Essential Newborn Care Tips: Feeding, Sleeping, and Massage

Essential Newborn Care Tips: Feeding, Sleeping, and Massage

Bringing home that tiny bundle of joy also brings a whole lot of questions – especially in those first few weeks. Am I feeding enough? Too much? Are they sleeping okay? Should we try this baby massage in Singapore thing, everyone’s talking about? Let’s break down some of the essentials to help ease your mind and get you feeling like you’ve got this whole newborn thing figured out.

Feeding Your Newborn

Newborns have tiny stomachs and need to be fed frequently. Try to feed your baby every 2-3 hours, even if it means waking them gently. Watch for hunger cues like rooting (turning their head and opening their mouth), sucking on hands, or crying. If you choose to breastfeed, ensure proper latching to prevent sore nipples and ensure your baby receives adequate milk. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to find what works best. Breastfeeding takes practice, so be patient and seek help from a lactation consultant if needed.

Whether using formula or expressed breast milk, carefully sterilise bottles and follow formula preparation instructions. Hold your baby in a semi-upright position during feeding and tilt the bottle so the nipple is always filled with milk to prevent air swallowing. Burp your baby frequently during and after feeds to release trapped gas. Common burping positions include holding your baby upright against your chest, sitting them on your lap with support, or laying them across your knees face down.

Essential Newborn Care Tips Feeding, Sleeping, and Massage

Newborn Sleep

Newborns sleep a lot! They usually clock in about 16-17 hours of sleep per day, but they have very short sleep cycles lasting 40-50 minutes. They often wake up briefly between cycles and may need help settling back to sleep. Newborns spend a significant amount of time in active sleep (similar to REM sleep in adults). This is characterised by twitching, irregular breathing, eye movements under closed eyelids, and occasional whimpers or cries. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. 

Early on, newborns don’t have a set day/night sleep schedule. They sleep in short bursts around the clock, driven mainly by hunger. Patience is key in those first weeks! Every baby is different. Some newborns may sleep for longer stretches, while others may wake more frequently. This is all within the normal range.

Tips for Encouraging Healthy Sleep in Newborns

  • Swaddling: It mimics the snug feeling of the womb, helping many newborns feel secure and sleep more soundly. Ensure you are using a safe swaddling technique.
  • White Noise: Constant, gentle sounds can be soothing, mimicking the sounds babies were used to in the womb.
  • Sleepy Cues: Watch for signs of sleepiness, such as yawning, rubbing eyes, or fussiness. Put your baby down for sleep when they show these cues to avoid becoming overtired.
  • Daytime vs. Nighttime: Expose your baby to natural light and normal household activity during the day. At night, keep things dim, quiet and feed low-key to start establishing the difference.
  • Bedtime Routine: Even in these early weeks, a simple bedtime routine (bath, book, lullaby) can start signalling to your baby that it’s time to wind down.

The Benefits of Baby Massage

Baby massage is more than just a calming cuddle session. It’s a tool that offers a multitude of benefits for both your baby’s physical and emotional well-being. 

  • Bonding and Attachment: Touch is a primary love language for babies. Massage provides a beautiful opportunity for skin-to-skin contact, releasing oxytocin (the bonding hormone) in both you and your baby. This strengthens the emotional connection and fosters a sense of security and trust.
  • Communication: Regular massage sessions help you learn to read your baby’s cues better. You’ll become more attuned to their body language and responses to touch, allowing you to respond to their needs more effectively.
  • Improved Digestion: Gentle massage around your baby’s tummy can help relieve gas and constipation, promoting better digestion and overall comfort. If your baby is experiencing teething discomfort or gas pains, gentle massage can provide relief and foster a sense of calm.
  • Coordination: Massage strokes can stimulate nerve endings and promote blood circulation, which can contribute to better muscle development and coordination. Massage also helps babies become more aware of their bodies, limbs, and sense of touch. This proprioceptive input is crucial for early development.
  • Reduces Stress Hormones: Massage lowers stress hormones like cortisol while increasing calming hormones like oxytocin. This can lead to a more relaxed state, helping your baby fuss less and sleep more soundly.

Baby massage is a beautiful way to connect with your little one. Here’s a simple guide to get you started on this practice.

  1. Find a warm, quiet room free from distractions. This could be your nursery, bedroom, or even the living room during a quiet time. 
  1. You’ll need a soft, comfortable surface, like a changing mat or a towel on the floor. To avoid being too cold, warm a small amount of baby-safe oil (like sweet almond or coconut oil) in your hands. 
  1. Avoid massaging your baby right after a feeding. Ideally, wait at least 45 minutes after their last meal to ensure they’re comfortable and not hungry. Look for calm and alert cues, such as cooing or playtime.

Begin with long, flowing strokes. Throughout the massage, pay close attention to your baby’s reactions. Watch for signs of relaxation, like sighing or cooing. If your baby seems fussy or uncomfortable, stop the massage and try again later.

Where to Find Newborn Massage in Singapore?

Many resources are available if you’re intrigued by the benefits of baby massage but would like guidance from a professional. A quick internet search for “infant massage in Singapore” will bring up resources near you. For a convenient at-home option, consider Postnatal Massage Singapore. We offer a free baby massage tutorial along with our postnatal massage package, providing a beautiful experience to learn the techniques and enjoy the benefits of massage for you and your baby. Visit our website to learn more now!

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