Those Early Weeks: Taking Care Of Your Baby
The first week after getting back home with your baby is overwhelming in a wonderful way. You spend all your time getting to know her - the way she sleeps with her tiny little lips apart, the way she opens her eyes and mouth in wonder while she’s awake and how she seems to cry out to you for pretty much everything.
There are a few things that can seem confusing and scary for new moms. But don’t worry, it will all seem easy as the time goes by. Here is a guide to simplify the process of getting to know your baby:
1. Constant breastfeeding
During their first few weeks, babies are going to have some growth spurts.This is going to cause them to increase their appetite and take naps more frequently. Be ready to feed your baby every now and then. Make sure to burp the baby every 3-5 minutes while nursing them.
After feeding the baby, hold the baby in an upright position in your arms for a while to allow the milk to get digested and for the nutrients to get distributed throughout her body. Be prepared for spit ups - keep some baby wipes, wet and dry tissues and towels at the ready.
2. Weight loss and gain in the first week
The baby would lose some weight right after birth - you would notice this when you compare the weight of the baby when she is just born to her weight a day after she’s born. This, along with the fact that they have tiny baby tummies, is the reason they have to be fed so often. After the third day, you would observe an increased appetite in your baby and hence an increase in weight.
3. Sleep while your baby sleeps
Your baby is going to sleep for 16-20 hours per day. This will not be a continuous stretch of sleep. It will be a couple of spaced out naps which could last for one to four hours each. It is a good idea to take naps while your baby naps. This way you can both catch up on some much-needed rest.
4. Sponge baths ONLY
For the first few weeks post birth, give only sponge baths to the baby. You should clean the baby’s face and bottom everyday to prevent infections. A full sponge bath would be required only once or twice a week. Using a sponge is key as we do not want the umbilical cord to get wet. It should dry up and fall off by the third or fourth week.
5. All colours of the rainbow
Your baby’s poo is going to arrive in all kinds of colours - ranging from black to brown to green to yellow. Your baby is not going to have a solid stool for quite some time. This is all normal and you don’t have to call your doctor unless your baby is having red or colourless stools.
6. Swaddle her before putting her to sleep, face up.
Swaddle your baby to ensure they don’t wriggle around or struggle while sleeping. Their own movements may cause disturbances in their sleep. Cover their hands and legs and wrap them tight. Put them to sleep with their face up to avoid any difficulty in breathing.
7. Noisy environment
It is not necessary to keep the environment too quiet as they may get used to this - this would mean that even later in life, they won’t be able to fall asleep unless everything is perfectly quiet. So keep the noise level to a normal amount as babies can adapt to a certain amount of noise while sleeping.
Indeed, the first few weeks can be a real struggle. But the reward is something worth waiting for - that beautiful smile on your baby’s face as she looks into your eyes.