There is no greater joy than a baby. When caring for an infant remember that you are their only method of survival. While caring for an infant might be the most challenging thing you every do – it will also be a time filed with love.
Care for them with a calm confident manner, using your real personality (no one wants to sustain high pitch baby talk for longer than a few minutes). Babies are learning basic human interaction and are socialized by your direct and honest engagement.
Holding the infant. Always support the head. Tuck the head into the crook of your with your forearm long it’s back with feet and legs in your hands. (Heisman Trophy football hold style.) Make it a habit to have a hold onto a leg or arm to a leg just in case there is a slip.
Feeding the baby. If you are breastfeeding follow the infants pattern alternating which breast you nurse from first with each feeding. Look for information or a support person from the local LeLeche League if needed. For bottle feeding, find a formula, bottle and nipple combination that works for both of you. This may take some trial and error. Never heat formula in the microwave. Put a cloth over your shoulder, hold the infant upright against your shoulder, making sure to support its head. Do no pat the infants back, instead do a circular motion on its back.
Diapering may also take some trial and error as you find a diaper brand that does not cause a reaction. Find a safe place to lie the baby down, if not a diaper table with railing and safety belt then a towel on the floor. Assemble Diaper, wipes and a change of clothes if needed. If you are using a raised surface such as a changing table you will keep one hand on the child at all times and not step away from the baby to prevent falls. To diaper the baby, lay them on their back, unsnap the clothes and take the feet out, positioning the clothes up around the babies middle. Get out the new diaper, take the old diaper off and wipe as needed, put the new diaper under the babies bottom, pull between legs and up the front, bring the tabs from the back around to the front. While Mommies have used power for generations, it is no longer recommended because of the health hazards for the baby breathing in the powder.
Putting the baby to sleep. Always position on the back with no pillows. Make sure you can hear the baby cry and respond appropriately.
When a baby cries you can almost always find and fix the source of negative stimulus that is making the baby cry. Are they wet and need a change? Are they hungry and need a bottle? Are they tired and need a nap? If the baby you are caring for is not satisfied, take him or her to see a doctor. If the baby has colic and cries inconsolably in the evenings, get help. You need to schedule a time when someone else is there to relieve you from the excruciating experience of crying for no apparent reason and you being unable to help. If you are ever at your wits end – just put them in the crib with railing up and step away until you are calm. If you cannot take care of yourself to be strong and ready to engage, you are not ready to take care of the baby. This is OK, we have all been there. Just always make sure the baby’s surroundings are safe and age appropriate.