Don’t expect rewards — smiles or coos — until about the 6-week mark.
Sample Apgar Scoring Chart 0 1 2 Skin Colour Blue Extremities – blue Completely pink Breathing Absent Slow Normal Muscle Tone Limp Some movement Strong movement Response to Stimuli Absent Slight Cry, cough or sneeze Heart Rate Absent Under 100 beats per minute Over 100 beats per minute
About a minute after birth, your caregiver checks your baby and gives him a ‘score’ out of ten, using a five-point guideline called the Apgar test; the assessment is made again at five minutes.
As the baby’s head emerges, midwives and doctors will often also use a light suction tool, called an aspirator, to clear fluid from the baby’s mouth, nose and upper respiratory tract.
Baby needs to eat every two to three hours — but if you’re nursing, it’s tough to know how much milk she’s getting. “The baby’s weight is the best indicator in the early days,” says Dr. Tolcher. Your pediatrician will check it within a few days of discharge. A newborn loses 5 to 8 percent of her birthweight within the first week but should gain it back by the second. Diaper-counting can also act as a gauge: her schedule those first five days is haphazard, but after that, you’ll see five to six wet diapers a day, and at least one or two stools.
His head may be smooshed from his journey through the birth canal, and he might be sporting a “bodysuit” of fine hair called lanugo. He could also be puffy-faced and have eyes that are often shut (and a little gooey). After all, he just spent nine months in the womb. But pretty soon, he’ll resemble that beautiful baby you imagined.
“I was terrified of the soft spot,” admits April Hardwick, of New York City, referring to the opening in the skull, also called the fontanel, which allows baby to maneuver out of the birth canal. “Gemma had a full head of hair at birth, and I was initially afraid to comb over the soft spot,” Hardwick says. But there was no need to worry: “It’s okay to touch the soft spot and baby’s hair near it,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls. The spot may pulsate because it’s directly over blood vessels covering the brain.
Stressed, tired, and lonely? Yes, those early days are hard. But they’ll soon be behind you. Barbara Evans, of New York City, says, “I wish I’d known how quickly the time goes.” The mom to Luella, 8 months, says, “I didn’t take enough pictures or keep notes!” Rabeea Baloch, of Sugarland, Texas, shares some veteran-mom experience: “With my first, I stressed over every single thing, from changing diapers to whether baby was crying more than usual. With my second, I just enjoyed holding her, smelling her, kissing her, and loving the time together.”
In first few seconds after your baby is born, his body must switch from receiving all of his oxygen and nutrients through his umbilical cord, to breathing oxygen and digesting food and drink; from fetal circulation, to newborn circulation.
In a vaginal birth, the tight passage through the birth canal squeezes most of the fluid from your baby’s lungs, so that after nine months spent floating in amniotic fluid, your baby is ready to take his first breath.
If your baby was born vaginally, his head might look a little squished and cone-shaped as a result of his journey through the birth canal. Sometimes, particularly if he had a forceps delivery or was born very quickly, he might have bruises from trauma during the birth.
The best focusing distance for a new baby is around 15 to 30 centimetres, corresponding to the distance between his mother’s breast and her face, so held close, he may focus on his mother and father’s faces and may recognise his parent’s voices.
When your baby is born, your caregiver will usually either wrap him in a blanket, or put his naked body against your skin, as the air on his skin will feel very cold after he has been absorbed in the warm watery world of the womb for so long.
If your caregiver is concerned about his breathing, they may use an aspirator to suction any fluid still present in his nose and mouth.
Up until then, you’re working for a boss who only complains! To get through the exhaustion and emotional upheaval, keep this in mind: your efforts aren’t lost on baby in those early days. “He feels comforted by his father or mother, he feels attachment, he likes to be held,” says Los Angeles-based pediatrician Christopher Tolcher, MD.
There’s no doubt that babies poop — a lot! If you’re still getting the hang of diapering, learn how to change one at 6 weeks.
Little new babies often have husky, mucousy breathing for a few days after birth; that’s not usually too worrying, after all, they have been submerged in fluid for a long time – but do check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
Those first three months are a free-for-all. Baby needs to eat every two to three hours, so you’re not getting much sleep either. “It does get better,” assures Dr. Altmann. “Most infants can sleep for six to eight hours by 3 months of age.” In the meantime, try to get baby on a day and night schedule: during the day, don’t let him snooze more than three hours without waking him to feed; at night let him sleep as long as he wants once he’s regained the weight he lost at birth.
The lights will seem very bright to your baby, and the noises around him very loud; if there is no urgent need for medical intervention, many caregivers will dim the lights when the baby has been born and try to keep things quiet, to protect him from the harsh new world.
Initially, he may be soft and silky, but that changes. “If you soaked yourself in liquid for nine months and then hit the air, you’d be dry too!” says Laura Jana, MD, pediatrician and coauthor of Heading Home With Your Newborn. You don’t have to do anything about dry skin (it typically peels and flakes off), but if you’re so inclined, reach for a hypoallergenic baby lotion that is fragrance-free. Little pink bumps, diaper rashes, and even baby acne may also make an appearance. “Acne tends to last for a few months,” Dr. Jana says. “So get those cute newborn pics before one month!”
You really won’t know until your baby is born, so it’s important not to get too fixated on how your first meeting with your baby might turn out; but in most cases, you will have the opportunity to spend some quiet time getting to know your baby.
