Your Newborn Baby: What to Expect in the First few Days

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As you get ready to take your newborn home for the first time, here’s what’s in store once you leave hospital.

Congratulations! You survived labour and now have a gorgeous newborn baby to show off and shower with love. However, as the euphoria (read: relief) after the birth starts to ware off, it’s time to think about taking your baby home, or settling into your new routine.

What to expect in the First Days With a Newborn

If you’ve had hospital birth, your doctor or midwife will check you and your newborn over before discharging the both of you. You’ll then have to

Where should a newborn sleep?

Your baby will arrive home in a car seat, but once home, she needs to sleep flat on her back. She will need to be with you for the first few weeks, at least, rather than in a room on her own.

Is it normal for a newborn to make sniffling noises?

Newborn babies are often very noisy. Their airways have been filled with fluid while in the womb and, although most of this will have cleared with the first few breaths, there tends to be a lot of coughing, vomiting, snuffling and sneezing in the early days, as she tries to clear the remaining fluid.

Although the sounds are sometimes worrying for mothers, babies are very adept at clearing their airways.

Newborn sleeping in mother's arms
Credit: iStock

Many mums worry about their babies choking on their vomit if they put them to sleep on their backs, but babies turn their heads to the side to vomit, even during their sleep.

Should newborn babies have a strict routine?

The first couple of weeks is usually a magical time. Providing baby is well, she will spend most of the time sleeping, waking every three to four hours for a feed. After a feed, she will spend a short amount of time awake before falling asleep again. Don’t worry too much about getting your baby into a routine in these early weeks. Do encourage her to have a good feed, though, and not fall asleep on the breast or bottle as she won’t have taken much in and will wake after a short period to feed again.

Now read up on how much sleep your newborn needs

What happens to a newborn baby’s umbilical cord?

The umbilical cord stump will usually fall off when your baby is seven to 10 days old; keep it clean with cooled boiled water and cotton wool until then. A newborn’s nappy may need changing 10 to 12 times a day.

Newborn baby development

At around two weeks, baby will start to wake up, becoming more fun but also more demanding.

You will have to wind her after every feed, and she may develop colic or reflux. At around six weeks your baby will finally give you a well-earned smile and start to go longer between feeds.

Your postnatal check up and baby’s first jabs

Both you and your newborn baby will need a postnatal check with your GP, this should take place at around 6 weeks postpartum.

At 8 weeks baby has her first set of immunisations. It’s around this time your newborn will be able to hold her own head up, unsupported.

Part of this guide is provided to you by sisters Marina Fogle and Dr Chiara Hunt, founders of The Bump Class.

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