5. Picking Up and Handling Baby

If you’re like most first-time parents, the thought of handling baby fills you with trepidation. She’s such a tiny, delicate being. You want to be sure you pick her up correctly, and you don’t want to drop her. Rest easy—she’s not as fragile as you think.

There are ways to handle her so you’ll both feel confident. Always support her head with your hand or arm, and keep an arm or hand under her back. You may hold her close or a little more loosely. Use smooth motions when moving her, and always protect her head with your arm or hand.

Never shake your baby—shaking can result in “shaken baby syndrome.” This causes bleeding and bruising of the brain, injury to the eyes and damage to the spinal cord.

6. Diapering Baby

Changing your baby’s diapers is a necessary task; once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it quickly and efficiently. Many dads soon become experts! See the illustration on the opposite page.

Change baby’s diapers whenever she’s wet or soiled to prevent irritation and diaper rash. A newborn wets between 6 and 10 times a day. Bowel movements are more variable; some babies poop two or three times a day, others only every few days. Whether your baby is breastfed or bottlefed may also make a difference in her bowel movements.

You don’t need to clean baby with baby wipes if she has only a wet diaper. Urine is germ free; using a baby wipe every time you change her could be irritating. If possible, let her “air out” (go without a diaper for a while) between diaper changes. It helps reduce the risk of diaper rash.

A Quick Method to Change Baby

Try this method for changing baby; it’s quick and easy. Lay baby on the changing table; strap her in or keep your hand on her tummy. Undo pins or diaper tabs, and gently lift her ankles. (You can do this with one hand.) With your other hand, wipe any feces into the dirty diaper and put it to the side. Using baby wipes or wet cotton balls, clean the genitals; with a girl, wipe from front to back to avoid contaminating the vaginal area, which could cause a urinary-tract infection. Let her air dry for a bit, or dry her with a soft washcloth. Slide a clean diaper under her as you again lift her ankles. Fasten diaper with pins or tabs, and adjust leg openings so there are no gaps.


Folding a diaper then positioning
it under baby’s bottom.

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