Before I had my first little one, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about all things baby. As it turned out, I was in for quite a surprising ride! Even if you’ve done a ton of babysitting in your life, you’ve probably never cared for a newborn in their first hours and days of life. These strange newborn facts will help get you prepared for what you’re about to see.
Newborns poop with every feeding.
And they feed every 2-3 hours, around the clock. You do the math- that means newborns poop around 8 times per day!
There is a huge amount of variability with newborn poop, especially between breastfed and formula fed babies. Breastfed babies poop more often (to start) than formula fed babies. It is liquidy and can range in color from yellow to light brown. For the first six weeks or so, they will have dirty diapers 4-12 times a day.
After that, their bodies can hold more and their digestive systems slow down. At that point, breastfed babies may poop 1-3 times per day, or can go up to a week between bowel movements.
They really do see in black and white.
Babies are born with very immature vision. The underdeveloped eye muscles mean they frequently go cross-eyed, one of many terrifying newborn traits that can scare new parents. They also see in shades of black, white, and gray.
Gradually over the first few months, babies will develop their color vision. Until then, stimulate them with black and white toys and books.
Newborns also can only see 8-12 inches in front of them, so make sure to get nice and close. They prefer to look at faces than objects. Holding them close and gazing at them during feedings gives them the perfect visual stimulation.
Newborns often cry, but they can’t make tears.
Your newborn will spend a significant part of their day crying, but don’t expect to see any waterworks. They don’t make any tears for the first two weeks, and it will be months before they make enough tears to see them rolling down your little one’s cheeks.
Newborns start making tears when they are about two weeks old, but often it is just enough to keep their eyes moist and not enough to make real tears that you can see when they cry. Infants often don’t develop real tears that you can see until they are about seven or eight months old.
Mom’s hormones mean babies can develop breasts.
This might be the winner of the most strange newborn facts. Both boy and girl babies can be born with swollen breasts as a result of their mother’s hormones coursing through their bodies. You may even see a few drops of breastmilk leak out of their tiny nipples. Don’t be alarmed! It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your baby, and it should completely stop around the one month mark.
Baby girls can even have a mini-period.
Also because of the exposure to Mom’s hormones, you might see some surprises when changing your daughter’s diaper. Small amounts of vaginal discharge are normal in the days after birth, as is a small amount of vaginal bleeding. Just clean the vagina gently with a wipe and diaper as usual. It is simply from her body withdrawing from the hormones she was exposed to in utero.
Although this is normal, if it does not fade within a few days you should call your doctor.
Babies come out with mysterious birth marks.
Often times these birth marks fade away over time.
Here are a few of the most common types of birthmarks you might find on your baby:
Nevus Simplex: Commonly called a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these harmless flat red birthmarks occur in up to 80% of newborn babies. They are collections of small red blood vessels often seen on the face, neck, or lower back. They should fade by the time the baby reaches toddlerhood.
Infantile hemangiomas: These raised red collections of blood vessels are often called “strawberry marks”. They are fairly common, with about 5% of babies having one. Infantile hemangiomas grow bigger during baby’s first couple months of life and then shrink down and fade. However, sometimes they require medical treatment so be sure to alert your doctor if your child has one.
Mongolian spots: Typically found on darker skinned babies, Mongolian spots are flat gray, blue, or brown areas of skin covering the back, butt, or legs. They may be mistaken for bruises, but unlike bruises they do not change in size or shape. They do gradually fade and should disappear by early childhood.
Baby boys get erections from day one.
And even before that, if you happen to catch him at the right moment on ultrasound.
Some parents are horrified to see their tiny newborn baby sporting an erection, but it’s nothing to worry about. It’s a purely physical reaction, often occurring when they are about to urinate. So if you see one, cover him up quickly before you get a shower!
Newborns have almost 100 more bones than adults.
It’s strange, but true. Babies are born with 300 bones, adults have only 206.
The reason? Babies are soft and bendable by nature- it helps them be able to fit through the birth canal. They have more cartilage, which is more flexible than hardened bone. There is also space between bones, which will later fuse together. This fusing is how the number of total bones actually decreases with age.
