Welcoming your first baby into the world is a truly magical experience. However, as many new parents will tell you, your first week with a newborn will not be what you expected.
Your little bundle of joy is likely to turn your world upside down for a while – and that’s completely normal.
Until your little one arrives, the best thing you can do is prepare yourself for what’s to come. So, we’re going to offer our advice on what to expect during your first week with a newborn. In addition, we’ll share our expert tips on how to survive your first week.
Round The Clock Feeding
Your first week with a newborn will likely be a whirlwind for you. But for your baby, it’s a week of sleeping, feeding, pooing and cuddling. Your newborn will sleep a lot. Sometimes up to 20 hours per day!
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, your baby should wake every 2-4 hours for a feed. If your baby is due a feed but doesn’t wake up themselves, you may want to gently wake them.
This round the clock feeding can be absolutely exhausting but try to remember that the newborn stage doesn’t last forever.
Changes In Your Babies Appearance
By the end of your first week, your baby’s appearance may have changed dramatically. Puffy eyes, swelling and redness on your little one’s face should have gone down and any bruising from the birth will have started to fade.
You may notice your baby’s skin turning a shade of yellow in the first few days following the birth. This is known as Newborn Jaundice and is very common.
Jaundice is usually nothing to worry about and will go away on its own within the first couple of weeks. If you’re worried, let your Midwife or GP know.
Your baby’s umbilical cord will also look different. Within the first ten days, the umbilical cord will dry up, turn black and eventually fall off. During that time, try to keep it clean and dry.
New parents are often surprised when their newborn loses weight. But there’s nothing to worry about. It is perfectly normal for your newborn to lose 5-10% of their birth weight during their first week.
Your baby will regain weight in the following couple of weeks. Bottle-fed babies tend to regain weight slightly quicker than breastfed babies.
Breastfeeding Doesn’t Always Come Naturally
Breastfeeding may be natural, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy to new mothers. Plenty of people tell you that ‘breast is best’ but nobody tells you how challenging breastfeeding can be for most new mums.
Your baby may struggle to latch onto the breast, and when they do, it can be incredibly uncomfortable for you. This is normal and many new mother’s go through the same when they start breastfeeding.
A midwife or nurse will help you find a comfortable position and teach you how to latch your baby onto your breast. You should receive ongoing support in the hospital and when the midwife or health visitors visit your home.
However, if your baby won’t breastfeed, you can express your milk and bottle feed. Alternatively, you could switch to formula.
Postpartum Hormone Swings
During your first week with a newborn, you may experience a whole wave of conflicting emotions. You may cry often, feel irritable, be over-sensitive and generally just feel a little out of sorts.
These postpartum hormone swings are completely natural and come from your body producing different levels of hormones during pregnancy and birth.
These “baby blues” should calm down within the first couple of weeks once your postnatal hormones have rebalanced. In the meantime, try to rest and spend your time bonding with your little one. The dishes can wait!
How To Survive Your First Week With A Newborn
We hope our expert advice helps you through your first week with a newborn:
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – The midwives say this for a reason, it really does help! You may only get half-hour naps whilst your baby snoozes, but they make all the difference when you’re exhausted.
- Accept help – When relatives and friends visit, don’t turn down their offer to help. Looking after a newborn baby is full-on and you may struggle to fit anything else in. So, accepting help from others can take a weight off your shoulders, even if they just stack the dishwasher, fold the laundry or put a wash on.
- Go for a walk in the stroller – The first few days after bringing your baby home from the hospital can be an exhausting blur of visitors, check-ups, nappy changes and feeds. Getting out of the house and enjoying a gentle stroll will do you the world of good. Plus, the gentle motion of the stroller will help your newborn sleep. Especially if you have a luxurious JUNIORJONES Stroller with Tru-Ride 2 technology.
- Always use a changing mat – Changing your baby’s nappy on your bed at 2 am may seem perfectly fine. But an unexpected poo requires a lengthy cleanup job. Nobody wants to be stripping and making their bed in the middle of the night, especially when they’re already exhausted. Wherever you are, always use a changing mat! And have a spare sleepsuit nearby.
- Don’t try to do too much – Your body has just been through the traumatic experience of giving birth. For the first few weeks, you should be resting, taking it easy and bonding with your baby – especially if you have had a caesarean. Trying to do too much can delay your recovery.
- Remember that these things take time – You and your baby are getting to know one another. And you and your partner and slowly adjusting to being parents. The first few weeks are challenging for many parents and every baby is different. It’s essential to keep in mind that adjusting to a new way of life takes time. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to a relative, friend or health professional.