When you’re a first-time parent, there can be so many things going round in your mind. You might be wondering if what your baby is doing is normal, as well as trying to adjust to the broken sleep. No baby comes with a manual, and they do all have a personality that they come with. But overall, there are a few things that are going to be standard when you have a newborn. So there isn’t a manual as such, but there are some pieces of advice that you can take from parents that have been there and done that, so to speak. So with that in mind, here are some of the things that all new parents need to know about newborns. Hopefully, it is going to make those early days much more straightforward and less stressful, as you establish and navigate through your new life.
Babies Can Look Funny
The movies are just movies and are often not using newborns when they show a baby being born. Because the reality is that when babies are born, they can look a little funny. So don’t be alarmed if your baby doesn’t come out looking pristine and ready for a photoshoot. They have been squashed up for nine months, and depending on the method of delivery, could have a squashed or odd shaped head, as well as looking quite swollen and puffy. They are also likely to be covered in some fine hair called lanugo. It won’t take long for them to get that cute baby look, but those first few days is just them getting used to being on the outside.
Smiles and Coos Aren’t Instant
If you are imagining that you are going to be getting smiling from your baby instantly, then you are going to be in for a shock; you are unlikely to get smiles and things like coos back from them until the six week mark. Of course, all babies are different, but that is kind of an average mark. The first couple of weeks can feel a little relentless, as you are essentially working for a boss that just complains, but when those smiles come in it is all worth it.
No Need For Daily Bathing
It can feel like you should be bathing your baby every day, but that is not the case at all. In fact, until their umbilical cord falls off, you should only sponge wash them. Keeping them dry, as well as the cord, is going to be the best for it, and can mean that it will heal and fall off faster. Newborns really don’t get very dirty, so even after the cord falls off, having a bath two or three times a week can be enough. If they enjoy it, then by all means go for more. Just make sure that you are using gentle and natural products as you don’t want to dry their skin out too much.
Baby Hair Can Fall Out
Some babies are born with a lot of hair; some are born with very little hair. Either way, they can lose what hair they do have. If you lift them up from their crib one morning and there is hair left in the crib, then it is usually no cause for alarm, as a baby starting to lose their hair can be pretty common. You can use things like olive oil or baby oil to massage gently on their scalp, just so that it can help any cradle cap (or baby dandruff essentially), as well as different baby shampoo products.
They’ll Let You Know If They’re Hungry
If you are new to being a parent, there can be a fear about keeping this tiny human alive. There can be different thoughts in your mind from are they sleeping enough to are they getting enough food. But the good news is that a baby will let you know when they’re not happy. For giving them milk, for example, whether nursing or not, they will let you know if they need any more. They will make noise, or if nursing, simply keep going. So although it can be hard to see how much they are getting (especially when nursing), they will be the one to take the lead on hunger; they will let you know about it for sure.
If you extra paranoid about it, then you can use their diapers as a clue, as they should be filling them if they’re eating enough, as well as having their weight checked regularly.
You Can Go Outside
There can be a feeling like you need to stay indoors when you have a newborn so that you’re not exposing them to certain things. But as long as you feel up to it, then getting out and about is a really good idea. It may take you longer to get out of the house than it ever has before, but you can still lead a relatively normal life with a newborn. Just use your common sense with things like keeping them out of the sun, as well as avoiding being around sick people or extreme cold weather.
Newborns Sleep a Lot
The good news with newborns is that they do sleep a lot. But that being said, it isn’t for long periods of time. They will sleep a lot, but it will be broken up, usually in three hour bouts, especially at night. So plan your time accordingly. You can sleep when the baby sleeps, or know that you have a certain amount of time to get things done before they will want to be fed again or need to be changed and so on. The reassurance is that they will sleep, so you just need to take as much time as you can get, as and when you can get it.Becoming a parent for the first time is a really magical experience, and through all of the sleepless nights, it is something that is totally worth it. The newborn stage really does fly by too, so embrace all that it has to offer because before you know it, they’ll be rolling and crawling and life becomes a whole new ballgame.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.