After your baby has become a part of your life, you will do everything for its well-being. And yet, especially in the case of first children, many questions and uncertainties crop up. How often should babies feed? How often should they be bathed? How often do they need to be changed? What if they keep crying at night? How long do they need to be breast or bottle fed?
After the pregnancy and birth, you're now gradually establishing a daily routine with your baby. You're learning the ropes to looking after your baby and experiencing a special time together.
Feeding, changing and bathing your baby are without doubt some of the nicest duties you have as a mother. Enjoy these moments of close intimacy. The more skin contact your baby has, the more secure it feels.
You'll soon discover that your baby is developing their own personality. Your baby will cry if they need something or don't feel well. And sleep peacefully if all is well in their little world. Several factors might stop your baby sleeping. Newborns need to develop a sleep cycle in the first few weeks. So it's quite normal for babies to wake up at any time of the day or night. The midwife can provide hints and tips if your baby has particular problems sleeping.
Breast milk: the best food for your baby
It's wonderful if you're able to breastfeed your baby. Your milk is the best food for your newborn. Babies feed differently. One may be full in ten minutes, another might suckle away for 30 to 40 minutes.
In the first few weeks, your baby will need to feed eight to twelve times every 24 hours. In addition to providing nutrition, breastfeeding satisfies your baby's need to suckle. Suckling relaxes your baby. You and your baby can decide how long to continue breastfeeding. Institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding for a full six months at least. Breastfeeding for longer will not harm you or your baby. However, experts recommend that you begin supplementing breast milk with weaning food between four and six months, to give your child the energy they need to grow.
Talk to your midwife or breastfeeding counsellor if you are struggling with breastfeeding. They will also advise you on monitoring your baby's weight.
Should I stop breastfeeding once my baby's first teeth arrive?
Teeth and breastfeeding are not incompatible. Every baby begins teething in their own sweet time. Some babies are even born with teeth. Most babies don't bite when feeding. But if your baby does bite, don't scream. Instead, you should interrupt the feed and make eye contact with your child.
Not enough breast milk?
Don't be too worried if you feel that you're not producing enough milk. There's rarely any serious problem. Bear in mind that the size of your breasts has no effect on milk production. Producing enough milk is entirely dependent on the tissue of the mammary glands. So even if you have small breasts, you will still be able to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding and medication
If you have to take medication at any point while breastfeeding, remember to consider your baby. As a general rule, breast milk hardly ever contains dangerous levels of medicinal products, but you should always consult your doctor.
More detailed information and useful advice on breastfeeding can be found on the Swiss Foundation for the Promotion of Breastfeeding website.
There is a handy rule of thumb for children's clothes: your baby should always be wearing one more layer than you. The rule applies in summer and in winter alike. When it is cold, your baby will stay warm under several layers. There is no need to worry if your baby has cold hands or feet: just pull on some mittens or socks. What your baby most needs, however, is physical contact.
You should always wash new baby clothes once or twice before use. It's best to use a liquid, fragrance-free detergent. Avoid fabric softeners, which can irritate the skin. Always wash baby clothes at 60°C and rinse thoroughly, to prevent allergic reactions.
Choosing a paediatrician
If this is your first child, you should now be looking for a paediatrician. Ideally, you want to choose a practice that is not too far away, so you can get there quickly if your baby becomes ill or requires emergency treatment.
Registering and insuring your baby
Don't forget that your baby has to be registered with your local authority. If it was born in hospital or at a birthing centre, the secretarial office usually takes care of this. If you gave birth at home, you will need to take care of the registration yourself. Also bear in mind that, aside from loving care, your baby needs insurance protection tailored to your needs. But you may have already taken care of this before or during your pregnancy.
Free advice for mothers and fathers
The arrival of a baby brings with it many questions. New mothers and fathers may be grateful for useful tips and information from specialists. You can obtain free advice and support from the service for mothers and fathers provided by your local authority. Don't hesitate to contact them if you have any questions.