One example is the skull, which is made up of separate plates or fontanelles in infants (remember that pesky soft spot on top of baby’s head?). You can see here how there are spaces between the plates in the newborn skull. In the adult skull, these plates have fused into one solid piece of bone.
Babies’ heads are disproportionately huge.
In adults, the head makes up about 1/8 of a person’s total body length. For babies, the head is 1/4 to 1/3 of their height! Newborns have huge heads to accommodate their big brains, which are bigger than ever thanks to evolution:
The human lineage began to develop separately from other great apes approximately 5 million to 7 million years ago. While the brains of both branches continue to grow, the last 2 million years of human evolution have led to an explosion in brain growth. In contrast with the marginal increases in the great apes, the human brain has more than tripled in size over the past 2 million years. Despite such changes in the size of the brain, the human body has changed little in size over the same period. –Livestrong
Throughout childhood and adolescence, head growth slows and limbs extend, resulting in the typical human proportions you see in adults.
What are your thoughts on these strange newborn facts?
What makes a baby shower special? Celebrating the impending arrival with friends and family, of course. But an adorable theme that is full of cute details adds that magical touch that makes every guest say “aww!” Here are 13 sweet and unique baby shower theme ideas to inspire your next party.
(Click any image to see a detailed post with more photos of the theme!)
BALLOON THEME BABY SHOWER
This gorgeous shower theme has a vintage, understated feel and works great for a boy or girl. The balloon details are easy to incorporate into the food, on the invitations, and of course decorating with lots of balloons!
OWL THEME SHOWER
Owl themed everything is so popular right now, this one is an easy theme to execute. Lots of circle-shaped food lends itself to being made into an adorable owl face, plus you can use all the puns with “hooo” (who).
JOHN DEERE THEME
It doesn’t get much more unique than this! Perfect theme for parents-to-be who are a little bit country, especially if they are expecting a boy. Yellow and green cut outs and toy tractors used as balloon weights are obvious details, but you can come up with a lot more!
THE SECRET GARDEN BABY SHOWER
Lots of delicate paper flowers and whimsical details make this secret garden baby shower beautiful. Incorporating whites, greens, and pastels also help incorporate the garden feel.
BASEBALL BABY SHOWER
Take me out to the ball game! If you’re a sports fan expecting your own little slugger, this is the theme for you! Classic white and red will be your go-to colors, and of course all the ball park food. Hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks and throw in a baseball trivia game for a fun time for all.
OH DEER BABY SHOWER
You don’t necessarily think “girl” with a deer-theme party, but I absolutely love how this pink, navy and gold theme nails it! The antler cupcake toppers are just adorable and made DIY with a cricut. The treat boxes with the little deer onesies are DIY too, so if you are crafty be sure to check this one out.
COFFEE AND CRAVINGS SHOWER
This is a fantastic idea for a mom-to-be who isn’t into cutesy little baby things. Instead, throw her a shower featuring the things she loves instead! This hostess made it about coffee, cravings, and Cabernet! The end result is a mature party celebrating their friend and her joyful occasion.
FISHING THEME SHOWER
Have a nature-loving couple to throw a shower for? This fishing theme is original and so much fun. This particular hostess did an amazing job of bringing the outdoors indoors for this shower! The reed centerpieces completely nailed the look and feel of going fishing.
THE PIGEON: A BOOK THEME SHOWER
If you have kids already, I’m sure you’re familiar with the uber-popular Pigeon books by Mo Willems. (I know my kids are obsessed with them!) For a creative baby shower theme idea, this hostess threw a Pigeon-inspired book theme baby shower. Bonus perk of a literary theme baby shower? You’ll get lots of children’s books as gifts to start of the baby’s book collection!
RUSTIC WOODLAND BABY SHOWER
Following in the footsteps of the “shabby chic” wedding theme craze is the “rustic woodland” baby shower boom! Little woodland deer and foxes are irresistible, and it doesn’t get much easier than decorating with pinecones and greenery you can find in your own backyard. Add some trail mix and other earthy snacks, and you’ve pulled off this shower theme.
