Don’t despair, we share secrets to help you feed, dress and care for your little one like a seasoned parent!

Congratulations! You’re now proud new parents!

You’ve welcomed a brand-new bundle of joy and between feeding, burping, bathing, playing and sleeping, baby’s keeping you plenty busy. You never thought that a tiny little thing would be such hard work.

Seize this time to build a bond with baby, so don’t panic about whether you’re doing everything right (or wrong). Fonnie Lo, assistant director and lactation consultant, Thomson Parentcraft Centre, shares nifty tips that’ll ease your life as a new parent.

#1 To prevent jaundice: Keep baby well-fed, so that their urine and motion output is good, particularly in her first two weeks, Lo says.

#2 To calm baby: Consider a skin-to-skin session with them, especially when they become cranky. It also helps with bonding.

“To calm baby, consider a skin-to-skin session with them, especially when they become cranky. It also helps with bonding.”

#3 To ease your newborn’s gas: Make sure to burp them before you switch them to the other breast when you breastfeed or are in the middle of an alternate feeding method such as cup or syringe feeing, and also after every feed. Another way is to give them a tummy massage after a warm bath

#4 To clean baby’s bottle: Take the bottle apart and wash all its parts ― including nipple, screw cap and lid ― in warm soapy water. Lo advises, “Use a bottle brush to thoroughly clean out any dried milk remnants on these parts. Squirt water out through the nipple hole to ensure it is not clogged by any residue. Air-dry all parts, so they are ready for sterilisation before the next use.”

#5 To remove milk odour from baby’s bottle: Fill half the bottle with warm water, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, then shake vigorously. Instead of baking soda, you can also use a mixture of one to three parts of white vinegar and water respectively. Rinse and dry.  

#6 To check baby’s body temperature: Have a thermometer at home. It is easiest to do this when they are calm. Do not check their temperature after bathing, feeding or crying as the body temperature rises after such activities. 

#7 To trim baby’s nails: Start when they are 3 or 4 weeks old, Lo suggests, as their nails won’t be as soft and fragile as when they were newborns by then. This is when it’s easier to separate the nail from flesh, which makes clipping faster. The best time to trim baby’s nails is when they are calm, such as when they are napping.

#8 To buy clothes for newborns: Choose items with buttons or front ties, since these are easier to manage, Lo says,

#9 To dress baby: “Gather the entire top in an accordion-style fold at the neck. Make sure the opening is stretched as wide as possible. Place over her head and carefully start pulling the top from the back of the head. With your fingers through the arm hole, gently pull her arms out by gathering all her fingers and hand,” Lo details.

#10 To prevent mittens, booties or bibs from going astray: Place these (or other smaller) items in a mesh laundry bag before washing. 

#11 To find baby’s belongings quickly: Organise them properly. Get a mobile trolley with at least three drawers (or baskets), each is for diaper changing, feeding and bathing items. You’ll be able to tend better to baby, since it’ll save you time and effort looking for the missing article.

 

Babies-18-newborn-hacks-for-first-time-parents-2.jpg

#12 To ensure baby sleeps easily: Get them to follow a beditme routine. This helps to set their natural body clock, so that they will know what it is time for bed. One way is to calm their mood by playing some soothing music or telling her a story. You can also give her a warm bath and a gentle massage. To minimise distractions, keep their toys in another room. Every baby is different, so you might have to try several methods.

#13 To soothe baby: Some parents sweep a tissue over their newborn’s face, which helps soothe them, so they begin to nod off. Lo says this may be useful if the baby is younger (and calmer). “Older babies are more curious about their surroundings and might think parents are playing with them, so they become more alert or irritable,” she notes.

#14 To comfort a newborn: White noise can soothe and for some, even bring about slumber. “White noise is similar to the sounds an unborn baby picks up while in the womb, such as his mother’s heartbeat,” Lo explains. “That’s why white noise such as that from a washing machine or a fan also allows them to adjust to the environment outside the womb.” To avoid damaging your baby’s hearing, however, remember to keep white noise at an appropriate volume and at least 2 to 3 metres away. 

“It is crucial to restore your energy levels, so that you can think more clearly and attend to baby’s needs better. You can also offer a better supply of breastmilk; be more patient with baby, and approach parenting with a positive mind.” 


#15 It is important to catch up on your Zzzzs when baby is asleep. Lo says it is crucial to restore your energy levels, so that you can think more clearly and attend to baby’s needs better. She adds, “You can also offer a better supply of breastmilk; be more patient with baby, and approach parenting with a positive mind.”

#16 Store baby’s pacifier while on-the-go in a Ziploc bag, pacifier pouch, reusable snack bag or airtight container. Make sure to wash this bag every day, Lo says. You can leave it in your handbag or diaper bag. Otherwise, you might want to attach the pacifier to her body using a clip with a short ribbon. Do not tie it around your baby’s neck as this can cause strangulation.

#17 If you use a car, Lo recommends keeping a survival kit there for emergencies in case baby (or you) suddenly falls ill. Start with these items:

For mum: Extra set of clothes, nursing pads, sanitary pads (optional), towel (medium-sized) for wet weather, umbrella, scissors/cutter, torch, antibacterial wet tissues for cleaning the hands, a file with pen and paper or sticky notes, tissues, small backpack or diaper bag, a box to hold small or loose items, extra plastic bags for soiled diaper or clothes, Ziploc bag for clean clothes or items.

For baby: Extra diapers, changing mat, 1 to 2 sets of baby’s clothes (mittens and booties are optional), baby wipes for face, body and diaper change, swaddling cloth, cap (optional), baby handkerchief, bibs, towel for baby (for wet weather), thermometer

#18 It is important to get help early. Parents who feel overwhelmed by babycare activities should try to seek support from family members or friends, Lo also suggests speaking with the professionals. She notes, “If you are struggling with issues in breastfeeding, book an appointment with a lactation consultant who can help with problems such as breast engorgement, poor latching, blocked ducts and baby snacking.”

Photos: iStock

Like us on Facebook and check SmartParents regularly for the latest reads!

Elsewhere on SmartParents.sg…

9 babycare jobs for new dads

10 baby milestones to watch out for

8 biggest sleep mistakes new parents make