Learn everything you need to know about your 1 week old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.
Congratulations! After weeks (and weeks) of waiting and wondering, your little one has finally made her grand entrance. And overwhelmed probably doesn't even come close to describing how you're feeling right now. After all, in the space of one magical day, that comparatively low-maintenance baby bump suddenly transformed into a bona fide little person, the kind who needs to be fed, diapered, and comforted 24/7. A little scary, right? Trust us, you'll get the hang of it faster than you imagine.
Luckily, new babies are fairly straightforward creatures, with daily routines that revolve around sleeping, eating, crying, and pooping. For now, sleeping is at the top of her to-do list. The average newborn snoozes around 16-1/2 hours a day -- and some for hours more than that. For now, enjoy the momentary peace -- and snag a catnap (or two) for yourself while you're at it.
Squeezed into your baby's daunting sleep schedule should be quite a few mealtimes as well. A newborn needs to eat eight to 12 times a day (or every two to three hours) to build up a strong milk supply -- she can go a bit longer between feeds if she's bottle-fed. But since an always-drowsy baby might not be interested in bellying up to the milk bar, you might have to try a few tricks to convince her to latch on. For instance, unwrap her swaddle (or unbutton her jammies) so the cool air helps rouse her; stroke her mouth with your finger to trigger her sucking reflex; or blow gently on her face. As her drowsiness wears off over the next few weeks, get ready for her appetite to pick up with a vengeance.
The moment you were handed your newborn, you probably eyeballed every ounce of her from head to teeny toes. So you might have already figured out that, amazing as she is, she's not exactly the perfect little bundle you see in the diaper ads. First, there's that weirdly shaped cranium, the product of a vaginal delivery that squeezed and squished the soft bones in your newborn's head. Over the next year and a half, those bones will gradually fuse together, hardening that soft spot you've heard so much about, but it should take only a few weeks for your baby's head to rebound to a normal shape. Don't be afraid to mention it to your pediatrician if you're worried.
You might have also noticed that your baby is a bit, um, hairy in places. That's lanugo, the fine downy coating that protected her skin in the womb -- it should disappear within her first few weeks. Then there's those slightly swollen breasts, an after-effect of the hormones your baby absorbed in utero. Like everything else, they'll go back to normal in a few days.
One last souvenir of your baby's life before making her grand entrance is her umbilical cord stump. It takes about five weeks for the scabby remnant to fall off. Until then, use a clean cotton ball to apply rubbing alcohol once a day to keep it from getting infected, and keep it dry so it will heal faster. That means postponing the full-body soaking for a sponge bath. Simply lay your baby on a towel, gently rub her with a warm, damp washcloth, then dry her off. No soap required! (Babies aren't exactly dirt magnets.) If the umbilical cord stump is oozing or bleeding, talk to your pediatrician.
Nursing is great for babies, particularly in the early weeks, when experts belive that your breast milk contains bonus antibodies to boost your child's immune system. But as a new mom, you might not find breastfeeding the perfect bonding experience you were envisioning. Maybe your baby doesn't latch properly, you can't find a comfy position, or your nipples are as cracked and dry as the Gobi Desert. All normal -- and all absolutely no fun. Before throwing in the towel, call in the reinforcements by asking your ob-gyn or pediatrician to refer you to a lactation consultant. Often the fix an expert recommends is a simple one -- and paying a bit for pro help now is nothing compared to the thousands you'd spend on formula over the next year.
In addition to breastfeeding woes, it's completely normal to experience some wild mood swings over the next few weeks. Your postpartum hormones are fluctuating like the stock market, as the hormones that maintained your placenta during pregnancy plummet and the ones that promote breastfeeding and baby bonding skyrocket. In that rush of hormones and emotions, take care of yourself by sleeping when you can, asking your partner or friends for a hand, and simply getting out of the house every day, even if it's just to duck into the drugstore for more nursing pads and some decent chocolate. If a bad-mood jag doesn't go away after a few days, or if you feel completely overwhelmed, talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression can strike anytime during the first year, and it can be disabling, so make sure to get help.
Boost physical development by touching your baby. It stimulates her to move and exercise those parts of her body.Read More