DIAPERS AND DOUGHNUTS
Let’s be real for a second. What pregnant woman isn’t going to get excited over doughnuts? And if you’re planning a “sprinkle” (a smaller shower typically done for second babies or beyond), you have a great pun to work with in sprinkled doughnuts. This shower was a sprinkle where the host requested diapers as gifts, so the theme worked out perfectly with doughnuts and diapers!
For this theme, you can really have fun with pops of bright colors. Sweet treats, fun colors, and polka dots are the decor for a delightful doughnut themed party.
BABY BOY-AGE TRAVEL THEME
If you’re hosting a baby shower for a travel loving mama-to-be who is expecting a boy, you’ll definitely want to get ready to “Baby BOY-age!” This baby shower is full of international flavor and fun. Blue and red give it that jet-setter airline feel, and you could incorporate the guest of honor’s favorite travel destination in the food and decor.
THIS LITTLE PIGGY BABY SHOWER
Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more boy-related themes out there? Let’s get some pink on the page with this little piggy theme. Don’t be afraid to mix different shades of pink together to achieve the look. This post includes directions to make adorable pig cookies too!
You probably already know that your newborn baby is going to be a floppy beanie baby when he arrives, in need of head and neck support, never to be shaken, and that everyone who touches the little angel should wash her hands first. But there’s plenty of other useful tips for new moms that could make this major life transition a little smoother for you.
Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices and “shoulds” coming at you right now, just consider these tips to be back pocket information; try what works for you and ignore the rest.
Here are 21 newborn tips for new moms that will make life much easier for you and your babe!
Don’t overbuy newborn clothes
Did you know newborn size clothes (and diapers) are for babies weighing 5-8 pounds? The average weight at birth is 7.5 pounds, meaning most babies will be wearing newborn clothes for just a few weeks until they outgrow them.
And don’t forget about the 25% of babies who are born already weighing 8+ pounds, who will fit into newborn clothes for about a week or not at all.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on newborn clothes that never end up being worn, limit yourself to about 6-10 newborn outfits, and keep the tags on in case you end up needing to return them. In the event that you have a small baby that needs more newborn clothes, you can always send Grandma or Dad out to buy more. Or call upon your good old friend Amazon!
Don’t be alarmed when your baby loses weight
Many new moms have panicked upon seeing their new baby’s weight dip down below birthweight in the days after birth. You may jump to the conclusion that you aren’t feeding them properly or they are not healthy.
The truth is, losing weight after birth is normal and expected. The typical weight loss is 5% of birthweight for formula fed babies, and up to 10% of birthweight for breastfed babies. This is not an indication of a problem. Your baby is not used to having to work for their nutrition, and it takes time for them to master the art of sucking, swallowing, and breathing.
Your doctor will look for the baby to regain the lost weight by day 10-14 of life, and many babies will gain it back sooner than that.
Do your homework
First, if you can take any classes (in person or online) about childbirth, infant care, or breastfeeding before the baby comes, you’ll feel much more prepared. A big part of sailing as smoothly through the newborn stage as possible is feeling confident in your maternal abilities.
Even though babies create chaos no matter how ready you think you are, being blindsided by an issue you didn’t even know existed can send you into crisis mode. Avoid that with a little bit of education on the front end.
If your hospital doesn’t offer classes (or you aren’t able to attend them), check out my resource page for recommended online courses for breastfeeding, childbirth, and more.
Delegate someone to read the paperwork
Before you leave the hospital, designate a family member or friend to read over the mountain of paperwork you’ll receive. These aren’t all medical records to file away. There will be important information about breastfeeding, about the baby’s schedule, and about resources available to you.
Some are keepsakes and some are even offers for complimentary, celebratory surf and turf dinner that you won’t even realize was an option until you get home (raises hand…). Your primary focus will be sleeping, recovering, and managing the baby’s routine. You won’t have time or energy to read that stuff, and yet, there could be really helpful and important information in that stack that could be missed.
Talk to a lactation consultant
One of the first and most important things you’ll deal with on this journey is feeding your newborn. Despite what you may hear or read, most first-time breastfeeding moms have issues in the beginning. This is not the time to struggle through it alone. You will be tired, hormonal, and possibly in pain, so you will not be thinking clearly. Support is the key word here. Make sure your hospital provides the services of a lactation consultant, or hire one before the baby arrives.
