During exterogestation, your baby requires special care since they are adapting to the environment outside the womb. Read on for some tips!
When they’re born, human babies are still very immature compared to other baby mammals. It is as if they are still attached to the mother’s body: this period is called exterogestation, or the four trimester. The definition of the term refers precisely to a “pregnancy outside the uterus.”
During this period, the continuous and close relationship between mother and baby has a profound impact on the child’s development, including physical, emotional, and psychological aspects. Continue reading to learn how to take care of your baby during their first weeks of life.
What Is Exterogestation?
Exterogestation corresponds to the first weeks of your baby’s life, especially the first three months after birth. During this period, your little one is very fragile and dependent, and they go through a phase of great adaptation to the environmental conditions outside the uterus.
Therefore, experts advise treating this stage as if it was the fourth trimester of pregnancy. For your baby to receive optimal care and go through this adaptation phase in the best possible way, parents should try to reproduce the uterine environment as much as possible.
How To Take Care Of Your Baby During Exterogestation
Here are some tips and recommendations on how to cope with exterogestation in the best way.
The bonding between mother and baby is one of the most important parts of this period. Despite the cut of the umbilical cord, babies need to be in constant proximity with their mothers. So whenever possible carry or hold your baby close to you. You can dance with them, carry them in a sling, or even lay down and put your baby face down on your body.
Even if they are in the stroller or crib, keep talking to them. These affective interactions are essential for your baby’s healthy development and they contribute to the development of a secure attachment, which impacts your little one’s interpersonal relationships throughout life.
Newborns need many hours of sleep and cannot stay awake for long. Therefore, it is very important to respect this need by allowing your little one to take several naps during the day. In the past, people used to keep babies awake to tire them so they would sleep through the night. But this can have the opposite effect: if your baby is too tired and overstimulated, they will struggle more to fall asleep.
The best way to regulate your baby’s sleep at night is to establish a sleep routine. A sequence of events —for example, giving your baby a massage, a bath, and feeding them— will become associated with sleep, and thus your little one will learn how and when to fall asleep.
Another tip for your baby’s sleep during exterogestation is to make sure that the sleeping environment is adequate and calm; this includes lighting and temperature. To prepare your baby for sleep, start turning off the lights in the house at the end of the day and avoid overly stimulating activities, such as loud conversations and games, when your baby’s bedtime approaches.
Feeding And Suction
You’ve probably heard that breastfeeding is great for your baby, right? That’s because breastfeeding has many benefits, both for the baby and their mother. If you make this choice, remember to feed your baby on demand.
Also, remember that sucking is much more than a simple mechanism to meet nutritional needs —newborns suck on things to seek comfort, which is why many even get into the habit of thumb sucking. Therefore, it is not a bad thing to let your baby suckle at the breast; on the contrary, this increases the comfort and the affective bond you have with them.
If you want or need to feed your baby with milk formula, it is important to follow your doctor’s guidelines regarding the amounts and frequency of feedings. Still, it is worth emphasizing that according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, babies should not eat other foods before they’re six months old, so avoid adding anything else to the bottle.
Parents’ main concern regarding bathing their newborns revolves around the safety and temperature of the water. It should be similar to body temperature (between 97 and 98 ° F or 36 and 37.5 ° C). Also, give your baby “sponge baths” until the umbilical cord stump falls off.
At this stage, baths should be short (no more than 5 minutes). Also, remember to protect your baby’s ears so that water doesn’t get in since this could cause otitis (ear infection).
If your baby’s umbilical stump hasn’t fallen off, remember to clean it frequently using damp cotton. Clean the area gently, without applying too much pressure, and make sure it dries completely.
Finally, one of the biggest challenges for parents during the exterogestation phase is interpreting the baby’s cry. It is important to emphasize that at this age babies do not cry because they’ve been spoiled. In the first weeks of life, crying is always a sign of discomfort: being hungry, cold, or hot; having a dirty diaper; being in pain or simply needing affection and warmth.
Therefore, it is not advisable to let your baby cry for a long time. Try to identify the cause of the discomfort and alleviate it. Having a routine with your baby will help you a lot with this since having regular daily activities will help you figure out what may or may not be bothering your baby.
As you have seen, exterogestation represents a phase of much adaptation. Therefore, it is important to take care of your baby, always bearing in mind that they have just come out of the womb and that everything is new for them, even not being connected to their mother’s body. To face this and other stages of your little one’s development, Kinedu is a great ally!
Download our app to learn more about early childhood with classes led by experts, track your baby’s development, and stimulate them with age-appropriate activities during each stage of development.