11 Newborn Facts Every New Parent Must Know About
Are you prepared to take care of your Newborn yet?
Keep reading and find out about the 10 Newborn Facts every first-time parents must know about.
If you are just a little bit like me, you read all the books, watched all the YouTube Videos, and asked all your Mom Friends about everything related to a Newborn. You probably think you know what is about to go down. Taking care of a newborn shouldn’t be that hard? Right? Well, wrong!
I hope I can help some of you with your anxiety you will probably have once your newborn arrives. There are just so many things to consider, so at least knowing some of these facts will take the edge off for you.
Just a quick disclaimer: Obviously I am not a medical professional and most of the time I don’t even know what I am doing. Just trying to keep my baby alive, you know… All I want is to share my own experiences with you and maybe even help you overcome some struggles. I also don’t want to scare any soon to be moms out there! You are awesome and you can do it!
Today, I will share 10 Surprising But Important Newborn Facts you should know about before going into labor!
1. The Skin To Skin
In Germany, as well as in many other countries I assume, it is very common that right after birth a midwife or nurse will place your newborn directly on your chest. This process is called skin-to-skin. Which means you, as well as your newborn, are going to be undressed. If you are having a c-section and are not awake, the doctors or midwives will usually encourage skin-to-skin contact with your partner.
You may be asking why so many doctors find skin-to-skin so important. Well, here’s why:
A lot of studies have shown the many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between a newborn and the parents. It will actually higher the chance of bonding and help moms with their milk supply. Not only that, but it will also help with the baby’s body temperature and improve your newborn’s heart and lungs function.
Isn’t that amazing? Besides all the positive benefits of skin-to-skin contact, it is also one of the most beautiful moments for a mom that just gave birth. I wish I could relive that moment again. So please, make sure to enjoy it!
2. The Body Hair
Once you are holding your precious newborn, you may notice some body hair. And with some, I mean a lot. At least that was the case for me and our daughter.
That hair is called Lanugo, which is a soft and woolly hair that covers your newborn. My midwife explained to me that Lanugo helps to regulate the baby’s temperature and keep the baby warm inside the womb. It is also meant to protect the skin during pregnancy since the baby is always surrounded by fluid in the amniotic sac.
Most of the pre-term babies are born with their Lanugo. Don’t even worry about it, after a few weeks or month it will just shed away.
3. The Poop & The Pee
During your stay at the hospital, the nurses will check if your newborn has enough wet diapers to ensure that everything is normal. In case you are having a home birth, your doula/midwife or yourself need to make sure that this is the case. Especially in the first 24 hours after birth.
Depending on if you are planning to formula or breastfeed your newborn, you should expect to change your baby’s diaper between 6-10 times a day. There is a possibility that your newborn might only urinate once during the first 24 hours, which is still normal. The number of times will increase with each passing day. However, you should always consult your pediatrician or midwife to double-check. It may be normal, but it is always better to be safe. Better safe than sorry. Am I right?
Also, look out for the Meconium, which is your baby’s first poop. My daughter actually pooped right when I delivered her and even some more during skin-to-skin on my chest. Your newborn is expected to poop within the first few hours after birth.
Funny fact that actually happened to us: In case you are going to exclusively breastfeed your newborn, it may happen that after a few weeks of getting used to your milk, your baby will stop pooping for quite a while. Breastfed babies, that have not started eating solids yet, can easily go two weeks without pooping. So, don’t worry about it. Breastmilk is exactly what your baby needs and easy to digest. Which means, there is little to no waste left for some big poopy diapers. Again, in case you are unsure or your baby seems constipated and in pain, talk to your midwife or pediatrician.
4. The Newborn Jaundice
When my daughter was born, I noticed that her eyes were more yellow than white. Of course, the doctor noticed right away and assured me that everything is alright and it’s completely normal.
Infant Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of a newborn’s skin and eyes. It occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells. Most of the infants that are born with jaundice need no treatment. In case you do notice some yellowness after leaving the hospital, make sure to get your baby checked by a pediatrician.
Most of the time, newborn jaundice will go away on its own in about 2-3 weeks. Make sure to keep your newborn hydrated with more frequent feedings and let your pediatrician keep a close eye on your baby.
