What To Expect In The First Week of Life With a New BabyYou have just had a baby! Are you prepared for what lies ahead? I think no matter how well prepared we are, there is still a lot of challenges we hadn't anticipated and big adjustments to make.
The first weeks at home with your baby are filled with changes. While you adjust to being a mom, your baby is adjusting to life out in the world. You may feel extreme happiness and possibly tremendous fear! Having someone depend on you for absolutely everything can be quite overwhelming. Do not try to do too much and take help when it is offered!
Your Baby's Needs
During your baby's first few weeks in the world, he will be learning about his surroundings and about you as well. Your baby's needs are actually quite simple -- he needs warmth, comfort, food, and clean and dry diapers. Hold your baby close, move slowly and methodically, feed him when he is hungry, and change him when he is wet. Sounds simple, but these things can consume your day in a hurry.
This is also a good time for bonding with your baby. One of the best ways to do this is with plenty of skin to skin contact.
Breast or Bottle?
Regardless of your decision to breast or bottle feed, feeding in the first few weeks can be daunting. While your baby will have the routing and sucking reflexes as well as tongue thrust that are needed to get nourishment from the breast or the bottle, there is work and learning for both of you. Try to feed your baby in a quiet place with few distractions, making yourself comfortable since it takes new babies a while to eat and you need to be relaxed. Feeding time provided the perfect opportunity to cuddle and caress your baby and show him love.
If you are breastfeeding, it may take some time for you and your baby to get the hang of it! There are so many benefits of breastfeeding and it is important to start out right to ensure success. Remember that it may take weeks until you and your baby both feel comfortable with breastfeeding - it is something that needs to be learned by both of you. There is support out there if you need it!
What You Will be Feeling
Most new moms feel and experience:
- Fatigue (can be extreme)
- Discomfort, swelling, or pain in or near the perineal region if you had a vaginal delivery
- Pain and/or numbness around your incision, but only if you went through a cesarean delivery
- Cramping in your abdominals (afterpains) when the uterus moves
- Bloody vaginal discharge for the first week or so
- Breast discomfort or engorgement
- Extreme happiness, depression, or mood swings
- Fears about your abilities as a mother
- Profuse sweating
No Need to be 'Super Mom'
While it is often our temptation to ‘do it all’, now is certainly the time to forget that notion! Don’t try to do everything (really, the dust bunnies won’t bite), and accept help when it is offered. Be sure you have meals regularly and nap when your baby naps. That was some of the best advice I received, now I pass it on to you.
For more information on your baby's first week home, please visit Maternity Corner.