13 Things Every First-time Parent Would Like to Know

Jun 16 , 2018

13 Things Every First-time Parent Would Like to Know

If you are expecting your first child, you must have a ton of questions to ask, but have no one to ask, or are too afraid or ashamed to ask. That is why we have prepared the following list of 13 most common things that every new parent wonders about.

Becoming a parent is the most amazing feeling in the world, also the biggest responsibility!

Every first-time parent gets mentally and physically prepared, but no amount of books or advice from elders can really prepare us for the challenge. And most times, new parents are afraid or reluctant to ask the really important questions. They get tangled in a mess that leaves then stressed out, deprived of sleep and even crazed when dealing with a newborn. And the judging looks from other people are hurtful and unpleasant, making the new parents feeling bad about themselves, and worsening the situation in general.

So, keep reading and if you think we have left anything or have a well-intended advice, please share it with our readers in the comments below.

  1. How often should I feed my baby?

A small infant has a small stomach that collects small amounts of food. The food gets digested fast, depending on the age of the baby, leaving the stomach empty. That is why it is important and recommended that you feed your baby in regular intervals. A newborn baby should e fed in intervals of about three hours. As the baby grows, the stomach gets larger and collects more food, increasing the time between feedings. At about 5 to 6 months of age, the baby’s stomach is large enough to keep the baby fed and sleeping until morning.

  1. How many layers should my baby be covered with?

The first couple of months the baby’s thermoregulation is off, which means that the baby should be dressed and covered appropriately to the room’s temperature. Too many layers will make the baby too warm, and too little will make it cold. To accurately check the baby’s temperature, you should touch your baby on its spine, just below the neck. This will tell you if you need to put more clothes on or remove a layer or two. And after a couple of months, a baby needs only an extra layer more than you.

  1. Does the baby know the difference between day and night?

Infants up to two months old still don’t know the difference between night and day and are slowly adjusting their circadian rhythm. That is why that it is normal that babies wake up in the middle of the night and don’t go to sleep until morning. Be patient and train your baby slowly, and he or she will begin to pick up on sleeping long stretches and after five or six months, a baby will start sleeping soundly through the morning.

  1. Do food and alcohol affect the breast milk?

It is true that certain foods can affect the quality of the breast milk, but not by large amount. A breastfeeding mother should eat plenty of healthy foods and avoid carbonated, sugary drinks, but stick to water, teas and natural juices. Alcohol is another thing a breastfeeding mom should avoid. A glass of wine or a glass of beer on occasion will not greatly affect the milk, but you should not consume alcohol on a regular basis when breastfeeding. If you want to have a glass of wine, then you should drink it after breastfeeding your baby, so the alcohol will have enough time to metabolize in your system and not affect the breast milk until the next feeding.

  1. Should I wake up a sleeping baby?

To keep up with the feeding schedule you may need to wake a sleeping baby. This is not a bad thing, as the regular feeding will provide the necessary sustenance to ensure your baby is growing and getting all the nutrition it needs. Don’t be alarmed when having to wake up your baby, just go about it softly and be careful not to startle your baby. Many times when the baby sleeps, you can wake it up enough so it can be fed it and leave it sleeping. After a couple of months, usually, after six months of age, when the baby gets an established schedule, you can wake it up from a nap so it will stay on its sleeping and feeding routine.

  1. Do babies dream? My baby jerks and scares himself in his sleep?

Babies do dream. Even though we don’t know what exactly, it is evident that they experience deep sleep and REM phases. During the peaceful dream phase, the sleeping baby can move, twitch, suck and wave its hands, effectively scaring and waking himself up. After the circadian rhythm gets established, the baby will get more peaceful sleep, sleeping for longer stretches.

  1. What color should the baby’s poop be?

The baby’s poop is the main indication that something is not okay with the baby. A normal poop should be yellow or mustard colored, on occasion with small white dots in it. If the color of the poop is red, green or whitish, then you should consult a pediatrician, as this usually means that something is wrong with your baby. The color and the frequency of the poop is not an indication that the baby is fed enough. A true indication that a baby is fed is gaining weight and the times of day the baby pees. A healthy, well-fed baby should pee at least six times a day – so you need to keep track of the wet diapers, not the pooped ones.

