Your Newborn: Welcome to the World, Baby
You did it! And you're more than happy to tell anyone who will listen exactly how you did it. How long your labor was, who was in the room, what baby's APGAR score was, yada yada. You spare no gory detail of your glorious birthing moment ... and why should you?!
What You're Thinking: "Woohoo! I'm not pregnant anymore! No more heartburn! I have toes! My boobs are still big! And the bonus? I have a totally amazing new baby!"
- Happy birthday, baby!
- You're so in love, you don't even notice that baby's face is all squished, swollen and bruised from his tight squeeze into the world (if you had a C-section, baby'll look a bit less squished but may still be puffy). If you have noticed, don't worry. He'll be looking picture-perfect in no time!
- Ditto with that cone-shaped infant head. Just put on one of those cute little knit hospital caps to hide it. It's all good!
- Because he's been curled up in your belly for the past nine months, your baby may still be huddled in the fetal position after he's born. Your heart will melt watching his little grunts and stretches as he works out the kinks. Keeping him swaddled a good deal of the time will help him feel safe and secure.
- Until baby's umbilical cord falls off, you'll have to give him a sponge bath rather than immersing him in a tub.
- Some babies are born with a mop of hair while others are total cue balls. Whatever Junior has now, rest assured that come kindergarten, he'll be sporting some locks. (And if he takes after his grandpa, he'll lose them all by age 40.)
Yay you! You've already accomplished the most amazing Mommy Milestone there is: You had a baby! So bask in your success, the new glow of motherhood and your ability to take a full breath again. And keep in mind that it's totally normal to experience any or all of the following postpartum symptoms:
- If you had a vaginal delivery, your perineum hurts like hooey and you can only sit comfortably on a donut or a Boppy. This too shall pass ... we promise!
- If you had a C-section, the incision at your midsection is killing you. C-section recovery takes a while, but don't worry, it will get better.
- No one told you that after giving birth you'd have the mother of all visits from Aunt Flo's great Aunt, Mo' Flo. Postpartum bleeding can be pretty intense and you may be wondering where all the blood is coming from!
- You dread going to the bathroom because postpartum urination and bowel movements can feel like you're peeing and pooping pins and needles (if you can even manage to poop, that is).
- If you're nursing, your boobs are serving up colostrum—that nutrient-rich pre-milk milk—and you and baby are hard at work figuring out this whole latch-on thing.
- If you're bottle feeding, you're on the hunt for the perfect bottle (BPA-free? Natural nurser? Glass, plastic, liners?) Oh, and you're also hunting for the perfect nipple, and warming method, and feeding position!
- Now that he's here, you've got a million baby-care questions about: holding a baby, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, baby clothes, diapers. We recommend finding a mom—even your mom!—who's been there/done that to help you through these first few days. (Our message boards are a great place to find lots of moms who love to help!)
Got everything you need to care for the newborn and the new mom (Hey, that's you!)? If you didn't quite get the "nesting" finished, it's not too late for some last-minute preparing your home for baby. Our quick list will help you make sure the cupboards are stocked, the kid has clothes and your postpartum body is well taken care of. Read more ...
Everything you ever wanted to know ... and were just about to ask ...
- Umbilical-Cord Care for Newborns
- Newborn Jaundice
- Newborn Babies' (Not So Perfect) Genitalia
- Newborn Babies' (Not So Perfect) Appearance
Stamp to Say Thank You:
OK, so you're not thinking about sending those thank-you notes ... yet. But when it's time, look no further than baby's munchable feet for inspiration!
Buy It: Baby-Gami
Help for swaddling-challenged moms and dads.
Share It: Baby Love
One mom gushes about how utterly ga-ga she is over her new baby. Share the love.
Discuss It: Chat with other new mamas and papas on our Birthday Groups.
NEXT: Newborn Development: Week 1
All babies grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your kid with so-and-so's baby from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your baby's next visit.