Here are some answers to a few things that dads-to-be often wonder about. You can also find more information on specific issues in the links below.
How Do I Change a Diaper?
A general rule of thumb is to change a newborn’s diaper every 2-3 hours, with additional changes as necessary.
First assemble your supplies: diapers, wipes and diaper cream. Use a changing table or soft surface to change the baby. If he or she is on a changing table, keep at least one hand or your baby and/or use the safety belt.
Open the diaper and start cleaning the baby front-to-back with the wipes. Be forewarned that babies may “have an accident” while you’re changing them – in the case of a boy, you may want to cover his penis with a small cloth until you’re ready to put on the new diaper.
Dry the area thoroughly and apply cream only if there is redness or a rash occurring. Then lift your baby’s legs to lift the bottom and remove the dirty diaper. Place a clean diaper in its place and bring the middle up between the baby’s legs. Hold the front of the diaper against the baby’s tummy while you bring each side over and secure it to the diaper. You will want a snug fit, but obviously, not too tight.
Should I Have My Own Diaper Bag and What Goes In It?
How to I swaddle my baby?
It’s a great idea to have your own diaper bag. There will be plenty of times when plans change and you may need to pick up the baby unexpectedly. Not to mention, you may want one anyway that is more tailored to your style. After all, you will be carrying one a lot.
Items for the bag are as follows:
- Changing Pad
- Change of clothes for baby
- A toy or rattle
- Disposable bags for dropping dirty diapers in the trash (optional)
- A pacifier (optional)
- A baby thermometer (optional)
- A spare bottle (optional)
- A teething ring (optional)
How Do I Interpret Crying, and What Do I Do About It?
The following article on crying is courtesy of our partners at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
The first cries of a newborn baby are often music to the ears of parents. However, over the next weeks and months this "music" can become grating and painful. This is especially true when all attempts fail to stop the crying.
Surprisingly, crying does not produce tears until after the first month or two. Crying is the way babies communicate. They cry because of hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue, and even loneliness. Sometimes, cries can easily be answered with food, or a diaper change. Other times, it can be a mystery and crying stops as quickly as it begins.
You will soon learn differences in cries, from a cry of "I'm hungry" to "I've been overstimulated." It is important to respond to your baby's cries.
Contrary to old wives' tales, young babies cannot be spoiled by being picked up when crying. Being held is reassuring and comforting when a baby cannot express him/herself any other way.
Some techniques to help console a crying baby include the following:
- Take care of physical problems first - hunger, diaper change, need to burp.
- Walk with baby in a sling or in a stroller.
- Rock your baby in a rhythmic, gentle motion.
- Try a baby swing or rocking cradle.
- Gently pat or stroke on the back or chest.
- Try swaddling the baby.
- Go for a ride in the car.
- Turn on some white noise (such as a washing machine or vacuum cleaner).
No matter how frustrated you may become, NEVER SHAKE A BABY. This can cause severe injury to the baby's fragile brain. If you become angry or frustrated, allow someone else to take over for a while. If you are alone, put the baby down in a safe place, such as the crib, and go to another room for a few moments. This will give you time to collect yourself. Then you can return to your baby and try a different tactic to comfort your baby.