16 Things You Need to Know About Newborns
Having a newborn baby at home will pretty much be the most unique, tiring and hilarious experience of your life. If you're a first time mama or daddy you may be wondering what to expect when you bring babe home with you. Here are a couple of things I have learned about having a newborn that should quiet some of your fears.
- Newborns look weird. When people say they want to wait and see if the baby looks more like a Jeff or Steve when they are born, what they may not know is pretty much ever baby will be born looking like a beet root. It's kind of a rough deal for them, ya know? So just be ready for some smooshed ears, puffy eyes, and flaky skin for the first week or so. Oh, and don't worry too much if you are slightly terrified of the black umbilical cord. We all are.... Like seriously all of us.
- Your newborns pooping will be all over the place. Yes I mean like all over the carpet and floor and your hands and clothes, but also that they may go 13 times one day and then not go again until next Monday. When my son was born we were absolutely freaked out (and I mean like sobbing) that he wasn't pooping every hour. Turns out it's okay if breastfeeding babies only poop a couple times a week, which our son did. Don't ever forget those times, because they were a freaking dream, okay!?
- Newborns sleep a lot, but it's not very predictable. Pretty much your babe will be sleeping in 1-2 hour stretches about 5-10 times a day when they're first born. And for the rest of the time they're really just going to want to eat. I know. What a joy. You're on call for them now. You'll be exhausted just like babe, so do your best to get your z's in when they do, and don't worry about much else. You need the recharge for all of those late night wake up calls.
- If you're feeding your baby enough that he is happy and sleeping then don't stress about getting him up to his birth weight by the 2-week check up. They're not going to take him back, I promise. At least they didn't with mine. Especially if you're breastfeeding it's going to take a minute for you both to get the hang of it, so don't get too discouraged. Your baby will let you know by an adorable screech that they are still hungry. Try your best to not let them sleep too much during the day without feeding them.
- Baby acne will not last forever. And don't you dare pick at it, you monster. It isn't hurting your little one, so don't let it bug you too much. Try a sensitive skin lotion on their face to help with dryness, but otherwise leave those bumps alone.
- Newborns love, and I mean LOVE, to be swaddled. You may look at your little burrito baby and think to yourself, there is no way they are comfortable. But trust me when I tell you that they are. Newborns are born with a startle reflex, and swaddling them helps to make sure that their arms or legs don't wake them up when they jump while sleeping. Keep those little loves bundled up, and I promise you'll have a much happier newborn. Check out our favorite Cotton Muslin Swaddles from Little Unicorn - they're only kind of amazing.
- They need to burp. Don't let your baby make you think they don't. Whether their on the breast or the bottle once their born, they are going to get little bubbles in their tummies that need to come out. There are a bunch of different positions you can try to make sure you get all that air out, so find which one works best for you and babe and don't forget to do it! When they're being fed, try and stop to burp about halfway through. This will ensure that they're eating as much as they can, and we all want a little chubby baby.
- Babies don't need baths everyday, and this is especially true for newborns. When they've still got their gross little friend on their bellies (aka the umbilical cord stump) you should only be wiping them down with a sponge or a rag. After that atrocity is gone, you can switch to a semi-normal bath for your baby. Make sure the water is warm enough that your baby is comfortable, but be prepared for your child to scream bloody murder through their first experience. Ah, the memories. 1-2 baths per week for newborns is plenty! Their skin is very dry, and you don't want to intensify the problem with extra soap. When you do suds up, make sure to always support baby's neck and head, and you may want to have all hands on deck until you get the hang of it or an infant tub that can fit in your sink.
- You know that beautiful crib that your mother sent you the moment she found out you were pregnant? Well your newborn may not be ready for such a big bed yet. Most newborns are a lot more comfortable going from tummy to a more compact bassinet or co-sleeper. I even had our son in a modified swing when he was first born that I kept right next to my bed, so I could nurse him in the middle of the night. This won't last forever, so just enjoy that you have your little one right next to you for a few weeks.
Newborns are kind of inconsiderate, and so they do a good job of pooping, peeing, and spitting up on basically everything. They don't mean to be so rude, so don't take it so personally. What you should be ready for is a lot of laundry. Also keep in mind that your baby doesn't need to be dressed up in the cutest little outfits everyday. Truth is they are just going to spit up on 90% of it, so it's okay if their outfit for the day is a white onesie. And it's okay if your outfit for the
dayweek is a bathrobe. We're all in this together, and your babe is not gonna know the difference.
- Your newborn's fingernails are going to be like little daggers that will scratch their adorable little cheeks and eyes. It will physically break your heart when you see that they gave themselves their first mark. But never fear! Babies are so cool. Those scratches will fade, and for the most part you will never see any reminder that they were ever there. Also, you can put some little goumi mitts on those weapons to keep them from being too dangerous. Sidenote: If you're terrified of the idea of cutting those nails with clippers you aren't alone! I actually bit my son's nails off when he was first born. Probably because I have serious problems, but also because it felt like I had a little more control that way than with a pair of nail clippers. Keep in mind there are nail clippers like the Fridababy NailFrida Snipper Clipper that has a little window in the clipper so that you can see what you're doing. Moral of the story is that we do what we gotta do.
- Don't be too concerned if your baby has a little orangey hue when you bring her home from the hospital. I know that when my son was born with mild jaundice my husband and I were devastated, and took it as a personal statement of our terrible parenting...All 36 hours of it. Just keep in mind that around half of all full-term babies are born with some jaundice, and most will be cured with eating and pooping and a little sunshine. Even for those more severe cases you'll just be getting your baby a little tanning bed lamp. Nothing to be scared about!
- Your newborn's hair is probably going to fall out. This is typical for newborns and there's not much you can do stop it. Because they don't have great control of their neck muscles they keep their heads in the positions you lay them in, so do your best to try and lay them on alternating sides and their back. This way you will minimize the chance of having one big bald spot, and it will also help you make sure they get a nice round noggin!
- You're allowed to take your baby outside. I know that pretty much everyone will tell you to be worried about all of the germs floating around out there, but you should be fine. Depending on where you live you will need to be aware of the weather, but other than that do your best to get out of the house and get a little sunshine and walk in. You can choose to take that new stroller for a spin, or even get your baby wearing skills down. It will be good for your spirits and it will help baby too!
- They love white noise. You know that black and white static screen of death that we used to see on our old school TV's? Yeah, they love that stuff. It reminds them of the ambient noise they had while in the womb. You can get a little noise maker that clips on to the crib or the carrier (my son loved that), or even just use an app on your phone that has a bunch of soothing sound options. That ocean breeze option will make you feel like you're lounging beachside when really you just haven't had a shower in three days and smell like sweat.
- If your baby doesn't smile right away it doesn't mean it's broken. Pinky promise. Littles ones will usually only smile when they're pooping or sleeping for the first couple of weeks, so don't despair if you feel like you got a glum guy from the hospital. Those sweet gummy grins will show up soon, and once they do your heart will melt again and again. The coo's will follow right behind the smiles, and sooner or later your baby will be chatting it up with you in goo's and gah's. Around this same time both their eyes will be able to focus on your face, so trust me, it'll be a real moment.