Congratulations! You have successfully brought your baby into the world (or you are reading this in anticipation of that day -- in which case, let us be the first to congratulate you)! Bringing a baby into this world is possibly the single most amazing achievement a person can accomplish. You have already gone through so much emotionally and physically, and now the journey is going to take a new turn. From the moment your baby is placed in your arms, you will begin to feel that special bond grow stronger than you ever imagined possible.
Let's take a look at some of the things that may happen during the first week following your newborn's birth.
Week One: Your Hospital Stay
After the delivery, you and your baby will stay in the hospital for a period of time. The length of this stay will depend on several factors, including:
- The type of delivery you had (vaginal birth versus cesarean section)
- Whether you and/or your baby had any complications
- Your particular hospital and healthcare provider.
During your stay, try to get as much time with the nursing staff as possible. The nurses are fantastic resources and have handled hundreds of newborns. If this is your first baby, every little bit of information helps. Questions can be as simple as:
- How and when do I use the aspirator?
- While changing a diaper in the beginning, can I use baby wipes or is it better to only use warm water?
- When will the umbilical cord fall off? How do I take care of it in the meantime? (see Umbilical Cord Care)
- What is the best way to swaddle my baby?
- When can I give my baby a bath? How often should I bathe him or her? (see Newborn Baby Bath)
- If I am going to be breastfeeding my baby, will a pacifier affect my baby's latch?
- What is the best way to take my baby's temperature at home? What is considered a fever for newborns?
Also, watch and listen carefully to how the nurses deal with different situations and what steps they follow to help your baby. This will make you better prepared to handle these situations, and you won't have to go through a million questions trying to figure out what is going on.