The first month of a baby’s life can be so joyful. Parents are so happy to meet their baby and see the beautiful human they have created. This excited is combined with other thoughts and feelings, especially since the baby’s needs may seem complex and confusing.
There are so many things to learn about parenthood and about the new baby. Possibly the first month is the hardest. Once these frantic, wonderful few weeks are over, parents usually gain a little more confidence.
Parents can be bamboozled by the wealth of choice of newborn baby products. If it is the first baby, we have no knowledge of what we need and don’t need. It is wise to do plenty of research. It is wisest to ask other mothers. All parents have their own views about what is necessary and what is not. Take advice on board and mix that with your own common sense.
Some items are valuable for a long time, some are useless after a number of weeks. Avoid spending money on items that won’t be used and are not essential.
Fortunately, some of the more intense emotions dissipate after the first month. The feeling of total panic and not being able to cope should ease somewhat as the baby grows. Parents learn to anticipate what the baby needs and to impose a structure on the baby.
20 Moses Basket
Moses baskets are very cute and handy to keep right by the side of the parents’ bed. However, ultimately the baby will need a crib. Putting a baby in a crib straight away gets the baby used to extra space and also saves money on buying a Moses basket.
It may be possible to borrow a Moses basket for the first month. There seems little point in buying something that will only be used for a few weeks when a crib will suffice perfectly well. If a Moses basket comes as a gift, it can always be used to keep downstairs for the baby to sleep in during the day, suggests Baby Center.
19 Newborn Clothes
It is impossible to guess what weight a baby will be until it is born. Mothers can be told they are having small babies and deliver nine-pound bruisers, and vice versa. Newborn baby clothes may never fit the baby or may only fit for a few weeks. Buying them in bulk is pointless, so it’s best to buy a few essential newborn sized clothes and wait to see what size the baby is.
Remember that clothes are a popular gift for friends and family, so lots will arrive once the baby comes. Plenty of things can be bought after the birth. Be prudent when buying clothes until the baby is born or you can waste a lot of money.
18 Umbilical Cord Cleaning
The stump that is left by cutting the umbilical cord will fall off after the first couple of weeks. During the time it remains it should be kept clean and if possible, dry. It will fall off naturally and detach quicker if the area is kept dry according to Parents.com.
Parents can be a bit alarmed by the umbilical stump, but it doesn’t hurt the baby. The only danger is the infection, so if it is clean it should be fine. Be aware that it can bleed a little when the stump falls off, so just be prepared and continue to keep the area clean and dry.
17 Baby Bath
A baby bath seems like a useful item as babies need cleaning, of course. However, unless they are put in a full-sized bath, they can be cumbersome due to their weight when full of water. It may be useful to use one when the baby is first home and parents have less confidence. However, once that confidence increases, a baby seat in a full-sized bath is often much more convenient and the baby bath is redundant.
Babies don’t need bathing every day at the start, too much bathing can dry out their skin, according to Baby Centre. Keep the baby’s face and nappy area clean every day and leave a full bath for a couple of times a week.
16 Newborn Diapers
Newborn size diapers are very tiny and babies grow quickly! So, unless the baby was premature and is extremely tiny, newborn diapers will soon be replaced by bigger versions. Of course, breastfed babies do tend to soil more diapers than formula-fed ones, so make sure to stock up for a breastfed baby, suggests Made for Mums.
Also, it’s important to remember that shops are open when the baby arrives! You will likely be given a small supply of diapers when you leave the hospital, but practically every store has diapers for sale. In fact, you will have an idea of the size you need before you leave the hospital. If you birth at home, just have a package of diapers on hand. If they’re too big, you can always fold them to avoid the umbilical.