If you don’t end up needing help, great! But if you do, the help can’t come fast enough in those first days. And remember that there are many ways to feed your baby; your best-laid plans might not work and that’s OK! Be flexible and keep in mind that the goal is a healthy infant.
Write down your questions for the doctor
Your baby will make her first visit to the pediatrician almost immediately after you leave the hospital. As with the above tip, you will likely be in a haze of sleep deprivation and recovery, so take a minute to compile a list of questions now. If you find some of the questions don’t apply to you when the time comes, simply scratch them off the list. But you’ll want to take full advantage of that first visit, and getting all of your questions answered means knowing what to ask.
Some might include: how much should I be feeding my newborn? What should I expect in my baby’s diaper? How should I be caring for the umbilical cord? You might be given these instructions without having to ask, but these healthcare professionals deal with so many patients that they might forget to mention something, assuming everyone already knows the answer.
You don’t really need to bundle baby up
Yes, it’s true that newborns have a harder time regulating their body temperature at first. This is why skin to skin and baby wearing is so great for them- mom’s body temperature helps keep baby’s temp up.
But before you bundle your baby in ten layers of clothes and blankets, consider this. Babies also have difficulty regulating their temperature when they are too WARM. Also, overdressing baby during sleep time increases the risk for SIDS.
A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in the same number of layers that you are wearing, or one more. So if you are just wearing a shirt and pants, your baby can wear a onesie, shirt, and pants. If you are wearing a jacket, put a blanket over the baby when they are in their carseat or stroller.
Don’t be scared to take baby outside
Gone are the days where new moms are told to hole up in their house with their newborns for the first couple months.
Going outside and getting fresh air has proven benefits for moms and babies. It contributes to mother’s mental wellness, and has a calming effect on the baby. Sunlight exposure (in small doses) also provides necessary vitamin D. As soon as you have healed from birth, it’s a good idea to make walks outside with your baby part of your daily routine.
While it’s a great idea to get outside and go for walks, exercise caution when taking your baby to crowded public areas. Since babies have immature immune systems and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you want to limit their exposure to germs. Keeping them contained to a baby carrier helps keeps germy hands from getting too close.
Use THIS to never lose baby socks in the wash
You are familiar with the sock monster that lives in your washing machine and eats half of your socks. But with teeny tiny baby socks, this happens 10 times more! Avoid the problem of baby socks and mittens disappearing in the laundry simply by using these mesh laundry bag.
Whether you go high-tech with an app or keep it old-school with a pen and paper at your bedside table (the fastest way I have found), tracking what time the last feeding was, whether it was the right or left breast, the last time the baby had a pee or poop diaper are not things you’re going to be able to recall from memory. (Spoiler alert: your memory is going to suck for a while.)
Write it down and not only will you be able to see when something happened last, but you’ll be able to see important patterns as the baby develops a routine. These simple notes could provide important health information about your newborn for the doctor as well.
My Oh Baby Pregnancy and Baby Planner has newborn tracking sheets for this exact purpose, along with 50 other pages like checklists, to-do lists, questions to ask providers, and more!
Consider a postpartum doula
A postpartum doula is someone who does a wide range of things, from helping to care for the baby so you can take a nap or get something done, to being an extra set of hands to clean the bottles and do laundry so you can bond with the baby. This person might even come over for the night shift to do all but breastfeed the baby. That way, you can recover and get as much sleep as possible.
Their services cost about $30 an hour, but packages might be available. If you can save in advance and add a postpartum doula to your baby budget, you will be a happier mama for it. Even if this person only comes to help out once a week, it will ease your transition to motherhood.
Use these bags instead of a diaper pail
We got a diaper pail for our first baby, and after a week I was ready to throw it in the trash. I didn’t like the smell in baby’s room, and having to empty it was a horrible chore.
So for the next three babies, we ditched the diaper pail and just started tying poop diapers in these disposable diaper sacks. Then I would throw it in the regular trash that we take out daily. Or if it’s especially stinky (after baby starts solids!) I would just take it directly outside to our garbage bin.
