The new addition in the family comes with lots of happiness and charm along with new challenges. The first few months of childbirth will be a learning experience for the new parents. Each child is different and the same strategy cannot be applied to handle a child, but the basics of parenting remain the same.
The major things to learn before and immediately after a child’s birth include how to take in lap, arms, bath, or massage.
Baby Massage: This is the best time to bond with the child and at the same time has tremendous health benefits. A gentle massage improves blood circulation, eases digestion and helps in increasing weight. Massages soothe and calm the body. Use either oil or cream to massage your baby. The massage should be done with gentle and rhythmic strokes. The massage should ideally be started from legs as the baby is used to getting touched by legs for a nappy change. First gently rub legs in the upward direction, slightly squeeze things and calves. Place your both hands gently on the baby’s chest and move hands as if flattening a paper, while moving hands make small circular movements to improve circulation. Then lay the baby on the back and continue with the massage. Extend and flex baby’s arms and legs and continue gentle massage on neck and head.
Support baby’s head and neck: The head will be the heaviest part of the body of a newborn hence it should be handled with utmost care. The newborn neck muscles need time to develop to control and support the head. The baby should be supported by the head and neck until 4 months. The soft spots of the head need utmost care and no pressure should be applied in these areas.
Bathing: Sponge bath is easy and simplest for parents to maintain hygiene. The face, neck, and diaper area need regular cleaning which can be done with a sponge. Use a shallow utensil, a washcloth, baby-safe moisturizing soap, and a clean diaper for a sponge bath. Wet the cloth and wriggle it to remove excess water and gently wipe the baby’s face, hand legs, underarms, finger, toes, ears, and diaper area.
Bathing in a tub should be done only when the umbilical cord has fallen off. During the bath, the baby should be held with one hand and washing to be done with the other hand. Baby bath plastic tubs are comfortable for the bath. The head and torso should be given support or you can also wrap your hand around the baby’s back. Gently wash with plain water or soap. If the hairs are dirty wash with baby shampoo with gentle movements on the scalp and cup the forehead to avoid dirty water falling on the eyes and the mouth.
How to Burp a Baby: After feeding, babies usually develop gases which are uncomfortable and cause colicky pain. A burp can help expel gases and a free stomach for more feeding. There are different techniques of burping such as putting the baby with chin on your shoulder and gently patting, lap burping (the baby is held with one hand on the chest and fingers supporting her chin and jaw, and with the other hand gently pat or rub baby’s back for some time to expel gases.)