You waited months and months for this big moment. The day you get to meet your bundle of joy and bring him or her home. Once you’re home, you’re quickly overtaken by common concerns many new parents have! Wondering how often you should be feeding your new baby? Did they tell you when your baby can have his or her first bath?
Don’t worry. You’re NOT alone! In fact, it’s natural to be feeling a little unsure about this whole parenting thing right about now (I know I did!). So to help you out, we’re going to break down some of the common concerns of new parents AND how to handle them!
Common Concerns of New Parents
Caring for a newborn really should come with an instruction manual. There are so many what if’s and how to’s it can be pretty overwhelming. In fact, according to an article from The Washington Post, “Overly optimistic expectations (read parenting expectations vs. realty here) and a lack of preparation can cause significant distress at a time when new parents already feel vulnerable. For some parents, this may impede bonding with their baby, shade over into postnatal depression – which affects up to 16 percent of new mothers and 5 percent of new fathers – or strain the relationship with their partner.”
So instead of EXPECTING things to go a certain way. Let’s talk about some REAL situations and questions to help you get through this vulnerable time!
How often should I change my baby’s diaper?
To put it simply, a lot. Newborns can pee up to twenty times a day, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Fortunately, you don’t have to change your baby after every single time they pee. However, you should be checking their diaper pretty frequently, at least every 2-3 hours. If you smell or notice your baby has a bowel movement, you should change it right away. Baby’s (especially newborns) have very sensitive skin. Keeping their skin clean & dry will be key to preventing those annoying (and ouchie) diaper rashes!
My son, fortunately, only suffered from ONE diaper rash throughout his first year of life. However, I will admit I was probably overboard on checking and changing his diaper. But hey, only having to deal with one diaper rash was worth it to me!
Read here to find out how many diapers you’ll need in the first year.
When can I bathe my newborn baby?
It’s pretty common for the first bath to be a sponge bath after bringing your baby home. This is when your baby isn’t being submerged in water, but instead is being gently pat down with a warm, soft sponge to cleanse their skin gently. Newborns don’t typically need many baths as they aren’t getting too dirty, so 1 -3 baths per week, in the beginning, is normal.
Since our son stayed in the NICU for a few days, his nurse gave him his first sponge bath around day 6, and by the time we brought him home, we were able to give him his 2nd sponge bath around day 13. If you have any doubts or worries, you should definitely check in with your pediatrician.
How do I know if my baby is eating enough?
This is always a tricky one. I know personally, I felt like I found myself asking this question all the time, even up until my son was 4-5 months old.
The most common (and reliable) ways to make sure your baby is eating enough is:
- If they’re gaining weight & growing (your doctor will go over this during every check-up).
- Your baby has consistent wet diapers.
A general rule of thumb is that your baby should have around 5+ wet diapers each day and 3-4 poops each day. Keep in mind these are average ranges and will always vary per baby.
Why is my baby crying so much?
Babies cry. In fact, they can cry A LOT! It’s important to remember, not only can they not talk to us, but they’re also adjusting to life outside the womb, a place they considered a safe space for 9 months or so! A few of the most common reasons your newborn might be crying are:
- Gas pains (Try burping baby or practicing bicycle kicks).
- Needing to feel close to mom or dad (Practice babywearing! This will keep baby snug against you while allowing you to move around and knock out errands at the same time).
- Hunger! (Pay attention to baby’s hunger cues such as suckling, rooting, bringing hands to the mouth, or searching for a nipple).
- Dirty diapers. (Some babies absolutely HATE being in a soiled diaper the minute they go. Make sure you give the diaper a quick check and change if you’re running out of things to check).
- Tired baby. (Just like you, babies get pretty cranky when they don’t get their much-needed sleep! If your baby is struggling to take a nap, ensure they have a comforting sleep environment such as a white noise machine, dark room, snug swaddle, and flat sleeping surface).
For more, learn about 6 different cries and what your baby’s cry is trying to tell you.
Sleepless nights with baby
Life with a newborn pretty much means you’ll be having a lot of sleepless nights. It’s a sleep-deprived state many parents aren’t prepared for (like myself!), but don’t worry, there IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!
When will my baby sleep through the night?
Most babies aren’t developmentally ready to sleep through the night until they reach 12-14 weeks old. If you’re feeling a little burnt out or stressed your baby still isn’t sleeping through the night by month 3, it’s likely your little one just isn’t ready.
However, every baby is always going to be different. One parent’s baby might be sleeping all night at 10 weeks old while another not until 5 months old or older! If you truly are worried about your baby’s sleeping habits and their ability to sleep for stretches of time, you should consult with your pediatrician or a pediatric sleep consultant.
Should I wake my baby to feed him or her during sleep?
When your baby is a newborn, they must eat on demand every 2-4 hours. Some babies even go for hourly feeds (mine did! hello team no sleep!). Since our little dude spent some time in the NICU and never lost any weight, they gave us the OK to feed every 3-4 hours (or on-demand). Needless to say, our boy LOVES to eat and made sure he was fed every 1-2 hours during those early days.
Trust your gut, feed them when they’re hungry, let them sleep up to 3-4 hours during those early days if they want to sleep. As long as they aren’t losing weight and your pediatrician isn’t concerned, you’re doing great!
These are some of the common concerns of new parents and how to handle them. Remember to trust your instincts, reach out for help when you need it and remind yourself YOU’RE DOING AWESOME!