Welcome to parenthood! Glad to have you. Even in the first month of life, your baby will start to hit their milestones, get excited! Every newborn is different, some may develop slower than others but even that is still completely normal.
Newborn week by week milestones:
- Lifting their head briefly during supervised tummy time
- Moving their hands to their face (a sign of being tired)
- Have a good suction while feeding
- Starting to focus on people’s faces
Uncommon ones, but still milestones to account for (baby at 4 weeks):
- Responding to loud sounds
- Turning head slightly during tummy time
There Will Be Tears (and you’ll feel like a Zombie 🧟♀️)
Tears will happen, whether they are happy tears or tears of frustration, and that is okay! This is a big moment, and normal humans are bound to feel frustrated during stressful times. Some days your baby will cry for what seems to be no good reason, and you will feel in distress. 😤 Your feelings are valid, and these moments will happen.
This is why it’s important to still take care of yourself during these times, even if that means a quick bath, shower, facemask, anything that will boost your mood. You are just as important as your baby.
How to Survive with a Colicky Newborn
Colic is actually pretty common, 1 in 5 infants, and though it sounds scary, it’s a fancy term for a healthy baby that cries excessively and doesn’t respond to your soothing tactics.
It’s typically something you can diagnose yourself, and these are the three tell-tale signs:
- Totals at least 3 hours a day
- At Least 3 days a week
- Persists for more than three weeks
Colic thankfully only lasts between 3 weeks and 12 weeks, it’ll seem to stop suddenly between 10-12 weeks.
You can usually tell the difference between Colic and normal crying because:
- Crying occurs at the same time every day
- Occurs for no reason (the 3 essentials are completed)
- Their limbs will be restless
- The crying becomes disruptive to tasks (such as feeding or sleeping)
How to Soothe a Colicky Newborn:
- Cuddle them (This will make them feel more secure and safe)
- White noise! (This is a common tactic, turning a vacuum on or even playing a video of white noise will mimic the noises of being in the womb and be comforting to them.)pa
- Music (Similar to the white noise, they will be comforted to the soft-sounding music such as lullabies or classical music)
- Pacifier (Sucking is soothing for all babies, and maybe that’s just what they need)
Newborn Babies Develop Routines Early
Throw away the pencil and paper, this is 2020 we’re talking about. Even in the early days of a baby’s life, they will start to form routines. Meaning they’ll want to be fed around roughly the same times, the same increments, which also means how often they dirty a diaper. You’ll notice that your doctor will be interested in these patterns, and want to take note of that. But instead of doing it the old fashion way, there are now some incredible FREE apps you can get online that make the process much easier.
A great app is one called “Baby+” with over 6 thousand ratings, it’s 4.7 stars out of 5. Now that’s pretty impressive. This app will tell you your baby’s specific age, where they should be at this age, along with tracking feedings, diaper changes, and even naps. Side note: This is all pertinent knowledge when addressing your newborn’s health to your doctor.
First Week Home with Baby: Anxiety and Stress Will Sink in ⚠️
New things come with new challenges, and the first time around might get a little stressful. Let’s be real, no one can prepare themselves for hearing a baby cry, and for most people, it’s unsettling. But remember, that baby is yours and they’re just trying to communicate.
Do your best to set up schedules with your significant other to keep that drain to a minimum. Allow yourself to take breaks, if your baby is sleeping, you do not have to hold them the entire time, unless that’s helpful for you. Take a nap, take a bath, read a book, take the time you can to yourself, you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
It Takes a Tribe to Raise Your Little One (it’s okay to ask for help👍)
You physically cannot be 100% all the time, and that’s okay. If you have the resources, use them, let the grandparents babysit, or hire a well-trusted babysitter.
Ask Your Partner For Help
Don’t feel as if you’re alone, remember parenthood is a tag team experience. If you feel like you’re doing most of the work, let your partner know that you need some extra support because teamwork makes the dream work. Take shifts, accommodate each other’s needs. It’s important that each other feels supported so neither feels like you’re going off the deep end.
Ask Your Family and Friends For Help
Everyone around you is here to support you during the early weeks, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member for a helping hand. Whether it be for watching your baby long enough for a nap, or a shower, or even just some company- because sometimes you can get lonely when you’re stuck at home (Facts).
Keep Important Phone Numbers Handy
When walking in uncharted waters, no question is a dumb question. If you feel you or your newborn are having weird symptoms be sure to keep some phone numbers close by for instant clarification.
Helpful Numbers to Add to Your Contact List:
- OB-GYN Office
- Urgent Cares for emergencies
- Lactation Consultant
- Your doula or midwife
Call Your Pediatrician if Your Newborn:
- Is having fevers
- Jaundice (the yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Nonstop crying
- Breathing problems
- No bowel movements or Urination
- Poor appetite
New Moms: Take Care of Yourself (and your breast)
During this time, you’re going to experience new things happening to your body which are completely normal!