If it’s kept dry, it falls off faster — usually within two weeks. Besides, newborns don’t get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the cord falls off, that’s okay, too, as Alyson Bracken, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, learned. “It scared me at first,” she says, but then she found out that, as with a scab, mild bleeding was normal.
Some hospitals routinely give silver nitrate eyedrops to all newborns to prevent cross-infection from a mother with gonorrhea, however it is a very good idea to be pre-screened for this infection before birth, and if it is absent, ensure that you have made and communicated a decision about this treatment.
Here are a few basics you need to know about your new arrival.
Their piercing wails will let you know they’re hungry, cold, have a dirty diaper, or want to be held. These early “conversations” can be frustrating, but rest assured, you’ll get a better handle on what she needs in time. Laurie May, of Boardman, Ohio, and her husband quickly learned to read their daughter’s hunger signal. When they were brand-new parents, they set an alarm to go off every two hours to wake Carter for a feeding. “We did not need the alarm!” she says. “We love to laugh at that one now.”
“Lead a normal life, but use common sense when you go out in public,” Dr. Tolcher says. Keep baby out of the sun, and avoid sick people (no toddler birthday parties!) and crowded enclosed spaces (such as the mall during the holidays). “Teach older siblings to touch baby’s feet instead of her hands and face, which will help prevent the spread of infection,” he adds. And make your older child the hygiene police, says Dr. Jana. He’ll love telling guests, “Don’t touch the baby without washing your hands.”
When your baby is born, cord clamping might happen straight away – or there may be a delay of five minutes or more, until the cord has stopped pulsating, depending on the decisions you have made previously with your caregiver and on other options you may have chosen, such as cord blood donation or storage.
Your baby may be alert for an hour or two and then very sleepy for the first few days after birth, but unfortunately this doesn’t last all that long!
This amazing change happens automatically; a valve closes in his heart, his lung tissues fill with blood and he takes his first breath, filling his lungs and then his blood with oxygen.
Some time in the first hour or two, your baby will probably have a little hospital ID tag attached to his foot and perhaps one hand, and he will be weighed and measured.
What will happen in those first few hours after birth, when your baby has arrived?
It is wise to discuss these options with your partner and caregiver beforehand if possible.
Sometimes, your caregiver and your partner may bathe your newborn, often while you deliver the placenta and have any post-birth stitches or treatment.
Most babies will have a score of around 8 points at one minute and 10 points at five minutes; however, if a baby has experienced a more difficult birth, the first score may be less than five.
However some argue that a bath may lower a baby’s temperature and remove vernix, which may offer a new baby’s sensitive skin some protection for the first few days after birth.
Labour is such an energetic, intense and physically active time, that many women are surprised by the suddenness of the physical exhaustion that often hits as soon as their baby has been born.
Some babies sleep more soundly when they’re swaddled, so watch our video for the best technique to secure baby like a burrito!
Anything over six is normal, less means immediate attention is needed, with a score less than three indicating the baby may need resuscitation.
Growth and Development: Newborn MilestonesShop baby clothes on sale now
And he will be astoundingly beautiful, no matter how squished or messy!
This can be a very calm and lovely experience for a new baby and a lovely activity for a new father.
The test assesses your baby’s colour, breathing, heart-rate, muscle tone and response to stimuli, giving 0, 1 or 2 points for each.
Congratulations New Born Baby Wishes By Lily Calyx April 26, 2015
Some parents arrange to set up a group text message beforehand; others line up a friend who is responsible for calling everyone on their ‘list’ with the essential details like weight, time of birth and gender.
At the same time, you are likely to be on an emotional high, excited, awed and astounded by what has gone before and by the reality of having your baby in your arms at last. Many women experience a great sense of relief, followed by a feeling of deep peace and calm.
Many new mothers are so wired and excited by the birth that they find it difficult to sleep for many hours afterwards. That’s ok, and completely normal! Just try to rest.
Depending on other decisions made, hopefully in the months leading up to the birth, your baby may be given an injection of Vitamin K and even an injection of Hepatitis B shortly after birth, although many parents insist on waiting at least 24 hours before these are given, with some choosing an oral application of Vitamin K rather than giving their tiny baby an injection.
Newborn babies also sleep a lot — but not for long stretches.
New babies are often very alert in the early minutes after birth and if the lights and noises are low, may open their eyes and look with wonder around their new world.
Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the first few hours of your new baby’s life and take some time to celebrate the amazing arrival of your child.
While you will want to let your family and friends know all about your new arrival, it can often disturb the first few tranquil bonding hours if they are filled with phone calls and texts and even visitors.
The score is widely used to give doctors an idea about how traumatic the baby’s delivery has been and how well he may have recovered.
Will you have a calm, relaxed period where you and your partner can gaze at your little bundle in awe and start the long journey of parenting your child in a loving, warm atmosphere? Or will you and/or your baby be whisked off by doctors for urgent treatment?
He might be slippery with amniotic fluid and blood, or perhaps have a yellowish waxy substance on his skin called ‘vernix’, which protected him in the womb; or his skin might be peeling slightly.
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Often, your caregiver will put your baby straight onto your breast – and a newborn’s instinctive reflex can often work wonderfully well, with some brand new babies taking to breastfeeding in seconds.