Taking Care of You
When you come home from the hospital you want everything to be perfect, but
unfortunately, new parents find themselves sleep deprived and emotionally spent
at a time when they want and need to be vigilant. It is incredibly important
that you share responsibilities and plan for rest, eating, sleeping, and taking
care of the baby.
If you are so fortunate as to have a relative or friend
help out in the first weeks, then take all the help you can get, and divide the
work so you can all get some rest.
Taking Care of
For the most part, babies need: food, sleep, a dry diaper, and someone to talk
quietly and lovingly to them. It's not so much to do; it's the timing
that is troublesome. That's why parents of newborns often find themselves
highly stressed. If the baby is screaming, the phone is ringing, the pot is
boiling, the laundry basket is full, the refrigerator died, and you are on your
last nerve: take a moment to decompress. Make sure the baby is safe, the
pot is off, and find a place to relax.
Life can wait 10 minutes for you.
Do not lose your cool with the baby.
Besides the stress of
the new family structure the baby is not likely to get into much trouble.
Accidental smothering (crib death/SIDS) is rare, but here are some guidelines
that may help prevent it.
- Dress the baby for
sleep only in a one-piece and diaper (long legs and arms in the winter).
- Put all newborns to
sleep on their backs.
- Keep the crib free of
all other items besides the baby; showcase stuffed animals and throw pillows
- Do not bundle a
newborn in too many blankets. If the room is comfortable for you, it is
comfortable for your baby as well.
- Do not leave a baby
unattended on an elevated surface - couch, chair, changing table, your bed,
etc. Even sleeping newborns can wiggle or scoot off and onto the floor.
- The safest place to
change diapers is on the floor with a changing mat.
- Do not co-sleep with
your newborn. It can be tempting to sleep after feeding your baby, or to hold
him until he is asleep after a particularly rough colic event at 2 am, but the
risk outweighs the benefits.
Contributing to this page was Dr. James C.
Montgomery MD FAAP.