Win at the parenting game from the get-go, by powering up on these vital skills you’ll need to care for your mini-me!

The first couple of days or weeks of caring for your infant is an equally terrific and terrifying experience. You’ll start to see fascinating little changes in bubba’s appearance day-by-day as he develops.

At the same time, you’re afraid of making mistakes especially as a first-time parent. It can come as a rude awakening to realise what caring for a newborn really entails. From deciphering what your baby needs based on the sound of his cries, to changing his dirty diapers and feeding him (almost) around-the-clock, caring for bubba can be an overwhelming process.

But as long as you hang in there, you’ll become a master of these basic baby care skills in no time:

1) Carrying your newborn Just mere moments after you’ve given birth, your bundle will be thrust into your arms. It is also a moment of reckoning for you to prove how attentive you’ve been during your antenatal class.

The bottle should be tilted at a 45 degree angle with the milk filling the teat to avoid causing too much air from entering your little one’s body as they feed, leading to colic and gas.

Your trainer would’ve shared that whatever you do, it’s vital to always support your baby’s head and neck. Until they’re 3 months of age, baby’s neck muscles aren’t strong enough to support the weight of his head, thus making it appear heavy and wobbly. Their weak neck muscles are also the reason why you should never put them to sleep on their tummy. Doing so increases their risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Another rule you should follow: Always use both hands to carry your kewpie and not rely on one, no matter how strong your forearms are.

2) Bottle-feeding your mini-me While breastfeeding is best, for some women, it’ll take some time to master. Express your breastmilk may be another viable option to keep the milk coming. When bottle feeding, the bottle should be tilted at a 45 degree angle with the milk filling the teat to avoid causing too much air from entering your little one’s body as he feeds, which can lead to colic and gas.

 

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3) Changing dirty diapers Besides feeding, having to change your baby’s dirty diapers will become another big fixture in your daily — or nearly hourly — routine. If you’re really attentive, you’ll be able to catch his scrunched-up expression as he passes motion. Other times, you’ll be able to hear or smell their doo-doo.

Your changing table will also be at its most functional when you’ve got clean diapers stacked to one side, wet wipes with a catch that you can open with one hand and a dustbin situated beneath your changing table for quick disposal. You’ll know that when it comes to cleaning squirmy little munchkin, time is of the essence!

If you’re caring for a son, you’ll soon realise that placing a clean tissue over his penis can prevent from inadvertently getting sprayed on. For daughters, soiled bottoms should also be wiped from front to back to avoid infections.

4) Give your cherub a bath Although it may sound simple, bathing a fidgety kewpie is definitely one of the first nail-biting experiences of being a new parent. With time, you’ll learn how best to position your baby — either with their face or back facing up — to minimise their struggling and crying. You may also find that humming a familiar tune can distract and calm him down. If he isn’t ready to go into the tub, sponging and using a washcloth may suffice.

At least for the first year, being a parent will feel like you’re cramming well into the wee hours of the morning for an examination you’ll never sit for.

Having soft comfy and absorbent towels are a bath time necessity as a dripping wet bubba in your slippery hands isn’t the safest of options when moving your kewpie from the tub.

5) Sticking to a schedule It isn’t just your baby who thrives on routines, your sanity as a new parent may depend on you putting a sensible schedule in place, to minimise unnecessary drama. Parenthood for the first month is about feeding baby, changing their diapers, putting them to sleep and repeating the process every couple of hours or so. Nailing such a schedule gives you the ability to know what your child needs even before he cries.

6) Coping with minimal amounts of shuteye At least for the first year, being a parent will feel like you’re cramming well into the wee hours of the morning for an examination you’ll never sit for. While you may indulge in energy drinks or coffee to keep you up at night when you were a student, you won’t be consuming any of those now, knowing the impact caffeine can have on your breastmilk. But know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel – as you look forward to the day that your peewee starts sleeping through the night.

7) Packing that diaper bag While you may have been on confinement, you'll already know that you can't just get up and go when you want to head out, thanks to the many paediatrician and gynae appointments you'll have in the first month. You'll soon learn what has to go into your diaper bag - These include:

* Milk powder if you’re formula-feeding, milk bottles and a thermal flask with warm water,

* A nursing shawl if you’re breastfeeding,

* Clean diapers, wet wipes and diaper cream,

* Spare outfits for bubba,

* And a spare outfit for yourself, in case of those unexpected messes!

Photos: iStock

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