Congratulations on your new addition! As a new mother, there are many things to learn in the first year of your baby’s life. From feeding and sleeping habits to milestones and development, it can be overwhelming trying to keep track of everything. This guide will provide you with information on what to expect during your baby’s first year, as well as tips for how to best care for your little one.
One Month Before Delivery:
In your 3rd trimester, you might be feeling exhausted and impatient. You are almost there! This is the home stretch. Here are a few things to do in the last month before your baby arrives:
-Start stocking up on diapers, wipes, and other essentials. You will go through a lot of these in the first few months!
-Start thinking about what type of feeding you want to do. Will you breastfeed, formula feed, or do a combination of both?
-Start preparing your home for a baby. If you don’t already have one, set up a crib or bassinet in your room. Make sure you have all the gear you will need like a stroller, car seat, etc.
-Start thinking about your birth plan. What type of delivery do you want? Who do you want in the room with you?
-Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have. This is a great time to get all of your questions answered so that you can feel prepared for delivery day.
When you arrive at the hospital or birthing center, you will be checked in and given a gown to wear. Your doctor will check your cervix to see how dilated you are. If you are having a vaginal delivery, you will start pushing when it is time.
If you are having a c-section, you will be taken to the operating room where you will be given anesthesia. You will not be awake for the delivery, but your partner or support person can stay with you in the OR.
After your baby is born, they will be cleaned off and weighed. You will then get to hold your baby for the first time! Congratulations, you are a mom!
Your newborn may have a birthmark – like most newborns which appears as a reddish or pink patch above the hairline.
Most birthmarks are not permanent and will usually fade over time. However, some may require treatment if they are large or cause health concerns. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s birthmark.
The umbilical cord will be cut by the doctor or midwife and clamped. Your baby will be given their first bath within the first few hours after birth.
After your baby is born, you will also be given a chance to breastfeed. If you are formula feeding, your baby will be given a bottle of formula.
You may want to consider pumping and storing breast milk for those times when you are away from your baby or need a break.
You will be given a list of things to watch for in your baby’s first week, including jaundice, feeding issues, and signs of illness. It is important to call your doctor if you notice any of these things.
Because the womb is a cramped location, newborn legs and feet often appear bowed or bent. There’s no need to be concerned as long as your baby’s legs and feet are flexible and can readily be moved about. The curves on these joints typically relax once your infant becomes more active.
The First Week:
Your newborn’s body exudate (fluid) decreases after the first few days of life, therefore by the time you go home your baby will weigh somewhat less than at birth but you can expect your baby to gain weight again by the 10th day.
The first week home with your baby can be both exciting and exhausting. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
-You will probably be sleep deprived. Try to rest when your baby is sleeping.
-Feeding will take up a lot of time. Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, it is important to feed your baby on demand.
-You will probably be leaky. Breastfeeding moms will leak milk when they hear their baby cry or think about their baby. This is normal!
-You might be feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to ask for help from friends and family.
1st Month After Delivery:
You made it through delivery and the first month with your new baby! Congratulations! This is a big accomplishment.
If you are breastfeeding, your baby will probably nurse about eight to twelve times a day.
You will probably start to feel like your milk supply is increasing and your baby is sleeping longer at night.
If you are formula feeding, your baby will probably eat six to eight times a day. You may have already started to introduce a bottle.
It is essential that you figure out your baby’s feeding and get started early on making sure you’re using a feeding tracker so you don’t miss. As you will be too tired and prone to forgetting things here and there.
Your baby will probably sleep about 16 hours a day in periods split into 1 to 3 hours that are evenly distributed through the day and night. Safe sleeping practices require that you place your baby on his or her back to sleep to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
You may start to feel like you are getting more sleep at night, but your baby may still wake up several times to eat.
In the womb, the baby’s sleep and wake cycles are coordinated with the mother’s, so it may take some time for your baby to adjust to sleeping on their own.
Your baby will start to develop more control over their body. They will be able to hold their head up and turn it from side to side.
They may start to reach for things and put them in their mouth.
You may also notice that your baby is starting to smile!
By the end of the first month, your baby should weigh approximately 10 pounds. Your baby’s height will also increase by 1½ to 2 inches during this time.
If your baby’s hair falls out within the first few weeks, don’t be alarmed as all newborns lose some hair after birth. Temporary bald spots will form on the back of the head from regular positioning during sleep.
The hair that remains will become the color it is supposed to be. If your baby has a head full of dark hair, it may fall out and be replaced by lighter-colored hair.
The skin of your baby in the first month won’t be glowing and it’s because the journey through the birth canal can put a lot of pressure on the head’s bone structure to the point of showing – in form of either round or pointy – on the outside. The skin may appear dry and the eyelids puffy or swollen.
A newborn’s head is about 13¾ inches around and it will grow to about 15 inches by the end of the first month. It is important that you monitor your baby’s brain size as the growth rate of your baby’s head reflects the growth of the brain.
Fun Fact: The brain of a newborn baby accounts for about 20 percent of his or her body weight at birth. This percentage drops to around 2% by adulthood.
Baby 1st Month Milestones:
- Turning head from side to side
- Lifting the head for a split second while lying on your stomach
- Bringing their fists in toward the face
- Scoping out people’s faces and possibly high-contrast patterns
- Tracking moving items that are close by (eyes may cross at this age as eye muscles are still developing)
- Turning head in the direction of known voices and sounds
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you enter month two:
-You will be exhausted. Don’t try to do too much. Take this time to rest and bonding with your baby.
-If you are breastfeeding, your body is working hard to produce milk. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet.
-You will probably be bleeding for the first few weeks after delivery. This is normal and will eventually stop.
-Your baby will need to eat every two to three hours, so get used to being up at all hours of the night!
-You will probably be feeling emotional. This is normal. Give yourself time to adjust to this new life change.