Taking a newborn care class during pregnancy can prepare caregivers for the real thing. But feeding and diapering a baby doll isn’t quite the same. During the stay in a hospital or birthing center, clinicians and nurses help with basic baby care. These health providers will demonstrate basic infant care. Newborn care basics include:
- Handling a newborn, including supporting the baby’s neck
- Changing diapers
- Feeding and burping
- Cleaning the umbilical cord
- Caring for a healing circumcision
Before leaving the hospital, ask about home visits by a nurse or health care worker. Many new parents appreciate somebody checking in with them and their baby a few days after coming home. If breastfeeding, a mother can ask whether a lactation consultant visit in the home to provide follow-up support, as well as providing other resources in the community, such as peer support groups.
Many first-time parents also welcome the help of a family member or friend who has “been there.” Having a support person stay with the newborn for a few days can give the mother the confidence to go at it alone in the weeks ahead. This can be to arranged before delivery.
The baby’s first doctor’s visit is another good time to ask about any infant care questions. Parents can ask about reasons to call the doctor and about what vaccines baby needs and when. Young children need vaccines because the diseases they protect against can strike at an early age and can be very dangerous in childhood. This includes rare diseases and more common ones, such as the flu.
Caring for a newborn also includes the health screening of the newborn, most of the times this occurs in the hospital or pediatrician’s office shortly after birth. Every state screens babies for more than two dozen disorders. Early detection can help treat the disorder.