The first few days with your newborn - what’s normal and when should you seek help?
Bringing your newborn home for the first time and being alone with him is a defining moment but don’t panic - you’ll quickly learn many new skills, as will your baby. To help you through those first few days, here’s a guide as to what’s normal for your newborn, and when you need to seek help.
Spending time cuddling and looking at your baby is a great way for you to get to know each other. It also means you’ll notice changes in the normal things he does. Your baby will breathe in different ways, depending on what he’s doing:
You’ll probably find yourself checking to make sure he’s still breathing. Everyone does this – and usually for longer than we admit to!
“I was always checking her breathing at first, and accidentally waking her up to make sure she was okay,” says Hannah, 40, mum to Rebecca, 20 months.
Seek medical help if your baby:
Crying is your baby’s survival instinct and it’s designed to get your attention. There are many reasons why your baby might be crying - the most common ones are:
Your baby can catch up to 10 different cold viruses a year. Coming across germs helps strengthen your baby’s immunity. The main way colds are spread is by droplets from coughs and sneezes, so it’s just common sense not to cough or sneeze directly over your baby.
Annette Maloney, health visitor
Over-heating can be dangerous, but letting your baby get too cold isn’t good either – the ideal room temperature for a baby to sleep in is 16-20ºC
Check your baby’s warmth by feeling his skin around the nape of his neck. The normal temperature of a baby’s body should be 36.4ºC-37ºC, which should feel tepid to the touch.
If your newborn has a temperature, always see a doctor.
To keep your baby safe at night and reduce the risks of SIDS (cot death)
Your baby may sleep more or less than your friend’s baby, sleep for long periods at a time, or nap for shorter bursts. In the beginning, each day may bring a different pattern.
If your baby does have a long period of sleep, say 5-6 hours, then he’ll need to feed more frequently for the next few feeds to catch up. If he won’t settle, take him out for a walk or a drive, as motion can often help.
“When I brought my baby home from the hospital he slept for hours on end. After a few days I was really worried, because he was sleeping more and feeding less, so my health visitor told me to wake him every three hours for a feed. It turned out there had been a lot of ‘sleepy babies’ because of the hot weather,” recalls Tailor, 30, mum to Eddie, 7 months.
“When we took our baby home from hospital, her dad and I looked at each other and said, ‘Now what?’ We were totally clueless and thought that if anyone realised how little we knew, they’d take her away from us!”
Kate, 28, mum to Lucy, 8 months
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