Having a baby is one of the most precious moments in every parent’s life. Regardless of whether you are a new parent or an old parent, the feeling is always the same. Jo and excitement, mixed with a little anxiety.
The first month is the hardest. In this month, the baby will cry a lot, you may not be able to sleep much, and you will often be unsure of what you are doing, especially if you are a new mother.
Do not worry though. You are not alone. Many new parents go through this period of uncertainty. Therefore, important to have guidance in order to understand what is happening and how to deal with every little thing that comes up.
What you need to know in the first month, is that life is extremely easy for your little one. All they need to do is eat, sleep, have a clean diaper, and receive lots and lots of love. So, you are probably not doing anything wrong here.
As a new mother, simply concentrate on the baby. Let the baby have your full attention and things will start to run smoothly.
In this article, we will be looking at the first month of your baby’s life. We will talk about what to expect in the first four weeks of your child’s life and what is actually happening in their bodies.
The First Week
In the first week of life, your baby will be trying to adjust to the new environment. Their appearance will also change over the first few days.
Despite what you may have seen in the movies, babies do not appear from the womb looking perfect. It may actually take a few weeks or months for the baby to look as beautiful as you want him or her to look. So you need to be patient.
If the head is a bit cone-shaped and the nose is flat, do not worry. After traveling through the birth canal, this is very normal and they should start to round out into a more normal-looking shape soon. Any swelling on the face such as the eyes will also go down in the first days of life.
The Umbilical Cord
This will gradually begin to dry out, turn black and even fall off. This may take between 7 and 21 days to happen. In the meantime, you will need to care for it.
- Keep it clean and very dry.
- Fold the diaper away from the stump. This will help expose it to dry air and prevent it from getting into contact with urine. Drying it out is the quickest way of ensuring that it heals and falls off.
- Give your baby sponge baths instead of bathing in the tub so it doesn’t get too wet.
- Do not dress your baby in bodysuit clothes.
- Do not try to pull off the stump, even when it seems to just be hanging by a thread.
- Do not clean it with any alcohol.
Newborn Reflexes And Senses
From the first day, babies will have some reflexes that are designed to protect them and ensure they receive the kind of care they need. Much of their activities at this stage is simply reflexive, meaning they will communicate through their reflexes.
You will notice that if you keep your finger in their mouth, they will immediately begin to suckle. This is the sucking reflex. The sucking reflex is actually present even before birth. If you had an ultrasound, you may have seen the baby sucking their thumb.
They will always be ready to feed and they come out that way. The rooting reflex is another reflex that helps the baby locate the breast or feeding bottle.
Another important reflex that you will see in a baby is the Moro reflex. If the baby shifts position abruptly, or if they are startled, they will immediately react to this, by throwing their hands up in the air, then they will start to cry.
This reflex is very strong at birth, but will slowly begin to disappear at 2 months old.
Perhaps the most interesting is the tonic neck reflex or what is commonly known as the fencing posture. You will notice that whenever your baby’s head turns to one side, their arm on that side will tend to straighten, and the opposite arm will bend as if they are fencing.
This is very subtle, and you may not notice it. But, if you do, do not be surprised by it. It will disappear at between 5-7 months of age.
The palmar reflex is also an important reflex that helps your baby grip your finger whenever you put it in their palm. Most of these reflexes disappear in a few weeks or months, once your baby is settled and used to their surroundings.
The Bottom Line
To tell the truth, being a new parent is scary, but you should take comfort in the fact that many people have been in the same shoes you are in, and they made it. Your parents made it, and that is why you are here today.
So, do not be too scared of every little thing. Most people learn on the job and you will turn out to be just fine. Babies also have a very strong threshold for survival so just take one day at a time and all will be well.