Your First Days with Baby
What You Need to Know
Whether it's your first or your fourth, bringing baby home is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.
Here are things you'll want to keep in mind:
- Your baby's birth weight will change. Don't be alarmed if after a couple of days your baby weighs less than he or she did at birth. It's normal for newborns to lose 5 to 8 percent of their birth weight in the first week – with proper feeding and care, your baby will make up for it.
- Breast might be best, but it takes time. Breastfeeding may not come as naturally as you might expect or popular culture would have you believe. There are many reasons you may choose to use formula instead. But, if you do choose to breastfeed, be patient. It takes practice – and yes, sore and maybe even cracked and bleeding nipples – for you and your baby to find a groove and a good latch. Your milk also has to "come in," and as it does you may get engorged.
Tip: apply heat before breastfeeding and ice after. Ask your nurse or a lactation consultant for help.
- Eat, sleep, poop. Get ready for the new around-the-clock routine, and don't be concerned by poops that are at first black and tar-like and then yellow, green or anything in between.
- Your first night home may be one of the worst. There's a little known secret that babies often don't transition well from hospital to home. Many new moms find their baby becomes very fussy and may be more difficult to soothe after having being fairly quiet and sleepy for their first few days. This too shall pass. But also trust your gut. If you feel that something isn't right, don't be afraid to call your baby's pediatrician.
- It's normal to cry. You're likely physically spent, your hormones are out of whack and you're now responsible for a whole new person. Crying doesn't necessarily mean that you have postpartum depression, so let it out. The good news is some of your tears will be tears of joy. But if your baby blues persist, talk with your doctor.
- Take your time. Don't feel the need to rush to respond to every congratulatory call, email or text you receive. Many new moms feel they need to use the time in the hospital visiting with people or replying to messages, but it really is a very special time. And it's also likely the only time you have medical support. Take advantage of it!
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