6 Things to understand about Newborns

Baby may be, well, a bit funny-looking.
The baby head may be smooshed from his journey through the birth canal, and he may be wearing a “bodysuit” of fine hair known as lanugo. He could also be puffy-faced and have eyes that are often shut. After all, the baby just spent 9 months within the womb. But pretty shortly, he’ll resemble that stunning baby you imagined.

Give baby sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off.
If the umbilical cord is kept dry, it falls off quicker — sometimes within two weeks. Besides, newborns do not get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the umbilical cord falls off, that’s okay, too, as Alyson Bracken, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, learned. “It scared me at first,” she says, on the other hand she observed that, as with a scab, mild bleeding was normal.

She’ll let you know if she’s getting enough food.
Baby needs to eat every 2 to 3 hours — however if you are nursing, it’s tough to know what proportion milk she’s getting. The baby’s weight is the best indicator in the early days. Your pediatrician will check it within a few days of discharge. A newborn loses almost 5% to 8% of their birth weight within the first week but they should gain it back by the second week. Diaper-counting can even act as a gauge: her schedule those 1st 5 days is irregular, but after that, you will see 5 to 6 wet diapers every day, and a minimum of one or 2 stools.

Dry skin is the norm for newborns.
Initially, the baby may be soft and silky, but that changes after some time period. “If you soaked yourself in liquid for 9 months and then hit the air, you would be dry too!” says pediatrician and coauthor of Heading Home together with your Newborn. You do not have to do anything about dry skin (it generally peels and flakes off), but if you are so inclined, reach for a hypoallergenic baby lotion that’s fragrance-free. Very little pink bumps, diaper rashes, and even baby acne may also make an appearance. “Acne tends to last for some months,” Dr. Jana says. “So get those cute newborn pics before one month!”

Babies cry a lot — that is how they communicate!
Their piercing wails will let you understand that the babies are hungry, cold, have a dirty diaper, or wish to be held. These early “conversations” can be frustrating, but rest assured, you will get a better handle on what she needs in time.

Newborn babies also sleep a lot — but not for a very long stretches.
Those 1st 3 months are a free-for-all. Baby needs to eat in every 2 to 3 hours, so you’re not getting much sleep either. It will get better along with time. “Most infants can sleep for 6 to 8 hours by 3 months of age.” in the meanwhile, try to get baby on a day and night schedule: during the day, don’t let them snooze for more than 3 hours without waking them to feed; at nighttime let them sleep as long as they desire once the baby regained the weight he has lost at birth.

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