Learn the 5 S’s
It’s true all babies cry, but some cry a LOT more than others. Arm yourself with some tactics to calm a crying babybefore you are frustrated with one in the wee hours of the morning.
Dr. Harvey Karp of Happiest Baby came up with the popular “5 S’s” that help soothe babies. In short, they include:
Swaddle– babies are soothed by the tightness of being swaddled as they were cramped in the womb
Side/stomach- hold baby on their side or stomach (it is not safe for them to sleep this way)
Shush- make a shushing noise or use a white noise machine
Swing- the best motion is small and quick, while making sure the head and neck is supported
Suck- give the baby a pacifier or breast. Sucking promotes relaxation for babies.
How to shower with a baby
With all of my babes this was the only way for me take a shower when my husband wasn’t around, and it’s really very simple. Set up baby in their bouncy chair right outside the shower. Even better if the chair vibrates or plays music!
This arrangement helps moms because you don’t have to wonder if you are hearing phantom baby cries from the other room. You can peek on them and press the button on their chair if you have to. Babies like it because the sound of the running water is comforting, as is being close to mom. And if they get fussy, you can do peekaboo from the shower curtain or sing them a song.
The best is when the baby falls asleep there and you get to enjoy a long, relaxing shower!
The onesie trick for diaper blowouts
Brace yourself, because it’s going to happen: your baby is going to shoot poop up the top of their diaper and all the way up their back. It is gross and intimidating to clean up when you lack experience with poop-splosions.
You don’t want to pull the messy onesie up over the baby’s head and risk getting poop on their head or in their hair. And the good thing is, you don’t have to! The folds on the shoulders of a onesie make it so the head hole opens wide enough to be pulled down past baby’s shoulders and off their body.
Set up a mobile baby changing station
You’ve probably bought a gorgeous changing table for your baby’s nursery and organized all the changing necessities neatly within it. But honestly, you’ll be changing your baby on the floor of whatever room you happen to be in 90% of the time.
Grab a couple diaper caddy from Amazon and throw a changing mat, diapers, wipes, cream, and bags in each. Now you can change baby in the living room or your bedroom quickly and easily.
Don’t be fooled by baby product marketing
Did you know companies of soaps, lotions, and detergents take the exact same product, slap the word “baby” on the label, and charge you more for it?
Be sure to check labels and be a discerning buyer instead of just throwing your money at anything marketed to babies. Dreft laundry detergent for example, is more expensive than your average laundry detergent. Not only that, but it is scented, which you want to avoid when washing baby’s clothes. Any brand laundry soap that is “Free and Clear” with no dyes or perfumes will be more affordable and safer for baby’s skin.
Take the guesswork out of swaddling
Swaddling your newborn in the hospital receiving blanket is a fun challenge, but most new parents find it’s a lot harder to get that tight baby burrito than the L&D nurses make it look.
Lucky for us parents, there are plenty of products out there that can swaddle your baby just the way they like it (and some are even impossible for those Houdini babies to break out of!)
If you’re going to breastfeed, you will want the little silicone contraption all nursing moms are raving about, the Haaka.
The Haaka is different than a pump because it uses natural suction and doesn’t force breastmilk out. Instead, it just catches the runoff. Because when you are feeding the baby on one breast, the other breast has a letdown too- that means milk is just dripping into your nursing pad when it could be collected and used later!
As you can see in the photo, the Haaka can collect a substantial amount of breastmilk. And it does it with very little effort on your part. If used frequently, you can build up a freezer stash without even using a conventional pump.
You have probably heard that newborn babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours round the clock. What you aren’t always told is when babies can start going longer stretches between feedings at night. And given how exhausted you are during this stage, isn’t this vital information?
The rule of thumb is this: once baby has gotten back to their birthweight (and assuming a full term baby without health concerns) you no longer need to wake the baby up to feed in the night. Many babies will wake on their own every few hours anyway, but often times they develop one longer stretch in the beginning of their night sleep. This is the stretch that will gradually grow longer and longer- and that’s exactly what you want!
Here is another tip for the dreaded night time wake ups.
