A mom carries her baby during newborn week one.

Newborn Week One: What To Expect

You’ve struggled through 9 months of nausea, back pain and swollen ankles. You’ve suffered through the agony of childbirth. Finally all the hard work is over and it is time to take your brand new baby home. But the first week of a newborn baby’s life can be daunting for any new mother. A giddy mixture of elation and exhaustion can prove overwhelming and there are many things to consider during your new baby’s first few days. From bathing to feeding – here’s a quick guide to help you through your newborn week one.

First off, newborn babies don’t always look like they do on TV. Most newborns look wrinkly and squashed. Kind of the way you might look if you’ve been in the bath for nine months. If they were early they might have a slightly yellowish tinge to their skin called vernix. And many newborns may also have a fine covering of hair all over their body called lanugo. This will disappear in a few weeks and all these things are totally normal. Newborn babies will also display reflexes straight off the bat. They will jump at loud noises and be soothed by the sound of your voice. They will also grip your finger, try to suck anything put near to their tiny mouths or display the moro reflex where they throw their arms out and arch their back. All this is normal and you are likely to see all of it during the newborn week one.

In the early weeks and particular the first, you will find that sleep is closely involved with feeding which is often every 2-3 hours. Babies so young will often sleep for 15-18 hours in one day. But most babies will not sleep during the night during the first week. Do not be overwhelmed by this and try to just go with the flow. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Let your husband take care of the chores. Many parents choose to put the baby in a portable crib or basket which means you can move the baby around the house with you while they are napping all day. While establishing a bedtime routine is not the “be all, end all” during this first week, there are some good habits you can put in place – like keeping lights down low at night and reducing noise and distractions.

Don’t be surprised if you feel sad during the first few days. Many experience the phenomenon known as the ‘baby blues’ during the first week. Hormones, worry and sheer exhaustion all combine to leave many mamas feeling sad, desperate and alone. These feelings are not to be confused with post-natal depression and are completely normal. The baby blues tend to strike three or four days after the birth when your milk is coming in and your hormones are swinging wildly. Generally these feelings will pass after a few more days.

When it comes to bathing your baby, don’t get too stressed out during the first week. If you aren’t feeling confident about the process yet then speak to a healthcare advisor or look up advice online. They will be fine with top and tail washing for the first week.

The most important thing to do during newborn week one is to take time to really get to know your baby. Between the lack of sleep, visitors coming and going and the delivery man bringing yet another parcel, it can be hard to stop and appreciate what a beautiful time this is in your life. The first week of a newborn baby’s life is special for you both and you will want to remember it for the rest of your life!

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