Experts Advice: A New Parent’s Guide to Caring for a Newborn
A lot of new parents might find caring for a baby daunting and mysterious. But it doesn’t always have to be baffling and thanks to brands like Cetaphil, it becomes easier and easier!
We were recently invited to the Cetaphil Baby Experience held at Hotel Intercontinental, where parents enjoyed a casual afternoon picking up expert advice from pediatricians, nutritionists and breast feeding experts. As a second-time mum, I’ve learned new facts and tips too! Click here to find out more about the insightful knowledge I’ve gained!
If you weren’t there, fret not! We’ve put together a summary of baby care knowledge to share with you! From breastfeeding woes, to your baby’s poop, the experts from the Cetaphil Baby Experience have got you covered.
We hope you find them useful when it comes to caring for your new baby too!
Some may say that breastfeeding is as natural as can be, but the truth is, it isn’t all so. Many mums experience breastfeeding challenges and that dents a mum’s confidence.
Nutritionist and Breastfeeding Consultant, Sylvia Kang, founder of Mother’s Love Nutrition Consultancy had these breastfeeding tips to share with parents (yes, it takes two for a successful breastfeeding journey!):
#1: The start may be difficult but it can be overcome
Breastmilk may take from 3 – 7 days to kick in, and during the initial days, mums usually get very worried about baby’s intake.
A baby’s body reserves are able to last them for the first few days, and mums should latch their baby every 2-3hrs to stimulate breastmilk production. Breastfeeding is about demand and supply; the frequent feeding helps get milk going.
Engorgement is normal, and it means that breastmilk has kicked in – rejoice! But the agonizing pain and discomfort leave new mums cringing. That’s when frequent latching, or hand expression or pumping, would be able to remove the milk from the breasts to offer much-needed relieve.
Every baby’s feeding patterns may differ, and so is each mum’s breastmilk production and journey. Cold compress and massage can help engorgement, and latching the baby is the best way to feeling better. After all, our babies are the best breast pumps!
If you’re planning to express milk, a breast pump comes in handy. Working mums may wish to freeze breastmilk so baby has a ready stash when mum returns to work or is away.
Nipple confusion does happen to many babies, but there are also babies who switch effortlessly between bottle and nipple. Getting your baby to use a bottle before you return to work, helps get both of you prepared before you are away for longer periods. This makes it less stressful for mums – worrying over your baby’s milk intake while juggling work commitments does no good to our breast milk supply.
#2: Do’s and Don’ts of breastfeeding
When Sylvia shared these notes about the Do’s and Don’ts of a breastfeeding mum, I was nodding my head in agreement.
First time mums (myself included!) tend to be a little overwhelmed and unsure, and it’s really normal to feel that way. Mums often focus on their babies (did he poop today? what colour was his poop? did baby finish his milk? etc.), and we forget about our own well-being.
Rest is really important, especially during the first month. If you’re engaging a confinement nanny or have extra hands in the house, you should cut yourself some slack and rest whenever you can.
I remember not having much time to rest during my first confinement, not because I had tons to do, and I wasn’t exactly watching videos all day or reading books or lying in bed as advised by friends. I wanted to do more meaningful stuff (like writing on my blogazine – I know, it sounds silly, but it helps take my mind to another place). Well, I paid for it with an aching back more so because we had several visitors during the first month, and I was sitting alot too instead of lying down to rest.
#3: Breast is best, but please don’t stress
There’s plenty of literature promoting breastfeeding – from having smarter kids to healthier babies. And, this sometimes, unconsciously stresses mums. So those who aren’t able to fully breastfeed or breastfeed at all feel, like they’ve not been a good mother.
But really, there’s more to being a mother than being able to breastfeed. So mummies, please don’t beat yourself up too hard.
Blogging mums share their experiences
As part of the agenda was a sharing experience, where yours truly, along with fellow bloggers Claudia Lim and Ju Ann, were invited on-stage to talk about our experiences bathing our little babies.