You will want easy access to the diaper area for night time diaper changes. You’ll be half asleep and in the dark, do you really need obstacles between you and the diaper?
I love putting baby to sleep in gowns for this purpose, because you just yank it up, change, and yank it down. Pajamas with zippers are also fairly quick and easy. Button up pajamas are just annoying, especially when you misalign them and have to start over!
This is an exhausting, stressful, but magical time.
Bringing a newborn home for the first time truly is venturing into uncharted territory. There is so much newness on top of all of the physical changes you will be experiencing. The best tip anyone can offer you is to be gentle on yourself and seek out as much support as possible. This can be a really magical time, if you can get into the right mindset.
Are you a second-time mama (or more)? What are your best tips for new moms?
The transition to motherhood is a huge one, and what it’s like after having a baby is a topic we hear a lot about. But why don’t we see much written about new fathers? New dads also have their lives completely transformed when their first child is born, yet the father’s perspective is rarely the focus.
I reached out to a pool of men to find out what new dads wish their wives understood about becoming a father.
Here is what they had to say.
“I was scared out of my mind about being a primary caretaker of another being, especially one so tiny and needy. It took me a while to figure out how to love our new addition. I was grateful my wife was sympathetic to my feelings even though she felt a strong bond with the baby from the beginning.”
“Having a baby is scary. I sometimes randomly think of the horrendous ways something might happen to him and how terrible and scary it is. It makes me feel really sad, and yes I also check to see if he’s breathing as by some freak chance he may have stopped.”
We should have an equal vote.
“I’m just as much the parent as you, so why does the mother always assume control? Yes I’m just winging it and I may make the wrong choice at times, but that doesn’t mean all the decisions should default to the woman.”
Sex is still important to us.
“One thing I really wish my wife understood is that sex- no, FREQUENT sex, is important to maintaining a good relationship. That shouldn’t just stop when a child enters the picture.”
“My world just completely changed overnight. The transition has been difficult and I’ve been struggling with worry and depression. But I have a hard time opening up about it because I feel like I need to be the strong one.”
“When we brought home our first baby, I desperately wanted to help but I felt so out of my element and didn’t know where to start. It all seemed to come naturally to my wife. I wish she understood that I want to be involved and help, but I don’t always know how to. Be patient with me and explain what needs to be done.”
Dad guilt is real.
“Working parent guilt applies to both parents. My wife stays at home and I work. Working parent guilt can be crushing, particularly with a high stress job. Since my daughter was born, I’ve never stopped feeling guilty for:
Working too much and missing “family time”
Not working enough and bringing more money home
Having “me time”
Not supporting my wife in every way I can
Being tired/grumpy with my daughter on occasion
Missing “firsts” because I’m at work
Working parent guilt sucks. Thankfully my wife gets it.”
Sometimes we miss being your number one.
“Help us out by letting us know how to help you emotionally, as it’s a ton of feelings we are both experiencing. In those moments we need to be able to be honest about how we feel and when we need support, as it’s a change for us as well. As new dads we went from being your number one to number two and it takes some time for us to adjust to that.”
“My wife acts like going to work is my break, but work is really stressful. Coming home and helping with the kids is stressful too. But if I ask for time to myself, it’s like I’m a jerk because any time I’m not working should be spent with my kids. Seems like there are no breaks after fatherhood.”
We miss spending time with you.
“We used to have so much fun together, but now my wife is constantly worried and stressed. She is a great mother but I wish she’d let go a little bit. Leaving our son for a night to reconnect as a couple wouldn’t hurt him. But she doesn’t want to leave him so date nights don’t happen.”
You amaze us.
“I am in awe of my wife and how naturally she turned into a mother. Everything she’s done since the birth of our daughter has blown me away. I hope she understands how wonderful she’s doing at this, even though I probably don’t tell her enough.”
You heard it here first Moms- you’re amazing!
New Dads: We Want To Hear From You!
Share what you’d like us women to know about your transition to fatherhood.
Taking your newborn home can be so overwhelming. How are you supposed to tell what this tiny, screaming human wants?
