Top Tips for Newborns
Babies don’t come with an instruction manual and every little human is different, but luckily there are some things that do come with a little guidance. Check out our top tips for newborns that all first time parents will find helpful.
• Breast milk is a complete food, packed full of good fats, vitamins, minerals and protective anti-bodies.
• Try to start breastfeeding as soon possible after birth, even if your milk has not ‘come in’ yet. This will provide the baby with colostrum, the super food that is ready and waiting prior to milk.
• Good positioning and attachment can help reduce possible problems, such as cracked nipples or mastitis. Lactation consultants, Plunket nurses and midwives all offer a wealth of advice on breastfeeding, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
• Bottle feeding with formula is an alternative way to feed bub if you have difficulties or have chosen not to breastfeed.
• New babies should have at least 6 very wet nappies a day.
• Up to four weeks, one bowel motion a day is normal. After this, babies can vary greatly, from one at every feed to one every other day.
• Change nappies frequently to reduce the chance of nappy rash developing, and choose good quality nappies that draw moisture away from baby’s skin.
• Make sure you clean your baby well during each nappy change, and use good quality wipes that don’t irritate sensitive skin.
• If nappy rash develops, using zinc creams and airing baby’s bottom can help.
• Babies sleep an average of 16 hours a day as newborns, but every baby is different.
• To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, or SUDI), the best place for your baby to sleep is in a cot with a firm mattress, and with bedding that is tucked in tight enough not to come loose as baby sleeps. Make the cot up so that the baby’s feet are close to the base, and don’t place any pillows, soft toys, or cot bumpers in the cot.
• Look for signs of tiredness early, as an over tired baby is more difficult to get to sleep. These include jerky body movements, yawning, clenched fists or being easily startled.
• If your baby is not waking for feeds or is too tired to feed, see your health care professional as soon as possible.
• After birth, every parent will receive a Well Child/Tamariki Ora Healthbook. It contains a wealth of helpful information, and is a handy, one-stop place to store all future information regarding your baby’s health checks and immunisations.
• Newborn health checks are conducted at birth, after 24 hours, after 5 days and at 2-4 weeks. From 4-6 weeks to 3 years of age, there are another 7 health checks. Health checks ensure your baby’s development and growth are within the normal range.
• National screening programs for hearing and metabolic disorders are also available.
• Immunisations are recommended and include vaccinations for Diphtheria / Tetanus / Whooping Cough / Polio / Hepatitis B / Haemophilus influenzae type b and Pneumococcal. These are repeated at 3 and 5 months of age.
• Additional immunisations from 15 months to 12 years old are also provided free of charge. More information can be found on the National Immunisation Schedule.