What to Expect Your First Week Home with Your New Baby

What to Expect Your First Week Home with Your New Baby

It took nine months in the making to reach this moment. Now it’s time to bring your brand new bundle of joy home! Whether you’re a new parent, or just need a refresher, here are some things that you should expect your first week at home with your new baby.

Prepare to Be Sleep-Deprived

It’s a known fact that your new baby is going to sleep… a lot. A newborn baby will sleep somewhere around 16–20 hours a day! However, don’t expect your baby to sleep for long periods of time. More than likely it will be in small stretches, like between one to three hours at a time. Try to plan ahead when possible and take advantage of help offered by your spouse, parent, sibling, or whoever is close to you. Sleep in spurts. An easy answer is if the baby is sleeping, the parent should sleep. Laundry, emails, doing the dishes can wait! As an adult, your brain suddenly becoming sleep-deprived can be very difficult, especially in such short stretches. So just sleep when you can, which is typically when the baby is asleep.

Safe Sleeping Environment for Baby

Your baby’s crib should meet the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The crib should contain a firm mattress, which is covered with a tight-fitting sheet. You should keep the crib at your bedside if possible, or at least in the same room until babies are 6 months of age per the American Academy of Pediatrics. The most important concern to consider for sleeping baby is to ensure that they sleep on their backs. This will make it less likely for baby to be affected by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or crib death).

Learn the Art of Swaddling

Try to learn how to swaddle before you deliver and practice beforehand. You can ask nurses to demonstrate for you. Once baby is home, you’re going to be happy you’ve learned ahead of time. Swaddling comes with a host of advantages. Babies naturally like to be held and comforted, which swaddling can enhance. It helps soothe, which can greatly reduce the amount the baby cries, which in turn can help baby sleep better and longer.

Feeding Baby

The American academy of pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Aim to feed your newborn at least 10–12 times per day, or roughly around every two hours or so for the first few weeks. If you are bottle-feeding formula, your schedule may be different, talk to your doctor about what is a good amount for your baby. Check out these tips to help you out.

Baby Will Probably Lose Weight

A newborn will typically lose around 7–10% of their body weight after birth. Fortunately, most babies will regain this weight back sometime during the second week of their life. For babies that were born prematurely, weight gain may take much longer.

Caring for Baby’s Umbilical Cord

You should try to keep the skin around the umbilical cord clean and dry, which means doing nothing. No alcohol, no Band-Aids, no ointments. JUST LEAVE IT ALONE! When bathing your newborn, wet a sponge and clean around the area without submerging the cord underwater. Likewise, you should put your baby’s diaper on so that the waistband is below the cord. This will help keep the cord from coming in contact with excrement. When the cord has fallen off, which may take several weeks, and your doctor says it is all healed and gives you the okay, then you can submerge the baby for a bath.

For more information on the web, visit healthychildren.org. If you have questions or would like to discuss any concerns you have regarding your child, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at continuumtx.com.