For new parents, taking care of a baby is the start of a new chapter of their life. But it is not easy as crying can be the most stressful part of taking care of a baby, said Robert Sege of Healthychildren.org, a powered by pediatricians and trusted by parents. Most newborns cry a lot from two weeks to two months of age. Some cry more than other newborns and others may cry longer. Being a new parent may be an overwhelming experience for new families, but there are ways to help them cope with the joy and stress of taking care of a baby.
Key Insights On Parenting (2016)
Zero to Three, whose objective is to ensure that babies and toddlers benefit from early connections that aid in their well-being and development, found that 80% of parents from across different races/ethnicities, income, and education levels answered “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement: “I feel as if I’m a really good parent.”
87% of parents across the board said they work hard to be an even better parent. 90% and 70% said parenting is their greatest joy and felt like their life started upon becoming a parent, respectively. 69% said they would use positive parenting strategies if they knew more about them. 83% of respondents from all backgrounds agreed that good parenting can be learned while 54% wished they had more information about how to be a better parent.
The respondents understood that the significance of the first five years of their child’s life, but 25% said they felt equally terrified and motivated. 28% said they felt more motivated than terrified and 5% felt more terrified than motivated. Only 37% and 5% felt completely motivated or completely terrified, respectively.
Across all demographics, 90% of dads said being a parent is their greatest joy while 73% said their lives began when they became a father. 63% of dads and 64% of moms agreed with the statement: “Dads don’t get enough credit for their involvement in raising and caring for young children.” 49% of dads and 17% of moms said they would like to be more involved in raising their child, but their parenting partner interferes with their involvement.
Parents consistently underestimated how early children can be affected by some critical experiences. For example, when asked at what age the quality of a parent’s care has a long-term impact on a child’s development, 50% said six months or older. However, this starts at birth. Meanwhile, 57% of parents answered three months or older.
When asked at what age do children begin to feel sad or fearful, 42% said one year or older but this happens as early as three to five months. 59% said kids begin to feel sad or fearful when they are six months or older. 34% of parents said that talking to kids start to benefit their language skills at a year old or later, while 63% said it begins at three months or older. However, language skills start to benefit children at birth.
Taking Care of A Newborn During the COVID-19 Pandemic
New parents can reach out to their social circle for support and help, but with stay-at-home orders and restrictions, asking for help can be more challenging. Consider video chatting or using social media to talk to a friend or family member. If you are on the receiving end of these calls, it is best to listen to your friend or relative before making suggestions as it can help you provide the support that new parents need.
Sege recommended trying all soothing tricks such as feeding, holding, swaddling, singing, and gently rocking your baby. Put your baby down and take a break if the aforementioned tricks do not work. Ensure that your newborn is in a safe sleep environment, meaning they have to be on their back on a firm sleep surface with a tight-fitting sheet. Your infant should be away from bedding materials, toys, blankets, and pillows.
Don’t forget to take care of your own needs. While taking care of a newborn is daunting, it is strongly recommended to rest as much as you can. Sleep when your baby does. If your partner or another caring adult watches the baby, try engaging in “me time” such as listening to music, calling a friend, or relaxing. If you are a friend, a relative, or a neighbor to a family with an infant, find ways to offer additional support such as offering to buy diapers and baby supplies, dropping off food or treats, and more.
Breastfeeding A Newborn
Presently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said that COVID-19 has not been found in breastmilk, reported Dr. Natasha Burgert of US News, an American media company.
However, it is unclear how babies contract the virus. If you are choosing to breastfeed your newborn, it is possible for the virus to spread through respiratory droplets from you to your baby while breastfeeding. Hence, COVID-19 positive mothers are recommended to follow meticulous hand hygiene and wear a mask or facial covering during close contact. If you are too ill to breastfeed or require separation from your baby after birth due to illness, it is best to consult with a lactation specialist to reach feeding goals.
Visiting Someone’s Home With Your Baby
It’s not a good idea to visit someone’s home to meet your new baby. Asymptomatic infection remains to be a significant issue this pandemic. For instance, in hospitals in New York City, one in eight pregnant people who were admitted for delivery were positive for the virus and did not show any symptoms. This situation indicates that the infection rate in certain areas is higher than expected, including for pregnant people.
It also highlights that those who are at greatest risk of death and dying from the virus need to practice social distancing to avoid getting infected by COVID-19 from an asymptomatic individual. For now, hold off visitors and avoid visiting another person’s home not until it is safe to do so.
Taking care of an infant during the pandemic poses new challenges. For example, parents cannot visit someone’s home to meet their new baby due to the risk of contracting the virus. Parents need to exercise good hygiene and practice social distancing to protect themselves and their newborn from the virus.