FIRST WEEK WITH BABY
What to Expect Baby’s First Week?
Your Body Is in Shock From Delivery.
Your Baby May Develop Jaundice.
Nursing Is the Hardest It Will Ever Be
You May Cry a Lot.
You Realize What True Sleep Deprivation Actually Is.
Helpful People are So Unhelpful.
You’re on Your Way.
As you get started on this adventure, get to know some of the basics of what you can expect in your baby’s first week.
You’re adjusting, and your newborn is getting used to being out in the world.
To jumpstart the bonding process:
- Spend time skin to skin. Hold your infant close to your chest while feeding or just cuddling. You can also stroke or gently massage your little one.
- Talk baby talk. Coo, babble, sing, and speak to your newborn — she loves the sound of your voice.
- Look in your baby’s eyes and smile. In time, she’ll start to mimic your expressions.
- Use these tips to help your little one snooze:
- When he fusses at night, wait a minute or two to see if he calms himself down and goes back to sleep.
- Be quiet during nighttime feedings or diaper changes. Try not to wake him up too much.
- Be active and play during the day, so he stays awake for longer periods. That can gradually help him sleep more at night.
- She should feed every 2 to 3 hours. You can tell that she’s getting plenty to eat when:
- She spends 10 to 15 minutes at each breast, or she drinks 2 to 3 ounces of formula at each feeding.
- She has six or more wet diapers and two or more dirty diapers every 24 hours.
- After losing a little weight the first week, she starts to gain it the second week. If you’re concerned about her weight, check with your pediatrician.
- Keep the umbilical cord stump and the skin around it clean and dry until the stump shrivels and falls off.
- Give your little one sponge baths, and don’t submerse the cord in water.
- Fold diapers below the cord to keep pee from soaking it.
- remember these basic safety tips:
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back.
- Empty her sleeping area — no pillows, crib bumpers or wedges, toys, or soft bedding like a blanket.
- Your baby can sleep in your room, or vice versa. But don’t sleep or snooze in the same bed.
- Keep up with doctor visits and immunizations.
- Breastfeed your baby, if you can.
- Keep her comfy. Don’t overdress her. You want to prevent overheating.
Your baby may not be able to move around much or babble yet, but he’s bonding with you through every touch, coo, and loving look you give him. Don’t worry if at first you don’t feel that you two are really bonding. The process takes time. Just relax, and try:
- Holding him skin to skin
- Looking into his eyes
- Talking to him
- Cuddling with him
UMBILICAL CORD CARE
Your baby’s umbilical stump will fall off during the first few weeks. Until then:
Fold the front of your baby’s diaper below the navel so it doesn’t irritate or moisten the area around the stump.
Give a sponge bath only (see “Bathtime know-how,” below). It’s okay if the stump gets a little wet—just towel it dry.
CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN IF:
The belly button oozes pus or leaves more than a dab of blood on the diaper (it’s normal for there to be small drops of blood on the diaper when the stump is healing or after the cord falls off).
The skin at the base of the stump turns red, is painful when you touch it or has a bad odor. This may signal an infection that needs immediate medical attention.
Use rubbing alcohol. Studies show that if you use it on your baby’s umbilical cord, the stump can take up to two days longer to fall off than if you keep the cord dry.
Put ointment on the cord unless it’s prescribed by your doctor to treat an infection.
GUARDING AGAINST SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)—when a baby unexpectedly stops breathing and dies in his sleep—occurs in 1 in 1,400 American babies a year, usually before 6 months of age. There is no known cause of SIDS, but research indicates that certain precautions lower the risk.
Be sure to:
- Always put your baby to sleep on his back.
- Make your home a smoke-free environment, and don’t allow others to smoke around your baby.
- Leave bedding like comforters or pillows out of your baby’s crib.
- Keep the temperature in your baby’s room between 68 degrees F and 72 degrees F, so your child won’t overheat while sleeping.
- Breastfeed for as long as possible to build your baby’s immunity to upper respiratory infections
Call immediately if you notice any of the following in your baby:
- A fever higher than 100°F
- Difficulty breathing
- Forceful or repeated vomiting
- Persistent diarrhea
- Blood in his urine or stool
- Frequent, inconsolable or high-pitched crying
- Persistent lethargy
- Yellow- or orange-hued skin or eyes
- A rash, blisters or irritated skin
- White patches in his mouth, which may indicate thrush (the condition isn’t serious, but it can make your baby uncomfortable and unable to nurse or bottle-feed well)
- Any unusual discharge from his eyes, nails, navel or genitals
Normal newborns may lose up to 7% of birth weight in the first few days. After mom’s milk comes in, the average breastfed baby gains 6 oz/week (170 g/week). Take baby for a weight check at the end of the first week or beginning of the second week. Consult with baby’s doctor and your lactation consultant if baby is not gaining as expected.
In the early days, baby typically has one dirty diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two…). After day 4, stools should be yellow and baby should have at least 3-4 stools daily that are the size of a US quarter (2.5 cm) or larger. Some babies stool every time they nurse, or even more often–this is normal, too. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is loose (soft to runny) and may be seedy or curdy.
In the early days, baby typically has one wet diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two…). Once mom’s milk comes in, expect 5-6+ wet diapers every 24 hours. To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water into a clean diaper. A piece of tissue in a disposable diaper will help you determine if the diaper is wet.