Babies, though they come in different shapes and sizes, may in fact have a few things in common. There are more surprises to your little bundle of joy more than what you have read in pregnancy books or blogs.
WARNING: I’m giving away spoilers!
What are the things you should expect from your new born baby?
- It takes about 6 weeks before babies coo or smile
Imagine a boss who always complains, cries, and is constantly needy – that’s your baby from birth to 6 weeks. By 6 weeks, you’ll start reaping rewards like a coo or even a smile. If these two things won’t melt your heart, I don’t know what else will!
So, to avoid anxiety as to “Why is my baby not smiling yet? She doesn’t seem satisfied!”, expect that those first few 6 weeks are really more on you trying to satisfy your child’s needs. In those days, the baby wants to be held, wants to feel comforted by her parents, and feels attachment most of all. These are crucial days but when you get over this phase, it will all be worthwhile, trust me.
- Babies will let you know when they’re getting enough
When you’re nursing a baby, it can be tough to know if your baby is receiving enough milk or not. The ideal feeding time for a baby should be every 2-3 hours. Else, you will have to rely on your super mom instinct to feel if your baby needs more, or not.
Did you know? According to paediatricians, the baby’s weight is the best indicator if he needs more milk supply or not. There is around 8% chance that babies lose their birth weight after discharge. However, they should quickly regain this within the first week. Try visiting your paediatrician for more accurate advice.
You can also try counting the diapers as these may also be a helpful indicator. After 5 days, expect about 6 wet diapers a day and 1 -2 stools. This means your baby is all good and receiving apt food!
- Your baby may appear funny
Truth is, your baby lived and swam inside your tummy for 9 months, had to squeeze his way outside the birth canal, so don’t be surprised that they may look a little funny with a body suit of hair. Your new born baby can also have puffy eyes (which are always shut) and puffy cheeks. This is all just a phase, and believe me as days go by, your baby will start to look like you.
- Wait until the umbilical cord falls off before giving sponge baths
The umbilical cord of a baby should be kept dry for it to fall faster. Wait for this signal before you can give your baby a sponge bath. Your baby won’t incur much dirt, so you don’t have to worry he might be too dirty to go to bed. If the umbilical cord gets wet, all you need to do is pat it dry. Do not panic when the baby bleeds a little when it falls off, that’s normal. Mild bleeding is actually normal, according to paediatricians. If there is excess bleeding, then you should go check a doctor.
5. The first poo is the best surprise you can get
Your baby’s first poo has meconium. It is a greenish black substance inside your baby’s intestines during pregnancy. This is very normal. Yes, it will surprise you but all you have to do is simply clean it up. Wipe your baby’s bottom with a ball of cotton dipped in water. Then, put some baby-friendly petroleum jelly on your baby’s bottom to make it easier for you to remove the poo next time.
6. Your baby will feel hungry – OFTEN
Do not take things the easy way and feed your baby two bottles in one go to avoid sticking to a 2-3 hour feeding routine. Be patient. The baby will let you know when he’s hungry. It is very dangerous to feed him solid food as early as his infancy. Consult with your paediatrician first!
According to paediatricians, your baby needs sustenance to grow and since his tummy is small, he will only take enough nutrition before he would feel hungry again.
7. Don’t expect your baby to sleep soundly at night
Shout-out to new moms! This is perhaps the hardest part of early parenthood – getting enough sleep. That is because babies will sleep most of the day, but will most likely be up at night. They tend to wake up at night more than they do during the day because of nutritional reasons.
According to paediatricians, this is because babies are used to having nutrition on tap. Do not be surprised if your baby will wake up every 2 to 3 hours during the early days to feed.
8. Your baby’s vision is limited
Your baby’s vision is limited in a sense that during the first few weeks, your baby can only focus on objects within 20 to 30 cm in front of him. If you think about it, this is the exact distance from the mother’s face to the baby’s face when you nurse your baby.
9. Babies don’t need a bath everyday
As mentioned earlier, do not worry that your baby is too dirty. During the early days, your baby will not be doing much. Remember that their skin is so delicate, bathing will ruin that and might actually be dangerous. There’s no need to do full baths every day. You can simply wipe him clean with a few taps of the important bits of his body. Use a damp cotton wool dipped in cooled boiled water, wash his face, bum, arms, and folds of his skin. This is called top and tailing.
10. Always opt for the fragrance-free baby stuff
There’s a tendency for moms to be obsessed with their babies smelling good and always squeaky clean. The rule of thumb, especially for moms with newborn babies is to buy products that are fragrance-free. This may just irritate the skin. Remember that your baby’s skin is delicate.
11. He can be noisy
You will be surprised on how such a tiny thing can produce so much noise. Your baby can be very grumpy and can cry a lot. Sometimes their cry doesn’t sound like music to your ears, but more on the painful side you can’t bear. Your baby is capable of several sound effects like groaning, snorting, and other silly sounds you can never believe! The reason is that they have a narrow nasal passages with trapped mucus. This explains the strange sounds coming from your baby. Clear your baby’s nose with a saline spray and it should be good.
12. Don’t expect to fall for him instantly
Some moms do not instantly fall in love with their child the first time she holds the baby in her arms. After 9 months, it’s normal to feel odd when holding your baby for the first time. This is completely normal. New moms usually deal with mixed feelings of joy, pain, feeling of inadequacy, anxiety, and all that. It also takes a while to bond with your new born baby. This is where breastfeeding helps as it really helps with the mom and baby bonding. Always keep your mental health in check as it’s also a common occurrence for moms to have postnatal depression or postpartum depression.
13. Your baby’s skin will peel and it’s okay
Your baby has been swimming in your tummy for 9 months. Then he will be exposed to a dry environment which will have an effect on his skin. It will peel during his second or third day. This is totally fine, but check with your paediatrician which practices are safe to do when this happens.
14. He will not poop everyday
Great news! You won’t need as much diapers as you think you do! During the early days of your baby, he will not poop too much. Yes, your baby can poop from once to seven times a day, but he won’t be doing so every day. He can poop once a week. This is completely normal and does not mean he has food poisoning or diarrhea.
15. Your baby will cry a lot.
Yes. It’s the only way your baby can communicate with you. Expect a lot of crying. It can be overwhelming at first for new parents, but sooner or later you will learn how to deal with it and attend to every type of crying. You’ll learn if he is hungry, tired, or feeling cold.
16. You can’t spoil your baby
Hold your baby often, cuddle and talk to him, feed him on demand and respond to his every cry. This is not called spoiling your baby, you are just nurturing him and lets him feel attached. This is your way of bonding with him.
17. Having a baby feels like you’re in cloud 9
New moms can feel tired and lonely. The only lesson for me is that I wish I had known how quickly time goes; I would have savoured those early days of my kid. This will all be well behind you and the joy of motherhood will always surpass any challenges that may come.
About the Author
Fazreen Razeek from Edarabia has served the digital industry for over 5 years. She collaborates and works alongside agencies, event organizers, and suppliers to develop and execute their marketing strategies. She is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. A graduate with High Distinction from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, Fazreen holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Marketing & Management.