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From looking after your baby's skin to the importance of a good night's rest, here's some helpful advice for caring for your new baby.
While your baby's skin is famously soft and smooth, it is also strong and resilient. The skin is the body's largest organ – a group of cells stacked together to form a thin but tough barrier. Skin constantly renews itself throughout life, a process that begins even before birth.
Even so, often a newborn's skin is anything but perfect at first. Don't be alarmed by considerable peeling, redness or flaking in the first few days after birth.
Areas like the wrists, knees and feet may even bleed as they adjust to being exposed to air. This is all normal. Use a gentle skin ointment to help lubricate and heal cracked or bleeding skin. Your baby's skin will fill out and get smoother very soon.
Your sleeping baby's stirrings don't necessarily mean you have to rush in and soothe. Vital brain development goes on during an infant's slumber and even tiny babies can already start learning how to lull themselves back to sleep. Try to sleep well for your own sake and that of your family.
In those good old days that you can barely remember, you used to associate sleep with silence and peacefulness! Now, even when your tiny baby is sleeping well, she will probably be making little noises and even cry out as she moves between quiet and active sleep states. And, naturally, this wakes you, even if your partner doesn't stir at all! Always wait to see if the baby has now learned to put herself back to sleep on her own. Otherwise, if you go to her, you may actually be disturbing her during the natural transition between sleep states.
To avoid problems:
- Wash all new clothes and linen before your baby uses them.
- For the first few months, do your infant's wash separately from your other laundry.
- Use a gentle detergent and double rinse.
Dress your newborn in one more layer of clothing than you are wearing yourself to keep him warm and comfortable. For newborns, except in the hottest months, this means a vest and nappy, pyjamas, and a lightweight blanket. When the temperature rises above 24 degrees C (75 degrees F), you can reduce this to a single layer. Touch your baby's skin often to detect signs of discomfort: If his hands and feet feel cold, add a layer; if his skin gets hot and sweaty, remove one.
If your newborn is premature or has little body fat, he will be less able to regulate his own body temperature and may need additional layers for warmth.
Your baby's skin may be sensitive to chemicals in new clothing and to soap and detergent left on clothes after washing.
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