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newborn care dubai

Newborn Baby Care 101: What Should You Know?

Babies are indeed tiny bundles of joy. After waiting patiently for months, dreaming of the day you get to hold your little one in your arms, it’s natural for parents to have a mix of feelings. From the unbridled happiness that fills your heart to the many questions and confusions you have when it comes to newborn care, we understand that parents may get overwhelmed in the first few weeks.

This is why our pediatricians in Dubai believe that every parent needs a bit of help, whether it’s their first time or fourth. With a little help and advice from our experts, parents can easily navigate the challenges involved in newborn care, giving them plenty of time to cherish and bond with their babies from day one. 

#1 Feeding your newborn

One of the very first things you will need to tend to is feeding your little one. No matter how you feed your baby, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep you and your little one comfortable during the process.


  • If you are planning to breastfeed your newborn, our pediatricians recommend starting the nursing within the first hour of your delivery. This ensures that your little one receives colostrum or the first breastmilk, which is rich in antibodies necessary to keep many diseases at bay. Breastfeeding within the first hour of life is also found to prevent sepsis, pneumonia, diarrheas, and hypothermia in infants.
  • You may find it a little hard to breastfeed at first, especially as a first-time parent. For you and your baby to be comfortable while breastfeeding make sure that your little one has latched on to the nipples properly and can suckle without strain. A good breastfeeding position and routine will come with practice, so there is no need to worry if you don’t get it right from the start. If required, get help from your maternity nurse, lactation counselor, or pediatrician in Dubai.
  • Find a comfortable position for breastfeeding. Many mothers find it easy to sit on a chair and use a feeding pillow to hold and angle their newborns in the best way while feeding. 
  • As a breastfeeding parent, you must take care of your diet as well. Keep yourself hydrated and eat healthy foods. Your doctor may also recommend taking calcium, multivitamins, or iron supplements during breastfeeding to keep up the nutrient levels in your body.
  • If you are unable to breastfeed your newborn immediately after birth and are separated for medical reasons or if your little one is unable to latch, you can still express your milk and feed him/her. Most hospitals and birth centers have hospital-grade breast pumps which can be used to pump milk to feed newborns. If you plan to express and feed your baby for an extended time, you can buy a manual or electric breast pump at your convenience. 

Formula feeding

  • If you have decided to formula feed your newborn, ask your pediatrician in Dubai if they recommend any particular brand or formula with added iron, DHA, or other nutrients for your baby. 
  • Most formulas are based on cow’s milk and are readily available in the market. If you are concerned about possible allergic reactions to milk protein, you can consider hypoallergenic formulas.
  • When formula feeding, ensure that the bottle you use is disinfected beforehand. On mixing the formula milk, you can use a bottle warmer or a pan of warm water to heat the milk to an optimum temperature. Check the temperature of the milk before feeding.
  • You can keep a bottle of unused milk at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours. You can refrigerate the same for 24 hours. On the other hand, don’t save any formula your baby leaves behind in the bottle as bacteria from their saliva can contaminate it.
  • Once a formula packet is opened, ensure that it’s used within a month of opening. 

#2 Newborn clothing

Many times, parents buy everything they find “cute” to dress up their babies. While these costumes may seem like a great find at first, it is super important to consider the fabric, style, and ease of dressing before putting them on your newborn. Babies below the age of 6 months are unable to regulate their body temperature. So it is important to dress them in layers if it’s cool outside or dress them lightly if the room is hot. Ideally, your newborn should be wearing as many layers of clothes as you. Additionally, ensure that the fabric is soft and breathable, with no irritating bits such as rough zippers, which may rub against their skin and cause discomfort. 

#3 Keeping your little one clean

Babies are often born covered in a creamy, greasy white substance known as vernix caseosa, which acts as a protective film for their sensitive skin. Vernix caseosa is composed of water, lipids, enzymes, and immune proteins with antibacterial properties, keeping your baby safe inside and outside the womb. While most hospitals and birthing centers wash babies right after the birth, The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends waiting at least 6 hours before bathing the newborn and not wiping off the Vernix completely after the birth.

By waiting 6 to 24 hours before your baby’s first bath, your little one will stay warm and stabilize his/her blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing hypothermia. Also, by shifting the focus to skin-to-skin contact right after birth, you and your baby will get more time to bond and initiate successful breastfeeding. The presence of vernix on newborn skin will keep the newborn skin supple and hydrated in the meantime.

