If you’re like many expectant parents, you’re at least a little bit nervous about taking care of a newborn. After all, your baby is going to rely on you for all of its needs, especially in the beginning. You have to keep your baby safe and healthy, help her to grow the way she’s supposed to and establish bonds that will carry your child well into adulthood.
That first week of your baby’s life is particularly crucial when it comes to all of these elements. Even if you’re already a parent, it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher about what you should expect during those early days after your baby’s birth.
Here are some things you need to know about baby’s first week:
Do what you can to bond with baby.
Bonding with your infant can be a wonderful joy. Realize, however, that this first week can be a bit overwhelming for both of you. It can be a little bit rough at first. You’re still recovering from labor and delivery, and your baby is trying to get used to being outside of the womb.
One of the best ways to bond during that first week is skin to skin contact. You, as well as your partner, should hold your baby close to your skin when you’re feeding and at other times, as well. Gentle stroking and massaging will also offer that skin to skin contact.
Looking at your baby and smiling will help to encourage him to smile over time. He’ll mimic you, learning to look at your eyes and your face. He also enjoys the sound of your voice, so make sure to talk to your baby as much as you want to.
Your baby is going to sleep a lot.
That newborn is going to sleep about 16 hours each day. Unfortunately for you, it usually happens in about 90 minute increments. That first week can be a huge adjustment to your sleep schedule, so make sure you’re getting some shut-eye when your baby does.
Feeding can be intimidating.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you might worry your baby isn’t getting enough to eat. She’s going to eat about every two or three hours, and will drink between two and three ounces of formula. Breastfed babies will spend between 10 and 15 minutes on each breast.
And don’t worry that your baby is going to lose a few ounces during that first week; it’s normal, and before you know it he’s going to start gaining rapidly.
Next time, we’ll take a look at some more of the week one issues you might face after your baby is born.
- Dr Miriam Stoppard: Skin to skin contact is good for babies (mirror.co.uk)
- How to Heal from a Traumatic Birth & Bond with Your Baby (sarahockwell-smith.com)