You’ve been pregnant for nine months now and all you can think about is giving birth for the first time. Wondering, “how bad is this really going to be?” “Am I going to be able to do it?” The answer is of course! It is scary and uncharted territory for you, but you’ll push right through it. Baby is healthy, mommy is healthy, and the doctor gives the two thumbs up to go home. All of a sudden, you’re thinking, “hmm, maybe I’ll stay at this hospital forever.” Going home with baby for the first time can be more difficult than giving birth. You’ve often heard that newborns are easy, you’ve heard it said that “all they do is eat, sleep and poop.” Easy, right? Chances are it won’t seem that way at first. Knowing a little more on what to expect when baby comes home for the first time will help you feel a little less overwhelmed.
Newborns’ stomachs are so small that they can’t eat very much in one feeding. This is why newborns eat 8-12 times a day! They usually eat 1-3 ounces each time they are fed.
Often times newborns will let you know they are hungry by crying. However, also look for other signals like sucking on hands, smacking lips and rooting.
It is normal for baby to lose a little weight when you bring her home from the hospital. Don’t worry she will gain it back in about 10 days!
Newborns do sleep a lot. It is important to stay on a feeding schedule to make sure baby is growing. Tickle baby’s spine and be gentle when trying to wake her up to feed.
Your newborn will cry. The time and the length will vary and change over time. When baby first comes home she will be sleepy and quiet. Around two weeks it is common for baby to cry an average of two hours a day. The crying will increase up until about eight weeks and then start to taper off.
It gets easier to figure out why baby is crying. The most common reasons being, dirty diaper, hungry, tired, uncomfortable. Result to these items first and if baby is still crying it could possibly be overstimulation. Some newborn will get fussy when there is too much commotion.
There will be a time when baby is crying and it seems like there is nothing in this world that will help them stop. This is normal. If baby is fed, changed, and safe then you are doing it right. Try not to get frustrated and critical of yourself. This is normal and we have all experienced it.
Pee and Poo:
Expect your new born to have 5-10 wet diapers a day! The range it so large because it depends on whether you are breast feeding or using formula. Keep track of your baby’s bowel movements and talk with the doctor at her first checkup.
Your baby’s first bowel movements are called meconium. These happen within the first two days of returning from the hospital. Expect them to be black and have a tar consistency. Don’t expect grown-up poop after these. Newborns’ poops can be yellow, greenish or light brown. If you see mucus streaks or black specs in your baby’s stool call the doctor.
The consistency should vary from very soft to watery. Often times this is confused with diarrhea. Watch for consistency when establishing a pattern.
Burps and Hiccups:
Some babies will burp more often than others. If baby is being fussy while feeding this is a sign that baby might need to burp. After every 2-3 ounces you should burp baby. You’ll find your baby’s burp routine soon.
Use a circular motion or soft pats to help release pressure. No need to whack baby’s back. Make sure you are supporting your baby’s head. Don’t worry if a little spit up comes with the burp. It’s perfectly normal. Hiccups and spit up are common for newborns. Make notes for your doctor if you feel that the spit up is excessive.
Newborns sleep bout 16 to 18 hours a day! Obviously, that isn’t consecutive hours because baby will need to feed every 1 to 3 hours, but all those hours add up. The first couple of weeks track your baby’s sleep patterns and discuss with the doctor.
Lucky enough, newborns can fall asleep just about anywhere. After spending 9 months in the womb they don’t have too many preferences quite yet. They do like being swaddled or in a confined space such as a carrier. This reminds them of being in the womb.
Always put baby on her back to sleep. Remove all blankets, toys, bumpers, pillows and quilts to reduce the risk of SIDS. Even if your baby can’t roll yet, never leave them unattended on couch or bed.
Don’t worry about the sounds your baby makes while sleeping. Newborn make weird noises. Babies breathe through their noses so often times it can sound like they are stuffy. You can clear babies nose with a blub syringe to help make it easier for baby to breathe while sleeping and feeding.
Newborns also have inconsistent breathing patterns. This can make a new mom nervous. Baby will be breathing and then stop for a second and then continue. This is normal for a newborn.
However, if you experience any of these please call your doctor right away:
- Flaring of the nostrils
- Chest restrictions
- Consistently fast breathing
- Wheezing from baby’s chest
- Heavy noisy breathing
- Pausing more than 10 or 15 second between breaths
Keeping a newborn clean for the first few weeks is pretty easy. You won’t need a baby bathtub until they are a little older. The umbilical stump shouldn’t’ be submerged so using a damp, warm wash cloth should do the trick. Make sure to get the baby’s neck folds and other areas where milk or moister might be. Finish with the private parts. If you see any redness or irritation put diaper cream on and watch it.
We understand that bringing baby home can be nerve wrecking. It is good to have family and friends who have had children before be available to calm some of those worries. Your baby will be fine and happy so try not to stress and make sure you get enough sleep as your body is recovering from giving birth.