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Safe Pregnancy

Parenting a newborn

Congratulations! You’ve got through all the ups and downs of pregnancy and are now a proud parent, what next? Being a first-time parent to a newborn can seem daunting, but with the right know-how and preparation, it can help you immensely. Here are some tips to guide you. Remember, newborn babies, are fragile and need to be handled with care.

Handling a Newborn

Keep your hands clean: Newborns don’t have robust immune systems yet and so are more susceptible to getting an infection. Anyone who handles your baby needs to have clean hands.

Never shake a newborn: It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing or become frustrated for some reason, NEVER shake your baby. If you shake your baby, it can cause bleeding in the brain and even death.

Always support your baby’s head and neck: Whenever you’re cradling your baby, it’s essential to support them, particularly their head and neck; their muscles are still developing.

How to bond and sooth your baby

You’ll have a bond with your newborn the second that you see him/her, and the connection will continue to grow…and grow. It’s vital to understand that physical closeness can promote a deep emotional relationship, so never stop showing your baby affection.

A sense of loving and attachment contributes to a baby’s emotional growth in other important aspects of his/her life, such as their social skills. The act of cradling your baby, simply providing skin-to-skin contact can go a long way.

If your baby is crying a lot and/or is restless, swaddling him/her is a great soothing technique. By swaddling your baby correctly, you keep his/her arms close to the body, keep them warm, and give them a great sense of security.

Nappy essentials

Whether you decide to use cloth or disposable nappies, your baby is going to poop approximately ten times a day, so you better know how to change a nappy properly otherwise you’re going to be dealing with a lot of unpleasant mess.

Make sure you have the following supplies readily available:

  • A nappy
  • Fasteners (if you are using cloth nappies)
  • A container of warm water a clean washcloth or wet wipes
  • Nappy ointment or Vaseline (to help prevent and treat rashes)
  • A changing pad to place under your baby

It may be difficult at first, but once you get into the routine, it will become much more manageable.

If all of this seems daunting, make sure that you have appropriate support structures such as friends and family who will be there to help you.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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