Arrival of a child is a joyful moment which begins a new chapter in the life of a couple/family. There are lot of responsibilities which come in with this tiny soul who is solely dependent on people around especially on the mother for growth & development.
As a parent one need to be careful about lot of aspects pertaining to feeding, hygiene, massage and bathing, physical, emotional & cognitive development, baby safety etc. to support the best development of a baby.
In the initial days a baby’s life revolves around feeding, sleeping & crying. They express most of their needs through crying such as hunger, pain, discomfort or the need to have a fresh nappy/diaper. To support baby’s growth it is important to set a routine of the baby in terms of feeding, massage, and bath and sleep time.
Ways To Take Care Of Your Baby
For the first 4-6 months of their life a baby should solely be nurtured on mothers feed. Mothers feed strengthens the bond between the mother & the baby & provides all the essential nutrition & antibodies to the baby. Babies who are breastfeed for 6 months are less prone to stomach infections.
It is recommended to feed the baby every 2-3 hours. In some cases where mother milk is not available babies are given formula milk as a substitute.It is recommended to consult your doctor before adding anything new to your baby diet other than mother’s milk. In some cases one can start liquids such as water, juice, coconut water, soup to baby’s diet at 4 months of age.
Massage provides some exercise for baby’s muscles and is an effective medium of releasing tiredness from a baby’s body & helping them relax. It has a soothing effect on the baby & leaves them active & fresh. You can consult your doctor for which oil to be used for massaging the baby.
Normally olive, almond, coconut or mustard oil is used for massaging the baby. Start massaging the baby from his legs moving on to hands, chest and stomach and then to the back. Also massage their head and face. Massage each body part first in upward gentle strokes followed by downward strokes.
You will see your baby sleeping well post a good massage session of 15-20 minutes. It is recommended to massage the baby in the morning before bath as well as in the night before sleeping. Massage is a great way of aiding a baby’s development as it builds strength in their body & boosts baby’s hunger as well.
Bathing a small creature could be difficult. These days there are many support chairs are available in the market which have made baby bathing extremely easy. It is recommended to bath the baby after 45 minutes –an hour post the massage session.
To bath the baby place him in the bathing seat/chair & use a mild baby soap to wash his body. Ensure to clean the area under his knees, b/w the thighs, underarms & behind the ears. Ensure to wash the genitals gently. Do give the baby a head wash once or twice in a week.
Sleep is essential for infants and is a great medium for them to rejuvenate themselves. Babies sleep for 18-20 hours in the first month of life gradually decreasing the frequency as they grow further. Many babies take longer to sleep at night.
To change this pattern try to develop a bedtime routine involving a towel wash followed by a massage and feeding session. Dim the lights place the baby in his crib and sing his favorite lullaby to make him fall to sleep.
The first 1000 days of a bay’s life are extremely crucial as the maximum development happens in this period of life. The first year being the foundational year of life is of utmost importance in this phase. As a parent you need to be on top of your baby’s physical, emotional & cognitive development.
Involves providing the baby the right nutrition & encouragement to grow at each stage of life. As a parent you need to understand the physical milestones (turning on back, creeping, and sitting, crawling, standing and walking) that your baby must accomplish by a certain age. Ensure to point any delays to your doctor immediately.
Keep a check on your baby’s vaccination timelines & ensure he gets all vaccination as per the schedule. Be cognizant of any change in your baby’s feeding, play routine, physical reaction and other responses and immediately raise them to your doctor.
Is your baby cranky or crying a lot? Is his stomach too tight, does he has a diaper rash, is he pulling his ear or has fever or has he vomited? Ensure to take the baby to the doctor immediately upon noticing any of the above.
Babies are curious, cheerful & big attention stealers. They love to be the center of attraction. Talk to your baby to develop a bond b/w him & yourself, him & the family members & the life around. Help them be with other family members apart from you. Sing lullabies, poems and songs to your baby. Smile, hug & kiss often. Take the baby to different situations and explain the surroundings to them.
Means providing the right mental stimulation for your baby. Provide some play time & activity by making the baby lie in a play gym. Keep toys of different color, shapes and sizes in front of the baby. Let him make an effort to reach those toys. Hang a balloon in the baby’s room right above their head.
Talk to the baby to aid language development. Expose them to different surroundings and people by taking him to park, temple, relatives place or mall. If you are in park with your baby explain to him what is a park, what all you see right now etc.
As we discussed earlier this tiny soul is solely dependent upon people around for nurturing and care. The responsibility of keeping the tiny soul safe also falls on you. For this curious soul everything around need to examined by hands or mouth. The word risk is not in his dictionary. Never leave your infant unattended & without supervision especially once your baby starts turning to back or creeping.
Whenever you leave your baby ensure that he is place safely in his crib surrounded by pillows so that he does not get hurt. Once the baby starts creeping and crawling they should not be left unattended. By this time they become capable of pulling, pushing things and also start putting their hands in switch boards etc. When you take your baby in a pram always ensure to tie them well & never leave the pram unattended.
Use the car seat while traveling with your baby.Your baby need your support, love and care to succeed in his effort to become an independent individual. He is developing his own identity by mastering different skills and your unconditional love and care will make him fight again whenever he falls.