Babycare for the first time Mummy

When you’re a new mum and baby biscuit has arrived you are in the middle of an emotional tornado. Love, joy, uncertainty and nervousness whirl around you as you try to hold onto something to keep your feet on the ground.

Without your mum, mum-in-law, or an experienced day nanny around, you are left to your own devices and then it hits you – you are responsible for the life and well being of this little person. You’ve read the books and been to the antenatal class but the real thing is so much more than you can imagine.

So let’s keep it simple. What do you actually need to know about taking care of baby boo in the early days?

There are 5 basic needs 

  1. Nappy Change
  2. Eating
  3. Wind
  4. Cuddle
  5. Sleep

But, what does this mean? The drill is as follows –

Nappy Change – Always check baby’s nappy first. Is it too wet? Is there some poo that is making baby uncomfortable? As a rule of thumb, change baby’s nappy before each new feed. How to do it?

  • Place baby on the changing pad (which should have a fresh, clean towel on it)
  • Remove nappy (if you have a boy, place a dry face cloth over his front bottom half…less likely to have accidents while you’re changing him);
  • Take a wet wipe or two and wipe the baby’s bum and front bottom half. Be thorough so any number 1 or 2 is completely removed;
  • Place a fresh nappy under baby;
  • Take a wad of bum cream in your finger and wipe cream over baby’s bum; and
  • Fasten tabs around baby. Make sure it is comfortable rather than tight as this will irritate baby with a full tummy.

Eating – There are two forms of feeding for little baby namely, breastfeeding or formula feeding. This article will cover formula feeding.

  • Ensure bottles (including teats etc) have been washed with a bottle brush in soapy water;
  • Rinse it all thoroughly;
  • Sterilise everything;
  • Then, pour sterilised water (cooled boiled water) into bottle;
  • Add sufficient scoops of formula (as per the back of the can) into the bottle;
  • Shake bottle well (in a circular motion);
  • Place bottle in a mug of boiled water;
  • Check if milk is at an appropriate temperature by squeezing out one or two drops of milk on the underside of your wrist;
  • If it doesn’t burn but warm then you can feed it to the baby;
  • Hold baby in your arms in a cradling position and place teat in baby’s mouth.

If you have a NUK bottle, ensure that the air hole in the teat faces up.

Wind – Basically, “wind” means gas. For a little baby, gas is painful. Its a bubble that sits in the chest after feeding. There are few things more painful than a baby suffering with wind. So, what to do about it? Here are some options:

  • Place baby over your shoulder (ideally with the tummy as close to your shoulder bone as possible) then tap the spinal area between the lower back and bum area until you hear a little burp or fart; or
  • Place baby’s tummy and chest flat on your chest. Rub baby’s back with the palm of your hand in one motion (from the bottom of his back to his shoulders); or
  • You can add a few Telament drops into baby’s feed/bottle, which can help baby with gas.

The challenge with winding a baby is that its not always easy for the baby to burp or fart. I found that Daddy was much better at getting a burp out of baby than I. Not sure if it was his large hands or the way he rubbed baby’s back but it worked like a charm. Try to get your hubby to do the winding if you’re struggling – a great way for Daddy to feel useful.

Cuddle – Sometimes in the midst of long nights we forget that our little babes are in a new environment post-birth. So, sometimes all they really need is for Mummy or Daddy to pick them up and cuddle. If you’ve changed his nappy, fed him, winded him and he’s still niggly, it could be that he just needs a cuddle.

Sleep – In a world that is new and for a baby that does not realise he/she is growing by the minute we cannot underestimate the need for sleep. As a newborn you’re looking at 3-4 hours between feeding sessions. What to remember?

  • Keep the room baby is in either warm during winter, or cool-ish during hot summers;
  • For baby to sleep well, you need to keep the room dark at night. Even during feedings ensure your night light is not too invasive;
  • Distinguish between night feedings and day feedings. Do not talk to baby during the night feedings. Be quiet and efficient so there is as little activity for baby to be stimulated with. During the day, you can play more with baby but remember their little bodies hurt if held for too long;
  • Always check the back of the neck to determine if baby is too hot. If the room is too warm, baby can start sweating in his/her clothes. This will be uncomfortable and cause baby to wake up; and
  • Do not place a hat on the baby’s head when she/he is indoors. That too can create a sweaty baby.

Worried still are we? Don’t stress, for new mums you needn’t rack your brain trying to decipher what to do first. You’re not expected to be perfect. You just need to follow a routine: Nappy first, then feed, try to wind baby, cuddle the little one, and lastly get baby to sleep. Try the formula over and over, and when you reach baby’s current need you will see your baby boo quieten down almost instantly.

As simple as it sounds, if these basic needs are fulfilled your baby will be fine, more than fine. Your baby will be his/her best and contented self.


Kamantha Müller

Kamantha Müller

Kamantha is a working mum, wife, PR specialist and proudly South African. She has three pet peeves - 1. Rudeness of any kind and under any circumstances; 2. Micro-managers; and 3. Arb Facebook posts - I don't care that you're drinking coffee at Tashas. As a first time mum she has lived through the ups and downs of motherhood only to come out the other end a wee bit wiser. For this reason, she wishes to share the reality of motherhood and how she would advise preparing for it.

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