  1. How much should I hold my baby?

A baby needs the human touch to develop properly. So never be afraid to hold, hug and cuddle your baby. The common issue with holding your baby is that it gets too used and gets dependent on your touch. This is not a problem during the day, but the more you hold it, the less likely it will be to sleep independently through the night as it will constantly seek touch and attention. A good advice is when putting your baby to sleep, once it starts dozing off, you should put it in its crib allowing it to fall asleep by itself.

  1. How many times a week should I bathe my baby?

Ask advice from your pediatrician on this, but as a parent, you should be the one to decide when you are going to bathe your baby. While babies don’t get dirty, they do sweat and shed their skin very often. That is why daily bathing is recommended. You only need warm water and a soft baby soap, avoid aggressive and over-perfumed soaps and shampoos. And babies love to take baths, as the water massages and refreshes them. After bathing, it is also good to massage the baby with baby oil as the oil nourishes the soft baby skin.

  1. How long should breastfeeding last? Are six months enough? A year?

There is no established rule about how long breastfeeding should last. Some moms have difficulty producing milk and don’t breastfeed at all, and some opt to breastfeed their child for a year or even longer. The time a mother breastfeeds the baby depends on a personal choice as well as the progress of the baby. Many times the mother’s body does not produce enough milk and there is the need to give artificial milk to the infant. This is not something bad, as it is good for the mom and the baby to be content as breastfeeding should not be a stressful event but should be enjoyable for both mother and child.

  1. How much food does my baby need?

Even though we have covered this in a previous answer, we will emphasize it once again – the amount of food a baby needs is noticed by the progress of the baby. A baby should steadily gain weight until it reaches about a year, it starts to grow and move more, expending more energy, and the weight stagnates for a while. So to be certain that your baby gets enough food, you should follow its weight gain. And a mom usually knows the crying sounds a baby makes: there are different cries if the baby is hungry or needs changing of the diaper. Don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician for advice on feeding.

  1. How will I know if the baby is comfortable, hot or cold?

The baby’s only communication is crying. There are different cries for different reasons. If a baby is hungry or needs changing, it cries differently. But if the baby is uncomfortable, the cry is more pronounced and the baby gets agitated and nervous. If the baby is cold, it will start shivering and you can use your body heat to warm it up and cover it with a blanket. If the baby is too warm, it will cry, sweat and even become red in the face. Then you can take off a layer of clothes or remove a cover. During warm summer months, in warm climates (even in Alaska J) it is good to leave the baby almost naked, only wearing a diaper and a soft thin baby bodysuit.

  1. Should I keep the baby in sterile conditions? What about contact with other people?

A small baby is very prone to infections. That is why it is not recommended that many people hug and kiss an infant. The parents can do this, but kissing and hugging by elderly people should be avoided. When a person comes in contact with a small baby, you as a parent need to ask them to wash their hands, and this needs to become a standard routine. As the baby grows, it develops its own immunity and becomes more resilient to outside influences. As for the feeding bottle, it should be washed with hot water and dish soap. The pacifier also gets the same treatment, and the parents need to be careful, when dropping the pacifier it should be rinsed with hot water. If you don’t have the possibility to do this immediately, then a wipe with a sanitizing baby wipe can do the trick. But this should be avoided as much as possible and only used in extreme situations. Well, it is impossible and absurd to keep the baby in absolute sterile conditions, but the proper hygiene needs to be retained so the baby can prosper and thrive.

Conclusion

Becoming a new parent is an amazing feeling, but is also a very stressful thing. Every new parent develops feelings of uncertainty and wonders if they are doing the best for their child. But it is also true that every parent wants only the best for their child.

And because taking care of an infant is so new and can be frightening, you should never be afraid to ask any question you might have regarding the wellbeing of your child. I hope that we have helped you with some of your questions. If you have any more inquiries, be sure to ask in your questions n the comments below, and we’ll do our best to provide you with the appropriate answers.


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