You may have read lots of books or online articles about looking after your newborn baby. You may even have had words of wisdom from mothers that have raised their children. But nothing can prepare you for that feeling when you take your first child home from the hospital after giving birth.
When you were in hospital, the doctors, nurses, and midwives were on hand to give you lots of support. But now, at home, it’s just you and your new baby. Here’s what nobody tells you about the first few weeks with your newborn baby.
Your Baby Will Cry A Lot
We all know that babies cry. But it might not be until you’ve had your first child and spent a couple of days together that you will appreciate just how much it happens.
Babies very often cry for a reason. They may be hungry, tired, or they may need a nappy change. Listen out for these things. Check that nothing is hurting your baby. Maybe the nappy is too tight, there’s an itchy label on a vest or something sticking into your baby?
If your baby is still crying, it may be that they’re just emotional after the trauma of birth or the intensity of the outside world and in need of some soothing cuddles and soft words from you. Take a break from whatever you’re doing, hold your baby close and forget about everything else for a few moments. If you’re worried that your baby is crying more than what you feel is normal or right, speak with your doctor.
You’ll Barely Sleep
Your baby won’t know day from night and won’t care that you’re exhausted so you may have to put up with not getting much sleep at all in the first lot of weeks. In between feeding every couple of hours, there will be a lot of nappy changes, burping and time spent on helping your baby to settle.
It does get better. As your baby gains weight, they’ll sleep longer and deeper and hopefully you will too!
It Takes Time To Get Used To Feeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding works wonderfully for many but may not come naturally to you. It can take time to get used to it and it may be very painful or uncomfortable at first. If your baby has a tongue or lip tie, it can make feeding very uncomfortable so make sure you get advice on this and don’t be afraid to ask for a second or third opinion if you feel you aren’t being heard.
It can take a few days to start producing enough milk, and even when you get it right, your milk production can drop if you are not eating, drinking, and sleeping enough. I used to get incredibly thirsty as soon as my babies began feeding so always had to remember to keep a large glass of water nearby.
If you are experiencing difficulty feeding your baby, don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice.
Babies Poop Is Not Like Ours
The first few times that you change your baby, you may wonder if there is a problem. Their poop in the first few days will be thick, sticky, and almost black.
The color of your baby’s stools will change over time and will come in all manner of consistencies and colors, this is nothing to worry about at all.
When your baby is pooping, they may look like they’re straining too hard. Again, this is normal and nothing to worry about.
For other parenting blogs, check out:
Is this normal? The top 10 FAQs by new moms answered
How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Get Pregnant & Other Post-Pregnancy FAQs