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After months of anticipation and perseverance, finally you get to hold that little, adorable bundle of joy in your arms. It is your first weeks with your newborn and your official beginning of motherhood. It is also a time where you get to know and deeply bond with your baby. Here are what you can expect in your first few weeks as a mother and some tips on newborn care after delivery.
The tummy capacity of a newborn is fairly small. Hence, most newborns need to be fed every 2 to 4 hours. This is at least 8 to 12 times of feeding needed every 24 hours. Each feedings may take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, or sometimes 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, your baby is still getting used to latching and sucking as the muscles and coordination are still developing. It is important to get your baby to latch on correctly as it affects how well he or she drinks the milk. It is common to feel some irritation when your baby is latching in the first week or two but it shouldn’t hurt. If you are concerned with your milk supply or you feel pain while feeding, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding can sometimes be hard, so always remember to get support when you need to.
Newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping. They normally sleep around 9 hours in the daytime and 8 hours at night, which is about 16 hours in a day. But in most cases, the baby will wake up (you will know by the sheer noise of crying) or be woken up for feeding at least every 3 hours. A newborn has two distinctive types of sleep cycle, active sleep and quiet sleep.
- During active sleep, newborns move around a lot and make noises and they can be woken up easily.
- During quiet sleep, newborns will have deep and regular breathing. They are also less likely to wake up by their surroundings.
Sleeping patterns may vary from baby to baby, so it is important to watch for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern consistently.
A few tips to help your baby sleep better is to encourage good sleeping habits such as calming a baby down by singing or playing quiet music, finding a comfortable position and rocking to sleep and giving your baby time to settle down and getting your baby used to following a consistent bedtime routine.
You May Also Read this : Tips To Help Your New Born Sleep through the Night
One concern you might face during newborn care after delivery is that your baby starts losing weight the first few days after birth. Do not fret, this is completely normal as nearly all babies will leave the hospital weighing with an average loss of 5 to 10 percent of their birth weight during their first week. Make sure you and your doctor are consistently keeping an eye on your baby’s weight to assure that your baby is getting all the calories and nutrients needed.
A newborn baby’s skin is usually smooth and soft. However, it is also very delicate so you should expect some bumps, spots and rashes. Newborn skins are prone to some common newborn skin conditions if not taken care of properly. Such conditions are dry skin, rashes, eczema, cradle cap, milia, miliaria, jaundice and newborn acne.
Some notable conditions to look out for are:
Jaundice is caused by too much bilirubin (product of the breakdown of red blood cells). It can be identified with a yellow colouration of the baby’s skin and eyes. The treatment for jaundice may include more frequent feeding or phototherapy in more serious cases. It is not usually harmful but severe cases of jaundice can cause damage to the baby’s brain. Hence, please consult a doctor early if you are concerned with your baby’s jaundice.
Eczema are red patches of itchy skin which is caused by certain substances or trigger factors. Substances such as soaps and detergents, wool, skin infections, dry skin, low humidity, heat and sweating can cause a newborn baby’s skin to flare-up. Trigger factors due to allergy can also cause eczema. Therefore, it is important to identify and avoid any triggers.
Here are some newborn care tips for the skin:
- Don’t bathe your baby more frequent than necessary as it removes natural oils that protect the skin of your baby.
- Only use baby laundry detergents that are free from fragrance and dye. Using harsh detergent can easily irritate your baby’s skin
In your first weeks with your newborn, you might observe that he or she spends most of the day sleeping. However, in a month you will start to see your newborn beginning to feel curious about their surroundings and environment.
Vision: Newborns’ vision is limited as they can only perceive objects that are 8 to 12 inches away. Their eyes are usually drawn towards different shapes and shades of sizes and colour.
Hearing: Being able to hear sounds is nothing new for newborns as they have developed hearing while they are still in the womb. They might even recognize familiar sounds once they are out of the womb!
Touch: Touch is one of the best-developed senses at birth and babies are able to detect the difference in temperature, textures, shapes and even sizes of various objects. However, babies tend to primarily explore more with their mouths until they have more control over their hands and arms so make sure the things you give your baby are safe and clean.
Smell: Like touch, newborns can also recognize smell from day one and they are particularly sensitive to the smell of breast milk.
Taste: Newborns’ ability to taste is also already developed since day one and they are particularly born with a natural sweet tooth. They will be able to detect the flavours of food you’ve eaten through your breast milk.
It is important for you to have activities with your children that promote their sensory development as they grow. So here are some fun activities that you can do with your little one in the first three months to encourage their development of all five senses!
- Encourage visual stimulation by decorating bright colours and patterns in the nursery, and always smile, talk and play with your baby. Peekaboo!
- Provide plenty of skin-to-skin contact like hugs or massage to help soothe your baby. It is a great way to bond with your child.
- Sing! Babies love it and it helps enhance a baby’s listening skill.
Meanwhile, you can use interesting baby books and toys to stimulate your baby’s sensory development. Visit MumChecked for a wide range of best-selling baby books, baby toys, nursery essentials, and more mum and baby products!
Baby care is important especially the first few weeks after delivery. It may be hard but you will learn a great deal about your baby and yourself as a mother that you will cherish forever. With plenty of care, observation and love, you will help your baby to grow up being healthy and happy!