The First Six Weeks
Having a new baby in the home is certainly one of the most special and enjoyable times for any parent, but it can also be a time of a lot of rapid change and adjustment for you and your baby. I often get asked what to expect with that brand new baby. First, it is always important to talk with your pediatrician and to attend your regular well-baby checkups so make sure your baby is healthy and meeting milestones for all expected areas. Yet, there are many thing that are perfectly normal, but can be confusing for new parents, so this post is for all those that would like to know what to expect during those first 6 weeks with your new little bundle.
One of the very first things that you will notice is that your baby will like to sleep a lot. It is not uncommon for a newborn to sleep more than 75% of the time. This is perfectly normal, and as the days pass the sleep periods will become a little less. In general, though, the baby will wake up frequently to nurse, so sometimes it feels like one long night all the time. One thing to keep in mind during these early days is that you don’t want to let the baby fall all the way back to sleep while you are feeding the baby. This is the time to introduce a pacifier if you are going to use one. You want to help to train your baby that he can soothe without feeding. This is especially where dads can help because the baby doesn’t just wake to be fed, but sometimes it's for a diaper change or he just wants to suckle, and dads can certainly help in this area to take the baby and hold him to pacify.
Also, some babies can develop a little colic during these first week weeks. I put some recent posts on Instagram more in depth about this topic, and I’ll post that up here on the site as well for more details about this topic as there is a lot to cover in this area, but for now just know that it is normal for many babies to have some level of colic. In almost all cases it is just a side effect of the baby’s developing central nervous system, and isn’t anything to worry about, although it may tire you out :) That said, make sure to first CHECK with your doctor for any other things that may trouble the baby. Ear infections or many other issues could also cause baby to cry.
These early weeks are also a time for sensory development for the baby. This includes sight, sound, and touch as the dominant senses during this period. This is why the one-to-one connection with mom and baby during these early days is so critical for the baby’s development. I’ll touch on each of these senses individually:
A newborn baby can really only focus and see objects clearly that are about a foot away from it in the first couple weeks. It has also been found that babies prefer faces over anything else (especially mother’s face), so some good close face-time with your baby is the perfect way to interact with your newborn. They especially are attracted to your eyes as there is a high contrast between the eyes and face. This is a great time to interact and place with them close up. You can also help the baby to develop sight tracking by moving your face slowly left to right once he has made eye contact with you. You can do the same with a soft toy or rattle, preferably one that has some high contrast to it. As the weeks go you will notice that by about the second month that distance will be about 3 feet.
For newborn babies, every waking moment is a new sensory experience to them. Each touch is something new to understand and process. Gentle massage and touch with your baby on regular basis helps to aid in maturation of CNS and helps them to develop well.
Newborn’s skin will peel and shed. Don’t worry about this moment. It’s normal. Moisturize well and keep clothing sold and light. Also, a newborn’s skin is very sensitive, so during these first few weeks especially we do everything organic and soft. Babies will often have breakouts, generally referred to as baby acne which is caused by mother’s changing hormones, and they are perfectly normal. The best thing to do is to not stress ( hormones, remember!) and to wash the baby as you normally would, there is no need for extra cleansers or lotions if you see this.
The clothing should be as gentle on the skin as possible though and this will help to prevent any other sensitive or problems that can be passed from the clothes to the baby's gentle skin. When baby’s newborn skin is shedding, their fresh new skin is very thin. This can leave many areas more vulnerable to irritation, hence the reason you will see infants getting rashes and other minor skin irritations more frequently. In most cases, these irritations just fade away, but research has shown that the clothing and wipes we use can directly affect this normal process of skin development, so choosing the most natural, soft, and organic options really is one of the best gifts you can give your new baby. You’ve seen us using Apple Park a lot even since they launched their layette a couple of years ago.
Apple Park has always had a commitment to providing the best options for parents in this area. Their foundation and mission have been to only provide the safest and most natural clothing that is available for parents, and in our own experience with them, their baby layette has been one of the softest and cutest that we have found over the years. Apple Park has adorable designs (for boys, girls, and several gender-neutral options), and they provide many different options in the same patterns allowing you to mix and match the types of outfits and keep the same design. I am DYING over the Fox one! Especially, since Elisey’s short name in Russian means “little fox” ( did you know that? I can’t remember if I told you about it!)I also love the newborn blankets that match the Layette designs. They are so soft, breathable helps and make a great swaddle.
Newborns don’t have the concept of permanence like children or adults do. This means that when the baby can’t see or hear something then it is as if it never existed or disappeared completely. This can be a frightening thing, especially as a new baby. To help with this you can continue to speak to the baby when you are not right in front of him. Calling out to him or saying that you are coming to get him when he is crying will also help to connect the sound of your voice to your face and begin to establish that even though he may not be able to see you, he can be comforted to know you are still there. As the weeks pass he will start to try and track and turn his head towards where he thinks your voice is coming from.
This is also an important time for babies to develop the areas of the brain that will lead to speech. It really doesn’t matter what you say to the baby, the patterns and sounds of your voice help to develop the speech centers. Soft music and other soft sounds are important as well. Rattle toys that are not harsh help to develop the ability to focus and pay attention to an object the baby can’t see very well yet. We love using the soft and playful toys that Apple Park makes. Not only are they the perfect size and color, but are 100% organic and natural. Elisey already has his favorite mushroom rattle :)
Overall, the first few week often seem like a rollercoaster, that flies with a speed of light at times and drags ( like during colic) at other days.
There is so much to experience with your newborn as they grow and develop. It is a precious time and can be one of the most memorable times. It may seem a little overwhelming at times, but know that the challenging things do get better, and the fun and cute things about your baby just keep getting better.
*Thank you to Apple Park for partnering with LivingNotes, we love your commitment to make only the best quality items for babies and kids. For all our readers, take 20% using the coupon code LN20 when you checkout today through October 20, 2017!