After nine long months of waiting, your precious baby is finally home! He depends on you now for his daily care and your love. As you embark on this exciting journey there’s no doubt that you will have questions and need advice along the way. We’ll continue to provide you with information regarding your baby’s physical and mental development, as well as advice on everything from breastfeeding to nappy rash, right through your baby and toddler journey!
Your Child’s Development
Much of the first weeks of your baby’s life will be spent sleeping, eating, and sleeping again. He will want to eat about every 2 to 3 hours. That means that you will also be sleeping only 2 to 3 hours at a time. Therefore, if you can, it’s wise to sleep when your baby is sleeping during the first two months.
When your baby is awake, he will be studying his new world, getting used to his surroundings, and memorising your face and voice. At first, your baby will only be able to see a short distance; about 45 cm (18 inches). So, make sure that you get close to his face when you interact. His vision will get stronger very soon. It’s helpful to have a high contrast object, such as a black and white stuffed animal, close by so your baby can see it. The high contrast captures your babies attention and makes him focus, strengthening his eyesight.
If you are breastfeeding, you may still wonder if your baby is getting enough to eat. As a general rule, if your baby is feeding every two to three hours and feeds at least eight times within a 24 hour period, he is more than likely getting all he needs. If however, your baby seems to cry right after feeding and there is no other reason why he is crying, you should talk to your midwife or lactation consultant.
In the first few weeks of life, many babies like to be tightly swaddled. This gives them the feeling that they are still in the womb, where they were securely surrounded by your body. If you do swaddle your baby, just make sure that he does not get overheated. In warm weather, use a sheet or blanket that is thin and breathable.
As the month goes by, you will notice that your baby’s movements are less jerky than they were when he was first born. He is starting to gain control of his muscles and by month’s end, he may even be able to lift his head slightly when he is placed on his tummy.
During the first month, your baby’s umbilical stump may fall off. This usually occurs in 8 to 10 days after birth. Once it does, there will be minor wound that will heal in about 10 days and become your baby’s belly button. To keep the umbilical stump clean and free from infection, wash with water and mild soap, pat dry, and then let the stump air dry completely. When you put the nappy on, you should fold down the front so that it does not rub on the stump.