Ready to bring baby home from hospital?
After spending the first couple of days at the hospital, you are finally going to bring your precious baby home! Parent’s Rights have prepared a list of important newborn tips to help you survive through baby’s first month. We understand that taking care of newborn can be an extremely difficult task if you are a first time mom. But fret not, we have a set of comprehensive guides that covers from the 1 month milestones to the 12th month of baby life.
This article is a continuation of the Baby’s first year series.
Previous article: Baby First Day
The first checkup
The first and most important baby advice is to engage a pediatrician for your one week old baby, if you have not already done so. This should be done even before you bring baby back from hospital. Try to locate one whom you can talk comfortably with, because your baby’s doctor will be your best go-to person with regards to all health related concerns. This is especially important for first time parents.
You will be visiting your pediatrician for at least 6 well-baby visits in the first year. However, you need not limit yourself to that number because there will also be times when your baby is sick or not feeling too well. Dr. Dale Valentine (Intermountain Sandy Clinic, Sandy Utah) advised that parents schedule their well-baby visits during the first week of life, 3rd week, 2nd month, 4th month, 6th month, 9th month, and 12th month.
After the baby is delivered, she most likely will lose up to 10% of her weight over the first few days. This is because babies are born with extra fluid at childbirth. Over the next few days, baby will lose the fluid and weight before slowly regaining back to her birth weight by the end of the second week.
After the initial weight loss, she will grow about 1.5 inches in length and almost 2 pounds in weight. It will be advisable to keep track of baby’s length and weight using a chart to ensure that your baby is growing at a good rate.
Feeding your baby
For the baby first month is an exciting month and she needs a lot of intake to accommodate for the development. Therefore, you should be feeding your newborn baby on demand. That means, as much as your baby wants. This can amount to about 10 times a day for breastfed babies, or roughly 7 times for bottle-fed ones.
When newborn babies are around 3 weeks old, they will go through what is known as a “growth spurt”. During a growth spurt, your baby will demand for feeding more frequently than usual. Your baby will signal the mother’s body by sucking harder and longer, and soon the mother’s body will adjust by producing more milk to cater for this increased demand.
Now on the brighter side, growth spurts usually just last for a few days, before your one month old baby’s demand go back to the normal level. As a word of encouragement, breastfeeding is good for your baby’s development, so don’t give up easily!
Bathing the newborn
The best way to clean your newborn for the first 2 weeks is to use a baby sponge with lukewarm water. Gently rub your baby’s body and try to soothe her by talking or singing to her.
Once the umbilical cord falls off and the navel area has fully healed, you are ready to use a mini bath tub to wash your precious baby. Using a baby bathing tub is the easiest and cheapest way to wash a baby, and if nobody gave you one at the baby shower, you should buy one.
Ensure that the mini tub is secured on the sink, and then fill half the mini tub with lukewarm water, ideally around 37 degree Celsius. You need just enough water to wash the soap off your baby, so that she will not feel cold. You do not need to submerge the baby fully into the water.
Finally, here is the most important part. You need to fully focus on the bathing task from the start till the end, and don’t get distracted by other events happening around you. Do not ever leave your child alone in the tub. Do not answer the phone or door until the wash time is over. There is nothing else that’s more important than your baby’s safety.
Newborn’s strength and reflexes
Although in baby’s first month they do not have much strength, babies are born with innate reflexes. This can be clearly seen by babies sucking on their mothers’ breast or nipples. Now for daddies, here comes the heart-warming part. If you use your finger to tickle your baby’s palm, you will find her grabbing onto your finger and holding it.
Newborn babies are not that strong yet, that’s why their movement may appear jerky. They also tend to get startled easily; throwing out their limbs and pulling them back in. This is known as the “Moro reflex”. Also at this stage, your baby does not have any neck strength at all, so be sure to support the back of her head while carrying her.
Baby sleeping for long time?
For the first 2-3 weeks, it may seem that the only other activity that your baby does apart from feeding is sleeping. On average, newborn sleeps a total of about 16 hours a day, waking up at very frequent intervals. They simply sleep and wake up at random hours of the day. They will wake up to have their diapers changed, have some milk, stare at your face, and then get back to sleep again.
These hours can be quite erratic at first, because in your baby’s first month, she has not adjusted her body clock yet. Therefore she does not know the normal day and night cycle. As a parent, you can help her get adjusted by limiting activities to the day hours, and preparing a dark and quiet environment for sleeping at night hours. Your baby should get used to it pretty soon.
In the baby’s first month, their eyes have not really developed the ability to track moving objects, nor are they able to differentiate between two separate objects. Some parents might even notice that their babies have crossed eyes while trying to focus on your face. Rest assured that this is perfectly normal.
You may not know this, but your newborn’s eyesight is effectively only about 8 to 12 inches in the first month. Yes, they are actually very nearsighted at this stage. Their eyes are also very attracted to human facial features, so be sure to put your face closer when you are playing with you newborn baby. They will stare adorably at you for a long time!
Newborn babies can hear sounds, even though their hearing has not yet been fully developed. You will find that most babies have an affinity for high pitched voices, maybe because they are used to hearing their mother’s voice in the womb. That explains why adults love to tease babies using squeaky and high pitched voices.
Spend some time bonding with your newborn by talking or singing to her, as she loves your voice. Sometimes your baby will respond by talking back to you in her own “baby language”. If you see that happening, mimic her language and start a conversation with her. This will encourage your baby to talk, and at the same time, you are teaching her how to pace a conversation.
Other than talking to her, you can also let your baby listen to music. Babies love music, and they often will giggle and play to the sounds. To simulate your baby’s hearing, try to keep her close to you while you do your chores, so that they get to hear and be fascinated by different sounds.