No matter how strongly you have prepared yourself for the day, when the newborn is brought home from the hospital you may find yourself feeling highly unprepared and jittery. This is perfectly normal. No amount of research and preparation can compare to the first day you are sent home to care for your baby yourself.
You are sure to get more than your fair share of advice, warranted or otherwise, and it can be difficult to know which advice to follow. To help ease your mind, here are some common situations you are likely to encounter your first week home with the baby – and how to handle them.
While most parents’ anxiously listen out for the cries of their baby, there could be other sounds made by it as well. Do not feel scared about it or do not feel that your baby is different. Most of the unprecedented sounds and gestures done by babies in the first week, such as coughing and sneezing, are absolutely normal.
Spitting up after eating are very common in newborns. There is nothing abnormal about it and usually no need for concern. To help avoid spitting up, be sure to burp the baby within two to three minutes of feeding her.
Strange Colored Bowel Movements
The first few days home the baby’s bowel movements may be blackish green or totally black in color. This can be disturbing, but it is very normal. The first three to four days, the baby may have bowel movements quite often. As long as the movements are pasty, curdy or seedy, you need not worry much. If it is very slimy or watery in nature and being passed overly frequently, you may want to consult the pediatrician to be sure a virus is not the cause.
Newborn babies may cry out suddenly, even after being fed. A sudden cry in a newborn can mean any number of things, including sleepiness, being hot, being cold or being uncomfortable. Most cries in newborns are not cause for concern and can be cured by addressing the cause. Try rocking baby or changing her clothing if you suspect she may be cold or hot.
Newborn babies sleep a lot, a whopping sixteen to seventeen hours a day. Unfortunately, their sleep pattern tends to be very erratic, with them only sleeping two to three hours at a time, day and night. This can make for a very irregular and tiring sleep schedule for mom and dad. By six to eight weeks of age you can expect your baby’s sleep pattern to even out some and she will begin to be awake more during the day and sleep longer at night, though she will continue to wake up to feed in the night until she is between four months and six months of age.
Umbilical Cord Stump
Being tasked with caring for your baby’s umbilical cord stump until it falls off can feel daunting, but it is really quite simple. Keep the stump clean and dry and the diaper folded away from it. Only sponge bathe baby until after the stump falls off. Never try to pull the stump off, even if it appears loose or is hanging by a thread. Allow it to fall off naturally.
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