By Nancy Gottesman
Just a few decades ago, families lived in tight communities where new moms learned their parenting skills from their own mothers. In the 21st century, however, many of us live far away from our moms, aunts, sisters and grandmas—the traditional teachers of vital newborn skills like diaper changing, nail clipping and baby burping. “With families being separated, many new parents have had no experience with a newborn until they bring their own baby home,” says Fatima S. Khan, MD, FAAP, chair of pediatrics at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Ill., and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Rush Medical College in Chicago, who teaches baby how-to classes to expectant parents. Khan highly recommends that all expectant parents take a “newborn 101” class well before their due date to familiarize themselves with newborn needs.
Even if you did attend a parenting class at your hospital or birthing center, once you actually have your little bundle in your arms, you may forget everything you were taught. Don’t fret—we’re here to help! On these pages, you’ll find quick, practical instructions for everything from swaddling to umbilical-cord care. Brush up on these skills now, and you’ll feel more confident about caring for your newborn in those first crazy weeks at home. By week six, our experts guarantee, you’ll feel like an old pro. “Although you may have anxieties when you bring your baby home, do try to enjoy this magical time,” advises Alan Greene, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Thankfully, this brand-new adventure has worked out very well throughout human history.”
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