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How to Deal with a Newborn

When a baby is first born, the hospital nurses do all that they can to get you off on the right foot. They help change the diapers, they take the baby to the nursery for a few hours so you can sleep—heck, someone from the hospital even brings you hot meals and cold drinks three times a day while you sit in bed waiting. Then, before you know it, it’s time to go home and do it all on your own. Oh shoot, now what?! That’s when reality truly sets in.

In the very beginning, babies have a few primal needs you can usually rule out whenever they cry. Check to see if they have a wet or dirty diaper, if they are hungry, or if they’ve got a bubble trapped that you can free by burping them. Sometimes a newborn baby cries when he/she wants to be held or if he/she’s a bit too cold. Other times, some unlucky parents may find out it’s colic.

If your newborn baby cries, it can be due to any number of things, but most are very normal. Consider these tips for dealing with a newborn:

  First and foremost, if you suspect illness, always check for a fever.

  Track baby’s feedings in the beginning so you can anticipate when he will be hungry.

  Burp baby for a good 10 minutes after each feeding to get rid of the gas bubbles.

  Walk baby around the house and through the neighborhood to show her new things.

  Spend lots of time snuggling, talking, and singing with your new baby. It builds an intimate bond and even helps with breastmilk production.

  Every once in a while when nothing else works, you may have to walk away for just a few minutes to regain your sanity. (It seems to happen to every parent at least once.)

  If you suspect you might have a bit of postpartum depression coming on, set up an appointment to discuss your concerns with your doctor. It is very common, with an increased risk due to a lack of sleep.

  Speak with your pediatrician about anything else that concerns you.

Most new parents will find that newborns sleep throughout the majority of the day, just not all at once. It is very common to wake up every two to three hours in the middle of the night with your newborn. One final piece of advice I can share is to nap when your newborn naps, at least until you feel 100% again. You may even find that you can fall asleep within seconds of your head hitting the pillow, like mine does now.

Just about any new parent will tell you that the first couple of months are the toughest after your baby is born. Of course, they aren’t accounting for future stunts-gone-wrong (broken bones), teenage drama (backtalk), and dating (don’t tell dad). Good luck with that!  All kidding aside, though it might be a trying couple of months, remind yourself of how special this time is. Inspect their little toes and memorize the feel of their baby-soft skin because soon enough, you’ll wonder how the time passed so quickly!

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