Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Basics Of Baby-Care

HW has several sisters who each have numerous children, so she's already witnessed a lot of childcare first-hand. Similary, I have two half-sisters who are a lot younger than I am (one was born when I was 11 years old, the other when I was 13) so I got to see them being raised, and helped out with a lot of the babycare. Nonetheless, we still thought it'd be useful to attend at least one parenting class, so last week HW and I went to our first (and only) class, at our hospital. It was a four hour intensive class, on the basics of baby-care.

They showed us how to change diapers, how to fold swaddling cloths, how to feed the baby, how to bathe it, and what to do if it gets sick. All the essential stuff.

Here are some notes I took during the class:
  • If baby is being circumcised, check with insurance provider to see if this is covered (usually isn't)
  • Don't use any lotions or product on the baby for at least the first two weeks
  • The baby will get eye meds, vitamin K, and an umbilical cord clamp at the hospital
  • "Tummy time" from 4 weeks onwards, but never unattended
  • Always put baby down to sleep on its back, with nothing else in the crib
  • Always make sure the crib has a firm mattress with tight-fitting sheets
  • Use a Q-tip with hydrogen peroxide twice a day around the umbilical cord, to help it heal
  • Sponge baths for the first two weeks at least
  • Normal for the cord to 'ooze', but shouldn't be bloody
  • Use warm water and a washclother for diaper changes
  • Use receiving blankets as swaddling cloths
  • Have a nasal aspirator close by, in case baby has any blocked sinuses or needs help breathing
  • Baby should always be wearing one more layer than adults; including a hat at night
  • Will start smiling at 3 weeks old
  • Will get colic from around 4 weeks old
  • Tub bathing is okay after the cord has healed
  • "Brick dust" orange urine is normal in the first week; but after that it could signal dehydration
Medicine cabinet should contain:
  • Q-tips, with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
  • Chemical-free detergent for washing babies clothes, towels, etc.
  • Digital thermometer
  • Cotton balls
  • Washclothes and chemical-free wipes
  • Desitin, in case of rash
  • Soft-bristle hairbrush (can be very soothing for baby)
  • Infant tylenol
In a 24-hour day, you can expect the following from a newborn:
  • 2 to 3 hours of crying
  • 16 to 17 hours of sleeping (sadly not consecutive!)
  • Pooping 3 to 5 times a day
  • Peeing around 8 times a day
  • This means around 12 diaper changes a day; probably totaling around 1 hour
  • Feeding every 2 hours; 15 minutes on each breast (10 to 12 times a day); totaling around 5 hours a day
Doesn't leave much time for anything else!

Anyway, the class was definitely useful, and we also got a magazine titled "The Joy Of Parenthood: Your Personal Journey Through Newborn Care", which contained lots of extra information. Specifically, there's a guide to infant CPR, which is obviously really important to know, in case of emergencies. Every parent should take some kind of class or have some kind of book which covers this, just in case!


  1. Interesting! The majority of this is familiar, apart from the peroxide. The hat was also something we only really used for the first couple of days or when we went out.

  2. Wow, I just saw the bit here about peroxide. That seems a really /really/ bad idea. I've always been advised to leave the cord well alone (and peroxide near a baby's skin?!?)

    The cord will take care of itself. It usually drops off pretty quickly. Please, please don't peroxide the cord. (Matter of interest, where did you take classes? I shadowed a childbirth teacher at MB and had a few issues with what they were teaching)

    Also, you can opt out of eye drops or at least delay them. Do consider this and perhaps do a little research if you have time - the eye drops are basically in case your wife has certain STDs and are not done in the UK. If she has been screened for STDs, you may want to opt out. They blur the baby's eye sight and can affect bonding. Definitely a good idea to delay them for the first hour when the baby is alert and bonding.

    Health professionals always say use a washcloth for initial nappy changes however I have used 'sensitive' wet wipes with absolutely no problems on all my newborns. Using warm water + cotton wool is a nightmare and very hard to remove meconium poo with these! (But this is 'unofficial' advice ;))

    Strongly recommend Peggy Simkin's book about the newborn (forgotten the title) - and ignore all the 'What to expect' if possible. There are much better books out there.

    Hat at night is completely unnecessary.

    (American thing is to wrap babies up very warm. Hats, socks etc. This seems to contradict SIDS advice about overheating imo.)