Once you feel ready to bathe your little one, you can use plain, warm water to do the cleaning. Check the temperature of the water before using it on your baby. Now hold your baby gently on your knee, supporting their head and neck, and clean their face. You can also wash their hair with water, supporting the head over a bowl. Dry the baby’s hair gently before moving on to the rest of the body. Wash their neck, hands, feet, and bottom gently before lowering your baby gently into the basin. Support their head and shoulders to keep them above the water and slowly swish water over the baby without splashing. Lift your baby out and pat them dry, with special attention to the creases in their skin. After the bath, you can massage your little one to help them relax and sleep better. Ideally, you should wait for a few weeks before using oils or lotions on your baby’s skin. If you feel your baby’s skin is dry, you can get suggestions from your baby’s pediatrician in Dubai for a hypoallergenic moisturizer or lotion that can be used on their skin. Make sure to limit the baths to 10 minutes a day.

When washing your baby. Give special attention to the umbilical cord stump. Ensure that it’s clean and dry at all times to avoid infections. The stump would shrivel and fall off in a few weeks, until which you will have to be careful around the region. When you put on the nappy, tie it below the stump.

#4 Understanding your baby’s poop

Right after the birth, your baby will start passing a thick black or dark green substance called meconium, which is its first poop. Within a few days, the poop’s color and texture change according to the milk they consume. Breastfed babies will have 6 to 8 bowel movements in a day where they pass soft yellow-green poop filled with seed-like particles. Formula fed-babies on the other hand will have a lesser number of bowel movements and pass thicker yellow or tan colored poop. Remember that unless your newborn has signs of diarrhea, variations in their poop color, consistency, and frequency are considered normal. In case of diarrhea or other inconsistencies that concern you, speak to your baby’s pediatrician for medical advice.

#5 Naps and sleep schedules

Newborns will have no idea about days and nights and often mix them up. Your baby may sleep more during the day and stay awake at night, causing you to go sleepless as well. If your baby has gone into this topsy-turvy pattern, there are a few ways to switch it back. During morning hours, keep the room bright and engage with your little one. Talk, sing and play with him/her and keep them busy during the day. Provide some exercise such as tummy time and light stretches to keep them active. As night falls, dim the lights and slowly rock your baby while feeding him. Be silent and boring, gently massaging and relaxing them.

With that said, you don’t have to be rigid with these routines right from day one. Babies below the age of 3 months are still evolving their schedules. Following these simple routines will help them regulate their cycle as they grow. Remember that newborns and younger babies are too little for any kind of sleep training. You can consider sleep training when babies are around 4 to 6 months old.

#6 Visiting a newborn

As parents, entertaining visitors, while you have a newborn, is entirely at your discretion. If you feel you and your little one need some time before meeting people, it’s completely okay to politely decline visitors. Even when you are ready for visitors, you can enforce some boundaries that will keep your little one safe and comfortable.

  • Make sure that your visitors have washed or sanitized their hands before holding your little one. Babies who have developing immune systems are more prone to illness if they come in contact with disease-causing agents.
  • You can say no to kissing your baby on their face or anywhere for that matter. 
  • If you feel more comfortable having only adult visitors, you can convey the same. While all children are adorable, they may not understand the dos and don’ts of seeing a newborn.

#7 Other safety measures

While we discussed some of the general rules of newborn care, our best pediatricians in Dubai also recommend following some additional safety measures to ensure a safe environment for your little one to grow.

  • It is best advised to use a car seat when you are traveling with a newborn. A safe, age-appropriate car seat will ensure that your baby is safe while in a moving vehicle. 
  • If you are using a crib, ensure that the mattress is tight fitting and not too soft. It is best advised not to put pillows, comforters, bumper pads, or stuffed toys inside the crib to reduce the chances of suffocation. If you feel the need to put a blanket over your little one, place the baby’s feet at the foot of the crib and use a lightweight blanket that is firmly tucked in at the end. Remember to place your baby on his/her back always while in the crib.
  • If you are co-sleeping with your little one, keep pillows and blankets away from them to avoid obstructing their breathing or overheating them. Ensure that your baby is in a safe position on the bed, without the possibility of falling off or getting caught between the mattress and wall. Additionally, it is best not to allow younger siblings and pets on the bed where the baby is sleeping.
  • If you feel like your baby has a fever, with a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or 102 F if your baby is 2 months or older, take him/her to see their pediatrician immediately. Even if your little one doesn’t have a fever and still shows signs of discomfort such as not feeding, or seems to be in pain, contact your pediatric clinic in Dubai regardless of their temperature.

When to see a pediatrician

Our best pediatricians in Dubai are available to answer queries and concerns regarding newborn care at all times. In case your little one has a fever or shows signs of illness such as irritability, redness on their body, constipation, watery or mucousy stools, vomiting, or any other signs of distress, contact our pediatric clinic immediately. 

Follow these simple instructions and keep your doubts and concerns away. Newborn care comes naturally to many parents. If you feel the need for more help you can always reach out to the experts.

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