Your guide to the first week with a newborn

How to prepare yourself to cope with your newborn's first week at home

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  • DAY ONE:

    You may feel love at first sight for your baby, but for many mums, bonding takes place over the next few days or weeks. Skin-to-skin will help you feel closer to your little one.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Try not to be too anxious when you pick up your baby. In the first few weeks your baby has little head control, so support him with a hand under his head and shoulders, or both hands under his arms with your fingers supporting his head.

  • DAY TWO:

    You may feel tired and disorganised today from getting up during the night to change and feed your baby. Keeping his crib close to your bed can help make life easier, and try to deal with night wakings with the minimum of fuss. Keep the lighting low and don't talk much or stimulate your baby. Only change his nappy if it's really necessary.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Dress your baby in bodysuits in the early weeks and only change outfits if a nappy leaks or he is sick down it. And it's also perfectly acceptable for you to stay in your PJs!

  • DAY THREE:

    By the end of today your milk should come in and once this happens your breasts may feel engorged and sore. But as feeding becomes established over the next few days this discomfort should start to ease.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Your baby will now start to feel more satisfied if you're breastfeeding. If bottlefeeding your milk will still come in, but should start to dry up because your baby won't be suckling to stimulate milk production. Your breasts may feel sore while the milk dries up.

  • DAY FOUR:

    Today you may feel a bit emotional and weepy, otherwise known as the 'baby blues'. This is caused by hormonal changes and can be exacerbated by tiredness and a feeling of anticlimax after the build up to the birth. The baby blues usually last a few days. With rest and support you'll start to feel better. But if the feelings persist speak to your midwife to rule out postnatal depression.

    NEW-MUM TIP: You may think it's the last thing you can deal with, but getting out of the house may be just what you need to help you feel better emotionally and physically. But don't overdo it - you still need to rest.

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  • DAY FIVE:

    A midwife may visit you today to see how you are, check there's no sign of infection, and, if you are breastfeeding, that it's going well. The midwife will also check your baby too. She will weigh him, and ask how he's getting on with feeding and whether there are any problems.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Now's the time to ask your midwife about any concerns you have, such as painful stitches. Don't forget she's there to advise you.

  • DAY SIX:

    DAY SIX: It is likely that you and your baby are now more confident with feeding, although you may still feel uneasy about bathing. You can find more information on successfully bathing your baby here. There is no need to routinely change a nappy before or after feeds - just when it is soiled or heavy with wee. For more nappy changing tips see here.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Remember it's common for new babies to bring up some milk after each feed. This is known as posseting and it won't cause your baby any harm, but speak to the midwife if you're concerned.

  • DAY SEVEN: The Guthrie test

    DAY SEVEN: When your baby is around 1-week-old the midwife will do the Guthrie test (heel prick), which involves pricking your baby's heel and placing a few drops of blood onto a card that is then sent to a lab. It can identify a variety of conditions, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. More often than not, there's nothing to worry about, but if there are any abnormal findings, further tests will be arranged.

    NEW-MUM TIP: Although his cries may still seem indistinguishable, you'll soon start to interpret them.

Last updated on 15 October 2009

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