Your heart’s beating and you’re super excited: this is your baby’s first week at home. You’ve read all the books, prepped for everything, and probably even gone through some practice with some baby dolls. But now that you’re facing your future for the first time, things are a bit daunting. Maybe even scary.
How will you know what to do? What if you mess up? What if you forget?
Hey, relax. Deep breath. We’ve got your back with this brief guide, but also be sure to talk to friends, family, and your doctor to get their advice.
Because your baby can’t do much on their own, it’s extra crucial for you to spend as much time bonding as possible. There are a few ways to really get your bond with your newborn going.
Lots of skin to skin touching and cuddling – perhaps the best way to bond. Potentially most effective when combined with the times you breastfeed your newborn.
Lots of chatting, laughing, playing, and eye contact – over time, your baby will learn to follow your actions and start to mimic you.
Your voice and touch – in truth, your baby loves your voice, and both your voice and touch help keep them calm, now and in the future.
In truth, you and your newborn are learning how to communicate with each other each moment you spend bonding. But it’s important for Mom to do a bit more legwork when it comes to understanding “babyspeak”. Babies are super fussy, and will cry when irritated, hungry, sleepy, too cold, energetic, too warm, dirty. It’ll even seem like they cry for the sake of crying. Maddening. Luckily, determining what’s bugging your baby doesn’t take long.
However, what you have to pay attention to is how your baby is crying. That indicates what exactly is on their mind. Though this does take a bit of time, and you’ll have to pay close attention, but eventually you’ll know which exact pitch means someone needs a diaper change. Again.
Newborns just out of the womb seem to constantly be in need of being soothed. And it’s understandable – they were having a grand ole’ party in your womb, when they were pulled kicking and screaming into this crazy, bright, blue world.
Your best bet to keep them calm (and quiet) is to hold them close. You want to mimic the feeling of them being back in the womb, as that’s incredibly comforting for babies that age. It’s also why swaddling is super effective. Most importantly, your touch and voice will be what calms your newborn down the most. It’s that feeling of home, and love, and Mom that sets the “Crying Time” switch to off.
Newborns typically get hungry around every 2 to 3 hours, and because of their super tiny tummies, need only 1 to 3 ounces of milk each time. While breastmilk is definitely the most nutritious milk possible for your baby, we understand that providing breastmilk 24/7 could be a challenge. Some mothers have been able to mix up breastfeeding with bottle-feeding and found great results.
But we aren’t the experts for your baby and your biology, and actually, you should get the professional advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or even a lactation expert. It also would help to reach out to your own Mom to get advice, no matter how strange the phrase “Hey Mom, tell me about boobs,” might be.
Luckily, newborns don’t really need to be cleaned daily. Usually, three times a week is more than enough to keep them from getting grimy (and stinky – yikes!) We get that bathing your baby can be daunting. They get super slippery when wet, and your first few times bathing could be a stressful event.
So our advice isn’t to put your baby in a washtub – though do have it close-by. Instead, lay your baby on a towel, and gently wash them with a damp sponge or washcloth. Be sure to avoid getting water on the umbilical cord, or (if they have it) their circumcision.
No matter what, always keep one hand on your baby, and all your bathing products within arm’s reach.
Oh, sleep. None of us are ever fully prepared for the kind of sleep deprivation that a baby brings. Which is really weird considering that babies pretty much sleep for 16 to 18 hours per day. I suppose the problem is that they wake up every few hours to get a milky snack.
In any case, it’s a whole new test of endurance that you never knew existed. Luckily, there’s a way to make the sleep dep easier to handle.
Our advice is to use a chart to track your baby’s sleep habits. Eventually, you’ll find your baby’s natural rhythm, and you’ll be able to synchronize your schedule to match. And really, you ought to nap with your baby as often as you can to keep your energy up. It’s probably the only way to keep your sanity intact, too.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]