When we planned to have a baby, I was beyond excited and immediately began reading everything I could get my hands on, this did not and has not stopped yet and I now have a (newly) 3 year old. I felt very prepared for what was to come, although all the information and warnings were overwhelming at times, to say the least.
There are so many questions and emotions that first time mothers have, and rightly so, everything is new and you want to do everything the “right” way, the “best” way. Despite what my husband would say, I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as having too much information! Let’s talk 10 things that first-time moms should know about their newborns. There are so many more than 10 essential tips, but one of the many joys of motherhood is finding YOUR ‘right’ way. Let’s dive in!
- Newborns sleep a lot, and eat a lot, but we’ll get there. Seriously, they like to sleep! Everytime you feed them they are most likely going to fall right back to sleep. This is very normal and will not last long.
- Their time reference will be what you make of it. If your newborn sleeps a lot during the day they will wake up often at night. This can be rough, they’re worth it but rough nonetheless. Your eyes will fight to stay open, your body will be exhausted, you’ll wonder if you’ll heal without getting any sleep, the answer’s yes. 🙂 But you need to make an effort to adjust your little one’s schedule as much as possible. Try keeping the lights low or off at night and things bright during the day. Because they will wake up to be fed and changed every 1-2 hours, keeping lighting consistent is key.
- Support your newborn’s neck. Babies are very delicate and need to be supported. As newborns, they cannot keep their heads up nor do they have the strength to do so. When you pick them up, carry them, move them, feed them, bathe them, etc, support their neck. Depending on the force, a lack of neck support can result in serious brain damage, and may tear muscles. It is so vital to support your newborn’s neck!
- The umbilical cord will fall off by itself. Within 1-2 weeks the umbilical cord will fall off, when this happens it is much easier to bathe your baby as you have to pay special attention to that area. Do not touch their umbilical cord while attached, friction can cause infection. Gently fold down the top of the diaper (this works with disposable and cloth) to avoid friction.
- They recognize your smell and voice. This is one of the most amazing things. You grew this little human being who guess what, instinctively knows YOU mama. They feel secure when their hear your voice. You can hold them, or feed them without saying a word and they will know that it is you.
- Fingernails grow very quickly. My fingernails don’t even grow that fast! Have a baby nail file or clipper on hand, you are going to use it more than you think. I preferred to use a nail file for some time; a newborn’s nails are very thin/delicate and really do not need to be cut. Your newborn may also scratch themselves because of their fingernails so you may want to buy several pairs of baby mittens before your baby arrives.
- Burp baby right after feeding. Gas is a must for your baby right after eating, whether this is burping or gas make sure that this happens. This is probably the only time in life where this is an excellent thing! You do not want gas building up inside of them, they WILL become cranky and may also spit up and that my friend, is not good for anyone.
- Don’t carry them all the time. Or do as we did and don’t believe that newborns can be spoiled, ha!, they ABSOLUTELY CAN BE, and will expect to held ALL the time. I know, I KNOW believe me, I KNOW you will want to carry your newborn all the time. Listen, carry them yes, but as long as they are content, passed gas/burped, clothes are comfortable, diaper is dry, they are well fed, it is okay to lay them in their bassinet or swing. Do not feel obligated to have them in your arms 24/7, try to rest. Yes, I carried my daughter all day every day, and when it came time for her to sleep do you know what she did? Cried. And waited until we held her and nursed or walked her to sleep. This went on for 15 months! I wouldn’t change this, as it was a learning experience but would I do it again, and never try to rest and “let them be” for a few moments at a time, no.
- Swaddle. Swaddles are AMAZING. Your newborn will love it as it reminds them of being in the womb. This is a great way to keep them comfortable, calm, and feel secure without waking every few moments from their startle reflex. You will notice right after giving birth that your medical team with clean your baby, weigh and measure them and immediately swaddle them. You can swaddle your little one before they sleep or even while they are alert. Ask the nurses to help teach you how to swaddle your baby. Parenting classes prior to giving birth can help to teach this to you as well.
- Your baby will cry. Babies cannot communication with you and let you know what’s going on. It can be overwhelming but it’s all apart of the learning curve. You are not doing anything wrong.
- **BONUS- ENJOY IT. ENJOY ALL OF IT. Time flies, enjoy this stage. That amazing smell, those fantastic smiles, the way they fit perfectly on your chest, the silly movements when they aren’t swaddled, the way they just watch you as their eyesight develops . You will come to miss it and reflect fondly of this time. Enjoying taking care of your baby and treasure every single moment. I can go on and on and on, but it truly is such an amazing time. And you’re just getting started! 🙂
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There are some great crafts, and experiments I think you’ll have fun with!
And if you’ve done all my crafts, and need to cook dinner, don’t forget we have a Hawaiian BBQ Bowl complete with pineapple, and coconut flakes [here]
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