15 Scratch Mittens
Newborn babies do have fingernails, of course. These can be surprisingly long and need trimming. As babies learn and explore the world around them, they tend to scratch their faces by accident and can cause little cuts. There is also the danger of a sharp nail causing damage to their eyes. Moms can trim baby’s’ nails with clippers, and if this is still inefficient, scratch mittens are a good alternative. Try cutting the little one’s nails while they sleep. Trying to cut the nails when they’re squirming can be really hard.
Often this is helpful at night when a baby’s hands can wander, but it is not necessary for long. After the first month, they can usually be dispensed with.
14 Newborn Sleep Sack
A sleeping bag or Grobag is a great invention. Babies can’t kick them off as they can with blankets. The risk of suffocation is reduced as there is no available fabric to draw over their face.
However, healthy babies grow at an alarming rate. The tiny sleeping bag that seemed to overwhelm the tiny tot on day one, can seem a bit restrictive after a few weeks. See if there’s a friend that will lend a newborn sleeping sack if possible. This saves money and means more funds can be invested in a bigger sleeping sack that will last for a few months.
13 Bottle Tips
If the baby is being bottle fed, there is a wide choice of nipples to add to the bottle. The newborn variety has the smallest number of holes and the flow of milk is slower. As the baby grows, the nipple can be altered to cope with a growing appetite and bigger tummy. After the first month, newborn nipples can be replaced with the next size up. Of course, this still applies if the baby is being breastfed and the milk is expressed, or for giving water from a baby’s bottle.
Of course, the variety of shape of the nipple is mind-boggling. Ask other moms for advice to avoid being overwhelmed!
12 Fontanelle Panic
The fontanelle refers to soft areas on the top of the baby’s head where bones haven’t completely met. This natural softness is designed to ease a baby’s journey through the birth canal.
Parents need to be careful when touching this fontanelle area as it can be damaged easily. After a few weeks, it will become more routine to know where the area is and to be careful about it naturally.
Similarly, a baby needs time to form the neck muscles to hold up its heavy head. Care should be taken when lifting a baby to ensure the head is supported. Again, as muscles develop, the baby will gain the strength to hold up its head and parents will routinely support the head without thinking.
11 Swaddling Blankets
A newborn baby likes to feel safe and secure by being swaddled. The comfort of a tight wrapping replicates the feeling of being in the womb and can settle a fractious baby.
However, it is not necessary for long. Once a baby starts to move its arms and legs and roll a bit onto its side, swaddling can be restrictive.
Each baby develops at different stages, but after a month or two, the baby should be happy with regular blankets or an age-appropriate sleeping sack. UK Answers points out that midwives recommend caution with swaddling as there are links with SIDS and hip displacement.
10 Cleaning Their Eyes Too Often
Babies can’t see very well for the first few weeks, but they are still at risk of crusty eyes and infections. Breastfeeding mothers can use a little breast milk to clear any grunge, as it has been proven to be effective at clearing up baby conjunctivitis, according to Medical Daily.
Babies who have had a vaginal delivery are prone to infections in the eyes and a dedicated eye ointment is available to treat this condition.
Tear ducts can get blocked in a newborn baby as tears start to be produced. Plain water on cotton wool should clear this up and the problem rarely lasts long.
9 Permanent Feedings
To start with, it can seem that feeding is endless. Each baby is so different, so the amount of milk that the baby needs and the length of feed will vary.
As a feeding pattern is established in the beginning, it can seem that the feeding process takes hours. If a baby is comforted by the breast it may stay latched for comfort as well as for food.
When a baby cries and a parent doesn’t know why feeding can seem like a natural ‘go to’ option. Whether bottle or breast, the feeding seems to be a focal point to avoid a crying infant. This settles down as parents learn more about what their baby needs and when.
8 Visitors, Cards, And Presents
It is so exciting to the extended family when a new baby arrives. If it is the first grandchild, parents and in-laws will be bursting with excitement and pride and desperate to visit the new baby.
Sometimes these visits are welcome. Helpful family and friends can do chores, bring necessities and actually show support and keep visits brief.
