These first few weeks with your baby are an exciting time. There is much for you to learn about your baby and your baby has much to learn about you and the family. During this time of adjustment and recovery, it is important that you take good care of yourself. If you are taken care of, you can take good care of your baby.
What you can do:
- Nap when your baby naps
- Have your family, neighbors, or church help with the housework, meals, and laundry.
- Get out of the house for short periods of time (for haircut, grocery shopping, errands, etc.)
- Go out on a date with your partner
- Schedule your post-partum checkup for 3-6 weeks following delivery
- Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are still feeling blue or depressed after one month. Fifty percent of all women feel a bit blue (depressed, down) for a few days to 3 weeks after delivery. In other cases, these post-partum blues can develop into true depression and affect you and your relationship with your baby if not addressed.
- Learn as much as you can about your baby and caring for your baby
Some important things concerning your baby:
Your baby has a smal tummy and needs to eat 8-12 times per day during the first few weeks. Scheduling will be easier after the baby is several weeks old.
Dress your baby in the same amount of clothing you wear plus one additional layer. Use a hat or cap for the first few weeks and when going outside.
Newborns usually sleep for 2-5 hours at a time, with the length increasing at night.
Clean the eyes, ears, belly button (when cord has fallen off), with warm water. DO NOT stick Q-tips inside the ear canal. Trim fingernails and toenails when asleep or with someone else assisting. Always check the water temperature before placing the baby in the water.
DO NOT use regular soap for the baby's bath because it is very drying to baby's skin. Warm water is sufficient. Dove soap or other moisturizing soaps are ok to use.
Wipe with rubbing alcohol around the cord with every diaper change until it falls off (in about 10 days)
- Boys who have been circumcised need to have Vaseline and gauze on the penis until healed to prevent the diaper from sticking to it.
- Boys who have not been circumcised need to have their foreskin gently pulled back and cleaned with warm water during their bath.
- Girls may have a normal white vaginal discharge. Wipe them from the front of the genitals to the back (towards the rectum) to prevent a bladder infection.
Always use a car seat or approved infant carrier when traveling with an infant.
Since baby's skin is very sensitive, an extra rinse in the wash cycle is recommended for the first few weeks.
Baby should have 6-8 dirty diapers per day. Breast-fed babies generally have more bowel movements per day (4-8) than formula-fed babies (1-4). Your baby should have at least 6 wet diapers per day.
Well child check-ups:
- See your baby's doctor for regular well child visits and to receive the appropriate immunizations.
- Well child checks are usually scheduled at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 15 months, 18 months, and 2 years; then every year until age 6 when every other year is sufficient.