When you bring home your newborn baby, you’ll be faced with hundreds of decisions. Do you breastfeed or bottle feed? How often should I feed him? Is he getting enough to eat? You’ll have many questions and perhaps not know how to answer them, which can be both overwhelming and confusing. Instead of spending weeks—or even months—trying to figure it all out on your own, here are some guidelines that will help you through the first few weeks with your newborn baby.
The first 24 hours
After you’ve welcomed your new baby into the world, it’s time to start getting to know each other. The first few hours are crucial for bonding and getting your baby off to a good start. Here’s what you can expect in those first 24 hours.
After the delivery of your baby, the nurse will take care of him or her while you get cleaned up. A pediatrician will examine them soon after birth and then again at two days old.
You’ll also want to weigh them before they go home with you – they’ll probably be around 2.5 kg. And if there are any complications or concerns, they’ll be seen by a pediatrician again at 2-3 days old as well as 10-14 days old. But don’t worry, most babies come out of the womb just fine!
It may take about an hour for your baby’s body temperature to stabilize after coming out of the womb so make sure they’re bundled up. For the first couple of weeks, don’t worry too much about their weight – what matters is that they’re healthy and happy.
The next 7 days
Now that your baby is here, it’s time to get into a routine. For the first week, you’ll be focused on bonding with your little one and getting them acclimated to their new surroundings.
Here are a few things you can expect:
-Your baby will sleep a lot, up to 16 hours a day.
-They will eat often, about 8-12 times per day.
-Their bowel movements may come out as mucus or look black because of the switch from amniotic fluid to breast milk or formula. It should change to a yellow-green colour by Day 4.
Just like adults, babies have various preferences when it comes to what they wear. Some prefer tight-fitting clothes while others like roomy ones that allow for movement. It is best to dress them in clothing made of cotton fabrics that allow skin contact but don’t make the baby too hot. When putting a diaper on an infant, always make sure that it isn’t too tight as this could restrict circulation and cause problems for your child later on.
The first month
During the first week, your baby will sleep a lot – up to 16 hours a day. They will also eat often, about eight to 12 times per day.
By the second week, your baby will start to wake up more and be more alert when they are awake. They may also startle easily and cry more during this time. Don’t worry though! As soon as you get them back to sleep, everything will go back to normal. It can help if you nurse them more often than usual or hold them as much as possible so that they’re comforted by their mother’s touch.
By the third week, your baby will settle into a routine of waking every three hours for feedings. Make sure to burp them after each feeding in order to avoid gas pains.
During the fourth week, your baby may experience what is called witching (or Arsenic Hours) where they turn their head from side to side while crying with frustration and making grunting noises.
The second month
Now that your baby is two months old, they are starting to become more aware of their surroundings. They may start to smile at people and follow objects with their eyes. Your baby will also start to sleep for longer periods at night.
During the day, they will still need plenty of naps. You should be encouraged by this, as it means your little one is sleeping more than ever before! In fact, they could go from waking up every hour or so to sleeping all through the night. That said, there are some things you can do to help encourage a good bedtime routine.
Some suggestions include: reading them books; rocking them in your arms; singing songs while you play instruments like guitar or piano; giving them baths; dressing them in comfy clothes (in cooler weather); and feeding them dinner earlier in the evening.
The third month
By the third month, your baby will start to sleep for longer stretches at night, and may even begin sleeping through the night. He’ll also be able to stay awake for longer periods of time during the day.
You may start to see his personality emerge, and he may even start giggling and cooing. His hair may be starting to grow in and you can start giving him hair washes. Bathing him is an important way to bond with your child, as well as keep them clean.
The fourth month
By now, you and your baby have settled into a bit of a routine. You’re probably getting more sleep than you were in those early weeks, and your baby is becoming more alert and responsive. You may be starting to feel like you’re getting the hang of this parenting thing! It can take time to adjust to life with a newborn and it can help to know what lies ahead so you can prepare for it as best as possible.
Here are some milestones that your baby will reach during the fourth month:
-Your baby should start making progress with head control
-Your baby should start showing interest in other people
-You’ll want to start thinking about introducing solid foods if you haven’t already done so . The World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for six months, followed by the introduction of solids alongside continued breastfeeding up to two years or older. Solid food could also mean mashed bananas or avocado mashed with breast milk or formula.
-Your baby might smile at you!
-You might notice how much your little one has grown when you try to put on their first onesie from last month.
The fifth month
By the fifth month, your baby should be able to sleep through the night. You may start to see some personality traits emerge, and your baby will likely be more responsive to you. Playtime is still important, but you may find that your baby is content to just sit and watch you for a while. Let them explore toys on their own terms, as long as they don’t put anything in their mouth. Your baby might also enjoy watching what you’re doing and copying your movements by five months old.
Six months – one year
From six months old, your baby will start to become more aware of their surroundings and will be able to sit up on their own. Around this time, they’ll also start to babble and make sounds other than crying.
At nine months old, your baby will be able to crawl and may even start pulling themselves up to standing. They’ll have several teeth by now, so you might want to invest in some teething rings or frozen fruit popsicles.
Your little one is getting ready for solid foods, too – you can offer them mashed-up avocado or soft-cooked veggies and grains like carrots, potatoes, rice and pumpkin at 10 months old.
Finally, at 12 months old, your baby will have a dozen teeth and know how to use them! They’ll be learning how to walk while they continue babbling out new words every day. It’s around this age that they’re also likely to experiment with being stubborn. Expect tantrums and tears when trying to eat something new or put on a jacket – but don’t worry, it won’t last forever! You can help your toddler explore their environment by letting them hold onto things while you go about doing chores around the house. You’ll soon see them take off with crawling as they inch closer to walking all the time.
Overall, the first few weeks with a newborn are a challenging but rewarding time. It’s important to be prepared for everything from feedings and diaper changes to sleep deprivation and visitors. By following this guide and being mindful of your baby’s needs, you’ll be off to a great start as a new parent.
If you have any questions about what has been covered in this post or about anything else related to babies or parenting, feel free to reach out!
Consider reading our recent article 7 Tips for New Mums to Recover from Postpartum.