Other visitors are less welcome. They want to have tea and cake, they look a little sniffy at a messy house. Be calm, this will die down. Be firm and put down boundaries if the visits are overwhelming. Helpful visits are great, but any visits that put pressure on new parents should be discouraged.
7 Fancy Schmancy Outfits
It can be hugely tempting to dress up a baby in the most gorgeous outfits. Pride oozes out of new parents and they want everyone to see this bundle of perfection they have created. A designer dress or fancy outfit might seem irresistible for a newborn baby. However, the reality is that this outfit might get an airing once or twice, as regular clothes that can be easily washed are much more practical.
The money spent on fancy outfits for a newborn would be better used when the baby is ready to go out and about and wear the clothes for a few months, rather than a day or two!
6 Constantly Watching
Parents tend to be overwhelmed by their new arrival. The wonder of this magical baby is emotional and can cause parents to stare at their babies in total awe.
The other kind of watching, of course, is the slightly more panicked type. Is the baby breathing? Is he ok? Should he be making that noise? All these questions jump into parents’ minds and they dash to the baby’s crib at the slightest murmur on the baby monitor.
This will dissipate after a few weeks. Parents get to know their babies and learn what noises mean and hopefully, some semblance of a routine will be established.
5 Daily Pound Checks
A baby’s weight is a constant worry to many parents in the first few weeks. American Pregnancy says that we worry about the baby not putting on enough weight and some mothers feel a sense of failure if their baby is not gaining sufficient weight, especially if they are breastfeeding.
Over the first few weeks, the baby establishes a more regular pattern of feeding. This normally equates to a regular, healthy weight gain. Each baby gains weight at a different rate, but a regular increase is a great sign of health.
Most newborn babies lose a little weight in the first weeks, giving parents more cause for worry. This is soon regained and the growth spurt really kicks off.
4 Books, Classes, And Advice Will Go Out The Window
When a newborn baby arrives, it can turn the parent’s world upside down. There is an overwhelming feeling of panic and responsibility that can descend. This tiny helpless human relies on us for everything!
All the classes and tips go out the window as parents pace through the house that looks as if it’s been hit by a tornado, desperately trying to pacify a tiny baby.
This occurrence rarely lasts. Parents generally get to know their babies quickly and learn to do what comes naturally. There is plenty of support out there, use it and enjoy the baby. After the first month, some semblance of confidence should descend and panic is replaced by sleep deprivation!
3 The Mom-Worry
With a first baby, everything feels new. It is all new! We are given a brand new job with no training, no experience, and no manual! The feeling that we have no clue what we are doing is common.
Add sleep deprivation into the mix and this feeling can turn to panic. Relax, it’s completely normal. Problems with feeding, crying and minor ailments can be magnified with lack of sleep. There is plenty of support available and it is important to ask for help when the panic descends.
This panic passes. Everything becomes more familiar with the practice and after a few weeks, most parents feel they have a bit more of a handle on this baby thing.
2 The Baby Safety Bubble
When a baby is tiny, it is vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Breastfeeding can help to build up a baby’s immunity, but there is always a risk of infection from outsiders coming into the home and from germs and bacteria within the home according to Web MD.
New parents can be fastidious about protecting newborns from any potential source of infection, but this panic calms as the baby grows. Immunity builds up and babies are more resistant to infections as they grow.
Be sensible. Keep baby away from known infections and dissuade visitors from touching baby’s face if they haven’t washed their hands.
1 No Routine
We know that a baby needs love, sleep, food and changing. What is not so clear in the beginning is when a baby needs a routine. A routine is comforting for a baby and gives them a little reassurance and structure to their day.
However, in the beginning, it is distressing for a parent to witness a crying baby, so we tend to resort to panic and try everything in a haphazard fashion.
Experts differ greatly in terms of when a structured routine should be implemented. Pediatricians mostly recommend around two months is a good time to start, but after the first month, a loose structure may emerge, driven by the baby.