“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.”Tina Fey
At this point in the postpartum process, many new parents hit the point of feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to care for their newborn. At WellNested, our goal is to help support our clients through these early days. While you’ll certainly have many blissful moments, it’s also a time of intense adjustment.
Need some space? If you are having a tough moment or day when things feel extra hard (everyone has them!) give yourself permission to step away from your baby. It can feel nerve wracking but it can be really good to just clear your mind for a bit. Some things you can do to get space:
- Leave the baby with your partner or other trusted family member and take a short walk around the block or sit outside alone for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wear noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs and shut the bedroom door for some silence and time alone.
- If your baby is crying a lot, and you are alone, it’s ok to put a crying baby down for a few minutes to take a short shower.
Still feel like you could really use an extra set of hands to help take care of your baby? Consider booking one of the highly-qualified professionals in our network for extra support at home.
Basic Baby Care
You may be looking for guidance around caring for your newborn, especially if it’s your first baby! If you’re like most people, you may not have much experience with newborns, and some of the aspects of normal newborn development can be surprising, even concerning. Here are a few basics you might be wondering about and how you can respond.
- Umbilical cord: You’ll want to keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry until it falls off. Be sure to fold the diaper under the belly button to avoid covering the cord area.
- Diaper Rash Changing your newborn’s diaper often (around 10 times a day) can help prevent diaper rash. You can also use a barrier cream such as Aquaphor on baby’s bottom to protect skin from wet or soiled diapers. To treat diaper rash, a zinc-oxide cream can be used. Giving the bare skin some air can also be good for clearing up rash. (Keep a disposable changing pad under them for naked time—because they will pee or poop on something!)
- Flaky Scalp: Many newborns develop a scaly scalp condition called cradle cap. It typically disappears in the first few months. Cradle cap is not harmful but you can gently wash your baby’s hair with a gentle shampoo a few times per week (no more than three) and gently brush out the scales using a baby hairbrush.
- Baby Acne: Hormones are the likely culprit behind baby acne, which usually shows up on the cheeks, forehead, and nose. Genetics may also be a factor. Neonatal acne generally shows up within the first three months after birth and lasts no more than a few months. You can wash baby’s face daily with a gentle cleanser or washcloth. If the acne is severe or lasts longer than 4 to 6 months, notify your pediatrician. Your doctor may prescribe a topical treatment or check for a hormonal disorder.
If you’re doing everything you can to help calm your baby and nothing seems to be working, give Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s a try. His method combines 5 soothing techniques to create a womb-like environment for your newborn and help them calm down.
Swaddling: Swaddling is said to create a womb-like environment by snugly
wrapping baby in a blanket with their arms tucked inside and works great for a baby who’s overtired or very fussy. This 5-step guide offers easy to follow instructions for swaddling.
Sucking: Oftentimes breastfed babies are only soothed by sucking at the breast. But sometimes they are too full—or you need a break! If breastfeeding is going well and the latch is established, you can offer your baby a pacifier. Some they refuse, but there are a few tricks for getting your baby to take a paci.
Shushing: Shushing, running the sink water, or using a white noise machine can calm or soothe a fussy baby.
Swinging: Slow rocking works to calm some babies, but others need a faster, gentle jiggle to calm them down. When doing this quick rock, be sure to support baby’s head and keep your motions small. Dr. Karp offers videos to help parents get this exactly right.
Side: You don’t want baby sleeping on their side, but holding them in a side or supported tummy position can do the trick when trying to calm a fussy newborn.
Infographic: 3 Types of Swaddles
Swaddle Blanket: Muslin blankets: Wrap around your baby to make a “baby burrito.” Harder to get one but often works best for calming babies. Breathable, stretchy material means baby can move around a bit
Compression Swaddle: These super snug zip up swaddles are great for babies who like to be snug and tight in their swaddle. Your baby won’t be able to “break out” but the stretchy fabric makes sure you are not swaddling too tight.
Wrap Swaddle: There are a huge variety of sleep sacks out there. These versatile options allow you to wrap baby’s arms in or leave them free and just swaddle baby around the chest.