As a pregnancy naturopath in Brunswick, Melbourne, I love helping new parents feel more at ease about their roles as parents. Being a new mother can often be scary and tiring – but always rewarding.
Your newborn baby will spend the first seven days of their life adapting to the drastic changes to their environment. A new life in the outside world will be very different to their time in the womb. What they need the most now is warmth, smiles and security – and lots of attention! Eye contact, playing, massaging and cuddles will all help to make your newborn feel safe and connected to you.
In terms of appearance, you’ll notice some big changes during your little one’s first week of life. Commonly, babies can be born with a cone-shaped head because they’ve had to make their way through the birth canal. Don’t worry – during the first week, your baby’s head should become rounder and more ‘normal’-looking. Some babies are also born with bruising and swelling on the face or head, especially if forceps have been used during the birth – this is also to be expected and should go down during the first couple of weeks.
Your baby’s umbilical cord will dry out during the first 7-10 days and then become black and fall off. Keeping the cord dry and clean is really important – if it looks red and sticky, let your GP or health practitioner know. As a Moonee Ponds Naturopath, I help new parents prepare for birth, pregnancy and beyond. Naturopathic services and treatments work well alongside western medicine by complementing and enhancing positive outcomes.
During the first week with your new baby you’ll be filled with hundreds of questions, so it’s great to be prepared and think ahead.
Sleeping and Eating
Is it normal for a newborn to sleep for the whole day? Yes, its normal for your newborn baby to sleep for most of the day – waking up every two or three hours to feed. Their digestive systems are really small, so they aren’t able to sleep through the night at this stage without being fed. 8-12 feeds every 24 hours is normal, with some feeds lasting up to an hour.
Don’t expect feeding and sleeping patterns or routines to emerge during the first week. You and your baby are getting used to each other, so be patient. Remember that all babies are different, and it can take a while to develop a routine that suits you both well. Some people choose to take the lead of the baby, whereas other people prefer to develop a routine of their own. Being flexible and open-minded at this stage is a really useful approach.
For further advice and resources about breastfeeding, visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
Is my baby crying too much?
Newborns can cry for so many reasons – usually if they have a dirty nappy, are too hot, cold or are hungry – sometimes they just want you close to them for security. Try cuddling your baby, feeding them or even giving them a warm bath to help calm down. Your baby could be crying too much if the cry is very high pitched, is crying for a long time or has a very weak cry. If you suspect your baby is crying in this way, contact your GP for advice.
Soon enough you’ll begin to recognise the different types of cries that your baby makes and whether it means they’re frightened, tired, hungry or overwhelmed. Be patient.
Take Care of You!
Your recovery is equally as important as taking care of your new baby. Giving birth is a life-changing experience – you should expect to feel exhausted and have a roller-coaster of emotions – especially during the first week. Naturopathy assists with speeding up your recovery which will give you the confidence to meet your baby’s needs. Make sure that you look after yourself when you have a newborn – try to eat well, sleep when your baby sleeps and ask for help from friends and family if you can.
Other Things You Might Notice
– Your newborn baby might close and open their hands, and have jerky movements when they sleep. Yes, this is normal!
– During the first few days of life, your baby will lose about 10% of their birth weight as they shed excess fluid – this is perfectly normal and will be regained after a couple of weeks.
– Blocked tear ducts can be a common issue for newborn babies and can lead to sticky eyes that discharge.
– Your baby could also experience rashes such as nappy rash, milia, heat rash and cradle cap during the first week. Usually they’re nothing to worry about but it’s always good to have your GP or health practitioner check it out.
– Your baby’s limbs may look scrunched up from being inside the womb for 9 months, but they’ll straighten out with time.
Seek medical attention if your baby is:
– Vomiting more than half of their feeds
– Isn’t feeding at all
– Is hard to wake for feeds
– Has yellow or very pale skin
As a Pregnancy Naturopath in Brunswick I love assisting women achieve healthy pregnancies with support and treatments through pregnancy and into motherhood. It’s what keeps my passion for pregnancy naturopathy alive. If you’d like tailored advice about getting pregnant, preparing for birth or navigating motherhood, book an appointment today.