What to expect from a newborn
Having a baby for the first time is exciting, exhilarating and…pretty damn scary! No doubt you’re reading up on everything you can and trying to be as well- equipped as possible. But in all honesty, no matter how much you read and how many conversations you have, nothing can really completely prepare you, but there are a few pieces of advice we can share that might help…
Newborn babies are often associated with a lack of sleep. But that’s not actually quite true. Newborn babies often sleep for the majority of the day, sometimes up to 20 hours! It’s just that it comes in segments, lots of broken sleeps with lots of feeding and nappy changes in between. If you’re breastfeeding it’s likely that your baby will want to feed every 2-3 hours, so, try to be led by when they want to feed, rather than sticking to a particular timed schedule – at least to begin with.. It’s most common for new born babies to be born with a rooting reflex, that means that they have the ability to locate the breast or bottle for feeding, so they have a way to tell you when they’re ready for more milk.
You may not realise it fully at first, but baby’s senses work from the moment they’re born. They can see your face, recognise the tone of your voice and even your scent. The sensation of touch is also really important for newborns, with the ability to feel the softness of your face, which is why skin to skin contact is equally enjoyable, as well as instructive, for babies and parents alike.
You’re likely to find that your little one is all curled up during the first few weeks. That’s because that’s how they were in your uterus, and they feel comfortable in that shape. Over time they will stretch out, but for now just enjoy their little frog stance!
Newborn babies poo and wee rather a lot! Have in mind that nappies actually have a wet line (one of the discoveries of new parents) – so make sure you’re regularly checking whether they need a nappy change. When it’s time, make sure you clean the whole nappy area thoroughly, wiping from front to back, using plain water or alcohol-and-fragrance-free baby wipes. Gently pat your baby’s bottom dry after washing and avoid vigorous rubbing. Using a barrier ointment or lotion will help protect against nappy rash.
Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment has a unique double action formula to provide daily protection from nappy rash and is gentle enough to use every day and at each nappy change. It’s also available in a handy Spray. Double-action Metanium Everyday Easy Spray Barrier Lotion protects and moisturises the skin to help prevent nappy rash. Two sprays should be enough to form a thin protective layer that protects the skin. Pat around the area to maximise coverage – no need to rub it in. If nappy rash does strike, Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is licensed specifically to treat nappy rash but remember that Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is a medicine and you should always read the label.
In the first few days, despite feeling like you’re constantly feeding your baby, it’s quite common for newborns to lose a little bit of weight. If this does happen, don’t worry, it’s completely normal but just make sure you keep feeding them regularly. The goal is to get them back to their birth weight within 2 weeks.
Now we’re sure you’ve read and heard lots about how to wind your baby. But do remember that not all babies need winding – some will do it on their own whilst others will need some help each time. Either way, you’ll know whether they need it or not, if they seem uncomfortable after a feed. Try gently patting your baby’s back in a circular motion to help relieve the wind. You can also try a number of different positions if needed, such as laying your baby down on your lap face down or holding them with their head resting on your shoulder.
Guests and visitors
When you have a newborn, you’ll find that lots of people want to visit and help out. Our advice – take them up on their offer! Whether it’s picking up something from the shop, helping you clean or taking your dog out for a walk, let them help, it’ll make them feel good too! However, if in fact you’ve had no sleep, not showered in days and just want to be left alone, don’t feel under any pressure to say yes. The first few months are about looking after yourself and your baby, so if you don’t want the company, politely tell them it’s not a great time but you’ll definitely be in touch once things have calmed down.
Whether you were the kind to join all of the sports teams at school, or you were the one hiding behind the gym changing rooms, we can’t recommend baby groups enough. Everyone is in the same boat the first time, but go along, throw yourself in and get chatting. Whether it’s baby massage at your local library or baby swim at your local leisure centre, it’s important to try and get out as much as you can, not only for your baby’s development but for your sanity too, (just make sure there’s good cake involved).