for new mothers and fathers

For new mothers and new fathers

The arrival of a new baby can cause lots of sudden change in a family. Before the baby is born, parents typically spend a lot of attention and energy on preparations. After the baby arrives, much of the family’s attention involves meeting the newborn’s basic needs.

In this lesson there are steps you can follow to manage the new life style and to forward your attention for the successful parenting process.

Being pregnant brings many changes. Most of these changes are normal and some are not. You need to know the signs to report to your health care provider. Pregnancy is a special time that can bring many questions emphases in his studies David V. Sheslow (2005).

We hope that this lesson will help you learn about how to take care of yourself and your growing baby.

With On Becoming Baby wise, we no longer count the success stories in thousands, or in tens of thousands but in millions of happy, healthy and sleeping through the night success stories.

During pregnancy, the mother should

  • Visit a health worker as soon as she learns she is pregnant.
  • Visit health worker at least four times during her pregnancy.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat a variety of foods, including red & white meat (where acceptable and possible), fruits, and vegetables.
  • Make a plan, with her family, to deliver at a facility or with a health worker trained to help with birth.

Having Someone to Talk To

Being pregnant brings many changes to your life. It is important to have someone to talk with about your feelings. This person can help you make healthy changes.

Try to think of someone in your life that you feel comfortable with and can trust. It could be your partner, the father of your baby, a neighbor, a close friend, a colleague, or a family member. You may also get the support you need at a group program for pregnant women. Group programs may offer information, food, and a chance to talk to other women. As a parent you need to create a loving, safe, and healthy home for your baby. But on the other hand you must be awareness about all the “works” that you need to do during baby care process.

In this lesson you will learn:

  • About breastfeeding.
  • How to comfort your baby.
  • When to get help for your baby’s sleep.
  • How to keep your baby safe.

All About Diapering

First of all you need to know that before you bring your baby home whether you’ll use cloth or disposable diapers. Whichever you chose to use, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week (See: diapering your baby).

Before you starting to change the baby’s diapering is very important to make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your infant unattended on the changing table. During the diapering changing process you will need:

  • Clean diaper
  • Fasteners (if cloth pre fold diapers are used)
  • Diaper ointment
  • Diaper wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)

It is very important that after each bowel movement or if the diaper is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty diaper. Use the water, cotton balls, and washcloth or the wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI). To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper (See: urinary tract infection (UTI).

In this step all new parents need to create a routine for their babies, but be careful because the baby’s skin is very sensitive and sometimes can created diaper rash concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.

To prevent or heal diaper rash, try these tips

  • Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
  • Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes sometimes can be irritating), then apply a very thick layer of diaper rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
  • If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents.
  • Let the baby go undispersed for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.

If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.

Keep in mind that changing a diaper is another time for you and your baby to bond together. Make that time special by talking to her, laughing, and singing, caressing and playing with her.


Breastfeeding Your Baby

Without doubt breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby and yourself. Your baby needs only breast milk for the first 6 months. After 6 first months of his life, your baby will start solid foods and continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond (See first lesson “Solid Foods”).

Breastfeeding benefits for your baby

• The breastfeeding provides the best food that is always fresh and ready.

• The breastfeeding reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

• The breastfeeding helps prevent an upset tummy and constipation.

• The breastfeeding provides closeness and warm touch between baby and his mother.

• The breastfeeding promotes good health and brain development.

• The breastfeeding protects against illnesses (e.g., coughs and colds, ear infection, type 1 diabetes, etc.)

• The breastfeeding helps protect against allergies.

• The breastfeeding helps to promote proper jaw and tooth development.

The scientific studies of contemporary societies emphases that the breastfeeding process it is not necessary only for child’ development, but is is very important for woman’s body and immune system.

Breastfeeding benefits for new mothers

• The breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its normal size more quickly.

• The breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes.

• The breastfeeding saves you time and money.

• The breastfeeding helps you bond with your baby and make you feel happier.

Start breastfeeding as soon as your baby is born

• Ask your health care provider to place your baby on your tummy as soon as he is born.  He will be naked, his back will be wiped dry and your health care provider may put a diaper on your baby and a blanket over both of you to keep you warm. Your baby will slowly adjust to where he is and will start moving towards your breast.

It may take time and you may need to help your baby a little bit to reach your breast and find your nipple. He will try to latch on.  Many babies are able to latch on and breastfeed well soon after birth. Keep your baby skin-to-skin until he has finished his first feed, or as long holding your baby skin-to-skin will help him:

• Feel less stress from being born.

• Adjust to life outside your womb.

• Be calmer.

• Breathe better.

• Have normal blood sugar.

• Stay warmer.

It is very important for mental health of mother and baby’s to enjoy your first moments together. Continue to hold your baby skin-to-skin as often and as long as you can even after you leave the hospital and go home. Skin-to-skin is a great way to bond with your baby, encourage your baby to breastfeed, soothe your baby when he is upset, and lessen his pain during vaccination or other painful procedures.

If you are not well enough to hold your baby skin-to-skin right away, your baby can be placed skin-to-skin with your partner or support person if you wish. If your baby is not well enough to be placed skin-to-skin the moment he is born, begin as soon as you can.

