10 Things to Know About Newborns

You instinctively know that having a baby is an absolute game changer. Your life as you knew it will realistically never be the same again, in the most beautiful way. But what is life really like when you bring your baby home? Your new arrival is full of surprises especially during the first three months. Although every baby is an individual and therefore will go through each developmental stage differently than another baby, there are some things you can expect during the newborn stage. Here are 10 things to know about newborns.

Newborn babies sleep A LOT

It’s not only possible but entirely normal for a newborn to sleep 16 or more hours a day. Aside from eating, a newborn’s primary activity is to snooze. But for the first few weeks, your newborn may sleep more during the day vs. at night. Which means parents have to work harder at keeping your little one awake during the day. And you should also remember and abide by this old adage, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”

Newborn babies eat A LOT

If the first few weeks feel like all you’re doing is feeding your newborn and changing his diaper, you’re doing everything right! Babies have tiny stomachs that fill quickly and need emptied just as often. Normal growth rates for babies show that by five months old, he should have already doubled his weight. Your newborn will want to eat every one to two hours and that’s very normal. You can also expect five to six wet diapers and at least one or two poopy diapers each day.

Newborn babies ARE LOUD

The first “conversations” with your newborn will be full of crying, it’s how babies communicate! He will let you know he’s hungry, cold, needs his diaper changed or wants to be held through piercing wails that will test your eardrums. The good news is that you’ll be able to recognize the cries in no time at all.

Newborn babies sometimes look funny

When newborns are brand new, it’s completely normal for them to sometimes have a smooshed head, fine hair all over and a puffy face that rarely sees open eyes. All of this is normal! Remember, your baby just spent nine months in the womb and then made his journey through the birth canal. He’s brand new and will take a little bit of time to adjust to this great big world he just came into.

Newborn babies have a soft spot

And no, we don’t mean a figurative soft spot for anything that has to do with mom (although this is also true). Babies have a soft spot on their head, which is called the fontanel, or the opening in the skull that allows baby to get through the birth canal. You may be afraid of touching it for fear it’s too delicate but it can take some handling. And while it is temporary, some soft spots take a full year to close up.

Newborn babies have dry skin

It’s a common misconception that the soft and silky skin you see at birth will last for your newborn. But that’s not the case! While in the womb, a baby is encased in liquid and once he hits the air, his skin is bound to be dry. The dry skin will typically peel off, but if you want to use lotion on your baby make sure it’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.

Newborn babies keep their umbilical cord for up to two weeks

If you’re able to keep your newborn’s umbilical cord dry, it could fall off faster than the two week standard. During those first two weeks, give your newborn a sponge bath so that the umbilical cord doesn’t get super wet. When the cord does fall off, it’s normal to see a little bit of bleeding around the scab.

Newborn babies don’t have many facial expressions

One thing you need to know about newborns is that you won’t see any smiling or cooing until around six weeks. Even though newborn babies don’t have many facial expressions, they are very in tune with who you are. The attachment to mom and dad happens right away and there’s instant comfort there in that bond.

Newborn babies can cause the “baby blues”

Having a newborn is a lot like being on a rollercoaster of emotions. You’re so happy and joyful in one moment, and then moody and emotional the next. The “baby blues” hit four out of every five new moms and can cause unhappiness, worry, exhaustion and bliss all in one. You should be able to shake them within a week or two. If they linger, you may want to check with your doctor about postpartum depression which can affect as many as 15 percent of all women.

Newborn babies are newborns only once

The newborn stage is fleeting and soon your baby will be crawling, walking and then a tiny talking toddler. Parents always say that the time goes way too fast with a baby, so enjoy the sweet-smelling newborn stage now while you can.  

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