Archive for the Newborn Category
A baby’s first snow shouldn’t come courtesy of a dry, flaky scalp. Fortunately, cradle cap, the infant equivalent of dandruff, is easy to treat:
Use your fingers or a brush with very soft bristles to gently rub your baby’s scalp each day. This will boost circulation and help scaly patches of skin fall off easily.
Wash your baby’s head each day with a gentle soap (try one made for “sensitive skin”) until cradle cap subsides. Then shampoo about twice weekly.
Be sure to rinse away all traces of soap.
Before shampooing, rub a bit of mineral oil into baby’s scalp and cover it with a moist, warm washcloth to encourage scaly patches to fall off. Leave it on for up to an hour, making sure the cloth stays warm.
If cradle cap doesn’t improve or baby continues to react to scalp itchiness, see your pediatrician about a topical lotion or cream.
Congratulations — you’re a new parent! The next few weeks will probably be the most hectic you’ve ever known. You’ll want learn about bonding with your baby. And when can he have his first bath? We help you to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Learn all about nappy-changing — there’ll be plenty more of that to come! You may even find yourself examining your baby’s poo!
Find out why your baby is crying, and how you can soothe him. And what if your baby seems under the weather? How can you tell if he needs to see a doctor? Don’t worry, we can guide you. We also have all you need to know about your newborn’s tests and checks. And what about you? Are you feeling stressed out with all your new responsibilities? Are you ready to let visitors hold your baby, or are you quite happy to hand him over. Whatever new parenthood throws at you, we’ve got the answers.
Why do babies cry?
All babies cry sometimes. They have to. Even entirely healthy newborns will cry for somewhere between one and three hours each day. Unable to do anything for themselves, babies rely on someone else to provide them with the food, warmth, and comfort that they need. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating one of those needs. As a new parent, it can sometimes be difficult to work out what your baby is telling you – is she hungry, cold, thirsty, bored, looking for a cuddle? In the early days, when you have not yet learned to work out what your baby needs, this crying can be upsetting. However, you will gradually begin to recognise your baby’s different crying patterns and, as you get to know her better, will be able to anticipate her needs.
As babies grow, they gradually learn other ways of communicating with us, too. They get better at eye contact, making noises, and even smiling, all of which reduce the need for crying. The most common reasons babies cry are listed below. If you have a baby who is difficult to soothe, try working your way down the list. That way, you can reassure yourself that you have tried to meet her needs as well as you possibly can.
• I need food
Hunger is the most common reason a new baby will cry. The younger your baby is, the more likely it is that she is crying because she is hungry. The exception to this is in the first day or two after birth, when some babies feed very little. If you are breastfeeding, you may well be aware of this, as the very concentrated early milk, colostrum, is produced in small amounts and you notice when the milk “comes in” around the third day. A baby’s small stomach cannot hold very much, so if your baby cries, try offering her some milk, as it may well be that she is hungry. She might not stop crying immediately, but let her keep feeding if she wants to, and she will gradually be soothed as her stomach fills up. If your baby has been fed and is still crying, however, perhaps she is expressing the next need.
• I need to be comfortable
Babies will very sensibly protest if their clothes are too tight or if a soiled nappy is bothering them. Some babies don’t seem to mind if their nappies are full – it just feels warm and comfortable to them – while others will call out to be changed immediately, especially if some tender skin is being irritated. Checking your baby’s nappy and changing it may meet her needs, so this is always worth trying. It also gives you an opportunity to check that a nappy tab isn’t too tight or that there isn’t something else about her clothing making her uncomfortable.
• I need to be warm – and not too hot or too cold
Some newborns hate having their nappy changed or being bathed – they are not used to the feel of the air on their skin and much prefer to be bundled up and warm. If your baby is like this, you will soon learn how to perform a nappy change quickly so that you can calm her down again. Take care not to overdress your baby, though, so that she gets too hot. A good rule to follow is that she needs to wear one more layer of clothing than you do to be comfortable.
In the cot or Moses basket, try using a sheet and cellular blankets as bedding, rather than a duvet, so you can add and remove layers as necessary. You can check whether your baby is too hot or too cold by feeling her stomach: if she’s too hot, remove a blanket, if she’s cold, add one. Don’t be guided by her hands or feet, as it is normal for them to feel slightly cold. Keep your baby’s room at a temperature of around 18 degrees C / 64 degrees F, and put her down to sleep on her back with her feet at the end of the cot so that she can’t wriggle too far down under the blankets and get too hot that way.
