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When you have just given birth to a newborn, it is one of the most exciting and worrying times that you are likely to ever experience. No matter what, you will probably struggle to appreciate everything you’ll have to think about until you are going through it yourself.

Regardless, there are quite a few things that you might want to know about beforehand in order to help you get through it and understand and appreciate the experience a little better.

In this post, we will talk about many of the main things you’ll need to know about having and caring for a newborn. All of the following are really important for you to consider and reflect on, so let’s look and see what they are right now.

Newborn baby at the hospial with mother.

The Essential Supplies

One of the main things you’ll need to know about is what supplies you might need for your newborn, and here there are quite a few things that you might have to focus on getting hold of as soon as possible.

Some of these are obvious, and some are less so, so it’s something that you should definitely think about for sure. You’ll be amazed at how you are going to be able to approach this, and it’s likely that you will want to make sure you have checked all of this stuff off your list long before your baby actually arrives.

So, what kinds of supplies should you consider essential in order to care properly for a newborn? You have the cot, of course – you can’t expect them to get much sleep without that. And you might want to think about having a Moses basket or something similar, as that can be a viable alternative for your baby to sleep in.

Sleep is clearly very important, but so is clothing. Do you have enough clothing for your child? You don’t want to have too much, because storage can become an issue – so don’t go thinking that you need to stock up on everything they will need for years to come.

Just think about the most essential baby clothes they will need now and in the next few months. You will probably find that you get donated much of this stuff, as often happens when you have a newborn, especially if you know people who have already been through this.

Newborn feet between mom's hands.

Once you’ve got all that in place, you’ll need to think about diapers, which are obviously essential too, and anything else that might seem important for comfort and health.

Then there are toys and so on to think about, and you might want to start stocking up on some items they will use later on.

Once you have all that, you’ll find that you feel so much more ready for your newborn’s arrival, so it’s an important part of getting ready for them.

The Sleep Question

A major question that pretty much every new parent has is: how much sleep should your newborn be getting? You might find yourself worried eternally about whether or not your baby is sleeping enough. If you do feel that way, you are not alone.

That is something that all parents go through, after all. The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule here, though of course you want to make sure that your baby is getting enough sleep for them to rest properly, and that should be plenty in the first couple of months at least.

If you are worried unduly about their sleeping patterns, bear in mind that a newborn should sleep an average of seven to nine hours in the daytime, and another eight or so hours at night.

But there are variations outside of this, which are not necessarily to be worried about or fretted over. Your baby might start sleeping through the night as early as four months old, but for many it can take longer than that, so don’t panic.

Photo of newborn baby covered with a blue blanket.

Generally, this is much less of a worry than most new parents assume. You might find your main concern ends up being how much sleep you are not getting!

Common Skin Problems

Another thing that can worry new parents is when they notice some skin changes on their baby. Because you are obviously always looking out for such changes and any indication that your baby is unwell, you will spot these, and you are right to check that they are not anything serious.

You should watch out for rashes and so on – though very common, in rare instances, they can be severe. But there are many other skin issues, too, which are not huge health issues, but you might find yourself worrying about.

For instance, a very common condition is when there is cradle cap on newborns face. This is essentially baby dandruff, and it is not harmful at all. But the first time you see it, you might worry about it somewhat, which is perfectly understandable and natural.

So the thing to do is to try and stay calm and not over-worry. Although of course if some skin issue does develop that worries you, make sure you get your baby checked out as soon as possible, just in case it is something serious or severe.

In any case, keeping a close eye on your baby’s skin is a wise and sensible thing to do, so you should make sure you are thinking about that.

Newborn holding a teddy bear.

Feeding Issues

Another very common and big concern for parents of newborns is feeding. You might be worrying about how to do it right, whether you are doing it enough, and so many other questions besides. The truth is that every mother has to find her own way into it, and that it is something you have to figure out in the relationship between you and your baby as well.

So it’s essentially a kind of skill that you are both having to learn. If you can remember that, you should find that you are going to end up in a much better position on the whole.

With feeding, the main thing to remember is that a newborn will need to be fed every two to three hours.

It can sometimes feel like your baby is not eating enough here, but it is normal, so try not to worry unduly. Bear in mind that you might need to wake your baby in order to feed them if they happen to be sleeping quite a lot.

And, of course, the question of breast milk versus formula is entirely up to you, and you need to decide yourself.

Bathing A Newborn

Another really important part of caring for a newborn is keeping them clean. This is pretty straightforward, but you need to ensure you are aware of the basic methods normally involved in the bathing process.

Shortly after you have arrived home from the hospital, you may want to give your baby a sponge bath, though they will probably have received one in the hospital as well from the midwifery staff.

This is as simple as getting a sponge and dipping it into warm water, but not hot water of course, and then going over the baby’s entire body. You can give your baby baths like this until their umbilical cord falls off, at which point you can switch to an infant tub instead.

Portrai of a newborn sleeping.

Changing Diapers

This is where a lot of people get worried, for whatever reason, that they won’t be able to do it, but the truth is that changing a diaper is actually a very simple and straightforward thing to do, so you don’t need to worry. Even if you have never done it before, it really is a very easy process all in all.

All you need to do is lay your baby down somewhere safe and hygienic, and then take apart the diaper. Then clean underneath the diaper area thoroughly with a wipe. Make sure you get under any skin folds that you find there.

From there, you just need to lift up the legs and slide the diaper out. Then you need to replace it with a clean one, in exactly the same way as the old one was. Then you pull the baby’s legs through and secure the diaper with the tape that is attached to it. It’s a really simple process, as you can see. In any case, you are going to become an expert in doing it soon enough!

Those are the main things you will need to know about when it comes to caring for your newborn, so make sure you think about them as best as you can. If you can do that, you will find you’re much more likely to do it right and with confidence.

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