The majority of women may feel these new experiences after giving birth🌿:
- Bloody vaginal discharge that changes to brown then white over a few weeks
- Tender vaginal area
- Contractions as your uterus forms to its original size pre-baby
- Breast enlargement and engorgement
- Tiredness and soreness
You are only as good as you take care of yourself, and though you might be missing out on some good night’s rest, there are other things you can do to keep your body in tip-top shape. Pro tip: whenever your baby naps, you should nap as well to compensate for the lack of sleep. Depending on whether you choose to breastfeed, you can use a supportive bra and cold compacts to ease the engorgement or use warm compresses to encourage that good milk flow.
Postpartum Depression is Real: Self-Care Tips
Postpartum Depression is a common thing amongst new mothers, it happens because of extreme hormonal changes, stress, and a lot of other common factors.
Though symptoms may vary, here a few ones that are most noticeable:
- Lack of interest
These are real things, and it doesn’t make you crazy. The best advice is to seek help from a professional as this is more of a chemical issue than something you can fix yourself. However, you can assist by exercise, relaxation, or therapy. By moving forward, you are making progress, no matter the length.
How to Take Care of Your Breast While Breastfeeding
Your breasts are essential to your baby, so you want to make sure they’re kept in the best shape. First things first, you want to make sure they’re clean so take a daily shower to ensure the best and healthiest milk for your loved one. Pro tip: only use clear water as soap can wash away the natural lubricant and leave your nipples dry and cracked.
I highly recommend wearing a nursing bra as it’s very supportive and very convenient when your baby is hungry. You undo the clasp at the top of the cup and your breast is ready to do its thing! Avoid wearing bras with underwires, or any tight-fitting clothing as it might block your milk ducts. But with these helpful hacks, you’ll be good to go.
New Dads or Significant Others: Baby’s First Weeks
We didn’t forget about you, dads, and significant others. This is just as much as a change for you as it is for the moms. You’re built with paternal instinct too, so don’t doubt your ability, you’ll do great. It’s important to be hands-on from the get-go so you get to have that special connection, too.
Talk to your baby often so they can recognize your voice and your face, and don’t be shy when it comes to feeding your tot. The best connection you can get is by holding them and feeding them. That’s when they feel the most comfortable, and it’ll form that bond between you. Don’t be afraid if you need a little boost, this is a team effort, if you are unsure about something, ask. There are no dumb questions when it comes to good parenting.
Prepare For Less Personal Time ⏰
Time to pause the game, and put the headset down. Babies are a full-time job, so be ready to leave the console in the dust for a little bit, but not forever. The first few weeks are very pertinent for a baby because that’s when your little one needs the most care.
Now is the time to buckle up and get ready for the ride. Be supportive of your significant other, and make sure you’re both pulling your own weight. This is essential to keeping your relationship and baby happy and healthy.
Improve Your Time Management
Your newborn will suck up A LOT of your time, so it’s important to time things properly so that you can have time to yourself and for whatever you need to accomplish. With building a proper schedule for your newborn, you’ll have delegated time to do whatever you may need to do. Be prompt about starting that routine with your newborn, so that you will benefit in the end.
Babies aren’t as easy as we may be led to believe, and sometimes it can get frustrating. Your love for your child will create the desired patience you seek, but it may take time. Identify what makes you upset, that’s the first step, then observe how you respond.
What symptoms might occur when you’re losing your patience and how you respond. Once you have clarified those two steps, you can build an efficient plan to help when you do feel overwhelmed.
Lastly, make sure you’re looking after yourself as we tend to lose our patience more when we’re unkempt.
Strive For Family Health (Healthy Parents = Healthy Baby✅)
Together, you are a family, and working as a team will be key to making parenthood a well-oiled machine. This could mean exercising and eating right or attending therapy if you may be experiencing any underlying issues.
Whatever you need to do to keep problems at bay, and the health of the family as the top priority, do it. Babies tend to mimic what they see, they’re like a sponge so if a situation is stressful it will result in the baby reacting as such. Remember you are a team, and together you will conquer.
We Are What We Eat
We all aim for long healthy lives, and that means we have to take care of ourselves. Especially if you are breastfeeding, you want the best nutrients given to your child. If you eat unhealthy food, you will produce breast milk, but the quantity will be significantly less than what it would be if you were to eat a clean diet. This will also help shape your child’s appetite when they are older, if they see you eating healthy, they will be more likely to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do.
Make Healthy Choices For You.. and Your Newborn
This is unfortunately the grimier side of parenthood, it’s not uncommon for parents to partake in things for their own pleasure. However, sometimes it can be taken to extremes. When stressed people tend to gravitate towards drinking or smoking for relief, but when taken too far it can be devastating for the family. When partaking in said actions, make sure to keep it moderate, and keep it away from your baby.
This is a new journey for both parents, and it’s good to know you are not alone. You have plenty of people around you that are willing to lend a hand if you need one. Don’t be afraid to admit you need help, this is a huge change and we all need a little boost every now and then. Some days you’ll need that extra pick-me-up so that you can maintain proper mental and physical health. A healthy family makes for a healthy newborn. When taking care of your precious bundle of joy, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. This will allow you and your partner to take the best care of your new little human. Good luck, you got this!