First days with the newborn: what to expect

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 First days with the newborn: sleep
  • 2 First days with the newborn: crying
  • 3 First days with the baby: poop
  • 4 First days with the newborn: colic

Who knows how many times each of us has done it. Gently caress the baby bump and daydream our baby. His face, his little hands, the irresistible perfume. Probably mid-pregnancy spends fantasizing in this way. So time passes even faster and, almost without us noticing it, we hold our creature in our arms. But once you get home, what really awaits us? What do we have to face during the first few days with the newborn?



We certainly do not want to terrify anyone, also because the joy of having given birth will exceed any tiredness and will also be able to cover dark circles. It is also true, however, that, if you are the first child, there is a whole world to explore. Are you ready to find out? We help you with the basics: sleep, crying, poop and colic. Just to start ...

First days with the newborn: sleep

Let's start with a very banal fact: not all children are the same. So don't be alarmed if your friend stays up all night, but don't fool yourself if the other one sleeps 10 hours straight. Each newborn is unique and, moreover, the sleep-wake rhythms can change frequently. One thing is sure. In the first few weeks, your child's sleep will be very different from yours and you have to adapt, not the other way around. The advice given in these cases is always the same: if he sleeps, try to do it too, compatibly with all the various commitments (to tell the truth, in the first days after the birth they should be reduced to a minimum).



It is not necessary that, when a newborn sleeps, there should be absolute silence around him. Better to get used to the noises, obviously not violent. Some of these, such as hair dryers or vacuum cleaners, seem to have a calming effect on babies, who seem to fall asleep more easily. They are the so-called white noises. 

How long do babies sleep? At the beginning a lot, even if as we have said there are substantial differences between the little ones. In principle we can say that the amount of sleep in the first months varies from 15 to 20 hours a day. This time gradually decreases because, as our children grow up, they are engaged in other activities, for example the discovery of the first games or the gyms. 

Make your baby fall asleep in the place where he usually sleeps. If he falls asleep on your lap or in your bed and then you move him to the crib, he may feel disoriented and cry upon awakening. This makes them nervous and falling back to sleep becomes more difficult. 

Let's quickly remember what are the rules for a safe sleep of the newborn and to prevent "cot death":

  • always put him to sleep on his stomach; 
  • do not smoke (passive smoking can also be dangerous);
  • if you can, prefer breastfeeding (it is a protective factor);
  • do not heat the room too much (no more than 20 ° C);
  • do not over-cover the baby;
  • the mattress must be firm;
  • do not use pillow in the crib;
  • do not keep soft toys in the cot;
  • the distance between one bar and the other of the bed must not exceed 6 cm;
  • after the first month, offer a pacifier (sucking protects against SIDS);

First days with the newborn: crying

Come on, let's face it: if there is one thing that scares us, it is to think that we do not know how to understand and manage the cry of a newborn. Well, the question isn't simple. What will this screaming little guy want to tell us? The messages she sends are many and different, but with a little experience every mother (and every father as well) is able to understand what is bothering the child. Generally, the reasons are hunger, sleep, discomfort from a dirty diaper or from heat or cold, pain. 



The cry of hunger is quite recognizable because, in general, it "clicks" 2-3 hours after the last feeding. However, it is not always easy to understand when our little one communicates other types of needs or if he is manifesting a particular feeling. Over time, experience and above all instinct will allow you to decipher the type of crying and to intervene in the right way. 

What to do if the baby cries after returning home from the hospital?

  • keep calm and don't fidget;
  • try to console him, talk to him softly, pamper him;
  • try to change its position;
  • check if he is hot or cold: is he sweaty? Do you have cold hands and feet?
  • check if there is anything that bothers him (dirty diaper, tight clothes, closed nose);
  • massage the tummy clockwise to help eliminate air.

Contact your pediatrician if you have the feeling that there is widespread malaise or if the crying is inconsolable. Again, you will understand.

First days with the baby: poop

It seems a useless argument, but it is not at all! Pee and poo are an index of well-being of our babies because when they regularly wet and dirty their diapers, it means that they eat enough and therefore grow. During the first few weeks, it may happen that you change them up to 10-12 times a day.

What should a newborn's feces look like? At first they are consistent and greenish black in color. It is the so-called meconium. If you are breastfed they turn yellow or yellowish, soft in consistency and sour smell. When you then switch to the bottle, the stools are darker and mushy. If the baby is bottle-fed, the stool becomes more compact, light yellow to greyish or even brown-green.


As the days go by, the appearance of the poop will likely vary. Tell your pediatrician if there is a marked change in consistency (very liquid or very hard stools), an unusual color (very light or coffee-colored), or if there are traces of blood.


The number of evacuations is subjective and variable: there are babies who discharge after each feed, others every 2-3 days. This can happen even if they are breastfed because breast milk contains less waste. If your baby gets nervous and cries when he evacuates it is normal. It can be a very trivial stomach ache that resolves with the evacuation. 

First days with the newborn: colic

Another unpleasant "adventure" that puts new mothers a little anxious are colic. In the first 3 months of an infant's life they are quite common. It seems that between 5 and 25% of the very young suffer from it. They present with sudden and persistent crying fits that occur with some regularity, particularly in the evening. The child appears in pain, clenches his fists and keeps his legs bent. And he cries desperately. 

The causes of infant colic are not yet fully known, but there are some hypotheses:

  • slowed intestinal transit with accumulation of air which causes swelling and tension;
  • alteration of the intestinal bacterial flora which causes fermentation;
  • increased sensitivity of the newborn to external stimuli (noises, lights, crowding);
  • more rarely, a disease, such as milk protein allergy.

What to do against colic in the first days with the newborn? You must arm yourself with great patience. Colic tends to go away on its own after 3-4 months. During crises, keep the baby on his stomach on the forearm. Massage the tummy with circular movements. Flex the legs towards the abdomen, in order to facilitate the escape of gas. Try to distract the baby by taking him out for a walk. And if you really can't take it anymore, ask for help from someone who can take over for just 20 minutes.

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