• I need to be held
Some babies need a great deal of cuddling and reassurance. An older child may be soothed by seeing you in the room or hearing your voice, but new babies often need close physical contact for comfort. If you’ve fed your baby and changed her nappy, you may find that she now simply wants to be held. Some parents worry that they will “spoil” their baby if they hold her too much, but during the first few months of life that’s impossible. While some babies don’t seem to need that much physical contact, others want to be held almost all the time. If your baby needs a lot of holding, you might like to try a baby sling, which allows you to keep your baby close while leaving your hands free for other tasks; this may be a solution that keeps you both happy.
• I need a rest
It is easy to assume that babies will fall asleep whenever they need to, wherever they are, simply because so many of them do. However, if your baby has been receiving a lot of attention – perhaps you’ve had a busy day with hordes of visitors round – she may become overstimulated and then find it hard to “switch off” and settle. Newborns can find it difficult to cope with too much stimulation at once – the lights, the noise, being passed from one adoring relative to the next – and can become overwhelmed by it all. Many parents have found that their baby cries more than usual when relatives come to stay, or sometimes just towards the end of each day. If there seems to be no specific reason for your baby’s crying, she may just be saying, “I’ve had enough”. If you can take her somewhere calm and quiet, gradually withdrawing the stimulation, she may express her feelings by crying for a while and then eventually settling to sleep.
• I need something to make me feel better
If you’ve fed your baby and checked that she’s comfortable, but she’s still continuing to cry, you may wonder if she is ill or in pain. First-time parents often find it difficult to tell whether their baby is crying purely because she’s an unhappy baby by nature (and some are, as it takes them a long time to adjust to being in the world) or whether there’s something genuinely wrong. A baby who is ill often cries in a different tone to her usual cry – it may be more urgent or high-pitched. Equally, for a baby who normally cries frequently, an unusual quietness may be a sign that she’s not well. The most important thing to remember is that nobody knows your baby as well as you do. If you feel that there may be something wrong, give your GP, midwife, or health visitor a call. Health professionals will always take your concerns seriously, and it may be reassuring for you to know that there isn’t a physical cause for your baby’s crying. Always call your doctor if your baby has difficulty breathing through the crying, or if the crying is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhoea, or constipation. See our article on when to call the doctor for more guidance.
• I need something … but I don’t know what
Sometimes you might not be able to figure out what’s wrong when your baby cries. Many newborns go through patches of fretfulness and are not easily comforted. The unhappiness can range from a few minutes of hard-to-console crying to several hours at a stretch, an almost constant state of crying that is sometimes called colic. Colic is defined as inconsolable crying for at least three hours a day, for at least three days a week. Many parents find it very difficult to cope with a baby who has colic, and it can put a strain on the whole family. There is no magic cure for colic, but it rarely lasts for more than three months. If you can hold on to the fact that your baby will grow out of it, that may help. See our article on coping with colic for more strategies on how to deal with this distressing condition.
My baby’s crying – what can I do?
There are things you can try to comfort a crying baby. Not all of them will work for all babies, so you need to gradually get to know your own baby and her particular personality to find out what works for her and for you.
• Wrap her up and hold her tight
Newborns show a definite preference for feeling snug and secure, just as they were in the
womb, so you might like to try swaddling your baby in a blanket to see if she likes that. Many parents also find that holding their baby close, especially when she can hear their heartbeat, or putting her in a baby sling is soothing. Other babies find swaddling too restrictive and respond better to other forms of reassurance such as being rocked or sung to.
• Find a constant rhythm
In the womb, your baby could hear the regular beat of your heart: that’s one of the reasons many babies continue to like being held close. However, other regular, repetitive noises can also have a calming effect. You could try playing gentle music or singing a lullaby. Many parents find that if their baby can hear the steady rhythm of a washing machine or the “white noise” of a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, that will soon lull her off to sleep. (Never put your baby on top of a washing machine or clothes dryer – always put her on the floor next to it.)
• Rock-a-bye baby
Most babies love to be gently rocked, and you may find that your baby is calmed by this, too, whether you walk around rocking her or sit with her in a rocking chair. Special baby swings can soothe some babies, while others are comforted by being in rather faster motion and drop off almost as soon as they’re driven somewhere in a car.
• Try a massage
Giving your baby a massage or gently rubbing her back or tummy can help soothe her. If she seems to have pains with wind, try feeding her in a more upright position and winding her after a feed by holding her against your shoulder. Babies who have colic may sometimes be soothed by having their tummies rubbed, and it may make you feel better to know that at least you are trying to do something to help your baby’s distress.
