Bonding Between Mother, Father and Baby
Bonding refers to the special attachment that forms between a mother and father and their new baby. That bond is what sends parents rushing into their newborn's room in the middle of the night at the slightest whimper. It's also what makes parents want to instinctively care for and nurture their child.
Sometimes, the bond is immediate: parents fall in love the instant they set eyes on their little "bundle of joy." Other times, bonding with baby takes longer.
But just after the birth of child parents get worried about how to take care of their child. They should know some easy but important things to do.
It isn’t pretty to change diapers. But poop is part of the baby care package, Mom, and one of the very few downsides to this whole baby thing. So hold your nose, roll up your sleeves, and get ready for the scoop on cleaning up poop.
With a newborn, the basic moves of changing diapers remain the same whether you're using cloth or disposable baby diapers (if you're interested in cloth, you may be surprised — and pleased — to learn that there are plenty of options that don't require folding or pins).
From start to finish:
Wash your hands.
Prepare your station. You'll need:
Clean diapers: It's always good to have a spare (or two or three) handy when you’re changing diapers.
Wipes or washcloths: Some practitioners recommend using warm water and a clean washcloth for the first few days you change diapers, or you can try premoistened wipes that are made specifically to cleanse newborn bottoms. Look for hypoallergenic ones that are free of fragrance and alcohol.
A change of clothes for baby: You might not need one, but it's better to be prepared than to have to dash to the onside drawer holding a half-naked (possibly poop-covered) squirmer.
Ointment to prevent and/or soothe diaper rash: It’s essential in preventing diaper rash as it’s a barrier between that tender tush and rash-promoting poop and pee.
A loving touch: Your gentle voice (talk or better yet, sing!) can make diaper changes easier on your baby (and therefore easier on you).
Place your baby on a clean, soft, safe surface. A changing table, a dresser equipped with a changing pad, a crib or bed (preferably protected with a towel or waterproof pad) all work — but no matter where you’re changing diapers, make sure to keep one hand on the baby at all times.
Open the diaper, and see what awaits you. If you have a boy, beware! That little penis is a loaded weapon, and he's not afraid to use it. Keep it covered with a clean diaper or cloth whenever he's undressed, or you may get an unwanted surprise in the form of a fountain of pee. And when you do put his new diaper on, point his penis down to minimize leaks (and soaked shirts).
For boys and girls, if the diaper is just wet, fold it underneath the baby (so the clean, outer side is now under his or her bottom), wipe the area, then slip the new diaper underneath and remove the old one. For a poopy diaper, wipe as much as possible with the diaper itself, then fold it underneath, as above. Lift the legs and clean that bottom (for really big messes, try rolling your baby gently onto his or her side). Little ladies need to be wiped from front to back, to avoid getting poop in the vaginal area. There is no need to open the labia and clean inside (even if you see a white discharge).
When you're done, change diapers and fasten the tabs (for disposables, the tabs go in the back, underneath baby, and then wrap around to front) — snug but not tight.
Get rid of the evidence. For disposables, wrap the diaper into a ball, using the tab fasteners to secure, then discard (never flush). Away from home, carry a stash of plastic bags; place the dirty diaper inside and tie the bag before tossing into the trash. Put cloth diapers into a bucket with a (very) tight-fitting lid (or a vinyl bag if you're out) until laundry day. Change baby's clothes as needed (and it will be needed, quite often!) or re-dress him, wash your hands again, and baby diapering is done…for now.
How to Swaddle
The first time your baby visited the hospital nursery, he probably came back wrapped in a neat little package, with only his fuzzy little head poking out. That's because nurses know one of the secrets to a happy, calm baby: swaddling. The age-old technique has many benefits. For one thing, it can help your baby feel safe as he adjusts to life outside the womb. Swaddling can also prevent your baby from being upset by his own startle reflex and keep him toasty until his internal thermostat kicks in to gear.
So how do you swaddle like a pro? First, spread a receiving blanket out flat, with one corner pointing up so the blanket is in the shape of a diamond. Fold down the top corner about six inches. Your baby's head goes here, with his neck on the straight part of the fold-over tip and his body extending straight down toward the bottom corner. Take the left side of the blanket, and wrap it over his left arm and chest. Then tuck it under his other arm and back. (So now his left arm is covered, and his right one is free.)
Next, fold the bottom corner of the blanket up over the baby's body and tuck it into the first fold — under his chin. Pull the right side of the blanket over his right arm and tuck it under his back. Ta-da: baby burrito!
As he gets older, your baby may prefer to have his arms free; oblige him by leaving them out, and continue to swaddle him around the chest and legs. In a few weeks or months, he'll outgrow the need to swaddle altogether.
Cutting Baby's Nails
It can be a scary proposition, but one you'll need to undertake sooner rather than later: Clipping your baby's itty-bitty nails. Just like the rest of her, they've been growing since before she was born so she may well be ready for a manicure in her first week of life (and every two or three days during the first three weeks until the nails harden and stop growing so fast!).
Wielding a scissors anywhere near your darling's tiny fingers can be daunting, but it's an important task. Those overgrown nails may be softer and more pliable than yours, but they can also be sharp enough for your baby to scratch herself, especially around the face.
And while Grandma may suggest you peel or nibble off the tips of baby's nails, it's probably not the best idea. Peeling may accidentally take off too much of the nail, while nibbling may transfer your germs to her skin.