Image: Unsplash/Gigin Krishnan
Precious little hands and feet, immaculate little face, and perfection in every pore – this is how many parents describe their sleeping infant, but there’s a lot of work that goes into nurturing and caring for a tiny baby behind the scenes. Here are five things all parents need to know about newborns:
- Nappy Rash Cream Is Super Versatile
There are many items in your typical baby bag that serve multiple purposes, and one of the most surprising is that little tub of nappy rash cream. The active ingredient in nappy rash cream is zinc oxide, which can shield the skin from the sun if you forget your sunscreen. It’s also useful for burns and insect bites if you don’t have anything else handy. It can draw out the sting and soothe the skin beautifully since it is made for sensitive skin that is sore and inflamed.
- Babies Can’t Tell The Time (And Don’t Live According To A Schedule)
Babies live from moment to moment, and their little bodies don’t always follow a schedule. Many new mothers are instructed to feed their baby every two hours, but sometimes babies will want to nurse for two hours without a break, or sometimes they’d prefer to skip a meal.
It’s better to learn your baby’s cues for hunger and tiredness as opposed to sticking to a schedule. Their needs are often closely linked with their developmental milestones. When they’re growing, they sometimes need a little more closeness, more milk, and less rest. When the growth spurt is over, they may want to rest more and have less milk.
- Babies Have A Tongue-Thrust Reflex
Have you noticed that babies push food out of their mouths? This is a tongue-thrust reflex, and it is there to prevent choking. Of course, it’s still important to keep small objects away from your baby, but knowing why they keep pushing food out of their mouth is important.
Developmentally, it is recommended that babies only start solids when this reflex has gone away. According to La Leche League, this is usually around 6 months of age.
- The First Three Months Are Really The Fourth Trimester
Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and author of the book The Happiest Baby on the Block, believes that babies are born 3 months early (at full-term). In his research, he states that other mammals are born with a sense of alertness while humans only achieve this level of alertness at three months postpartum.
Babies have no choice but to be born three months early because it is physiologically impossible to carry a baby for an additional three months. As exhausting as this period might be for new parents, a baby that wants to be carried around constantly is actually perfectly natural.
- Newborns Generally Don’t Sleep Through The Night (And That’s Okay)
New parents are constantly up throughout the night to change the baby, feed the baby, and soothe mysterious upsets that trigger wailing. Newborns require a great deal of soothing before they learn that nighttime is for sleep, but it does eventually happen. Even so, expect nighttime disruptions for at least two years. It’s developmentally normal, and even if you hear of some babies that slept through immediately, this is rare and not something you should try to train into a newborn.
Many parents believe something is awry with their parenting methods because of how exhausted and overwhelmed they feel. Rest assured, parenting truly is that hard, even when you’re doing it right. Seek out support if you feel overwhelmed because as hard as it is, you shouldn’t ever feel alone.