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My Baby’s Here! Now What Do I Do?

Week 1

You've got a brand-new baby. Now what? Here's some help as you get to know your little one.

Newborns mostly sleep, eat, and poop/pee. Sometimes they make strange noises and movements. Don’t worry, most of these are normal.

Here are some sounds that may come from your baby:

  • Crying. This is how newborns communicate. Cries can mean, "I'm hungry," "I have a wet diaper," or "I want to be held." You'll learn your baby's cries and how to respond to them.
  • Babies burp from swallowing air during feedings. They also hiccup, sneeze, grunt, and squeak.
  • Newborns can pause between breaths. Short pauses are OK.

Some of these movements are also normal:

  • They curl up, just like they did in the womb.
  • They throw out their arms and legs in a startle reflex.
  • They curl their toes when you tickle the bottom of their foot, or grab onto your finger.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Most new moms stay in the hospital for a few days after delivery. Use this time to recover and rest; you’ll be very busy when you go home! The pediatrician will look at your baby here to make sure she’s healthy.

What to watch for when you bring your baby home:

  • Newborns should eat eight to 12 times a day.
  • Even big eaters can lose up to one-tenth of their birth weight during their first five days of life. Don’t worry, they'll gain it back by day 10. Babies that fall asleep or turn away from the bottle or breast while they feed could experience even greater weight loss. If this starts to happen before you baby is back up to birth weight, discuss it with your pediatrician. Once babies have gained back their weight, falling asleep or turning away usually means they are full.
  • You should be changing at least four wet diapers a day, and one or more poopy diapers.
  • Your baby’s poop is a mustard-colored mush if you breastfeed. Formula-fed poop is yellow or tan.
  • Newborns sleep for 16 to 17 hours each day, but usually not for more than an hour or two at a stretch.

Week 1 Tips

  • Caring for a new baby is tiring! Ask for help from family members and friends -- you need sleep, too.
  • Had a C-section? Take it easy. Have someone else help you carry and diaper your baby.
  • Your baby still misses the comfort and warmth of the womb. Wrap her in a blanket and hold her in your arms so she feels protected.
  • As a newborn, your baby's internal "thermostat" still doesn't work very well. Dress her with one more layer than what you would wear.
  • If your baby was a preemie, ask the hospital if you can do "kangaroo care," spending skin-to-skin time, to help you and your baby bond.
  • Burp your baby after every 2 to 3 ounces from the bottle, or when she changes breasts.
  • Your baby's umbilical cord will dry up and fall off by about two weeks. Until then, keep it clean and fold down the diaper so it stays dry.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed on October 16, 2013

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