Newborn: The First Weeks – Part 1
My sister, who was expecting her first last year, asked me: “What do I do with my baby once he comes home with us??? “
I thought – wow. You’re right. What the heck do you do with your newborn during those first weeks? No one really tells you anything about that. Of course I had an answer for her, having had four newborns myself, but I can tell you that I wasn’t at all ready for those first weeks eight years ago.
Here are some of the Questions & Answers from my book: Babies 0-6 months about those first weeks.
Q: I have a baby!!!! What do I do with my baby during the first couple of weeks?
A: During the first weeks, your baby will be adapting to her new environment and will be sleeping most of the day and night. If she’s not sleeping she’ll be drinking and if she’s not drinking or sleeping then she’ll be looking around, usually quietly before falling asleep again. You’ll be changing her diaper regularly, bathing her and putting her clothes on (which can be time consuming while you get used to her little parts). You will also need a lot of rest – so take advantage of her sleeping time to sleep yourself. Your baby will slowly have more “awake” time and will start to engage with you and be more interested in looking around and exploring with her eyes.
Q. Why is night day and day night in my baby’s mind?
A. You may find that your newborn is more awake and alert at night and sleepier during the day. This often has to do with his routine in utero. For example, if your baby was really active at night it will likely keep that pattern after being born. To help him adapt to “real time”, try to engage with him more during the day, keep a bit of light in his bedroom while he’s having day naps and don’t be too worried about your every day noise during the day. At night, don’t engage… just feed and put back to bed, change diaper if necessary using as little light as possible. In the period of a couple of days to a couple of weeks he should adapt to regular day and night rhythm.
Q. When will the umbilical cord fall off?
A. I never thought of my belly button as being the thing that connected me to my mother but since I’ve had babies it has become a more awesome part of my body… Once the umbilical cord has been cut there is a piece that still hangs on the newborn’s stomach. This will eventually fall off, usually between eight to 14 days, at which point a scab will form and slowly heal itself and turn into a real belly button. Make sure to keep it dry and clean during this process. Keep your baby’s diaper off the cord (and the scab) by rolling the diaper underneath it. Many suggest sponge baths until the cord falls off to avoid infection. If the cord does get a bit wet, gently dry it off. Once it’s fallen off you can bath your baby normally. If you see signs of an infection, see your doctor.
Lianne is a Canadian mother of four, entrepreneur and author of Lianne’s Quick Guide – for the busy woman. Her first title is called Babies 0-6 months and can be purchased directly from her website: www.liannesquickguide.com. She lives & works just outside of Amsterdam and can usually be found biking around on her bicycle built for six.