Do You Need to Take a Newborn Care Class?
Early parenthood can be magical, blissful, and full of excitement. It’s also a time of transition which naturally comes with a lot of questions! Am I doing this right? Is my baby getting enough milk? When can I sleep again?
As a postpartum doulas, we love supporting parents in those early days – answering newborn care questions and witnessing parents bloom. In this post, we have compiled our answers to some of the most asked questions to help you feel more prepared when your baby arrives.
FAQ: Newborns & Newborn Care 101
Are you ready for some of our most commonly asked questions? Here we go…
Q: How do I care for the umbilical cord & when does it fall off?
A: The umbilical cord connects your baby to their placenta and brings them oxygen and nutrients while in utero. After birth, the cord is clamped and cut, leaving just a small piece at your baby’s navel. Keep the stump clean and dry, making sure to not cover it with the diaper. The stump will begin to dry out and eventually fall off on its own at about 1-3 weeks. Stick to sponge baths for your baby until it falls off. A couple drops of blood at the site is normal.
Q: My provider mentioned doing “eyes and thighs” when my baby is born. What does that mean?
A: During their first 24 hours of birth, babies are routinely given an eye ointment and 2 injections into their thighs. The eye ointment is called erythromycin and is used to protect babies against eye infections from bacteria in the birth canal. The two injections are Vitamin K and the Hepatitis B vaccine. Vitamin K is to help with blood clotting; the Hepatitis B vaccine is to prevent against the liver disease Hepatitis B.
We recommend expecting parents research each of these interventions (or ask your doula for resources!) so you can make informed decisions on what is best for your family.
Q: What can I expect with newborn sleep? How can I get more sleep during postpartum?
A: Because of their tiny stomachs, newborns need to eat every 2-3 hours around the clock. The time is measured from the start of one feed to the start of the next, which only leaves a short window for sleeping in between. Rest must be intentional – it is important to ask for help and get creative!
Aim for at least 6.5 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Take naps during the day and coordinate time with your partner, family, friends, or overnight doula to support your sleep. Maintain healthy sleep habits such as a bedtime ritual, relaxing teas, and limiting screen time at night. Remind yourself that this season is temporary and you will sleep well again!
Please reach out if you are unable to sleep or experience insomnia in your postpartum.
Q: I’ve heard breastfeeding can be really hard. How can I best prepare?
A: We highly recommend taking a breastfeeding class and meeting with a lactation consultant prior to birth. Know what a good latch looks (and sounds!) like and some different positions and techniques you can try. If you plan on pumping, get fitted for your flange size prior to birth and get familiar with your pump and how it works. Like any new skill, breastfeeding takes time to feel truly comfortable. Be patient and give grace to yourself and your baby. And though there is a lot of advice out there, you’ll know what is best for you and your baby. Trust your instincts.
Newborn Care is Important
Learning your baby or babies language(s), including cues and cries doesn’t is important. But, it doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, let’s normalize not knowing everything about newborn care before your babe has arrived! You’ll have a lot to learn, and there are countless ways to receive the information you do need. One of the ways that we share our knowledge about newborn care with families is our Holistic Newborn Care Class.
Have more questions? In depth guidance around these topics and many more happens in this class at Root and Rise Collective in Mesa, AZ. Reach out to Doula Hannah today about our regularly scheduled classes to learn more and register or email us.
Hi! I’m Alyssa Leon. I lead Cherry Blossom Doula Services, LLC – an inclusive birth + postpartum doula team in Arizona; and mentor doulas in Arizona and beyond.