I Have an Infant: Now What?
You may have heard that infants don’t come with instructions. That’s true! One of the most important callings of your life, parenting, offers nothing but on-the-job training with a real, live person who needs you every minute. It can be a bit daunting, to say the least.
However, there are some basic rules for infant care Singapore that will help new parents survive those first sleep-deprived, messy months.
Basics of Babies
Infants need to eat, a lot. Whether a mother decides to nurse or use formula, it’s important to understand that babies need to eat often to grow. They are not the breakfast, lunch, and dinner type. They eat around every two hours, and sometimes even more during growth spurts. Stay patient. All that food helps grow their brains and bodies. Respond to baby’s food needs promptly.
The good news is infant care does not involve baby food for a while. Most pediatricians recommend holding off on food until the six month mark, while others say four months is an okay time to start introducing baby food. Talk to your pediatrician to decide what is best for your baby.
Babies like to sleep, but not always when you do. Sleep is also essential for brain growth, and in the first months of an infant’s life, they will sleep the majority of the time. However, night times can be a bit tricky. Infants still need to eat through the night, so they will wake caregivers up to ensure they are fed. It’s important to respond to the baby’s needs, even at night. If you get overwhelmed or exhausted, have someone help you with the baby so you can get sleep.
If you’ve ever held an infant, you know they are a lot like those bobble head dolls with very little neck control. It’s important for anyone holding a child to be extra careful with their head and neck. Babies can’t hold their heads up on their own and will need support when being held. They will also have a soft spot in the front of their scalp, and it can stay there for up to a year. Make sure they don’t hit their heads on the soft spot.
This probably sounds obvious, but never shake a baby. Don’t shake them when you’re playing with them or when you’re angry. It’s better to put the baby down in a safe place and walk away to calm down than to handle them roughly when you’re stressed. Babies’ brains do not need to be jostled around, and shaking can lead to permanent brain damage and death.
Becoming an expert diaper changer is one benefit to having an infant. You will change so many diapers a day that you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.
If you choose disposable diapers, make sure you change them regularly, usually at least every two hours. Wipe the baby’s bottom with wipes and clean them thoroughly after bowel movements. Apply diaper rash cream if their bottoms are irritated. Never reuse a disposable diaper! That’s why they’re called disposable.
Those who opt for cloth diapers need to make sure they change and clean babies just as frequently. They will need to follow all directions for washing the diapers to make sure any germs or bacteria are completely rinsed away before reuse.
After all that pooping, infants have to be bathed. Bathing a tiny baby is one of the scariest jobs there is. Infants have absolutely no self-preservation skills, and they look like they will sink in the tiniest amount of water.
Use an infant bathtub or sink so you don’t have to use as much water. When you bathe your baby, NEVER walk away from them. In fact, you should not take your hands off of them for a second because the amount of time it takes for their tiny lungs to fill with fluid is obviously much less than for a full grown adult.
Use soaps and shampoos specifically for infants, and try to keep them out of their eyes. Clean infants between all of their skin rolls, and pay special attention to their necks. That’s where all of the spit and leftover milk hides.
Bath time will probably end up being one of you and your infant’s favorite times, but always be cautious.
I’m not sure if you know this or not, but babies can’t talk. Instead, they cry when they need something. Those cries are your cue that something is not right. Usually, babies cry because they are hungry, their diaper is full, or they are tired. Teething can cause babies to cry, and it’s been known to cause parents to shed a few tears as well. If babies are sick or coming down with an illness, they will get fussier.
There are times when babies are crying for no obvious reason. These times are difficult because a baby’s cry is meant to cause its parents distress. That’s the goal: to cause the parents such distress that they fix the problem. When you can’t find the problem, try soothing techniques such as holding, patting the back to burp them, or walking while holding them against you. Skin-to-skin contact is also helpful and can soothe infants.
Yes, taking care of an infant means taking care of yourself. You will need breaks. Hire a babysitter and go have a cup of coffee. Make sure your babysitter knows about infant care Singapore, then go relax for a couple of hours. You will come back refreshed and renewed, ready to tackle this parenting thing again.