Your hospital bag is packed; your nursery is all set up. Everything that you have control over may be ready, but what do you do when you bring your baby home?
Newborns are truly interesting creatures. They are cute, fragile and unpredictable. With crying being the only way they have to communicate, the first few days and even weeks can be very stressful.
When you were at the hospital, doctors and nurses were constantly checking over your baby, monitoring and recording everything that went in and out of them. When you were ready to be discharged home, a nurse probably gave you a ton of paperwork and had a lecture type discussion about several things. It was a lot to take in. You loaded baby into their car seat and headed home.
All the extra hands, monitoring and attention is no longer there.
When you first come home, it’s not unusual to have a baby who wants to do nothing more than sleep. The nurses at the hospital were probably adamantly concerned that your baby eats every several hours. It’s also not unusual to have to wake your baby up to feed them and several times during the “meal.”
If you’re breastfeeding, frequent feedings are important to help encourage your milk supply.
A general guideline is that formula fed infants eat every three to four hours and breastfed babies eat about every two to three. This is just a general guideline as each baby has their own needs. If it’s during the day and your baby has gone more than five hours without eating, they need to be woken up and fed. Allowing your baby to have extended sleep periods without eating greatly increases his chance of dehydration.
A hard concept for many parents to get accustomed to is being noisy during the day, especially when their baby is sleeping. It’s very important for you to carrying on about your tasks regardless of what your baby is doing. It’s ok to run the vacuum, have the T.V. on, play music etc. Your baby has to get used to sleeping with a noisy surrounding. This helps teach your baby that day time is busy time, and night time is quiet time. This also helps your baby sleep when there is activity going on. If you make your house completely quiet during the day, afraid you’re going to wake your child, every noise is going to disrupt their naps.
The first few days, even weeks, are usually pretty uneventful. Depending on the season, you’ll probably only need diapers, wipes, a safe place for baby to sleep and several changes of clothes. Babies have a habit of having bowel movements either during a feed or directly afterwards. Those first couple BM’s may take you by surprise also. Meconium stools may still be present, that thick, black, mucusy stool. Depending on what you’re feeding your baby will influence their stools. You could expect thinner, yellow “seedy” stools from a breastfed baby and darker, thicker stools from formula.
Your baby’s digestive tract is still maturing. Although your grandmother might have done it with all her kids, you should never give your newborn anything but formula or breast milk. They don’t need water or juice and they don’t need solid food. Feeding a child this young could cause them to aspirate or even choke. Their brains are developing at an extremely rapid rate. They need all the fluids and nutrition given to them from breast milk or formula. They do not need extra fluids.
For the first few weeks, you’ll find that all your baby is going to do is eat, sleep, spit up and mess diapers. They are totally dependent on you for all their needs. Since they can’t speak, when they need something, they will cry. At first, you’re not going to have any idea what they need. Most parents find that they try several things each time their baby cries. Your baby might cry because they are hungry, are cold or too warm, messed their diaper, have a stomach ache, are over stimulated or possibly just want held. It is impossible to spoil a newborn. As new as being a new parent is to you, being a baby is a new experience to your child. They were just in a nice snug warm environment and now everything is bright and loud.
*If at any point you become frustrated due to your child, it is ok to place him safe in their crib and walk away for a few minutes until you’re more relaxed. Newborns and babies have fragile neck structures that cannot withstand being shaken. Doing so could cause severe damage, even death to your child.*