Week 1 With Your Baby!
Baby has finally arrived and you are on Cloud 9 – with good reason! After months of carrying the baby around in your belly, you can now carry him in your arms, cuddle him and watch him respond to you. Chances are you’re so busy soaking up that newborn goodness that the birth is long forgotten, however, if you’re struggling with emotions left from a traumatic birth, reach out for assistance to debrief on your labor experience.
Week 1 Of What To Expect From Your Baby
Did you expect a pink, plump baby to be placed into your arms after delivery? Well, then you may have been surprised because newborns simply do not look anything like that. After spending nine months inside the womb with barely much room to move (especially towards the end), baby is going to look a bit wrinkled and squashed. In fact, many babies have slightly misshapen skulls because of their journey through the narrow birth canal.
They will continue to keep their legs and hands tucked close to the body, just as they did within your uterus. After all, it takes time to get accustomed to their new, spacious living quarters, which after a few weeks, they certainly will! The wrinkled skin will also give place to smooth, baby soft, pink skin in a few days too.
Feeding, sleeping, soothing
Your Baby can now see about 25 cm ahead him, and he can recognize your voice and your smell. His favourite pastime right now is sleeping, ALOT (up to 20 hours per day), and feeding. Some babies do need to be woken to feed in the first week if they are particularly sleepy and drop off during feeds. Your midwife will be able to advise you on feeding and sleeping patterns and how to best approach this with your little one.
Your newborn will not have much muscle power so you’ll need to support his head and neck when lifting him or carrying him around. He’ll tell you when he’s hungry by turning his head to the side and opening his mouth. And of course, if you miss this cue he’ll soon let you know with a good loud cry!
You cannot over feed a breast-fed baby so feed him whenever he’s hungry. Putting your baby to the breast is also soothing for baby and breastfeeding is not solely for the purpose of nutrition. Amazingly, babies will breastfeed to seek comfort as well and can suck to either feed (nutritive sucking) or soothe (non nutritive sucking).
Week 1 of What To Expect From Yourself
The highs and lows
You are going to be swinging from elation to sadness and possibly even depression (esp day 3 post birth the blues seem to kick in) as your hormones are all over the place. You are going to feel apprehensive about holding the baby the right way, feeding her the right way, cleaning her the right way, and so on. Just know that these emotions are all completely normal, and if you are feeling particularly blue, it wont last.
If you need advice, don’t hesitate to ask the hospital staff or a relative who has kids of their own. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to get someone to help you with your first baby. We’ve all been there, and as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a newborn.’
“ I was so grateful my mom came and stayed with us for 4 weeks and watched my son so I could get in a couple hours extra sleep during the day while he slept. ” Julia
The fourth trimester
Lastly, of course everyone will be excited to meet your new little love, but listen to your body and how you’re feeling – after all, you’ve just run a marathon!
Did you know, the first 3 months of your baby’s life is often referred to as the ‘forth trimester’ and in some cultures mothers stay in with their babies for the whole first month! You may be bursting at the seams to show your new baby off to everyone and welcome a busy house or hospital room bustling with visitors. Thats completely fine too, just do whatever feels right for you and your family and allow yourself space if you do need it.
Remember, this is a time where you are allowed to be selfish and take the time to really settle in and bond with baby, establish a good feeding pattern, get some rest and gain confidence with your new role. All without feeling guilty!