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Six-Week Survival Guide for New Parents

newborn baby

Just had a baby? Congratulations!

Nothing else surmounts the feeling of having a new baby. Whether it’s your first time or third, the feeling remains the same for every parent--a gush of excitement and of course, pressure.

So here are some tips we’ve gathered from experts all over the web to help mothers and fathers cope up with the demands of their newborn babies especially during the most challenging phase: the first 6 weeks.

Prepare for the Unexpected
Your baby will be examined by the pediatrician who will explain any obvious curiosities like birthmarks, size and shape of the head, body weight, etc.
Always brace yourself when you get home as most babies tend to produce some unexpected sights and sounds. Generally, this is normal. Hence, if something really bothers you, go to the hospital immediately.

Clean the Umbilical Cord
The stump of the cord may seem very black and unwieldy for such a tiny infant. This is OK. It will fill off within three weeks. Until then, keep it clean. Fold your baby’s diapers down clear of it.

Burp Your Baby
Babies are prone to spit ups and choking so you have to be attentive in burping your baby every three to five minutes during feeding. Place your baby in an upright position to your chest or if you’re a bit tied up, you can place him/her in an infant seat after feeding.

Pooping Habits
In the very beginning, your baby’s poop will appear blackish green, and then it approximates certain shades of green, yellow or brown, and it can be runny, pasty, seedy or curdy. This is normal regardless of how unsettling the sight may seem. Baby's poop usually doesn't smell at all especially for those who are breastfed.

Bathing a newborn can be a challenge. You bathe your baby in a big bowl or plastic tub or by wetting a washcloth and washing him on a changing table.

Babies need a full bath about once or twice a week but needs to be “topped and tailed” at all cause. Make sure you wash the baby’s head, face, and bottom all the time.  Best if baby has been fed an hour to 30 minutes before bath time. Make sure the room is warm and you have everything ready near the tub.

Shampoo the scalp first and shield the water from your baby's eyes. Always support the head. Start washing your baby from the top down using soft cloth and tap water or mild baby soap.

Get in all those nooks and crannies. Be sure to wash the face well. Left around the mouth, milk and spit-up may cause a rash. Wash eyelids and under the chin. Rinse your baby well and pat dry with a towel.

Getting through the night
Since babies have tiny tummies that cannot hold much milk, newborns must be fed often. This is the reason why they wake up so frequently. This is why you have to start getting the whole household on the same schedule.

Establish a routine early on so your baby can easily identify them. Bathe, dress, play and stroll around the block at the same time every day.

Place your baby in the crib while drowsy. This way he learns to fall asleep on his own and associates the crib with bedtime.

Swaddle your baby. Your baby's own movements may startle and awaken him. You want to wrap your baby securely so he will not wake up even during normal periods of light sleep.

Keep night feedings as sleepy and brief. Go to your baby as soon as he cries. Don't play or talk while feeding your baby and bring him to bed with you so you can fall back to sleep.

Calming a Crying Baby
The most difficult thing is to hush a crying baby. Crying is the only means an infant can communicate what he/she is feeling whichever the case is whether it is an upset stomach, or the room is too hot or cold, bedding is tangled, dirty diaper, or there are loud noises.

If you find your baby still inconsolable, here are some tips. Experiment to discover the most comforting way for her to be rocked (side to side, back and forth), spoken and sung to.

  • Pat or rub her back.
  • Walk the floor with your baby.
  • Offer a finger, breast or a pacifier to suck on.
  • Swaddle your baby. 

What can Moms do for Themselves?
The physical recovery from giving birth, along with sleep deprivation, can conspire to make big dents in your maternal self-esteem. Here are some things that you should do for yourself to help you get by the most difficult phase of having a newborn:

Get enough sleep. Sounds almost impossible with a newborn but what you can do is to get that sleep in bits and pieces. When your baby naps, you must nap too. Take breaks. Take a walk, run errands, to get away. You have to have time for yourself for a breather. Ask the help of your husband or family members or even a babysitter.

Get dad into the picture. Allow him to care for the baby so you can get time alone.

Continue to eat properly. You need all the nutrition you can get especially if you’re planning to breastfeed your baby.

Delegate more. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Make sure you give other family members tasks to do to help you out with the baby.

In a Nutshell...
The first six weeks can be a real trial. You and your baby are getting to know each other, and you and your partner are adjusting to your new roles. Hold on to the thought that right around that six-week mark you will be rewarded with one of the most gratifying milestones in your entire parental career. Soon, they’ll be old enough to play with toys and run around with other kids. :)