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No matter how much you may have read about being a new mother and how many classes you may have taken, nothing can fully prepare you for the task of motherhood. Every baby is different and it’s impossible to anticipate how each will react in any given circumstance. However, there are a few general rules of thumb that can make life with your newborn a little easier.

Noise is Okay: Many parents tip toe around because they are afraid of making noise that will wake their baby up. However, the womb is loud, and most babies are used to noise. While abrupt loud noises might wake your baby, things like talking quietly, vacuuming and washing dishes should all be perfectly okay to do while your child sleeps.

Soothing your Baby When It’s Crying: All babies cry and sometimes it’s impossible to figure out why they are upset. So, while it may be difficult for you to eliminate the source of contention, there are some methods you can use that are effective in soothing your baby.

Patting your baby’s back will help to soothe them and eliminate gas. If all else fails, try calming moves like swaddling, shushing, holding the baby on its side, swinging your baby or letting it suck.

Latching in Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can be particularly challenging for new mothers, especially when it comes to getting babies to latch on the breast. Nipple shields provide a bigger target for suckling so that babies have an easier time latching on. Nipple shields can also protect sore nipples and help with an overactive letdown.

Make Sure Your Baby is Full Before It Sleeps: Bottle feedings are soothing for babies and many parents will find their little ones nodding off before finishing their bottle. Although it may be tempting to set your baby down in their crib at this point, it is best to get him or her to finish its feeding before putting it down for its nap. Otherwise, your baby may wake up from hunger before it is fully rested.

To keep your baby awake during feedings, stroke his or her cheek gently. Then, once it is finished with its bottle, you can put it down for a nap.

Encourage Your Baby to Sleep Alone: Many babies like to sleep with their mommies or daddies, but it is important to get them used to their own crib.

Some babies like to sleep with their parents because they enjoy the warmth of their bodies. You can get them comfortable in their own cribs by warming up their blankets right before they go to sleep. This can be done by putting a heating pad in their blankets or putting blankets in a dryer before bedtime.

Bath Time Tips: Bath time can be tricky for new parents. While maneuvering and logistics can be challenging, babies often find bath time unpleasant because they are cold. To keep your baby warm, keep a warm wash cloth on his or her belly.

If your house tends to be cold, turn water temperature up a little higher so that your baby does not get chilly.

Helping Your Baby Sleep: It can be difficult to get babies to go to sleep but there are things you can do to soothe your baby helping it to get to sleep faster.

Every baby is different, but some will respond to having their noses stroked gently to lull them into sleep. If this doesn’t help, try rubbing their back or singing to them. Find out what works for you child in helping them get those much-needed Zzzz’s.

Make Baby Bonding Time with Daddy: The bond you make with your baby in the womb goes a long way and sometimes it is so strong that your child will have a hard time being left alone with daddy and other relatives or strangers. However, you child needs to feel comfortable with others when mommy is away and getting him or her to bond with daddy will be the first step.

Choose a time when your child is fed and well rested and leave him or her alone with daddy for an hour or two. If you are in the house at this time, be sure to stay out of sight and resist the urge to step in if you hear your baby cry or fuss. Your baby should get used to being without you in no time.

Taking care of a baby is hard work but these tips should help you become better prepared so that your job may become a bit easier. We wish you the best of luck on your exciting journey through motherhood!