Infants' first week of life: 11 things to know

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The first week of life of newborns

L'arrival of a baby it is a happy moment, but at the same time "traumatic" for mum and dad, who have a thousand doubts and uncertainties. How to deal with the event in the right way? 

Here are some tips for dealing with the first week of a newborn's life, from birth to the first checks, from breastfeeding to life at home.

In this article

  • Is born! The first days in the hospital 
  • How to encourage bonding 
  •  The return home with the baby 
  • Breastfeeding 
  • The first poop ... 
  • And the following ones 
  • Puppets and puppets 
  • The care of the umbilical cord 
  • The baby bath 
  • Safe sleep 
  • Green light to pampering 
Read also: Breastfeeding and back to work: how to best deal with it

1. He was born! The first days in the hospital

If the birth took place in hospital (in Del Paese it happens in the vast majority of cases), the first two or three days of the mother and child's life together are marked by the rhythms of the structure.

Each has its own, but there are always, in various ways, the moments of control of mom and baby by doctors or midwives. Moments that also include the execution of some specific tests, such as screening for metabolic diseases. Many hospitals also organize group meetings with new mothers to illustrate how to take care of of your baby, from the bath to the sleeping positions. Then, of course, there are the times for visits from relatives and friends, while often fathers and siblings can enter whenever they wish.

Mother and baby begin to get to know each other in a somewhat particular environment: to facilitate this knowledge, as well as the initiation of breastfeeding, the situation of rooming in, which requires the baby to stay in the room with the mother and not in the nursery. Not all birth points, however, offer this possibility.

Read also: Birth at home, all you need to know 11 PHOTOS

The positions for breastfeeding

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How to find the correct position for both mother and baby for breastfeeding? Apart from the four traditional positions, recommended by the consultants of La Leche League, here they are ...

2. How to promote bonding

That deep bond, made up of tender looks, caresses and a thousand attentions, which is established between mother and child in the first weeks of life: it is bonding, "a special relationship very much based on physical contact"explains perinatal psychologist Alessandra Bortolotti.

In the formation of this bond thehormonal balance of the mother during and after childbirth, but the process can be favored by some circumstances. For example, it is very good that, in the first hours after birth, mother and baby can be in skin-to-skin contact, e eye contact to get to know each other. "But if this possibility did not exist, it does not mean that all is lost" reassures Bortolotti. "There is still time to establish a intimate dialogue and special, made up of caresses, smells and sounds and words that the mother addresses to her baby, even if he does not understand their meaning ".

And dad?

"It is better not to exclude him from this relationship - advises the psychologist - and not only to give support, very important, to his mother. It is also nice (and important) for him to begin immediately to get to know his little one and to take care of him".

3. Returning home with the baby

The drive from the hospital to home is usually by car. From this first trip, the baby must travel safely, correctly positioned inside a special "restraint system" - usually an egg or a carrycot - which must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Attention: the law requires it and there are no exceptions.

Once at home, the new life of three finally begins (or more, if there are little brothers or sisters). The first days are very busy: the child continues his slow adaptation to existence outside the belly, and the mother adapts to the new rhythms and learns to "interpret" the signals of her puppy.

Between continuous feedings and numerous nocturnal awakenings, the first weeks can be very tiring: if there are grandparents, uncles, friends willing to help, it's the right time to ask him, for example to do the shopping, cook some meals, or fix up the house.

Read also: How to save the couple after the birth of a child

4. Breastfeeding

The rhythm of the feedings marks the day of the newborn. If breastfeeding is artificial, feedings are done at more or less regular times, while in the case of breastfeeding breast the fundamental indication is to do so on requesta, a key strategy for starting and maintaining good milk production.

prevent back pain pay attention to the position: at the beginning the most comfortable could be that belly to belly. Against the fissures, instead, the attachment is essential: the baby should take the whole areola and not just the nipple.

Read also: Breastfeeding, what to do if your breasts hurt

If there is any difficulty (fissures, traffic jams, doubts about growth or just a moment of despair) it is essential ask for help. Different figures can lend a hand: midwives from the counseling centers, Ibclc professional consultants, volunteers from the Leche League and mothers from some self-help groups, even online.


Breastfeeding, 20 answers from the EXPERTS on feeding the mother

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The mothers' doubts about nutrition during breastfeeding were answered by Angela, a nutrition biologist and Lidia Lewandowski, dietician of the NutrMyModernsParents team of Icans, center ...

Formula milk guide

If you are not breastfeeding you have to rely on formula milk. From zero to three months, the one to use is the type 1 formulated milk, while in six months and a year you can switch to teaipo 2 (continued). There are also special formulas for babies with special needs, such as type 0, which is more suitable for premature babies.

Even in the same category there may be differences because within the composition limits dictated by the Ministry of Health, each producer proposes its own recipe. But be warned: a richer composition is not yet proven to be associated with better health effects.

For tips on how to make infant formula, read Artificial milk, how to choose it and how to prepare it

5. The first poop ...

For the first two / three days of life, the newborn emits particular feces, which are called meconium. They are blackish-green in color and a bit sticky in consistency, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to remove them from the bottom.

