Your bundle of joy is now at home. Are you ready to take ample care of an one-week-old baby? The first week is of prime importance, as it sets the tone for parental responsibility. As you are not used to the new life, the experience may vary from being exiting to unnerving depending on moments you spend with the baby. You may find them funny while at times their expressions may scare you.
Lack of confidence in reflecting the demands of the new responsibility is quite normal for most first-time moms. They feel unsettled and more frequently turn anxious for not having adequate knowledge about the behavior of a one-week-old baby. This may have its effects on the overall care and safety of the child.
Here is a guide to know about the newborns, their characteristic behavior during the first week, and potential things for mothers to understand about the little ones.
Common Observations About One-Week-Old Baby
The First Week of Life
A newborn spends its first week mostly sleeping, eating, pooping, and peeing unaware of the difference between day and night. Don’t expect the one-week-old baby to follow a definite sleeping or feeding pattern. Each newborn has its unique world and no specific comparison can be drawn between two though broader conditions are often similar. They may make strong noises, demand attention, and sleep for a few hours or for the entire day.
The first week is also the week for enormous change. A baby undergoes changes in appearance with swelling starts to evaporate. Though it becomes an independent entity with its own breathing, digestion, and communication systems, the one-week-old baby continues to behave like a fetus. It prefers to curls itself, looks for physical and emotional care by parents. So don’t be alarmed at being utterly preoccupied. Just enjoy the thrill of parenthood with an eye on essential things for newborn care at home.
Hunger Signs of Newborns and Breastfeeding Your One-week-old Baby
A newborn requires breastfeeding 10 to 12 times a day. If your baby is keeping its mouth open or bringing hands closer to mouth or licking them, it is a sign of onset of hunger. As hunger becomes more pronounced, it cries or turns restless. Fussiness is another common indication of being hungry. Always check for hunger signs than the time on your clock to feed the one-week-old baby.
Breastfeeding is the only way to feed a baby until six months. Avoid using formula milk at least for the first three weeks. Initially, the breastfeeding is longer and a mother must change the breast in after feeding from one for 15 to 20 minutes. Feed until the baby stops sucking and turns its head away. A full baby looks more relaxed and settled. Never forget to burp your baby after feeding.
Consult your doctor regarding the appropriate breastfeeding position. Mothers should drink a lot of fluid and food with higher amount of dietary fiber to maintain milk production. Dehydration may cause a drop in the milk. Many avoid breast feeding due to pain associated with C-section or postpartum depression. This must be avoided. Breastfeeding makes breasts feel better and secures against postpartum depression. Nursing bra can be helpful for breastfeeding.
It is advisable to nurse an one-week-old baby after every 2-3 hours and 15 to 20 minutes on one side at a time. Take out a small bit of milk immediately before breastfeeding, as a baby finds it difficult to suck from fuller breasts. Many babies may not take the breast easily and it is incumbent on mothers to ensure they are feeding properly.
The Unique Behavior
The Baby Sleeping Pattern
Don’t expect your one-week-old baby to follow a regular sleeping pattern until at least for another three weeks. The erratic sleeping pattern of newborns is the biggest worry for majority of parents. Babies may sleep for the entire day and remain awake at night. They may sleep intermittently and awake at every 2-3 hours. Often, the sleep duration may not last beyond 20 minutes.
An one-week-old baby has no fixed place, time, or duration to sleep. Again, the sleeping pattern differs from one newborn to another. The total sleep duration for newborns varies from 10 to 18 hours a day.
Normal Crying and Breathing by Newborns
Don’t be alarmed or agitated at the crying of your baby. Newborns use crying as way to communicate. They cry when they need feed, or feel wet, or in discomfort, or miss the warmth of mother’s womb. Again, the crying pattern differs each time based on what they want to convey. It can be short, noisy, irksome, with or without hand/leg movements and parents must learn about specific type to understand what their babies want to convey.
There is not much threat of colic during the first week.
Many parents feel alarmed at noisy and grunty breathing by newborns in the first week. Don’t be panicked. It is common. An one-week-old baby does periodic breathing much akin to the speed of a roller coaster ride. They take short pauses in between too. If there is no sign of sleep apnea, you need not be worried.
Physical, Mental Changes
First-Week Development Milestones of A Baby
The first week is the acclimatization period for both the mother and her baby. Your baby has its unique ways to react to the new environment and seek physical and emotional support from the mother. There may sounds, smells, behaviors, and responsibilities that are alien to you and keep you overwhelmed. But all thee are relevant especially to know about the health and requirements of the child. Don’t be irritated at your one-week-old baby for not sleeping or let you sleep at night. There may be a decrease in the body weight too. Just stay calm and informed, avoid being unnerved, and enjoy the newborn’s activities.
Newborns cannot see far. But start recognizing voices and even mother’s face. Many gives facial expressions too to their parents call. The more you talk, the more familiar they will be. They prefer to snuggle up with anyone they feel secure with and try to look for the mother when they want feeding.
Babies love to see human faces than anything else. They are sensitive to light and undergo facial changes.
The Umbilical Cord
It takes about 10 to 14 days for the umbilical cord to dry completely and fall off. Until then avoid touching it. Keep it dry and protect it against any infection.
Always keep the one-week-old baby wrapped in clean and soft clothes. The internal thermostat mechanism of newborns is not capable enough to control their body temperature yet.
Keep Jaundice Away
The Threat of Jaundice
The threat of jaundice looms large in the first week with the risk remaining on the highest level in the first 100 hours. Check for symptoms, such yellow eyes or yellow skin. Dark yellow urine may not be always due to jaundice alone, as dehydration too leads to similar symptoms. If symptoms appear, a blood test is desirable even for an one-week-old baby.
In most cases, jaundice does not harm newborns. However, if the bilirubin level, the most noteworthy medical indicator to diagnose jaundice, remains too high, consult your doctor for potential treatment options.
Learn about 12 essential things to know after bringing the newborn home.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com