Breastfeeding gives you a lot of freedom

You can breastfeed your baby anywhere, and anytime. You have the right to breastfeed anywhere in public. This can be at a restaurant, in the park, on the bus, at a shopping mall etc. You do not have to cover-up with a blanket if you do not want to.

Breastfeeding saves you time. You do not spend time washing and sterilizing feeding equipment. Your milk is also at the perfect temperature for your baby.

Comforting Your Baby

In the first year of life, parenting is about comforting your baby and making sure he is safe. Your baby will feel loved and safe if you comfort him when he is startled, scared, or upset. You will not spoil your baby by holding him. Your baby wants to be close to you. Being close to your baby may be enough to calm him.

Your baby may be happy one minute and then start crying the next minute. Crying means he needs something. He may be hungry, tired, wet, cold, hot or just want to he held. Try to respond before your baby is crying loudly. If your baby has been crying a lot he will be harder to comfort. Learn the early signs that your baby needs something. For example, when your baby is too tired he may rub his eyes, whine more, lose interest and yawn.

crying baby

When your baby is crying or fussy

• Try breastfeeding your baby.

• Always respond kindly and gently.

• Place a fussy infant skin-to-skin on your chest. The warmth and close contact will likely help to calm her. Always be sure that her nose is clear and that she can breathe easily.

• Check to see if your baby needs a clean diaper.

• Check to see if your baby is too hot or too cold.

• Try carrying or rocking the baby using very gentle movements.

• Take your baby to a quiet room and turn off the lights.

• Play soft music, talk, sings or strokes your baby’s forehead. Avoid loud, sudden noises.

• Give your baby a warm bath or massage.

• Show your baby bright, colorful objects.

• Take your baby for a walk outside.

Burping baby

It is very important for your baby’s comfort burping process because during the feeding process the baby gets rid of air in baby’s tummy. Some babies burp several times a feed – others need very little burping. Squirming or wiggling may be a sign that baby needs to burp. Breastfed babies may need to burp less often because they swallow less air.

Three basic ways to help your baby to burp are

  1. Hold your baby close to your body with baby’s head on your shoulder. Hold baby’s head and neck with one hand, gently pat or rub baby’s back with your other hand.
  2. Sit your baby on your lap with one hand holding the chin and stomach, and with other hand gently pat or rub baby’s back.
  3. Lay baby across your lap, hold baby’s chin and head with one hand, and with other hand lightly rub or pat baby’s back.

After baby has finished breast feeding on one side, try burping baby. If baby doesn’t burp after a minute or two and seems content, there likely is no need for a burp.

Some basic baby Safe Sleep Tips very important for new parents  

For the first 6 months of life, place your baby’s crib, cradle or bassinet next to your bed. Place your baby in an appropriate crib, cradle or bassinet that meets current Canadian safety regulations.

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep related causes of infant death also follow these important steps:

• Place him on his back to sleep, at naptime and nighttime.

• Provide a sleep surface that is firm and flat.

• Remove pillows, comforters, quilts, stuffed animals, bumper pads, positional devices or other loose or soft bedding materials that could suffocate or smother him.

• Dress him in comfortable fitted one-piece sleepwear.

• Ensure that the room temperature is comfortable for everyone.

• Use a baby seat, swing, car seat, bouncer, stroller, sling, and playpen only for what they are intended. None of them are a substitute for a crib, cradle or bassinet.

• Breastfeed your infant. Breastfeeding provides a protective effect against SIDS.

• Protect your baby from smoke and second-hand smoke. Smoke outside. Wash your hands after smoking. No smoking at all is best for your baby. Decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke can also help to lower the risk of SIDS.

• Alcohol use and substance use pose a risk for SIDS and other unintended injuries in infants. It is safer to ask your partner or someone you trust to care for your infant until you are completely sober and not under the influence of substances.

• At 2 months of age, start your baby’s immunizations. Vaccines are important to protect your baby’s health and safety.

Remember baby’s tummy is very small at birth so baby needs to feed often – day and night.

Further reading

Vandenbroeck, M., Boonaert, T., van der Mespel, S. and De Brabandere, K. (2009) Dialogical

spaces to reconceptualize parent support in the social investment state, Contemporary Issues in

Early Childhood, 10.1, pp. 66–77 (

Winnicott, D.W. (1964) The Child, the Family and the Outside World (Harmondsworth, Penguin).

Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophische Untersuchungen/Philosophical Investigations, G. E. M.

Anscombe, trans. (Oxford, Basil Blackwell).

Fox, Greer Litton and Carol Bruce. 2001. “Conditional Fatherhood: Identity Theory and Parental Invest­ment Theory as Alternative Sources of Explana­tion of Fathering.” Journal of Marriage and Family 63:394–403.

Gibson-Davis, Christina M., Kathryn Edin, and Sara McLanahan. 2005. “High Hopes but Even Higher Expectations: The Retreat from Marriage among Low-Income Couples.” Journal of Marriage and Family 67:1301–1312.

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