As a nanny to a newborn, you should be aware of the special circumstances that come with working with an infant. Here are a few tips to help make your experience easier:
Be sure to coordinate with your employer on their feeding preferences, but below are some general practices:
- Newborns need to be fed every 2-3 hours
- Early signs of hunger: stretching, sucking motions, and lip movements
- If you’re formula-feeding, the baby will most likely take about 2-3 ounces (60-90 milliliters) at each feeding
- If the baby stops sucking, closes their mouth, or turns away from the bottle, he or she might be full or simply need a break. Use this as an opportunity to burp baby before feeding again.
When changing a newborn’s diaper, it is important to remember that their skin is sensitive. Diaper rashes are commonly occur when a baby’s skin becomes irritated by a wet or dirty diaper. To prevent or heal a diaper rash, try:
- Change baby’s diaper frequently
- After cleaning the area with water or a wipe, apply a diaper rash or “barrier” cream
- If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye and fragrance-free detergents
Notes: When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection.
You should give the newborn a sponge bath until:
- the umbilical cord falls off (1-4 weeks)
- the circumcision heals (1-2 weeks)
- the naval heals completely (1-4 weeks)
A bath two or three times a week in the first year is sufficient. More frequent bathing may be drying to the skin.
You’ll need the following items before bathing the newborn:
- a soft, clean washcloth
- mild, unscented baby soap and shampoo
- a soft brush to stimulate the baby’s scalp
- towels or blankets
- an infant tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm – not hot! – water (to test the water temperature, feel the water with the inside of your elbow or wrist). An infant tub is a plastic tub that can fit in the bathtub and is better fitted for the infant and makes bath time easier to manage.
- a clean diaper
- clean clothes
Keep in mind that babies use crying to communicate. Newborns cries will tell you when they need something – whether it be food, a diaper change, a nap, or just needing to be held. Before you know it, you’ll be able to recognize the newborn’s need and respond accordingly.