You’ve been handed your new baby(s), sent home from hospital and now its just expected you know what to do! It’s totally overwhelming, you are full of surging hormones and you are absolutely exhausted. Our handed week by week guides should give you a small steer, they are not comprehensive and are written to give you some reassurance and general information. They do not replace the advice from health care professionals and support services. If you have any concerns trust your instinct and get help, support or advice from a midwife, GP or health visitor. In case of emergencies (including any concerns with breathing) call 999. You are not overreacting and its always better to be safe than sorry.
Lets start with Nappies:
💡 Top Tip – make sure the outside edge ruffles are not tucked in to any of the elastic areas around the inside of the legs #poonami
You can expect a newborn baby to have 8-12 wet nappies a day and up to 12 dirty nappies! The urine in the wet nappies should be clear, any changes to babies wet nappies seek advice as needed. Bowel movements can happen as often as every feed.
Washing and cleaning:
You do not need to bathe a newborn baby. You should however clean the face and bottom daily. It is recommended to use cooled boiled water with cotton wool but water/aqua wipes for the bum area is completely acceptable so don’t make your life harder than it needs to be. If you are going to use water and cotton wool use separate bowls for the face and bottom.
Whilst you don’t need to bathe them, it is ultimately your choice and this is a judgement free zone! When you choose to do so, the ideal bath ideal temperature is 37 degrees. The first bath should only be a few minutes and I highly recommend using a wet muslin over them to keep them warm. Have warm towel on standby and keep the room warm too.
Babies spend their first few months being rocked around during the day as you walk around then have a party at night when you lay down to sleep, it’s safe to say their days and nights are topsy turvy.
To get their rhythm switched at night keep the lights low and the noise to a minimum, then try to keep the days bright and noisy (background music etc).
This is one area that can be so confusing. You’re told to ensure that baby sleeps on their back at the foot of their own cot that is clear of anything. Baby however won’t sleep at all unless they are on you. I understand your conundrum. A room temperature of 18-20°C – with cellular bedding or a well-fitting baby sleep bag– is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies so let's start with that.
There are many different things to research and try that may help if your little one is not going 2-3hours at night but remember all babies are different so it may take a few weeks to find what works for yours:
- Swaddling: the sensation of them being swaddled can give them comfort and security and often can be enough to send them off to sleep. Some babies are “hands up” sleepers so in this instance you may want to swaddle them without their arms out, not being down in the swaddle.
- Co-sleeping: it’s not for everyone, and there are some very clear things you absolutely must do if you want to co-sleep, the bed needs to be clear of covers and blankets, any adult in the bed needs to be drug and alcohol free and everyone needs to be a non-smoker. All of these factors can increase the risk of SIDS. We recommend you do some further reading on the Lullaby trust website. As a mum who co-slept twice, for me it worked and given the chance I would do it again.
- White noise: there are many sleep aids on the market including Ewan the dream sheep, Jaspar the elephant and the Snuz cloud to name but a few. These can help mimic the sounds and noises baby was used to in the womb and help settle them. You can always try this on your phone (YouTube white noise) to see if it works before investing.
A normal temperature in babies and children is about 36.40C (97.5F), but this can vary slightly. A fever is usually considered to be a temperature
of 380C (100.4F) or above. It is recommended that you use a digital thermometer under your baby’s arm to measure their temperature. Seek medical advice if your baby is under three months old and has a temperature over 380C or if you are worried about their health.
Jaundice is common and symptoms usually fade within 10 days but you may need to have baby put under special lights in the hospital. Frequent feeds can help with jaundice too.
Things for you:
Uterus contractions: It’s a strange sensation as your uterus begins to shrink back down and can feel like period cramps and in some cases it can feel like a form of labour contraction. It is believed to be more intense in breastfeeding mums due to the cues breastfeeding gives to the body.
The first poo:
Possibly the most terrifying thought after birth is the perception of pushing out a poo, especially if you have stitches /haemorrhoids. My advice here is to stay hydrated, breathe and use something to prop your feet up higher (a toilet roll on the floor under each foot works) to bring your knees up higher and put less strain on the area.
The postnatal bleeding:
Your placenta was attached to you on the inside and has left a wound the size of a dinner plate when it came away, this shrinks in size with your uterus, but expect a fair few weeks of bleeding from this and you also have the thick lining from the wall of the womb that was protecting your baby. It can also be common for the blood to congeal together into clumps especially as you are sitting for a long time. This can be quite alarming when you see this come out onto a pad in your knickers! If you are at all concerned (take photos before you flush it away) speak to your midwife.
It’s a real thing. The hormonal surges do get better after day 5. The sleep deprivation won’t help so do try get naps in, if there are people around to help make use of them. Its ok to find this hard, it is HARD!!! If you are having thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby you may be suffering from postnatal depression. Please look at the PANDAS website who can support you further on this.
So that’s my round up of week one, its new, it’s scary but despite it all, you’re doing amazing.