Newborn Baby Care Tips for New Moms and Dads (Part 1)

by - July 11, 2018


Being a first-time parent is both an exciting and daunting experience.

Believe me, my anxiety before I gave birth was nothing compared to the anxiety I felt the moment I first held our baby—it was crippling to the point of me thinking everything I was doing was wrong.

However, the beauty of parenthood is that, despite the lack of a step-by-step user manual on how to care for a little human, somehow, our intuition takes over the initial anxiety and points us to the best direction.

Every new parent should know that there is no perfect way to care for a baby—every baby is different, thus, their needs and the way they respond to your care is different too.

To help you ease out the newborn-stage anxiety, here are some newborn baby care tips for new moms and dads. 

Sleeping for both baby and parents

How to put a newborn baby to sleep and tips on how to deal with sleep deprivation:
  • Sleep pattern: The first month is always difficult. Your newborn is still adjusting to her life outside of the comforts of the womb, thus, their sleeping pattern is wildly erratic. On the second, third, and succeeding months, your baby's sleeping pattern will get better, and you too shall soon sleep soundly at night.
  • Length of time of sleep: Newborn babies tend to sleep for only around 2 to 4 hours at a time. They're awake for around the same amount of time as well.
  • Sleep deprivation of parents: While it sounds cliche, sleep when the baby sleeps helped us a lot. Of course, be practical and choose a good time to follow this newborn "hack." Lazy afternoons when there isn't a lot of housework to do worked great for us. It's also important to get help around the house so that you don't need to catch up on a lot of housework.
  • Nighttime sleep: Take turns with your spouse in waking up at night, and most importantly, be faithful with your agreed terms to avoid arguments. 


How much milk newborn babies need and how frequent newborns breastfeed:
  • How much milk babies need: The capacity of a newborn's stomach gradually grows in the first month. On the first day, it's approximately the size of a cherry (approximately 5 to 7 ml of milk). On the first week, newborns have a capacity of 1.5 to 2 oz of milk for each feeding, and on the second week and onwards, around 2.5 to 5 oz for each feeding.
  • Frequency of feeding: Newborns typically feed every 2 to 4 hours, so expect a lot of feeding or breastfeeding. Babies typically feed 6 to 8 times a day.
  • When is it time to feed: Watch out for early hunger cues: smacking of the lips, opening of the mouth, and rooting. Don't wait for your baby to be fussy or crying before feeding; those are already late hunger cues. 
  • Feeding and sleeping: If your baby sleeps beyond 4 hours, there's no need to wake her up just to feed. Let her sleep as much as you can and then feed her when she's awake.
  • Length of feeding: Let your baby determine the length of feeding; there's no need to time it. It's also normal for baby to fall asleep while feeding. Always burp the baby after feeding.
  • Is baby getting enough milk: Signs that indicate that your baby is getting enough milk include your breasts feeling softer and less full after feeding and having around 5 to 6, or more, wet diapers a day.
  • Should water be given to newborns: Never give additional water to a baby who is less than six months old. If preparing formula milk, always follow the 1:1 ratio (1 oz of water to 1 cup of formula milk); do not attempt to dilute the mixture with more water.

Diaper change, peeing, and pooping

How many times do newborn babies need diaper changes, tips on how to determine what normal pee and poop are for newborns:
  • Normal number of wet diapers: Newborn babies who are a week old usually have 2 to 3 wet diapers in 48 hours. If she's more than a week old, newborns have 5 to 6, or more, wet diapers in 24 hours.
  • Normal color of urine: Your newborn's urine should be light-colored; dark-colored urine usually indicate dehydration.
  • Normal number of dirty diapers: Newborn babies who are a week old usually poop once a day. If she's more than a week old, newborns typically poop 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Normal color of poop: Your newborn's poop should be yellow and mustardy for breastfed babies, and pasty and peanut butter-like for formula-fed babies. Here's a helpful visual guide of baby poop by Baby Center.
  • Breastfed baby not pooping: For breastfed newborn babies, it's sometimes normal to go 4 to 5 days without pooping. Exclusively breastfed babies (EBF) are almost never constipated, and breastmilk is perfectly blended by nature so that there is little to nothing left for a baby to poop out.
  • Diaper change and cleaning for baby girls: For baby girls, always wipe from front to back to avoid urinary tract infections. Take extra care around the folds of the labia (the area near the vagina).
  • Diaper change and cleaning for baby boys: For baby boys, cover the penis with a wet wipe before proceeding to clean to avoid accidents (i.e., pee fountain!). Clean from the top of the penis and downwards. Be also sure to clean the area around the scrotum.

This ends Part 1 of this article. Head on to Newborn Baby Care Tips for New Moms and Dads (Part 2) to learn more about the following:

  • Bathing
  • Umbilical cord stump care
  • Crying and soothing a fussy baby

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