The first month with your baby is extremely special and… hard. On one hand, you are bonding with your little one and on the other, you are juggling cleanup duties. So, you must master some of the parenting skills as quickly as you can. These skills will help become a more efficient parent, in the long run, letting you save up some time for that quick ‘power nap’.
Let’s take a look at some of the essential parenting skills to master before your baby turns a month old!
Trim teeny tiny nails
Learning how to trim tiny baby nails is a required skill that needs precision and patience. Remember that on the scale of sharpness your tiny one’s fingernails fall somewhere between the envelope flap and a Japanese paring knife. We recommend that either you do it after bath time or when your little angel is asleep. When they are awake, it becomes a two-person job, so naptime is preferable for timing baby nails. Remember to use baby nail clippers and to do it in a comfortable position with adequate lighting. Don’t panic if you accidentally draw blood, apply a sterile gauze pad to stop the bleeding.
Sharpening your swaddle skills is a parenting milestone. At the hospital, swaddling can seem extra hard as labour and delivery nurses can swaddle newborns with flash pace. Here is Emily Drake, PhD, R.N., President of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, who reports that she has swaddled thousands of babies in her 20 years of nursing, sharing her swaddling tricks:
- Layout a light blanket in the shape of a diamond. Fold the top corner down slightly and put your baby down on his back, line his neck up with a fold.
- Pull up the bottom corner of the blanket, leave space for his legs to wiggle, and lay the corner close to his shoulders, fold it down as needed.
- Keeping the baby in place, take the right corner and pull it across his body, tucking it tightly under his lower back on the left side.
- Then pull the left corner and wrap it around the right side of his body, eventually tucking the ends to the bottom of the burrito-style roll.
Umbilical Cord Care
Clean and dry are the things you need to consider for the umbilical cord. This means that umbilical cord cleanup for a baby requires just sponge baths for the first two weeks or so, before the cord and the attached clamp shrivel up and fall off. Don’t worry if it’s splashed with a little water. Some infant diapers have a cutout to prevent irritation; if you don’t, just fold the diaper back. In the unlikely event that you see symptoms of infection (a yellow discharge, foul smell, or redness), contact your paediatrician.
Car Seat Woes
Using a car seat, also called a child safety seat, is the best way to protect your kids when they’re in a car. Without being too fancy, go for a basic car seat that is safe and provides for easy and quick baby car seat installation.
When your child is in the car seat, do the pinch test. Pull the harness straps over it, buckle the harness, and close the clip of the chest, placed at armpit level. Harness straps should be pulled to a snug tightness because if you want to pinch the harness close to the chest, you can’t pinch the material together. You should also be able to fit just one finger between the hip of your baby and the harness.
Wiping your baby with ease
While learning diapering techniques is imperative for new parents, learning how to properly wipe your baby when they soil their diapers is a great way to protect them from diaper rashes and discomfort in general. Before removing a dirty diaper, slide a clean diaper, open one under your baby’s tush, with the diaper tabs on the rim, facing up. Remove both tabs from the soiled diaper and lift your baby’s ankles with one hand, use your other hand to remove the soiled diaper and set it aside. Then proceed to clean up your baby, thoroughly using baby wipes for their sensitive skin.
Prevent Diaper Rashes
When urine and stool mix together, they emit an unpleasant ammonia acid that can make the skin red and raw in the diaper region. Change your diaper regularly and add zinc oxide-based cream each time to create a protective barrier. Breast milk can also help treat diaper rash. Dab some of them with a cotton ball before diapering. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and moisturizing. Letting the baby’s bottom breathe a little every day will also avoid and soothe a rash. Get them to go diaper-free, say, at the time of the tummy. If you ever see blisters, skin peeling, or pus, call your doctor. It may be a yeast or bacterial infection that requires treatment.
Pack the perfect diaper bag!
A diaper bag is a life saviour for new parents. Whatever life with a tot throws your way from incomprehensible freak-outs to sudden hunger pangs to poopy diapers- a well-packed diaper bag that slings over your shoulders can make messy situations disappear. Here, your trusty diaper bag checklist to ensure that all the necessities of your diaper bag make it into your bag:
- Baby cream/ointment
- Light snacks
- Changing pad
- Small empty sacks
- Burp cloths/washcloths
- Hand sanitiser
- Baby food.
- Emergency Contact info.
- Light blanket.
- Change of clothes
As much as a baby brings joy, so does an equal amount of responsibility. New parents usually go through a bumpy ride while taking care of the baby, which involves issues such as lack of sleep, soothing the baby, and feeding. Be prepared for the dramatic changes in your lifestyle, and note that the first giggle of your little one makes the challenges you’re going through worth it.