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.
As you get started on this adventure, get to know some of the basics of what you can expect in your baby's first week.
1. How can I help my baby bond with me?
Bonding with your child is one of the great joys of parenthood, but it doesn't always happen right away. You’re adjusting, and your newborn is getting used to being out in the world. To jumpstart the bonding process:
- Spend time skin to skin. Hold your infant close to your chest while feeding or just cuddling. You can also stroke or gently massage your little one.
- Talk baby talk. Coo, babble, sing, and speak to your newborn -- she loves the sound of your voice.
- Look in your baby's eyes and smile. In time, she'll start to mimic your expressions.
2. How much will my newborn sleep?
A lot, at first -- as much as 16 hours a day. But not all at once. It's only 1 to 2 hours at a time. By 6 months, many babies sleep 6 hours a night.
Use these tips to help your little one snooze:
- When he 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 gradually help him sleep more at night.
3. How often will my baby nurse or take a bottle, and how can I be sure she's getting enough?
She should feed every 2 to 3 hours. You can tell that she's getting plenty to eat when:
- She spends 10 to 15 minutes at each breast, or she drinks 2 to 3 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, she starts to gain it the second week. If you're concerned about her weight, check with your pediatrician.
4. How often should I bathe my newborn?
Three baths a week or fewer are plenty. More often can dry out your baby’s skin. Wipe her clean with a sponge or wash cloth.
5. How should I care for my baby's belly button?
Keep the umbilical cord stump and the skin around it clean and dry until the stump shrivels and falls off.
- Give your little one sponge baths, and don't submerse the cord in water.
- Fold diapers below the cord to keep pee from soaking it.
Call the doctor if your baby cries when you touch the cord. She might have an infection. Redness at the base and foul-smelling, yellow liquid are also warning signs of an infection.
6. How should I care for my baby's circumcision?
Your son's penis will be quite red for a few days. This should disappear within about a week. If it gets worse or you're concerned, call your doctor.
- Keep your son’s penis clean, especially after a dirty diaper. Use just water, or a mild cleanser and water, as needed.
- Dab a little petroleum jelly on the tip to keep it from sticking to the diaper.
7. What else should I do?
Enjoy this time! As you get to know your little one, remember these basic safety tips:
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back.
- Empty her sleeping area -- no pillows, crib bumpers or wedges, toys, or soft bedding like a blanket.
- Your baby can sleep in your room, or vice versa. But don’t sleep or snooze in the same bed.
- Keep up with doctor visits and immunizations.
- Breastfeed your baby, if you can.
- Keep her comfy. Don’t overdress her. You want to prevent overheating.