New moms are flooded with worries while simultaneously dealing with their own postpartum experience. “Is he eating enough? Why is he breathing like that? Is his poop supposed to look like that? Why won’t he stop screaming? I’m a terrible mom!” I get it, you’re doing the hardest job of your life without an instruction manual. But you’re doing great, and most of this scary stuff is normal.
Here are some lifesaving tidbits of information to help you through the first few weeks with your newborn.
Your newborn will lose weight.
It is normal for babies lose up to 10% of their birth weight in their first week. Almost all babies lose some weight in their first week of life.
This does NOT mean you aren’t feeding them correctly! Eating is a skill that takes practice. Everything is new to them. At the first few checkups, the pediatrician will monitor their weight and make sure they get back to birth weight on schedule. Doctors want them to be back to their birth weight by two weeks, and once that happens, you can start letting them sleep longer between feedings.
Newborns scream—a lot.
Sometimes babies cry for a reason. They might be hungry, tired, or have a dirty diaper. There will be many times when you’ve tried everything and they’re still screaming bloody murder.
You’re not doing something wrong and, your newborn doesn’t hate you. You can try these ways to get your baby to stop crying, but there will be times when all you can do is wait until they’re done. They often have a certain time where they scream every day. Many parents refer to this as the “witching hour”.
Sometimes their breathing sounds weird.
This is one of those terrifying things newborns do that are actually normal! Newborns have irregular breathing patterns. They can sound like they’re gasping or breathing too fast. If your baby returns to normal on their own and seems otherwise fine (not lethargic or feverish), there’s no need for concern.
Newborns don’t need as much as you think they need.
Yes, the parenting trend of the current era is overparenting. But your newborn truly doesn’t need baby gym class, baby Einstein videos or even constant attention.
It’s totally understandable when you bring baby home from the hospital, sit down and look at them and think “what do I do now?” If the baby is content, you don’t do anything.
New babies are easily overstimulated and they need down time, just like all people do. Hold them, feed them, change them, talk to them and sing to them. If you babywear, you can strap him up and go about your household chores. And sometimes, just spread a blanket on the floor and leave them be. Floor time is good for them (look into container baby syndrome in you’re still not convinced!)
Spitting up, that is. It’s normal if baby spits up frequently. This happens because the sphincter at the top of baby’s stomach isn’t fully functional yet and doesn’t close all the way.
There’s nothing worse than getting a good meal into your little one, only to have him spit up what seems like everything. It’s gross, and you wonder if your baby is getting the nutrition he needs. As long as your baby is gaining weight and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, there’s nothing to worry about.
Cradle cap is gross but harmless.
Those greasy, yellowish flakes of skin on your little angel’s head may look horrendous, but they’re temporary and harmless. This is yet another one of the awkward phases that your baby goes through as he gets used to the world outside.
As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to pick at them. This can cause raw spots on your baby’s head that could become infected. Instead, use a baby brush to remove the excess skin after a bath.
Babies get zits.
We all want our newborns to look perfect in family photos, but that isn’t always realistic. Your pregnancy hormones will be in your newborn’s system for a couple months. Baby acne isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t cause them discomfort and should go away on its own after 3-6 months. If it bothers you, rubbing a little breast milk on the affected area can help clear it up.
Almost all babies develop a bald spot.
Newborns are really killin’ it in the looks department, aren’t they? The bald spot on the back of the head is like a baby trademark. Babies’ hair rubs off because they lie on their backs so much. It’ll start to grow back when they start spending more time on their tummy and sitting up. You can cover up the offending area with a cute headband or hat for the pictures in the meantime!
Brace yourself for newborn poop.
Forget everything you think you know about how humans poop, because newborns follow their own set of rules when it comes to pooping.
For the first six weeks or so, you can expect your baby to poop roughly once per feeding. (Yes, that means 8 times per day or more!) This frequency is normal for both breastfed and formula fed babies.
If you are concerned about those 8 poops per day being super harsh on baby’s sensitive skin, this cream is what I used for all my babies. It is super thick and creates a barrier between wetness and the skin so you can use it as a preventive measure. If baby already has a rash, pat the skin completely dry with a cloth after wiping and then apply the cream.
