Life with newborn babies can be quite confusing, particularly in the first few weeks. You’ve taken your new bundle of joy home from the hospital, but still have so many questions. Many of these concerns can be assured by understanding your newborn in these early weeks.
It’s a new environment for the baby
For the first few weeks babies don’t really do much. But give them a break – they are getting used to the brand new world around them. All five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound – will be in overdrive as their new environment makes an impression on them.
Although babies may not do anything visibly interesting, their brain is taking in a lot of information. In the first week they will learn to focus on objects within 10 inches of their face, so get in close and let them see your facial expressions.
The quiet moments are the best time to directly interact with your baby, as they will be more alert to your input.
The babies will cry…a lot
It will be difficult to understand the baby cries, especially in the first few weeks. Has the baby been fed, burped and changed, yet still upset? Then try calming the baby as he/she could be overstimulated by the sights and sounds of his new world. Speak gently and hold him/her close to you so he/she can see your face.
Touch is an important way to soothe your baby – try rocking, carrying or kissing the baby. You can also try calming the baby with a baby massage, which will also help with bonding.
Feeding and sleeping patterns are non-existent
It’s a new world for the baby and although you will want them to interact and see everything, you have to remember one vital point – babies will spend most of their time sleeping. They can sleep up to 17 hours every day, but remember this won’t be one continuous stretch! The bane of almost every new parent is lack of sleep due to their baby’s intermittent napping.
The other important thing is that your newborn will require feeding constantly. In the first few days they will require 8 to 15 feedings every day, which may go down to 6 or 8 feedings a day as the months go on.
Although your baby may start developing a sleeping and feeding pattern within 6 to 8 weeks, unfortunately you may not notice any real change for a few months.
Babies don’t need daily baths
Babies are not that dirty so they won’t need daily baths – for the first few weeks you can bathe them with just water about 3 times a week.
Although it is your choice as to how often you give your baby a bath, remember that a baby’s delicate skin can dry out from harsh water. Babies also lose body heat very quickly, so baths should take less than 10 minutes, and make sure to have a warm towel to cuddle the baby with afterwards.
Newborns can “play”
As a newborn’s reactions will be minimal, and they cannot handle too much stimulation on their senses, only stimulate one sense at a time such as vision or sound. Remember not to overstimulate your newborn – if they loses interest and look away then you need to give them a rest.
You can “play” with baby by showing him contrasting black/white patterns and colorful toys and picture books.
Using a play gym is an excellent method to keep your baby entertained. Although babies won’t be able to play with toys for the first few months, they will enjoy looking at the dangling toys.
Babies are individuals
Although newborns won’t seem to have much of a personality, they are individual beings. Whatever works for one baby won’t necessarily work for another. By all means try something out, but if it doesn’t work for your baby then don’t feel defeated or upset.
Patience is the biggest trait you can have whilst you and your baby try to acclimate to each other and this new world. You will get there eventually, but don’t feel you have to get though it on your own. Make friends with your pediatrician, so you feel comfortable asking anything. And if you need advice or help then ask – there is always someone waiting to help.
We hope that this helps you understand your newborn a little better. If you would like to add any other important points that new parents need to know, then comment below.
Struggling to find the best care for your newborn? Look now further. Find the best pediatricians here
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