Helpful tips on what to expect in the first week with your baby and how to cope

first-time mum dressing her baby

You’ve gone through 9 months of endless trips to the bathroom, heartburn, and sleeping on your side, and at last, your precious baby is here, hurray! However, despite all the excitement, bringing your baby home for the first time can be a very scary prospect, especially for first-time mums.

Here are some helpful tips on what to expect in the first week and how to cope.

Get so emotional!

As a new mum, you may come home feeling a bit blue or downright depressed. The truth is, motherhood is a huge deal and dealing with hormones, exhaustion and the realization of your responsibility as a mother can take a toll on your emotion. This is why it’s important for new mums to get help. Though feeling overwhelmed is normal for many mums, up to 70 percent of mums will experience this feeling commonly known as ‘baby blues.’ Do lookout for signs of Postpartum depression (PPD) also as it affects as many as 1 in 10 new moms.

PPD lasts longer than the first few days, so, if you’re severely depressed for more than a few weeks, see a health professional safeguard your health and your baby’s.

Sticky poo

Don’t worry about the sight of your newborn’s poo. The reason your baby’s poo is very dark and sticky is that it’s made up of meconium; a mixture of fluid, bile and mucus that a baby swallows in the womb. This poo will clear after a few days and change to a mustardy or light brown color (depending on whether the baby is in a bottle or breastfed).

Breath in and out

A habit that is peculiar to a newborn is periodic breathing. Your baby may breathe quickly, pause for a few seconds, then, start breathing again. For many first-time mums, it may seem strange but it’s perfectly normal. However, if your baby starts wheezing loudly or pausing for more than 10 to 15 seconds between breaths, please consult a pediatrician.

Sleeping Beauty

The tiny bundle who made such a ruckus in your belly for 9 months will sleep a lot – a whole lot! In fact, the first week of baby’s life will go from initial alertness to what can almost be likened to mini-hibernation. I remember that as a new mum, I almost wanted to wake up my newborn as he always seemed asleep. Rather than being impatient, enjoy the peace and quiet. Take advantage of this period to rest as much as possible as this phase will soon end.

Cry, baby!

There is one thing all newborns will do – cry! While some babies cry more than others, you can expect that once the first few days of sleepiness pass, your baby may cry for up to two hours a day. Once you have gone through the usual suspects; dirty diaper, hunger, tiredness and it’s not any of them, the baby may be overstimulated (when they are around too much activity) or you may have a colicky baby.

Whatever the case, be reassured that this stage will soon pass. Remember, you cannot over-indulge a newborn, so the quicker you attend to babies needs, the sooner all the tears will stop. Also, don’t feel bad when you’re not sure why the baby is crying, with time you will be a pro at deciphering your babies cries.

The doorbell won’t stop ringing!

You will have lots and lots of visitors. This will happen more if it’s your first baby. In Nigeria, new mums especially are inundated with visitors! Now, this is not the time to play super hostess by cooking up a storm, so, stock up on snacks like chin-chin and serve them drinks. If you’re lucky some of your visitors will be able to help you watch your baby while you get some much-needed rest.

Onesies rule

You will find that for the first week and beyond all those cute outfits you got for your little one will not work. Instead, the easiest things for babies to wear at that point are onesies and bodysuits. Remember, it’s baby’s comfort before cuteness. Also, when it comes to dressing a newborn, remember their surface area is small so just to be safe, always add an extra layer of clothing to the baby or use a shawl. In hot weather when you are sweating buckets, however, the baby will probably just be as hot and shouldn’t be swaddled in a ton of clothes.

Breast Milk

Don’t be alarmed if you’re not flowing with milk as soon as the baby is born. For most new mums, it may take a couple of days for your milk to actually flow, so don’t be worried. In the meantime, your breasts will produce colostrums; a yellowish liquid referred to as ‘liquid gold’ due to its high content of antibodies which your baby needs.

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