Written by Midwife Cath, BabyLove Nappies Spokesperson and Maternal and Child Health Expert
Becoming a parent is not just about the birthing process, that is the start of the journey!
With 43 year’s experience in pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and children, I often get asked questions from anxious and concerned parents, and I’ve included the top things new parents ask.
Wind creates angst
The number one concern from parents is about “wind”. Yes, just plain old wind, but it causes so much angst amongst new parents. Babies are very noisy and squirmy, especially at night, and that is quite normal. But if it’s your first baby you can think something is terribly wrong when your newborn sounds like an old man in pain!
Most babies will burp by themselves, but you can also assist the natural function of burping, wind (both ends), hiccups, and squirming, by gently rubbing your baby’s back while they are upright over your shoulder. The wind will release naturally without you needing to pat their back with force, or for hours on end. Sometimes putting the baby on their tummy and gently massaging their back is all they need to burp.
The second most common question is “Why doesn’t my baby sleep all the time?” It’s usual for parents to think babies feed and sleep, because they do in hospital, but when a baby is home this can change. Some parents wonder if they have the right baby!!
If the baby is well, full term and at a healthy weight the main reason they don’t’ “settle” is because they are hungry. Remember you cannot overfeed a baby but you certainly can underfeed a baby.
The way to determine if the baby is getting enough to drink is they must be –
- Gaining weight
- Having a very wet nappy at every nappy change.
I find the word “settling” really “unsettling”, as newborn babies are either awake and hungry or fed and asleep. If they are squirming and crying, they need to be fed. You don’t need to feed babies by the clock – respond to your baby’s basic needs. Remember you will not ‘spoil your child’ if you love and hold your baby close… in addition to feeding them too!
How often should I change the nappy?
Nappies need to be changed frequently in the newborn phase. A baby tends to have a bowel action more frequently and it’s really important to change the nappy to keep your baby clean and comfortable. When a baby is drinking a large volume of breast milk they can have a poo before, during and after every feed, so it’s essential to change their nappy frequently to prevent a sore bottom.
A few tips about changing nappies –
- Make sure the nappy is firmly on your baby. If the nappy hangs down between a baby’s legs it won’t be effective – especially with boys as they will wee out the side
- Change your baby’s nappy in between breastfeeds
- Always use a nappy suitable to your baby’s weight
- Use a gentle baby wipe. Remember babies skin is delicate so choose wipes that are dermatologically tested and free of alcohol and fragrances.
Red marks on sensitive skin
Parents often worry about red marks left on the skin from a nappy. It isn’t going to cause long term harm to the baby and no cream is necessary. My advice is to check you are not fitting the wrong size nappy to your baby, and choose quality nappies. There are many different nappies to choose from so read the information on the package and look for the following:
- Supportive gathers that prevent leakage
- Soft and comfortable material
- Soft on the legs to help prevent red marks
- A snug and comfortable fit that is suitable for your baby’s weight and age.
My advice to new parents’ is don’t overthink the newborn stage and don’t log onto countless websites and blogs, as you will end up confused and anxious, or both! My mantra is Food Love Warmth – feed the baby, keep the baby close to you, and wrap the baby! I want to keep parenting simple, but most importantly, enjoyable.
About The Author
Midwife Cath – Cath Curtin – is a trusted expert in women’s health, pre-pregnancy, antenatal care and education, pregnancy, labour and birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding, and parenting. She has delivered over 10,000 babies throughout her 42-year career. Trained and fully-qualified as a nurse, midwife and maternal and child health nurse, Cath has an incomparable depth of experience. Her book, The First Six Weeks, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2016 and is being translated for international markets. Her next book will be published in 2018.