It is very important that meconium begins to be emitted in the first 24 hours of a baby's life, so much so that this is one of the things checked in the hospital or by the midwife after a home birth. A late emission, in fact, can be the signal of something wrong, for example the presence of an obstacle to transit in the intestine, or a metabolic anomaly.

Read also: The feces of the newborn

6. And the next ones, the transition stools

After the first few days, the meconium is replaced by the typical stool of the baby who is starting to eat normally. The transition is gradual and marked by the so-called "transition stools", which appear more greenish and less sticky.

If the baby takes mother's milk, his feces have a bright yellow color - ocher or goose beak - and a creamy or liquid-like consistency. The smell is not bad and tends to be acidic. Sometimes whitish granules may be present: casein grains, a milk protein that can be eliminated in the faeces.

If the baby takes artificial milk, his stools will be different: softer and more compact, with a complexion that is almost always light yellow or tending to brown.

7. Puppets and puppets

In the first few days of life, make sure that the baby urinates and discharges adequately: a sign that the feeding is proceeding correctly.

Should wet at least 6/8 diapers in 24 hours. As for discharges, the frequency depends on the type of feeding: a breastfed infant can discharge even after each meal, and this is normal. But he can do it even less often and then he usually does a lot of it. In the case of infant formula feeding, the frequency of bowel movements will be rarer.

8. The care of the umbilical cord

According to the latest guidance from the World Health Organization and the Association of American Pediatricians, the primary goal of cord care should be to maintain the stump. as dry as possible, to facilitate the fall.

Hopefully, the bead residue will fall off on its own within 7-15 days. During this period, whenever possible, the stump should be in the air, in order to dry more quickly, or protected with one dry gauze, to be changed about three times a day, without the need to wet it with water or various solutions.

Only if occasionally the stump "gets dirty" due to some secretion can it be done wash it lightly with a gauze soaked in water, mild soap and water or a chlorinated solution. Always drying well before closing everything.

Unless you are in developing countries or in particularly compromised hygiene situations, instead, no to antibacterial, antiseptic, disinfectant solutions which not only are useless but could be harmful, because they could favor the selection of virulent bacterial strains and because they seem to delay the moment of detachment. AND not even alcohol, which could cause chemical burns.

The pediatrician should be warned if there is a bad smell, if there is redness around the residue, if there are yellowish or blood secretions, if the child cries and complains when the stump is touched (it means that it feels pain) and if the stump itself it does not fall within two weeks of returning home.

9. The baby bath

It is generally recommended not to bathe the newborn by immersion, i.e. in the tub, until the stump has separated and the scar is dry. This should accelerate the fall of the stump and prevent some germs from reaching the cord and entering the baby's body through the bath water. While this recommendation is not based on definitive scientific evidence, it is best to follow it when in doubt.

When the stump falls, green light to the bath: there is no ideal time, the important thing is that mom (or dad) is calm and not in a hurry. If done before the evening meal, it could help you sleep. The environment must be warm and comfortable and the water temperature around 35 ° C (to be tested with a thermometer or by dipping the elbow).

Even if it is a pleasant moment, from a hygienic point of view there is no need to do it every day: since soaps and detergents can be aggressive and dry the skin, if you want to do it daily it is better to prefer an oily product, not foaming and fragrance free.

10. Safe sleep

Belly up: this is the best position to let your baby sleep, the one that most of all reduces the risk of suffocation and cot death.

Always to prevent any risks, experts recommend keeping the baby with mum and dad but, at least in the first weeks or months, when it is still very young, not in the Latvian. Crib or cot they should have a firm mattress and no pillows, bumpers, duvets or stuffed animals.

The baby should not be covered too much and the room temperature should not exceed 20 degrees. In the end, it is essential to avoid smoking, first, second and third hand. It is absolutely forbidden to smoke in the rooms where the child is.

11. Green light to pampering

Many new parents still have some fear of being affectionate towards their puppy: there is always some relative or friend ready to admonish not to pick him up too much so as not to spoil him. "The reality is that our culture does not favor contact very much" underlines the psychologist Alessandra Bortolotti, clarifying that however the studies of neurobiology and neuropsychology ensure that contact does not compromise the development of the child at all. "On the contrary, it favors a balanced emotional and cognitive development".

Read also: Pampering babies leave their mark. In the genes

Questions and answers

What does a newborn see?

In the first two months of life, the newborn sees what is between 20 and 25 cm away from his eyes.

How much milk to give to a newborn when breastfed?

Each child, as we know, is a story unto itself. But there are general suggestions that apply to everyone: for example, that rigid schedules should not be imposed on breastfeeds. This is also because, as we know, milk comes from breastfeeding, so it is important especially in the first weeks not to thin the feedings too much to "set" the level of milk production by the mother well. In fact, this can mean an average of 8 to 12 feedings a day, but there are babies who reach 15 (about one every hour and a half).

How much milk to give to a bottle-fed baby?

By way of example, however, we give a classic scheme, by number of meals:

  • up to the third month of the baby: six feedings a day, every three and a half hours;
  • around the fourth month: five feedings are passed, every four hours;
  • fifth-sixth month: four feedings, every six hours.

  • first year
  • care
  • breastfeeding
  • umbilical cord
  • newborn 0-3 months
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