You can find more information on Infant Jaundice here.
5. Your Baby’s Weight
Probably one of the most surprising facts about your newborn: Babies will lose around 7-10% of their birth weight right after birth. This is considered to be absolutely normal.
If your baby is losing more weight than the average, that probably means your newborn needs more nutrition, which means more milk. Let your doctor know about your baby’s unusual weight loss. In case you think your milk supply is not enough yet, you may consider supplementing with formula.
Usually, babies start increasing their weight in a few days after birth. Your pediatrician or midwife will always measure the weight at every appointment to make sure everything is normal.
6. The Crying
Babies usually don’t cry without a reason. So if your newborn is crying, do not ignore it.
Here are the most common reasons your newborn might be crying about:
- Dirty Diaper
If all these three things are taking care of and your baby is still crying, it might be because of:
- Gas, which is bothering your newborn. Make sure to always burp your baby after every feeding.
- The temperature. Your newborn might be too hot or too cold. Either adjust the temperature itself or the layers of clothing.
- The lack of love and attention. Hold your newborn as much as possible. Remember, they just entered this world, they don’t know where they are and they probably miss their safe and cozy womb. So by snuggling your newborn, even doing some skin-to-skin time, their craving for love and comfort will be pleased and chances are they will stop crying.
7. The Shivers
Babies do not shiver when they are cold, simply because they have another response that regulates their temperature. They actually warm up by burning fat in a process called thermogenesis. You can read all about that right here.
So whenever you see your newborn shivering, your baby could have a low blood pressure and therefore may simply be hungry or tired.
8. The Sleep Pattern
Take a moment to think about the times your baby is awake or asleep in your womb. Most of the time, once we decide to rest and lay down at night, our babies will wake up because of the leak of movement.
So once your newborn has entered the world, they will most likely keep those sleep patterns for quite a while. Babies need some time to adjust to day and night time. In order to help them understand, make sure to have the lights on during the day and turned off during the night.
9. Your Baby’s Head & Soft Spots
While you are gently petting your baby’s head, you may notice a soft spot known as fontanel. The spaces between the skull bones are important since they allow the bones to move when the baby passes through the birth canal. The spaces also allow room for the baby’s brain to grow.
Most parents worry about touching this soft spot, but as long as you are gentle, you really don’t have to. Eventually, after a few months after birth, the skull area will be fully developed and closed.
10. The Rashes & The Acne
Babies usually get rashes because they have been dirty for a long time, or because of something you ate. So make sure to check your diet in case you are breastfeeding. In case your baby is formula-fed, he or she might be intolerant to the brand and you should try a different one. You can try to switch out the diaper or wipe brand as well. There are a lot of diaper rash ointments out there. Ask your pediatrician or midwife for a recommendation
It is also completely normal for newborns to develop baby acne. However, it is not recommended to apply anything to it unless advised by your pediatrician. Baby acne tends to go away on its own after a few days or weeks. My midwife once recommended applying some breastmilk and it helped us significantly.
11. The Skin Peeling & Cradle Cap
Before leaving the hospital or within a couple of days after coming home, your newborn’s skin may start to flake or even peel. The peeling can appear on any part of the body and very often in skin folds. Don’t freak out, you are not doing anything wrong, it is again totally normal.
Newborns are born covered in various fluids, like vernix. Once the nurse wipes off the vermin, your baby will begin to shed the outer layer of their skin. The amount of peeling varies and depends on whether your baby was premature, delivered on time, or overdue.
Check out this website to learn more about that topic.
Cradle Cap however is a patchy and scaly scalp that some babies develop on their heads. Although it may get very itchy, it is harmless. Babies usually develop cradle cap within the first few weeks after birth.
You can prevent this condition from happening by combing your baby’s scalp with a soft comb. If it still appears and gets very itchy or bleeding, talk to your pediatrician for more information and help.
Mama Knows Best.
You should always remember, you are the mother. You know your baby better than anyone else does. So if you have concerns or worry about anything that your baby goes through, always contact your pediatrician.
You got this! Make sure to enjoy the newborn stage. Yes, it’s hard and you will most likely be very sleep-deprived, but it goes by so fast. Trust me!
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