Life with your new baby is a huge adjustment for you both as you’ll see during the first week of life. The baby is getting used to being outside of your body and you’re adjusting to being a new mother. This first week is filled with joy and terror. Your baby is here, and now depends on you for everything. Don’t panic, and if someone offers to help out, let them.
The first few weeks of your baby’s life will be spent getting acquainted with you and his surroundings. Remember to handle your baby so that life doesn’t seem so different as in the womb. Your baby’s needs are actually quite simple: food, clean diapers, cuddling and warmth. Wrap your baby so that he’s snug and warm, handle him gently and slowly, and feed him. Feeding your baby also presents an excellent chance to bond with him.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s still a pretty busy process during the first few weeks. It’s best if you can do the early feedings in a quiet area with no distractions. Be sure you’re comfortable because new babies can take a while to eat. Use this time to cuddle your baby and show him how much he’s loved.
If you’re breastfeeding, you must be patient as both you and your baby are adjusting. Breastfeeding offers many benefits to both of you, so it’s important to get off to a good start. It might be several weeks before you’re both comfortable and have a schedule established.
Most new mothers are also recovering physically during the first few weeks following childbirth.
They usually experience:
- Total exhaustion
- Bloody vaginal discharge
- Pain or discomfort in the perineum if you gave birth vaginally
- Numbness or pain from the incision if you gave birth through a Cesarean
- After pains, or abdominal cramping due to uterine contractions
- Dramatic mood swings
- Breast engorgement or discomfort
- Doubts about your ability to be a good mother
- Heavy sweating after a day or two
So if you’re experiencing any or all of those things, it’s perfectly normal.
This isn’t the time to try to prove anything to others or yourself. While you’re healing, you need to accept help when it’s offered, eat regularly, and sleep when your baby sleeps.