• Let her suck on something
In some newborns, the need to suck is very strong and sucking a dummy or (clean) finger or thumb can bring great comfort. “Comfort sucking” can steady a baby’s heart rate, relax her stomach, and help her settle.
• Don’t demand too much of yourself
A baby who cries almost constantly will do herself no lasting harm, but may cause a great deal of stress and worry for her parents. If your baby seems pretty unhappy to be here and resists every effort that you make to cheer her up or calm her down, it can be hard not to feel rejected as well as frustrated. Parents sometimes blame themselves, feeling that it is their incompetence as parents that is causing the crying, but this is rarely the case. If you know that your baby’s needs have been met, that there is nothing physically wrong causing your baby to cry, and if you’ve tried everything you can think of to calm her but nothing’s worked, it’s time to take care of yourself so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Here are a few suggestions:
• Take deep breaths.
• Put your baby down somewhere and let her cry for a while out of your hearing.
• If it helps, put on some quiet music and let yourself relax for ten minutes.
• Call a friend or relative and get some support. Give yourself a break and let someone else take over for a while.
• Talk to your health visitor about local support groups or mother-and-baby groups where you can share your feelings and discuss ways of coping with the crying with other new parents.
• If it all gets too much, call one of the telephone helplines. The Cry-sis helpline on 020 7404 5011 is for parents of babies who have sleep problems and / or who cry excessively. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emotional support and practical advice.
• Remind yourself that nothing is wrong with your baby and that crying in itself won’t hurt her. Sometimes simply accepting that you have a baby who cries a great deal can help, in that you don’t wear yourself out looking for reasons for the crying, blaming yourself for it, or offering endless new remedies which don’t work.
• Remind yourself that this is a phase and it will pass.
Being the parent of a newborn is hard work. Being the parent of a newborn who cries a great deal is even harder work. Get help and support when you need it, rather than letting things build up. And take comfort from the fact that each day, as your baby grows, she learns new ways of being able to communicate her needs to you. Gradually, as she does so, the crying will stop.
A newborn baby can’t spend their entire time sleeping on Mom’s or Dad’s knee so it’s important to find the right baby bed so that you can confidently put her down and baby can enjoy a full and undisturbed night’s sleep. Baby bassinettes are a great alternative or addition to a cot and for a number of reasons, not least because they are more portable so they can be used in virtually any room of the house and at any time of the day offering you the opportunity to keep baby near by while she sleeps.
1 – Portable
Even those parents that are blessed with plenty of nursery space will not necessarily want to put baby down to sleep in a cot in their nursery all day every day. For the first few months many parents choose to have their baby sleep in the same room as them and a bassinette is a great choice because it is so light and portable that it can be moved into the bedroom at night and back out again in the morning if you wish.
2 – Compact
Those with scant spare space can also benefit from baby bassinettes. They are compact and minimalist in their design while proving comfortable and secure for baby. Whether room in the nursery is cramped or you want baby to sleep with you initially but don’t have much room, a bassinette is an ideal choice because it does not take up masses of room that can be used for something else. Because it is so portable it can even be moved when not being used.
3 – Safe
Safety is always important when shopping for items for your baby and while it may seem like you’re overdoing the whole safety aspect initially, it can’t really be stressed enough. Bassinettes can have padded sides and there’s no way that babies can roll out during the night. They are also designed especially so that baby can sleep next to you at night enabling you to keep a closer on her or be immediately on hand in case of emergencies.
4 – Inexpensive
Bassinettes are usually less expensive than cots which is a great benefit when you consider that it will only really be used for the first few months of baby’s life. If this is why you are buying a bassinette then look at the size and weight restrictions on the ones you are considering and you will be able to enjoy even more time from your bassinette delaying or even eliminating the need to fork out and buy a cot.
5 – Stylish
You may be a new Mum or new Dad but style is still important to you, and so it should be. Modern baby bassinettes come in a wide variety of different designs and a whole gamut of colors. You can buy additional bedding and pads for the model that you choose. This enables you to keep two or three bedding sets and to create a fun and enjoyable, as well as comfortable and functional, sleeping environment for your new baby.
The newborn sizes usually range from zero to 12 months. You can find these products at stores such as The Children’s Place and Babies R Us. There may even be a special newborn section in the kids or baby categories.
1. Footed Pajamas
This type of pajama provides warmth and prevents the legs from riding up. It’s a classic in children’s wear so you can really embrace this concept. Go for a retro owl or daisy print, for example.
