Child Health, Family Health, Women's Health Tamar Raucher | 6 years ago

Must Know Tips for Baby's First Days

Whether it’s your first or your fourth, bringing your baby home is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Here are things you’ll want to keep in mind:

Your baby’s birth weight will change. Don’t be alarmed if after a couple of days your baby weighs less than he or she did at birth. It’s normal for newborns to lose 5 to 8 percent of their birth weight in the first week – with proper feeding and care, your baby will make up for it. OMG…can you say ‘sleep deprivation’? You may have thought you knew what it felt like to be tired after those infamous all-nighters in college or consecutive late nights at work, but having a newborn gives a new definition to exhaustion. Remember, babies often have their days and nights mixed up. Best advice? Go with the flow and sleep when the baby sleeps. This period won’t last forever, so enjoy every cuddle, smell and kiss, and look forward to that first smile (around 6 weeks!). Trust your instincts. It can be downright scary to bring a newborn home – and babies certainly don’t come with a manual. You’ll get lots of advice – everything from when to respond to her cries, whether to use a pacifier or when to introduce a bottle. Listen to the advice of others, but use what works for you, learn to trust your maternal instincts and don’t’ hesitate to ask your doctor any question that’s on your mind. You should take the stool softener that your nurse brings you. Enough said. Breast might be best, but it takes time. Breastfeeding may not come as naturally as you might expect or popular culture would have you believe. Be patient. It takes practice – and yes, sore and maybe even cracked and bleeding nipples – for you and your baby to find a groove and a good latch. Your milk also has to “come in,” and as it does you may get engorged. Tip: apply heat before breastfeeding and ice after. Ask your nurse or a lactation consultant for help. Eat, sleep, poop. Get ready for the new around-the-clock routine, and don’t be concerned by poops that are at first black and tar-like and then yellow, green or anything in between. There’s no way to know what your baby wants all the time. It’s okay if you can’t seem to soothe her. Don’t fret; over time your confidence will grow and you’ll come to recognize whether her cries signal hunger, trapped gas, fighting sleep or something else. Sometimes you just won’t be able to figure it out, despite using every trick you know. It’s okay to hand her over to someone you trust or put her in her crib if you need a short breather. It’s normal to cry. You’re likely physically spent, your hormones are out of whack and you’re now responsible for a whole new person. Crying doesn’t necessarily mean that you have postpartum depression, so let it out. The good news is some of your tears will be tears of joy. But if your baby blues persist, talk with your doctor. Your first night home may be one of the worst. There’s a little known secret that babies often don’t transition well from hospital to home. Many couples find their baby becomes very fussy and may be more difficult to soothe after having being fairly quiet and sleepy for their first few days. This too shall pass. It will all be a bit of a blur. The first few days will seem like one VERY long day. Take plenty of photos (or have your partner do it if you’re not feeling up to it), jot down notes and remembrances and revel in these first, magical moments bonding with your baby. Make sure you have enough help at home. Whether it’s your husband, mom, a friend, baby nurse or doula, accept or hire help so that you can focus on healing, feeding and loving your baby. Let someone else do the chores and pick up around the house. Have a list ready of things friends and family can help with, even if it’s doing a grocery run, giving you relief for a nap or planning a meal train. Take your time. Don’t feel the need to rush to respond to every congratulatory call, email or text you receive. Many new moms feel they need to use the time in the hospital visiting with people or replying to messages, but it really is a very special time. And it’s also likely the only time you have medical support. Take advantage of it!  

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