Nurse’s Advice for the Newborn Period, A – Z
Advice. You will get lots of well meaning advice from those around you. Listen, take it all in, but do what works best for you and your family.
Breastfeeding takes practice for both mom and baby. If you are struggling, hang in there. It will get easier.
Company. Although you may be anxious to show off your new baby, it may be best to limit company for the first week or two to allow yourself time to rest and get acquainted with your new baby.
Diapers. You will see many diapers and their content may confuse or alarm you. These photos and descriptions will help.
Emotions. Becoming a parent is one of the biggest life changes you will ever experience. It is normal to be emotional after the birth of a baby, but if the blues last longer than two weeks let someone know.
First week with a new baby can be very tiring. Recovery from birth, frequent feeds and too much company can leave you exhausted. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps.
Give yourself permission to put your phone on silent when you need a break. Phone calls, texts and emails can consume a lot of your day, interrupting your sleep and baby time.
Have two or three tub soaks a day if you have had a vaginal birth. The warm water not only cleans your stitches but will also increase blood flow to the area to speed healing.
Information. There is lots of information on the Internet. It can be very overwhelming to search online as you may not know which source to trust. Our website was created to solve this problem.
Journey. Parenting is a journey. There will be good times and bad times. You are not a bad parent if you find yourself occasionally longing for the days when you had more freedom.
Kegel exercises will help you to regain your pelvic floor muscle strength. If you have had extensive tearing, you may want to consult a physiotherapist.
List. Make a list of questions you want to ask your nurse, doctor or midwife. You may forget your questions in your sleep-deprived state.
Mixed-up days and nights is a common pattern for newborns. There is no “quick fix” to reverse this pattern, however, these suggestions may help.
Nourish yourself. You may not always have the time or the energy to plan and cook meals. Have some healthy snacks on hand. See this post for some suggestions.
Overwhelming. It will be overwhelming to try to maintain your former lifestyle without making some adjustments. On average, parents will spend 8 to 10 hours a day feeding and 1 ½ hours diapering their new baby. You may need to let go of the things that can wait.
Postpartum depression is common. It will affect 1 out of every 4 or 5 women. Help is available. To learn more, visit this website.
Quiet. Don’t worry about keeping the house quiet for a sleeping baby. A newborn will sleep soundly through noise.
Recovery from childbirth takes at least six to eight weeks. Be kind to your body and prioritize your rest.
Skin to skin is a wonderful way to calm your baby and help him transition to the outside world. Click here to learn more.
Timing feeds is not recommended. Every baby is an individual. Try to watch your baby rather than the clock.
Uterus. You may experience “after pains” (contraction-like pains) for the first few days after birth, especially during feeds. The more children you have, the stronger they can be. “After pains” help to shrink your uterus to its pre-pregnant size.
Vitamins. Nutritionists suggest taking a prenatal vitamin for 6 weeks after birth. They contain extra iron to help replenish your stores.
Waking baby to feed is generally recommended for the first couple of weeks, until the baby is back to birth weight. Click here to learn more.
X-tra recovery time is needed if you have had a C-section as it is a major operation. Be realistic in your expectations of yourself. You can learn more in this c-section recovery post.
Yes! Say yes to anyone who offers to help you. Ask them for help with laundry, errands or cooking a meal.
Zzzz. You will feel sleep deprived. Take a day to rest. Stay in your pyjamas. Lie in bed and try to nap, read a book or listen to music every time baby sleeps. For other suggestions, see this blog post.
If you have other suggestions for our alphabet, we’d love to hear from you.
To learn more, see 6 Keys to Surviving the First Week Home with a New Baby.
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.
Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.