Few things feel as surreal as your first few days home with your newborn baby. Suddenly, you’ve gone from mainly focusing on yourself to now being fully responsible for the livelihood of a completely dependent human being, no pressure though! The good news is, most parents are well equipped with everything they need to properly care for a new baby. Here are a few tips to help make this transition feel a bit more seamless.
Rest as Much as You Can
It may sound seemingly impossible to rest when you’re caring for a newborn baby round the clock, but it is so important to try your hardest. Afterall, if you’re not cared for, you may quickly lose your ability to effectively care for your baby. You’ll want to take advantage of any naps or rest periods that your baby takes and try to sleep whenever you can. Try to have your partner or any family members help with house work so that you don’t have to overextend yourself and can simply focus on keeping the baby happy. Be sure to practice safe sleep with your baby.
Prepare for Fussiness
Okay it may sound obvious, because we all know that babies cry, but did you know that your baby will likely become more fussy as the days go by? This is common and totally normal. As babies become more awake, they tend to get fussy about certain sensations that they aren’t used to feeling, such as being hungry, gassy, or having a wet diaper. Expect your baby to be rather sleepy on their first day or two of life and then to be more awake after that. Once again, another great reason to rest when you can.
If your baby’s fussing starts to seem excessive, you may want to start trying to figure out what the problem is. You shouldn’t be too concerned unless you know they’re fed, rested, and have a dry diaper and they are simply inconsolable. Many babies become fussy from gassiness, so it’s always good to try to help them burp after each feeding. If your baby seems to be inconsolable, you may need to adjust your feeding positions or look into your own diet to determine if your baby is suffering from an intolerance to something you’re eating. Some babies suffer from dairy or soy intolerances and moms have found relief for them by cutting these food groups out of their diets while breastfeeding.
Give Breastfeeding a Try
Although some women inevitably struggle with breastfeeding or find themselves unable to breastfeed due to a medical condition, we encourage you to at least give it a try. Breastfeeding is not only the best option for your baby because it provides them with vital nutrients, but it can actually make your life easier. Yes, getting it down can involve some pain and challenges but it is so worth it to push through this challenging first stage. It will not only benefit your baby but you’ll save money from not having to buy formula and it makes night feedings so much easier.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
If you’re feeling lost, confused, alone, or just like you need some support, don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you for a helping hand. Your first few days of parenthood are some of the most important for not only your baby but for you as well. You’re likely sleep deprived and needing to heal from the birthing process, so it is incredibly important that you take the necessary time to rest. By calling in your friends or family members to help with other tasks, such as dropping off a meal or helping with an older kid, you’ll save yourself energy and this will give you more time to focus on your newborn baby.
You Don’t Have to Give Baths Daily
It is definitely not necessary to bathe your baby daily, and until the umbilical cord falls off (which will be about 5 to 15 days after birth) you’ll want to stick to sponge baths only. Simply wipe your baby down with a washcloth on a daily basis, then start doing actual baths after the umbilical cord has detached. Be sure to use a natural and nontoxic baby soap when you do choose to use soap on your baby, but it definitely isn’t required to use soap daily and it may even dry out your baby’s skin if used too frequently.
Find Ways to Bond When Your Baby is Awake
In the first few weeks after birth, your baby will not be awake very often, or for long stretches of time. However, when they are awake, you want to make the most of that time to bond with them. Skin-to-skin time is incredibly beneficial. This just means placing your baby on your bare chest while they’re only wearing their diaper. You can also start doing tummy time as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. Tummy time is when you place your baby on their stomach for a few minutes each day. You’ll want to start by only doing so for a few minutes at a time and slowly increasing the amount of tummy time you do with your baby each day. Other fun activities include talking to your baby and singing to your baby.
Trust Your Instinct
You will likely feel very tempted to take out your phone and Google search all types of things in your first few days home with your baby. It’s perfectly normal and okay to utilize the tools you have to educate yourself about your newborn and rest assured that most of the things you look up will turn out to be totally normal. Try your best to trust your instinct and remember that you are fully capable of caring for this baby — you were made for each other after all!
When to Call Your Pediatrician
If your baby begins to develop a fever and their temperature climbs above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should contact the pediatrician. Also, if your baby is not feeding and/or is crying non-stop then it may be a good idea to call them. Keep an eye out for any worsening jaundice (a yellowing of the skin), and contact your doctor if you notice this.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a safe area to place your baby that can be set up anywhere.