When I had my first child I was scared and nervous. After all I had never been a mother before. But like most new Grandmother’s, my mom was there to help me through those first few weeks of being a mom.
While in the hospital I was easily able to change the baby’s diaper after all I had baby sat as a teenager, and had a younger sister, changing diapers was no problem for me however, none of the babies I had ever watched or changed had been newborns, so while I could change my daughters diaper dressing her was a scary experience for me. When it came time to dress my daughter up to go home I proudly got out the going home outfit I had picked out for her months in advance, only to find that I was too scared to put it on her. I tried but I was just so terrified that I would hurt her putting on this complex little outfit that I eventually chickened out. She ended up going home in a boring pair of pajamas.
Babies Are Not Going to Break
My mom was there for me the first day I brought the baby home. I had, had a C-section and had, had complications with my pregnancy that left me swollen, so I needed a little extra help and my husband was as much of a beginner as I was. The first thing my mom did was to tell me that the baby was not going to break, that I could actually dress her and pull her arms a little here and there and promised me I was not going to hurt her. Of course you still need to treat them gently, never yank on a baby’s limbs. Also never shake a baby.
She also told me that I should keep the tiny gloves on my daughter’s hands so that she did not scratch her face all up. Little babies tend to touch their faces a lot and don’t yet understand that they can scratch themselves with their little nails.
Sterilizing Bottles and Teething Items
Bottle feeding had become quite different since my mom had kids. The new formulas were different and we no longer had to do all the sterilizing and such that my mom had to do when we were kids. But she taught me how to do it anyways. After washing the bottles out with a bottle brush; the trick is to boil the water, place the bottles, the caps, and nipples in the water. Remove the nipples immediately using a clean pair of tongs, otherwise they can melt. Leave the bottles and caps in for 5 minutes then carefully remove and place them on a drying rack to air dry. Do not dry with towels, as towels have bacteria.
You should also sterilize baby’s pacifier, this like the nipples can melt so treat them the same way as you would the nipples. You can also and should sterilize all of the baby’s teething toys. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure each toy is safe to put in hot water.
When Your Milk Comes In
She also warned me about how I would feel when my milk came in. She told me I would feel pain and pressure in the breast area. The complicated delivery ruined my chance of breast feeding because I was not really conscious the first couple days of my daughter’s life, so in a rare conscious moment I told them to feed the baby with the bottle because she needed to eat. So I would get no relief from breastfeeding. My mom was right it was very painful. She recommended that I take nice warm showers that seemed to help and also to apply wet cabbage leaves to the area. She didn’t really know why this helped, but she remembered that it helped her back when she had children.
After a couple of days it was time to give my baby a bath. I had learned how to take care of the umbilical cord at the hospital and I had been swabbing it with a little alcohol just as they had taught me to do, but now the rest of the baby’s body needed to be washed. Again it was Grandma to the rescue. My mom actually gave my daughter her first bath. It’s a good thing she did too. She taught me that you really don’t need to put a lot of water in the little baby tub, especially for a new born. She taught me how it was important to have everything you needed right there before you started to bathe the baby because once you started you could not stop and walk away. She also taught me how to support the baby with one hand while you cleaned with the other hand.
The key is to do the bathe really quickly so that the baby does not get overly chilled. Get a little baby wash or soap on a wet baby wash cloth, and quickly and gently wipe the baby down. Then rinse it in the warm water and go over the baby again gently to remove the soap or baby wash. Then rinse the wash rag again. Go the baby’s head and gently wet the baby’s head with the wash cloth. Babies don’t have a lot of hair so you don’t need a lot of water to get their hair wet. Then apply a tiny bit of baby shampoo (about the size of your pinky nail) on to the wash cloth and then gently rub it over baby’s head until it lathers. Then rinse the wash cloth again and gently rinse off the shampoo with the wash cloth this might take a couple of times. Gently clean behind the baby’s ears as you do this.
Then gently wrap the baby up in a hooded towel, and bring to your diaper changing area. Treat the umbilical cord before dressing.
If you are bathing a baby boy keep an extra wash cloth on hand and place it over his private parts, you will also want to bathe a baby boy much faster because when they are exposed they tend to squirt. Then you will have to change the bath water and start all over again.
When Baby Gets Ill
For the first time parent having a sick baby can be terrifying. The first time my daughter got sick with a fever my mom told me not to panic.
First off you should make sure that you have both a digital thermometer and a nasal aspirator. They will usually have a nasal aspirator at the hospital for your baby, you are allowed to take home everything that is provided for your baby at the hospital, you are after all paying for it. Make sure to bring the nasal aspirator home. The ones the hospitals have are much better than the ones you can buy. Also make sure they teach you how to use it before you leave the hospital. The exiting nurse should do this, but if they forget make sure to remind them. Also have them teach you the proper method for taking a baby’s temperature.
You should also have a humidifier or a cool mist vaporizer. Register for one on your baby registry so that you have one when you get home from the hospital. If you don’t get one as a shower gift purchase one before the baby is born.
My mother told me that babies get colds, it happens you can’t change that fact and you can’t stop it, so just expect it and don’t get overly worried. It helps to know how to tell the difference between a cold and flu or something else. If the baby has a runny nose and a low grade fever, but still eats normally and still appears generally happy and behaves normally your baby probably just has a cold.
If the baby is not eating or taking in fluids or there is vomiting and diarrhea and/or a high fever there may be something more seriously wrong and you should take the baby to the doctor. If you baby’s temperature reaches 102 degrees or higher call your doctor right away.
To help the baby get better faster make sure he or she is getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids.
Use the nasal aspirator frequently to clean out the baby’s nose. Keep your humidifier or a cool mist vaporizer on in the room that the baby is in.
Remember that teething can cause a slight rise in temperature as well.
Miscellaneous Saftey Information
Be careful to not overdress babies in warm weather.
Make sure in warm weather that there is plenty of air circulating in the back of the car where the baby is. Baby’s can become easily over heated in cars. Sit back there yourself to make sure there is plenty of air, but that it is not directly blowing on the baby, but is definitely blowing around the baby.
So there you are. I have given you the advice my mother gave me when I had my first baby, and I threw in a little advice of my own. Of course my mom has continued to give me advice over the years as my children have grown, and I am sure she will continue to do so for a long time.
Source: All of the above information was given to me by my mom, or was directly learned from my own experience as a mom.