What to expect with a newborn. It’s the question you’re asking yourself. And it’s likely people in your life are chiming in with their opinion on the subject. Although these individuals have good intentions, having so many people telling you “the first two weeks with a newborn are the hardest” can be overwhelming.
Newborn care looks and feels different for every parent. Knowing what to expect with a newborn is near impossible. New surprises and things to learn are around every corner. However, knowing these ten foundational facts of newborn care can make you feel better prepared and excited to face all that’s soon to come your way.
Your baby won’t be very active in the first six weeks
When you think of your life with a newborn, images of a smiley, laughing baby laying comfortably in your arms likely spring to mind. Although you’ll achieve this picture-perfect scenario soon enough, it won’t be in the first few weeks. Your newborn baby will be preoccupied with eating, sleeping, and crying, leaving no room for displays of emotion.
Dry skin is normal
Your baby has spent nine months surrounded by amniotic fluid. After birth, they have to adjust to their new surroundings. Their sensitive skin will react to this new environment by becoming dry and flaky. However, if your baby’s skin is persistently dry a month after birth, you should contact your doctor to check if your baby has a skin condition.
Babies born prematurely have more delicate skin and may require extra attention.
Breastfeeding isn’t always simple
Breastfeeding might appear like a magical moment between you and your newborn baby. But getting your newborn to take your nipple isn’t always easy. Many women struggle to get to grips with breastfeeding and find it frustrating in the first few weeks. It’s important to remember newborn life has its ups and downs, and you’ll soon find your rhythm with newborn care—even if it does feel as though the first two weeks are the hardest!
How to change a diaper
On a more practical note, you’re going to need to learn how to change a newborn diaper. Your baby will be pooping a lot. You’ll need to take care of this as quickly and efficiently as possible, for their sake and yours!
You likely don’t need to worry about your baby’s cries
Hearing your newborn baby crying can be difficult for parents. Your baby’s inability to communicate makes you worry if you’re providing the correct care and attention. But, remember, crying is your newborn’s way of communicating. Their cries show they need you to tend to them.
But, if your baby is crying more than three hours per day, they may have colic, something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor.
Lots of parents experience anxiety post-birth
Caring for newborn life is intense, especially if it’s your first child. With big changes can come anxiety and worrisome thoughts. Lots of new parents experience anxiety and struggle with their mental health after birth. Speak to family and friends, join support groups, and seek help from a professional if you think you might be experiencing postnatal anxiety.
Your newborn will sleep little and often
Your baby will sleep a lot. But unfortunately for you, newborns rest in short bursts. Their small stomachs mean they can’t consume much at a time and need to rest between each feed. You’ll find your baby will wake, feed, sleep, and repeat.
A good sleeping pattern is not something new parents brag over!
You don’t need to bathe your newborn daily
Your newborn doesn’t need to bathe every day. Regular washing can dry your baby’s skin out even more. We recommend bathing your baby up to three times a week.
As newborn life is rather mundane (eating, sleeping, pooing), so you don’t need to worry about your baby accumulating germs or dirt between washes.
Every newborn-parent relationship looks different
All newborn life is unique. And every parent-baby relationship is different. Although your family and friends mean well when they give you advice, try not to let this overwhelm you.
Your baby and relationship will be different to theirs, and that’s the beauty of parenthood! Don’t put too much pressure on having a perfect newborn period. Enjoy the moment, learn about your baby, and seek help from trained professionals if and when you need to.
Time will fly by
Soon your baby will be laughing, crawling, and talking! Our best advice is to appreciate this period of change and newness while it’s here.
We’ve helped hundreds of new parents navigate newborn life. Our community doesn’t view the first few weeks as the hardest; we know all stages of our baby’s life bring different struggles and joy. It’s up to us to help parents through this period with the tools, guidance, and support necessary.
To learn more about caring for your baby, read our blog and join the NBNY community, a place for parents to come together and appreciate the uniqueness of childbirth and newborn care.