Mom and Dad will be overflowing with joy when they meet their long-awaited baby. However, they may only be able to bask in such excitement for a short time. After returning home, life with a newborn baby, who needs to be taken care of from start to finish, awaits.
If this is your first experience with childbirth and childcare, you may feel confused and frustrated by the many unknowns of life. Here, we will answer some common questions about raising a newborn.
Newborn: A baby less than 28 days old
A “newborn” is a baby who is less than 28 days old and has just been born before the one-month checkup. Since they have yet to sit up on their heads and hips, they need to be carried with the utmost care. Moreover, life with a newborn baby, which requires constant feedings and diaper changes day and night, can be much more physically and mentally demanding than one might imagine.
Many mothers are troubled by the thought, “My child is different from other children around me,” or “This is different from the information I found on the Internet,” while raising a newborn baby, not knowing what is right or wrong. So, let’s take a closer look at sleep, breastfeeding, and skin problems in newborns.
Newborns sleeping problems
Newborns do not yet distinguish between day and night. They have neither day nor night and are characterized by a cycle of sleeping and waking that repeats itself in cycles of one to four hours. In addition, REM sleep, which is shallow sleep, accounts for half of the sleep during the newborn period. This is the reason why they wake up immediately at the slightest noise or discomfort. Newborns sleep in “small segments,” which total 15 to 20 hours of sleep per day. We can think of it as “sleeping through most of the day.”
However, the length and depth of a newborn’s sleep vary greatly from person to person. Some infants sleep soundly when you carry them in your arms, forgetting to drink milk, while others wake up immediately and continue to cry even when their stomachs are full. There is no “right” way for newborns to sleep. If your baby is not sleeping and crying even though you are feeding, diapering, and room temperature are perfect, you may wonder, “What is wrong with my baby? “Is there something wrong with the way I’m raising my baby?”
However, if your baby is gaining weight and growing steadily, there is almost no need to worry about something wrong with him or her if he or she is crying all the time without sleeping. Think of it as a part of your child’s personality.
At three to four months of age, your baby will be able to distinguish between day and night and will gradually begin to sleep for longer periods of time. Life with a newborn who does not sleep can be physically and emotionally challenging, but the day will come when he or she sleeps soundly. Please cooperate with your family and rest once in a while and keep up with your baby’s pace of life.
Common concerns of newborns related to breast milk
Many mothers would like to breastfeed their babies as much as possible because breast milk contains components and abundant nutrients that play a role in the immune system. In addition, breast milk is thought to be effective in preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare recommend breastfeeding.
This is probably the reason why “breastfeeding outpatient clinics,” which provide breast massage and other services to support breastfeeding, are spreading across the country. Indeed, breast milk is good for babies. Mothers also feel happy during breastfeeding time.
However, the amount of breast milk and the way babies suck differ greatly from person to person. Generally, mother’s milk is secreted in large quantities from around 3 to 4 days after childbirth, but some mothers secrete milk at a slower rate or in smaller quantities than others. Also, some babies have difficulty sucking on the nipple. In such cases, milk is used, but many mothers feel guilty, where the “breast milk myth” is deeply rooted.
However, modern milk is as rich in nutrients as breast milk. It contains nutrients (such as vitamin K) that are not found in breast milk, so it is not a bad thing for babies. It is not good for both mother and baby if breastfeeding becomes stressful because of the insistence on breast milk. If breast milk is insufficient or the baby cannot suck breast milk well, please use milk without worrying.
Eczema and diaper rash in newborns
Babies’ skin is very delicate. Especially during the newborn period, the amount of sebum secretion gradually increases, which causes a sticky film to form on the face and scalp, making it easy for eczema to appear. In severe cases, the skin becomes red and inflamed, and some children become cranky due to pain and itching. Newborns also have frequent watery stools, which can cause diaper rash.
It is not uncommon to have trouble dealing with these skin problems. Many people may self-care by washing clean, applying over-the-counter medications, and using skin-friendly clothing and diapers. However, if symptoms do not improve with these self-care measures, it is necessary to see an obstetrician or pediatrician for appropriate treatment.
If you take it lightly as “just eczema” or “just diaper rash,” your baby may have a hard time. Some people think, “I don’t want to use medicine on my newborn!” However, there is no need to worry because the hospital will prescribe a medicine that will not have any negative effects on your baby.
Mothers and fathers have many worries when living with a newborn. Especially when it comes to their own children, they tend to be more nervous than necessary. On the other hand, in this day and age, a variety of information is easily available on the Internet. We can see the baby’s peaceful sleeping face, the baby drinking a lot of breast milk, and the baby’s clear and shining skin. When you see information about such a sparkling life of child-rearing, you may feel depressed when you compare it with your own situation.
However, there is no absolute right answer for raising a newborn. Please do not be misled by “myths” and enjoy your life with your child in front of you. The newborn period will pass in the blink of an eye.