Things to Know About Newborns

Things to Know About Newborns

Last update: 10 February, 2018

There are a few lesser-known facts we should know about newborns. These are things that perhaps no one tells you when you’re pregnant but you will soon realize when your child is born.

When a couple decides to become parents, and they hold their newborn for the first time in their arms, it is probably the best feeling they will experience in their whole lives.

But this moment may come with a few surprises!

Your baby’s appearance may be surprising

Your baby’s head may not look the way you expected. Maybe you imagined it would have a perfectly round shape.

The reality is that your baby had to pass through the birth canal to arrive in your arms. The flexible bones in their head may become slightly misshapen in order to pass easily.

Don’t worry if your baby has a slightly egg-shaped head. It’s only temporary and in a few days, their head will take the round shape you had pictured.

They will not smile until six weeks of age

It can be a bit frustrating for the tired parents to give up sleep to care for their baby without even a smile.

But that only lasts for the first six weeks. Remember that in these first few weeks of life, it is crucial to care for your newborn and give them all of your love.

Thanks to your efforts, your baby will begin to form an incredible bond with you. They will only want to be with you and their father thanks to all that you do for them each day.

Remember that after the sixth week, you’ll discover their precious smile.

Things to Know About Newborns

Be careful with the umbilical cord

When you bathe your baby you should be extra careful with the umbilical cord because it should fall off on its own. You should not force it. That can cause a lot of pain to your baby, in addition to causing an umbilical hernia.

While bathing, do not let the umbilical area get wet. Sponge baths are a great way to bathe your newborn without touching this area.

Don’t worry about dirtiness as a newborn’s umbilical cord doesn’t get dirty. If their umbilical cord gets wet while bathing, you should dry it softly.

It will take approximately two weeks to fall off. Don’t worry in the meantime, as it will fall off on its own.

Be especially careful with your baby’s head

The baby’s head has some soft areas called fontanelles. The skull is not completely closed because it needs the flexibility to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.

Keep this in mind while picking up your child, dressing them, bathing them, or anything else.

You can comb their hair and caress their head, but keep in mind that this area is very delicate. In the first two years of life, it will become stronger and less fragile, and your baby will have a normal skull.

Things to Know About Newborns

Your baby will let you know when it is full

Your baby will need to eat whenever it lets you know. Typically, newborns eat every two or three hours. However, if you are breastfeeding it may be more frequent.

When nursing it is more difficult to know if the baby is eating enough. While the baby may nurse for a while, it is hard to know if the milk it is consuming is sufficient for their needs.

To know if your baby is getting enough nourishment, pay attention to their signals. When full they may be grumpy and you should stop feeding them.

It is important to understand their body language to feed them what they need (to understand when they are hungry and when they are satisfied).

You will know if they are eating enough because they should gain 5-8% of their body weight in the first week of life. You will also know if they are peeing and pooping enough each day (you will have to change 5 or 6 diapers daily).

They will have dry skin

Upon birth they will have smooth and silky skin. With time, this will change and their skin will become drier.

That’s why it is important to apply a moisturizing cream on your newborn’s delicate skin. It should be hypoallergenic.

You’ll also notice that your baby cries a lot – this is their only way to communicate with you. They will sleep a lot and want your constant love and affection.

Don’t worry, this stage will pass quickly.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.