27 Aug What to expect the First Week home with bub
Whether it’s your first time giving birth or you have had other children, just like every baby is different so is every experience. Welcoming a newborn into your family and lives is a major adjustment, especially in those first few days out of the hospital. Having the knowledge and information to know and recognise what is ‘normal’ and what you need to look out for, will help give you comfort and piece of my mind.
Today we welcome endorsed Midwife and founder of ‘Boommama’, Sharon Buckley, to the Rescueblue blog. Offering midwifery-led Antenatal and Postnatal care, she is also a mother of 6 and for the past 25 years has been working with mothers during pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding. We are excited for her to share some of her wisdom on what to expect in that first week home with your newborn.
What Baby’s First Week at Home Is Really Like
with Boommama midwife Sharon Buckley
Congratulations, the first week with your newborn baby can be both exciting and overwhelming. As you are healing and recovering from the birth and most likely have not had much sleep. So, it’s really important to rest when your baby is sleeping, this can be challenging especially when you have other children to care for. Particularly during these times of Covid and lockdown, especially if you don’t have friends and family nearby.
So, what does the first week look like with a newborn baby? Well, around days 2 and 3 your baby will start to want to feed more frequently, and this is a good thing as it will encourage your milk to come in. Newborn baby stomachs are about the size of a marble on day 1 then by day 3 the size of a ping-pong ball. If bubba is well, you just follow his/her cues, this is called baby-led breastfeeding or demand feeding. A breastfed baby will usually feed between 8-12 breastfeeds in a 24hrs period, and usually, during this time they will cluster feed which is totally normal. Formula-fed babies, usually feed around 3-4hrly. The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a great go to for more information.
So, you are going to be on the couch, rocker or bed while your baby is feeding, so it’s really important to get comfortable. Make sure you have water next to you and maybe a snack, it’s thirsty work! Did you know you have to eat more while breastfeeding than when you were pregnant, so a healthy diet is important.
It feels like your baby is a pooping machine and in the first day or two of life. Baby poop is called meconium, it’s a tarlike poop, by day 2 it will transition to a greenish poop that will eventually turn yellowish, Dijon mustard appearance and possibly speckled with little “seeds.” By day 3, look for a minimum of three to six wet nappies a day in the first week.
Crying (and other noises):
That’s how babies communicate their needs, whether it’s hunger, discomfort, crankiness, or the desire to suck and be cuddled. Sometimes it hard to determine what they exactly need, so it maybe a matter of elimination. Once the need is satisfied, it could be a nappy change or just hungry and sometimes wanting more cuddles, your little one should calm down. But not always, if you are concerned, please seek help from your Midwife, Doctor or Child & Family Health Nurse. Other than crying, babies do sometimes make little noises when sleeping. Often mothers find it hard to sleep at first as they are not sure whether this is normal. Babies are generally nose breathers when they sleep, they have tiny nasal passages, so most babies sound snorty and sometimes let out little coos or mmm sounds. It just takes time to get use to this. Again if you have any concerns discuss this with your Midwife, Doctor or Child & Family Health Nurse.
Most women feel teary, overwhelmed and/or anxious 3 to 5 days after the birth. This is called the baby blues and is due to quick changing hormone levels after the birth, as well as the lack of sleep and learning how to breastfeed and look after this little person. It’s a big job! Fortunately, this is usually brief and If these feelings last longer than a few days and they get more intense, talk to your partner, as they are usually the first ones to notice the changes, also your midwife, doctor or child health nurse. These feelings might be a sign that you have postnatal depression.
Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. These are typically signs of jaundice. There isn’t concern if the baby is feeding well and alert, but if your baby becomes lethargic and not waking for feeds discuss this with your midwife or doctor. Your baby may require a blood test, that is taken from a heel prick, if the bilirubin levels come back high your baby may require phototherapy.
|Take one day at a time and remember you can’t spoil your baby by having too many cuddles. Don’t get stuck on what you should and shouldn’t do. If your friends and family are offering to help, ask them for practical things like making a meal or pick up some shopping. In the first few days, a midwife might visit you every day at home. You will usually get a home visit if you live in NSW from your local Child & Family Health Clinic. Clinics provide support and run groups for new mothers, sometimes in languages other than English as well as being a great source of information about feeding and health. You also can call on a private midwife to visit you for up to six weeks. There are telephone services that you can call night and day, such as parent helplines in your state or territory and the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Whatever the problem, there are services to help in those early days and weeks at home.
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