Being a new parent can be scary. You feel vulnerable and unsure of yourself, you’re exhausted and you’re worried that you won’t know what to do when your baby cries. Babies cry for many reasons, but it’s important to understand that their needs are basic and mostly the same. They need food, they need sleep and they need to feel safe.
Here are some tips that will keep your baby safe and help you relax more as a new parent:
Safe Baby Handling Tips
Never leave a baby unattended
Make sure your baby is lying on their back when you put them down to sleep. Never leave a baby unattended on a raised surface like a table or countertop. Even if you think your baby is safe, they can turn and fall quickly.
Wash your hands before touching the baby
This is especially important if you’ve been handling raw meat or in any other situation where germs could be lurking on your hands.
Support the head and neck
Because babies have large heads that are out of proportion to their bodies, they need extra support for their necks and heads until about 6 months of age, when neck muscles start to strengthen and gain control. Make sure that the head is always supported, whether you’re holding the baby or placing him or her down on a flat surface or in a car seat.
Keep your baby close to your body when carrying him or her
You can use a carrier or sling, or just hold him or her in your arms with his or her head resting on your forearm. Your other hand should be supporting his or her bottom and legs.
Hold your baby often
Babies need physical closeness in order to thrive, so don’t be afraid to hold your baby as often as possible. This brings you closer and helps your baby feel secure.
Feed your baby on demand
Feeding schedules are not recommended for babies under 6 months old. Instead, feed them when they show signs of hunger, such as rooting or sucking on their hands.
Your newborn is not ready for rough play
Your newborn may enjoy “tummy time” (playing on his or her stomach while you’re watching), but she’s not yet ready for unsupervised time on her stomach or for being tossed in the air. Babies’ necks are still too weak to hold.
Things Not to Do to a Baby
You’ve got a new baby, and you’ve had the chance to get used to having her in your life for a few months now. It’s easy to forget that she’s still brand new to the world, and there are some things that you shouldn’t do to her without considering the consequences.
Here are things you should never do to your baby:
Don’t put your baby to bed on his side
The safest position for your baby to sleep in is on his back or side. But never let him go to sleep on a sofa or armchair because he can fall down into the gap between the seat and the back of the furniture and suffocate.
Don’t hold them too tightly
Babies’ necks are fragile and still developing, and they haven’t yet learned how to support their own heads, so holding them too tightly can be dangerous and even deadly.
Leave them alone in the bathtub
Leave them alone in the bathtub or let them drink the bathwater because it contains bacteria that could make them sick or even kill them.
Put blankets over their face
Put blankets over their face when they’re sleeping because they could suffocate from lack of oxygen or heat up dangerously if it’s too warm where they’re sleeping
Don’t introduce a bottle too early
Offering one at around 4 to 6 weeks may cause nipple confusion, which could lead to breastfeeding issues later on.
Don’t leave her alone in the bath
Even if it’s just for a moment, babies are little and wiggly, and they can go under in the blink of an eye. Always keep one hand on your child when she’s in the tub.
Put blankets over their face
Don’t put anything into the baby’s mouth except food, drink, and medicine, not even your finger. Anything else can cause choking or infection.