JuAnn (ngjuann.com), mum of 2, had her mother-in-law’s help during confinement. And, following traditional Asian confinement rules where new mums are not allowed to touch water, she only got to bathe him after the first month. She was scared, and had her husband on standby in case baby slipped. After getting into the groove, it took her about a week to get used to bathing her elder son on her own.
She shared too, that baby could also feel that she was nervous, so after building up her confidence, baby was more assured during his bath time. Having recently welcomed her second son, JuAnn is more composed when bathing her new baby this time round.
While Claudia (TheLovingMum.sg), mum of 2, had her grandmother’s help during the first confinement, she reminisced the first time she bathed her elder daughter. Without a confinement nanny, she basically started to bathe her newborn during the first month after watching her grandmother.
She shared that bathing a newborn was actually easier than bathing a wriggly older bub – that’s when they are more active and more aware of their surroundings. Over time, she eventually mastered bathing her baby who promptly dozed off during the session; akin to having a luxurious spa!
Personally, I felt that the main challenge of bathing a newborn is overcoming our own fears. When I had to bathe baby Vera, I was nervous and worried that she may slip into the water. But after several tries, it wasn’t so bad.. and we enjoyed the intimate session in the tub. When it’s just baby and mummy, the constant eye contact made bath times really special, and she looked to me for the assurance that I’d be making sure she was safe in the water. Practice makes perfect, and that helps to grow a new parent’s confidence of bathing a new baby. Now with Leroy, bath times are more enjoyable too.
One of the ways to build confidence is to first strategise and plan the bath. That means making sure that the things you need for baby’s bath are within reach and prepared in advance. This cuts the stress of fumbling to reach for that towel or a shampoo that’s somewhere else.
Baby bathing demonstration & baby massage technique
Ms. Kang Phaik Gaik, senior lactation consultant at Alvernia Parentcraft Centre, Mount Alvernia Hospital, took us through a demonstration on how to bathe a baby. She also shared baby massage techniques to offer baby some TLC and skin-to-skin bonding with mummy and daddy.
If a baby is constipated, gently bend the baby’s legs to do a cycling motion. Watch this ‘live’ video that was posted on the Cetaphil Facebook page to pick up pro bathing tips:
Survivor’s guide to a newborn’s first 30 days
New parents are often unsure what to expect: what’s normal and what’s not?
It helps to have a medical professional to shed some light on what needs immediate attention, and what would not.
Dr. Ong Eng Keow, Paediatrician at ICAC Specialist Pte Ltd, was at the Cetaphil Baby Experience to address some common concerns of a new baby.
#1: Spots and bumps
Milia seeds on a newborn is common and not a cause for worry. Some babies also have some “blue-black” patches on their back/near their bum which resemble bruises. These are Mongolian spots which will disappear over time.
Dr. Ong advised parents on the different spots, bumps and skin concerns that their babies may have. Most of them are harmless, while others may require some attention. If you’re unsure, consult your pediatrician.
#2: Signs of an unwell baby
He shared knowledge of signs to look out for in an unwell baby, and explaining the possibilities of a newborn being unwell. It’s not that uncommon for a baby to catch a bug as their immune systems are low.
These are some warning signs to look out for:
#3: Does baby have a fever?
Is baby warm to the touch? How high a temperature indicates a fever? Dr. Ong puts it down clearly for parents.
Here’s a helpful chart for parents to determine if baby has a fever:
#4: Shades of poop
And then we talked about…… poop! And how there’s different consistency, colours, textures… and frequencies!
Not forgetting, the initial poop is black due to meconium, and it may last for a week. So parents, if you see black poop in those diapers, don’t be afraid!
Breastfed babies tend to have yellowish, frequent poops. It’s normal too if it’s a little sticky.
Formula-fed babies tend to have slightly greenish, less watery poop and may not poo as frequent.
All in all, it was a relaxing workshop for new parents to gain medical advice as well as hear it from real mums. The Cetaphil Baby Experience was a treat too, with its delectable array of refreshment offered during the break. Guess mummies who have a bun in the oven were belly happy while picking up tips too!