Bringing your little one home is exciting. No matter how well you've prepared, you're bound to be surprised as you learn about your new baby -- and new life.
The questions and answers below cover some of the basics of what you can expect in your baby's first week. With time, you, your partner, and your infant will get the hang of being a family.
1. How can I help my baby bond with me?
Bonding with your baby is one of the great joys of parenthood, but it isn't always immediate. Not only are you recovering from giving birth, but your newborn is getting used to the being out in the world. Don't fret if things feel a little bumpy at first. Here's how to start the bonding process:
- Spend time skin-to-skin. Both you and your partner should hold your infant close to your chest while feeding or just cuddling. You can also stoke or gently massage your little one.
- Talk baby talk. Coo, babble, sing, and talk to your newborn -- she loves the sound of your voice.
- Look in your baby's eyes and smile. In time, she will start to mimic your expressions.
2. How much will my newborn sleep?
Your infant will sleep a lot at first, as much as 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, it's only one to two hours at a time. The good news is that by 6 months, many babies sleep six hours a night.
Try these tips to help your little one sleep:
- When your baby fusses at night, wait a minute or two to see if he calms himself down and goes back to sleep.
- Be quiet during nighttime feedings or diaper changes. Try not to wake him up too much.
- Be active and play during the day so he stays awake for longer periods. That can help him transition to sleeping more at night.
3. How often will my baby nurse or take a bottle, and how can I be sure she's getting enough?
Your infant should feed every two to three hours. You can tell that she's getting plenty to eat when:
- She spends 10 to 15 minutes at each breast or she drinks two to three ounces of formula at each feeding.
- She has six or more wet diapers and two or more dirty diapers every 24 hours.
- After losing a little weight the first week, your baby starts to gain weight the second week. If you are concerned about your baby’s weight, check with your pediatrician.
4. How often should I bathe my newborn?
Three baths a week or fewer are plenty for your newborn. More often can dry out his skin. Wipe your baby clean with a sponge or wash cloth.