Wondering what baby poop looks like?
Breastfed babies’ poop is liquidy, yellowish in color and appears “seedy”, while formula fed babies have darker, thicker stools.
Newborns are known for having explosive poops, so be on guard while changing or bathing or anytime your babe is naked. That stuff can shoot far and it comes without warning!
After the first six weeks, the digestive system matures and babies poop much less- more like 1-3 times per day or even once every couple days for breastfed babies.
You don’t actually need to bundle your baby up.
The rule of thumb is to dress your newborn in one more layer than you would wear. It’s tempting to bundle your fragile newborn in a million layers, but they don’t need that much. A cotton hat is typically used in the very beginning too as they aren’t great at regulating their body temperature.
Remember, your body is a great way to keep baby warm too. Those snuggles are exactly what newborns need, and skin to skin is even better!
Want a little trick to check if baby is hot or cold? Touch the back of their neck. If the skin there is warm or sweaty, they are too hot. If it feels cool, add a layer. Hands and feet aren’t good places to test baby’s temperature since they often feel cold due to poor circulation.
How can I tell if baby is eating enough?
This is probably the #1 concern (obsession?) of new parents, ESPECIALLY when breastfeeding. It is so easy to worry about this when there is no easy way to tell how much your baby is eating.
These are the signs your baby is getting enough milk:
6+ wet diapers/day
several poop diapers per day
normal weight gain (back up to birth weight by 2 weeks)
Don’t be concerned when your milk takes a few days to come in after birth. You are making a small amount of ultra-concentrated colostrum, which is enough for a newborn’s tiny, marble-sized tummy for the first few days.
New babies don’t sleep quietly.
Well, they might sleep quietly while they doze in your arms all day. But lay them down at night when you’re trying to sleep, and the noises begin.
Babies do the strangest things when sleeping. They squeak, gasp, grunt, snore, laugh, cry, and smile in their sleep. Some of their mannerisms are concerning, and some are downright adorable.
After a few nights, you’ll probably learn to sleep through all the strange baby noises. If not, a white noise machine might help. Just keep the volume low enough that you’ll still be able to hear the baby crying.
Newborns are stronger than they look.
“What if I break the baby?” Don’t worry. Newborns may look fragile, but they’re quite resilient. You won’t injure your newborn by dressing him or, hurt his itty-bitty arms and legs as you bathe him or rock him to sleep. A firm grip on your slippery baby won’t hurt him and will prevent you from dropping him during bathtime.
Assuming you are supporting their heads and never, ever shaking them, you won’t inadvertently harm your baby.
Their soft spots still have protection.
You should still be careful around the soft spot, or fontanelles, of course, but their brain isn’t right underneath the skin. The soft spot has a sturdy membrane protecting it. It won’t hurt your baby to touch it, gently wash it, or go about your normal routine in taking care of him.
Babies don’t hold grudges.
Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. I promise, your baby will still love you.
Maybe you didn’t realize he was sitting in a poop diaper for two hours. Or you didn’t figure out that he was screaming because of an ear infection until the doctor caught it at the next well-child visit. It’s ok. You are still a good mom.
There is so much pressure on new moms to be perfect, but the truth is we are learning how to be parents while on the job. Often times we don’t have much support and it seems like we are muddling through on our own. Give yourself a little credit that you are doing the best you can.
And if it makes you feel any better, I left baby #4 outside in his carseat next to car once. Completely forgot he existed for about 20 minutes. So you’re doing pretty good 😉
You can’t spoil your newborn.
Maybe your grandma told you that you’ll spoil your new baby if you hold him too much, or if you comfort him every time he cries. Sorry Grandma, this is simply not true!
You’re a mommy now, and as much as it sucks, mommy-shaming is very real. Remember, you can’t please everyone. Nor should you have to! As long as you are meeting your baby’s needs, you’re doing it right. The only person you need to answer to is your child.
Be confident that you know what’s best for your little one.Don’t feel obligated to do something because someone else told you to do it. Their opinion plus $4 can buy them a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.
What other concerns do you have about taking your newborn home?
Or if you’ve already done it, what would you tell a first time mom?
Leave a comment!
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