Taking care of a baby is both natural yet can be stressful for some parents who worry about whether they will accidentally hurt the baby or not feed the baby well.
First-time parents can certainly find opportunities to practice and start the conversation early on supporting each other in the parenting journey. Both the dad and mum have a role to play, not just in caring for the baby but also for each other.
For first-time parents, it may seem awkward to hold and care for a newborn. So how can both parents be confident in caring for a baby?
We asked Dr Wong Boh Boi, founder of Wong Boh Boi Pte Ltd (ParentCraft) and an esteemed speaker on pre and post-natal topics. Here are our top 3 Baby Care questions answered by Dr Wong.
1. Is it intuitive for first-time parents to know how to carry a newborn? If not, what is the best position to do so?
Most parents are able to handle a baby correctly after some instruction from the nurse after the baby has been delivered. For parents who want to gain some hands-on experience before the baby is born, attending antenatal classes may help to give them that confidence boost.
The general rule to remember is to support the baby’s neck at all times, avoid holding the baby’s head, and when carrying the baby, to continue to support the baby’s neck with one hand while the other hand supports the baby’s bottom.
2. How do you calm a crying baby?
Instead of letting the baby lie down on his/ her back, you can swaddle your baby within the first few weeks of birth to give your baby that sense of snugness like in the womb.
I have developed five key approaches of soothing a crying or fretful baby by using certain specific and unique techniques such as holding the baby upright on your shoulder or placing the baby on his/her tummy on your lap and facing downwards.
You can also take up baby massage classes to learn how to enhance the skin-to-skin contact and have a relaxing bonding time with your baby.
3. Is it necessary to bathe a newborn and what do you look out for?
From birth, you can use a bathtub with a quarter full of water. Firstly, get ready all the things you need such as the lukewarm water (not too hot – best at around 37 degrees Celsius and you can use a bathing thermometer to measure), baby cleanser, towel, clean diaper and clothes.
Keep your baby’s neck supported at all times, and generally start from the neck down. Eye cleaning is not compulsory unless the baby is crying without tears. Clean the face and dap dry, then proceed to wash their hair and rub it dry so that your baby will not feel cold.
Always remember to use a gentle cleanser, safe for baby use, and do not use any harsh soap, rough towel or rub your baby dry except hair (pat dry instead). Before the umbilical cord stump falls off, you should clean the belly button area with cooled-down boiled water or medical swab or cord spirit (as all hospitals have different management).
By Marcie Mei.
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