Congratulations, you have a new baby in the house! Suddenly, everything is going to change: this little person is going to be the center of your world, and everything they do is going to fascinate, entertain, and sometimes even worry you.
Everything from their little fingers and toes, to the new noises they make is going to be the most important thing to you. It’s tiring, though: even if you had the most routine and smooth of labors, you’re still going to be exhausted for the first little while. Relax! Everything is going to be okay.
No matter how prepared you are, it’s okay if you start to feel a little anxiety and self-doubt: it’s normal to feel such things as the reality of the situation sets in!
If this is your first child (and even if it isn’t!) there’s just no way you’re going to know how to deal with everything, and that’s fine.
Your Baby at 1 Week: Sleep
Your baby is going to be just as exhausted as you are. In fact, newborns are awake only 10% of their time awake. This should be mostly uneventful, but be prepared for late-night feedings and crying.
Sleep is going to be random, and it’s going to vary from child to child, but you can expect a lot of short naps, because babies don’t sleep for long periods of time.
You’ll want to invest in either a bassinet or a baby crib (and some good sheets to go along with it!): hopefully you have one already! Don’t let your baby sleep in the same bed as you: this is a suffocation hazard, and you stand the risk of rolling on top of them.
In order to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), your baby should sleep on their back.
You will also find that your baby spends a lot of time curled up, but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Since they spent so much time in the uterus, their natural position.
Over time their arms and legs will begin to unfurl, and by the time they’re about 6 months old, they should be completely unfurled.
Your Baby at 1 Week: Eating
It’s time to get ready to either breastfeed or bottle feed! Your baby is going to be on strictly a liquid diet for the first 4 months: stick to breast milk ideally, or baby formula if necessary. Their digestive tract won’t be ready for solid foods until it’s more fully developed.
You could consider getting some good glass baby bottles to make feeding easier, too.
Your Baby at 1 Week: Bathing
It’s important to only sponge bath your newborn, as it’s not recommended to fully-submerge them in water until their umbilical cord falls off.
Even when giving a sponge bath, make sure to check the temperature of the water before you use it on your baby. Their skin is very sensitive, and you’ll want to make sure it’s warm, but not too hot.
It’s easy to give a sponge bath: just get a bowl of warm water and a washcloth, and dip it in the water. Ring it out until it’s damp and not dripping.
Then, simply wash your baby with the cloth, between the fingers and toes, behind the ears, and anywhere a diaper covers. Be sure to keep them covered up with a towel so they stay warm!
They’re not going to need a bath every day, but you should make sure their faces and bottoms stay clean.
Remember, Your Baby is Unique
Not all babies develop at the exact same speed. Don’t be worried or concerned if your baby is slower than you think they should be. Also, if your baby was premature, they’ll probably need a little bit more time to reach their milestones.
Relax! Enjoy the first few months; everything is going to be fine.