Taking care of newborns is both difficult and rewarding. You can feel the warmth emanating from their fragile bodies that gives you a sense of love, joy, and fulfillment. On the other hand, taking care of a baby can be very tiring, especially when you’re deprived of needed sleep and rest.
The baby can have yellowish skin or jaundice as a result of their immature bodies. The condition is caused by an increased level of bilirubin in the blood and it occurs between the 3rd and 5th day of life. Most cases resolve on their own and for some, it can be treated by sun exposure.
Jaundice can be potentially dangerous if left untreated because it could affect the brain. Moreover, always check your baby’s stool. It should be black for the first few days and yellow thereafter. If the stool turns clay-colored or white, it could suggest a biliary obstruction, which is dangerous for newborns.
Newborn babies sleep a lot. For first time parents, expect your baby to sleep approximately 16 to 17 hours a day, waking up regularly for feedings. They feed every two to three hours, depending on when they’re bodies need to eat next.
Breastfed babies wake up more frequently because they digest breast milk faster. On the other hand, formula-fed babies feel fuller making them sleep longer between feedings. There also sounds that babies produce during sleep.
Baby grunting at night could signal a gastroesophageal reflux or GERD. It’s the backwash of milk and tummy acids against the esophageal lining. Normally, in adults, there are valves that prevent regurgitation. However, since newborns are still developing much of their body systems, these valves are still immature.
Baby reflux can be prevented by anti-reflux medicines, letting the baby stay upright to keep the milk down and burping the baby.
Baby Startle Reflex
You’ve managed to put the baby to sleep. As you lay her down in the bed or her crib, she suddenly screams and moves her arms high in a motion to protect her body. This is called the Moro or startle reflex. It’s a normal thing in newborns until they’re 4 to 5 months.
However, this reflex is something that wakes them up every now and then. One of the best ways to deal with it is to swaddle the baby. Swaddling helps prevent a full blown reflex that could awaken or even frighten the infant. When the babies are swaddled, they feel secure and safe, just like when they were still inside your womb.
Having a newborn is fulfilling but can be a very tiring experience. When taking care of infants, mothers know it’s important to feed the baby on demand. Moreover, while they are recovering from childbirth, mothers should sleep as much as possible.
Asking for help from your partner, family members or friends will help make this transition time easier on your healing body. Try to sleep in-between feedings, too. This will prevent exhaustion and fatigue among new mothers, which could eventually affect their health.
Stacy Belk is a mom-of-two, nurse and a loving wife. She loves to write about the life of parents and their babies. It gives her much fulfillment to help other mothers, especially first-timers, in caring for their little ones. Check her blog at Mom Woot.