Overalls can work for either gender. A girl’s version can have pleating details and oversized buttons.
3. Body Suits
A bodysuit is a basic everyday item. You can layer it with a simple cardigan or even try it under a skirt. Since this is such a staple find ways to make it different. Go for a pattern if you’re sticking with a basic pink color palette. It can also mimic a graphic t-shirt with humorous sayings. Another option for boys would be a polo style with the signature collar and row of buttons. You can also buy these items in packs with a coordinating theme or fabric.
4. Soft Outwear
This could be a hooded sweatshirt, cardigan, or entire coat depending on where you live. Shop for youthful-feeling items in animal prints, or look for more subtle ruffle details.
Dresses for newborns should come in comfortable and durable fabrics. Look for a vintage inspired silhouette by going with a jumper. Another option would be a dress that mimics separates with a coordinating top and bottom that is all one piece.
6. Miniature Suits
This is more formal attire for a baby boy. Depending on the weather you can just get a vest, bow tie, and white shirt. You could also play around with the age and level of sophistication. Try a bodysuit with a tie appliqué for a whimsical look.
The clothes for your child can replicate what you wear for a more adult look. This could be a layered t-shirt for cooler weather or a button-down variety. The color palette and patterns will give things a youthful look and keep it age appropriate. Newborn clothing also comes in a lot of different color palettes which will change up the feeling. This could be a muted brown, green, and orange for a retro-inspired vibe. The same colors that are popular for adults such as teal and gray often work for baby, too.
8. Elastic Waist Pants
An elastic waist provides comfort and functionality to newborn clothes. It makes the items easier to get on and off. This combines a variety of material from knits to denim. Make the look more adult with oversized cargo pockets for boys. Another option is to include patterns like plaids for more interest.
Leggings are a trendy look for kids or adults. Marble prints will have a subtle pattern but a lot of different colors so that the piece coordinates with a lot of different tops.
10. Graphic Patterns
A lot of newborn clothing uses the same silhouettes and materials for functionality. Changing up the pattern can really make the entire outfit more contemporary. This could translate into a houndstooth print or lattice design.
There are a few basic pieces that you’ll need for a newborn. This goes beyond a simple crib and changing table. These products, from stores like Overstock.com and Fingerhut, provide more function and decoration to a nursery.
Storage can be problematic for a nursery. It’s an essential, but it can also stick out from the theme. Look for shelves in pastel colors that are close to your wall color. It can also draw out colors from the wallpaper. Another option is to go with unconventional storage solutions like a rotating bookcase or a step stool with a lift top.
2. Toy Boxes
A toy box should have safety features for kids. This can work within the theme if it has painted patterns. For a cowboy theme, you could try a cow print or horseshoe motif. Look for an upholstered top that can also work as a bench.
Shelves work as display areas and also help keep more delicate items out of kids reach. For a contemporary look, find cube shelves. It can also be in the shape of an animal or baseball mitt for a themed room.
4. Diaper Disposal System
A diaper pail provides hygiene. These can even come with special inserts, so the pail can hold a certain amount of diapers.
5. Personalized Items
Even if you aren’t a crafter, you can give your nursery custom details. This can be as simple as creating your baby’s name by arranging wood letters on a shelf. Another option is to get a kit with spots for your baby’s handprint, footprint and photo included in a frame.
6. Rocking Chairs
There are a lot of different kinds of rocking chairs. You can also get matching ottomans with storage or gliding features. If you want a more modern version, go with an upholstered glider that just looks like a basic arm chair.
7. Cradle or Swing
A swing can provide a soothing swaying motion while a cradle adds vintage charm to the space. You can also find versions with lights and music for maximum interaction.
A nursery mobile is a standard nursery decoration, but it can also work in a themed room. For a traditional space, look for safari animals or teddy bears. The song can coordinate with the overall look or just go for a more masculine vibe with soccer balls and baseball bats.
9. Baby Monitor
Monitors can include sound or video. There are mobile and flat screen versions available.
10. Crib Bedding
Crib bedding is comfortable and also adds color into your space. Look for a retro dot or leaf print for a gender neutral room. You can make a country theme more modern by going with a patchwork quilt in shades of brown, cream and white. You can also pick up matching window treatments for a cohesive design. A skirt under the crib gives more storage by hiding unsightly items. This also adds femininity with ruffles or lace for a girl’s room. A boy’s room can use a more tailored piece of fabric.