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Birthing a baby is one of the most beautiful moments in life. But what makes us anxious is what lies after the birth of your little one. Whether you’re a new mother or an expecting one, we are all excited and mostly nervous about how the first week with the new baby is going to be.
No doubt, it is not an easy task to give birth and then to raise a baby. Most of all, when the baby enters your home is when it gets scarier. And here is all that you need to know about what to expect in the first week of your baby after birth.
Let’s get down to the dirty bits first. The very first poop of a new born is black or blackish-green in color. The reason being that babies ingest a lot of stuff while in the mother’s womb, including amniotic fluid, cells, mucus etc. When out, the baby has to get it out of the system. So it comes out in the form of black poop. And it is only healthy for babies to pass this black tar looking poop. After that, the poop of the baby can range from blackish-green, green, mustard yellow, all with a seedy or custard looking consistency.
Because the baby’s systems are still getting used to the outside world, it will take time to adjust to the normal routine. Keeping this in mind, initially your baby will poop countless number of times in a day. By day four, you should have about 8-10 dirty diapers (meaning full of poop) and there should be more wet diapers. The number of times a baby poops is not of concern. Just make sure there is no blood in the diaper.
As for my experience, my little one used to poop around 10-12 times a day and honestly I did ask my pediatrician to confirm if everything was OK. All he said was once her system got used to it, the number of poops would go down gradually. Also, now that she is 4 months old, she only poops twice a day and some days only once.
NOTE – It is perfectly normal for babies to not poop for 5 days at a stretch. If it goes beyond that, please consult your doctor.
2.The umbilical cord
We all know that babies carry the umbilical cord stump for a few weeks after birth. For some babies, it comes off earlier than others. Normally, on the first day, it feels very rubbery hard but by the end of the first week, it should start getting black and dry. Once it has become all dry is when it comes off. So don’t worry about the color.
Keep in mind though, you cannot bathe the baby in water until the umbilical cord stump comes off. You can sponge bath your baby if you have to in the meantime but water is a complete no. The reason being that there are chances of it being infected. So keep it away from water as much as possible.
In my experience, I made the mistake of bathing my baby even with the umbilical cord. Consequently, it did get infected and I had to apply a paste of salt and water so that it would dry up. It took about a month for the stump to fall off. And I only sponge bathed her until it came off.
A newborn baby’s breathing is not regular. It can be very erratic with 4-5 breaths and then a pause of 5-10 seconds. All this is pretty normal. Yes, it does get a little scary seeing your baby stopping breathing for a few seconds every time but it is completely OK. Their lungs are still getting used to the normal pattern of breathing. Unless your baby is breathing rapidly or you hear wheezing sounds, everything is OK.
Some people swear by swaddling their babies and others don’t. But it is a tried and tested method of making the baby at peace with the outer surroundings. Babies in their first week still feel as if they are nestled securely inside their mother’s womb. When you swaddle them, they feel tight and secure, which lets them sleep easily.
Swaddling may not always be the most comfortable for every baby. Like my baby never found it comfy to be swaddled. She always preferred to be nestled tightly in my arms and would sleep in. So if you think your baby is not comfortable, do not swaddle. Look for other options.
This is one thing that most women have problem with especially in their first week of baby birth. Feeding can be quite tricky and can take a toll on you. But worry not, it gets better with time.
Some newborns feed every hour while others every 1-2 hours. Once your baby gets the hang of how to latch on your breast (if you plan to breastfeed) properly, then one feeding session should not take more than half an hour to 45 minutes on both the breasts.
In the first week, I had sleepless nights and days with my baby demanding to feed quite often. Don’t think there’s any problem with your baby if he/she does that because the size of their tummies is very small. Obviously they will feel hungry earlier than you think they should. But give it time. Even you need time to get used to breastfeeding. The first week of breastfeeding is definitely going to be difficult. But hang in there!
In case you are not breastfeeding (which is perfectly fine), getting them used to the formula is also as important. The only difference with a formula feeding is that babies take more time to digest so you will have more time in between feedings.
Given that your baby will be extremely demanding of your comfort and milk in the first few weeks, it goes without saying that you will be sleep deprived. In rare cases, babies are comfortable enough to get 16-20 hours of sleep in a day in intervals and you would get time to get yours too. But in most cases that does not happen. Initially you may feel like you can’t pull through it, but trust me, you will. Everyone does.
Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. But this is only possible if you have help around your house. If you don’t then just ask your close family or friends to help you for the first week.
I know that not only the first week but a few weeks after your baby’s arrival at home can be really tricky. This can and does take a toll on you. But considering that I myself am a new first time mom, I am telling you from experience that it passes away way too quickly. It has already been four months since my baby arrived and I can’t help but wonder where time went. So hang in there. A mother has all it takes to make it work.
All I have to say is good luck with your baby and life ahead!