers are obvious. Medical supplies is another. Clothing, too. There's a certain amount of baby gear you just won't want live without.

Babies need to eat, too, of course! The simplest and healthiest option is breastfeeding for at least the first six months. Colostrum and mother's breast milk supply exactly what the newborn needs for nutrition and immune system development. But that's just not an option for every baby or every parent. A good infant formula can be a real lifesaver, here.

Premature babies represent a special challenge. They are even more likely to develop the usual range of baby problems, and may bring a few others along too. They're more prone to development problems and acquire allergies more readily. Keeping them (and all infants) safe from pets is a concern, as well.

But there's more to newborn care than meeting the purely physiological needs.

Dealing with sleeping problems, which can result from either physical or psychological causes, or a mixture, is part of nearly every parent's routine. Providing that essential sense of caring and closeness is critical to good development. Attachment Parenting is one popular approach to the subject that goes well beyond sleeping issues. Infant massage may be part of that, while it provides benefits for the parent, too. Bonds form in specific ways very early in life.

Parents may also want to look into a once-popular and now-resurgent practice: hiring a nanny. Anyone with a newborn will surely appreciate the need to have an extra pair of hands around, especially those with experience and expertise in child care.

With help or without, proud parents will want or need to take their newborn out into the world. Trips to grandparents, the pediatrician and elsewhere are a normal part of the newborn's and parents' lives. Learning how to do so safely and conveniently will be on everyone's list. That starts first and foremost, often right as you leave the hospital, with getting the right car child safety seat.

Even experienced parents can easily find themselves overwhelmed with the apparently endless challenges of caring for a newborn. All can take comfort, however, in knowing that those challenges are mastered daily by first-timers and those with multiple children alike. After all, you're reading this and you did pretty well!