The first days with a newborn can be as beautiful as they can be stressful for a new mom. Against all beliefs, carrying for an infant does not come that easy to most women. Motherhood might be about instincts, but there is a lot of learning-as-you-go involved, too. Here are five tips, for those first days at home, just to help a new mother to keep her perspective. Please note that I am in no way an expert, trained, or qualified professional, I am just a mom with a blog, writing my own tips for a new mom.
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1. Don’t believe everything you hear
First of all: Don’t expect everything to be as you have read or heard about in those all so beautiful – what a perfect day – stories. Not a single baby is like the next one – not one! And so isn’t the mother. Other mothers get quickly the hang of carrying for their baby; others simply need some time to figure everything out.
2. Don’t be shy about asking for help
Take a deep breath and ask for help as soon as you feel that you need it! Most things a newborn does, in the beginning, are normal. Call your pediatrician if you have any – and I mean any – questions about your baby. They will (or they ought to) understand. You can ask another recent mom, which you relate to, for some quick advice. Also, keep in mind that it is not necessary to do it all on the first day at home with your newborn baby. For example, you can bath your baby the next day. So, concentrate on your baby, get to know it, don’t deal with other things or phone calls, and let somebody else do chores and run for errands.
3. Know what normal is
Your baby might lose some weight at the beginning, but there is no reason to worry about it. A 5% weight loss is considered normal for a formula-fed newborn, while a 7%-10% loss is considered normal for the breastfed baby. Most babies should be back at birth weight by days 10-14 of life (source). If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.
It is normal for your baby to sneeze and to have hiccups often! There is no need to worry about it. But if you still are… consult your pediatrician!
My baby boy never crawled like most babies. He moved sitting up, using his one foot to push himself forward. At first, I was worried! But then I talked to our pediatrician who said that a small percentage of babies move this way, and that the important things were our baby’s willingness to move and the fact that he found a way to do exactly that!
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4. There is no “baby sleep program”
As for “babies sleep programs”… well, there are none! Every baby has its own rhythm, some babies sleep for hours (lucky parents!) and others wake up often. Though, you should consult your pediatrician right away if your baby has the tendency to sleep too long in a row.
My two were very different in their sleeping habits. The first did never sleep more than two hours in a row, while the second one slept 3 to 4 hours after a couple of months. Both were breastfed babies. So you can see… everyone has his own rhythm!
And, just my two cents about the “crying it out” method: I was never a fan. It just felt wrong to me. So I choose not to do follow that method, personally. I cuddled them, carried them, stayed, laid beside them, or breastfed them, whatever I had to do to help them sleep. It was a time where I was always tired, I have to admit that. But at least, I felt I was doing what felt right for me and my babies.
5. No baby is like the next
Although there are some important milestones for all babies, these are not an exact science. Most of the norms are about the standard average, which really means that there are babies that achieve one thing sooner than other babies, and the next thing later. You shouldn’t worry too much about exact timelines or times a baby must do this or that, but keep a more general eye on your baby’s development. But you should always talk to your expert, to determine how long you can wait for your baby to achieve a milestone or if you need to take action early!
Conclusion: Keep calm, and be informed
So all in all, the motto is to be prepared, keep calm, learn from reliable sources, and know that there is no shame whatsoever in asking for help.
Remember that no one is born a mother (or a father, for that matter!), we all have to learn from scratch how to be the best we can, and that is OK!!
And in the end, after the first overwhelming feelings have passed… it will definitely be the most beautiful experience of your life!
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