Being a new parent can be intimidating, but it need not be. With a wealth of information pertaining to baby care out there, we narrow down the top tips for feeding, bathing and laundry care.
Feeding – From Breast to Bottle
Breastfeeding is, as put forth by a great many doctors and baby care experts, the best way in which to feed your baby for the first few months of his or her life. Breastmilk is the most nutritious option for baby and the act of breastfeeding allows mom to form a bond with her little one right from the start.
With that said, there are instances or occasions when bottle feeding may be preferable. In order to spread out nightly feedings between mom and dad, mom can express breast milk for dad to feed to baby when it is his turn to heed the little one’s cry. When baby gets older, infant formula may be introduced. If he / she is to be taken to daycare in the near future, parents may want to get him / her used to bottle feeding at home first.
Whatever your reason is for reaching for the bottle, healthcare authorities recommend the following to keep your baby safe and healthy:
– Choose the Right Bottle: You will require several bottles and teats for bottle feeding and, whilst no bottle or teat type is necessarily superior to another, you should opt for the simplest bottle shape on the market. Hygiene is of the utmost importance when it comes to baby feeding and some of the ‘cuter’ bottles tend to have nooks and crannies that can be difficult to reach when cleaning and thus harbour harmful germs.
– Sterilize the Bottle: Remember to buy sterilizing equipment and ensure that the bottle and teat are sterilized before each and every feed.
– Position Baby Comfortably and Upright for Feeding: Be sure to support baby’s head so that he or she can breathe and swallow comfortably.
– Maintain Eye Contact and Enjoy the Moment: Allow plenty of time for feeding, think of feeding time as a time to bond with baby.
– Keep the Teat Full and Wind Baby if Necessary: Keep the teat full of milk or formula to avoid having your little one suck in air. If he / she does seem to stop sucking with some feed left in the bottle, hold him or her upright and gently rub his or her back to bring up possible wind.
Bathing – Safety First
Bathing can, once again, be an excellent time for parents to bond with the new addition to the family. Experts recommend the following tips for keeping infants safe and comfortable:
– Constant Presence: Do not, under any circumstances, leave him / her alone in the bath for even a second.
– Temperature: Test the water temperature with your wrist. When in doubt, opt for lukewarm-babies and toddlers tend to prefer a cooler bath than most adults do.
– Not Too Deep: The fill level of the tub should be no more than 10 cm, aim for between 5 and 10 cm.
– Use a Mild Soap/Shampoo: Only use soap and/or shampoo designed for infants. If his / her skin is sensitive, you can wash him or her with plain water as well, just be sure to clean skin folds properly.
Laundry Care – Cut Detergent by Half and Choose Fabric Softener Wisely
Insofar as washing baby’s clothes and bedding is concerned, you should halve the amount of detergent that you would normally use to wash a similar load of your own washing. In fact, you can even cut the ‘dosage’ by ¾. If you are concerned about baby’s clothes and bedding not being cleaned properly, simply wash in hot water. Also remember that there is a difference between fabric softener and laundry detergent. In simplest terms, detergent simply washes laundry, whilst fabric softener conditions it. In order to keep baby’s laundry as soft as possible, you may thus want to opt for a good quality baby fabric softener. Be sure to look for a fabric softener specifically intended for baby, and check the label to ensure that the product has been dermatologically tested to indeed be mild and suitable for infants.