looking after a newborn
FAMILY

How to look after a newborn: What to expect in your first week at home with baby

Looking after a newborn is a scary task, but there are ways you can prepare for that first week at home. Discover how to take care of a newborn baby here.

Bringing your baby home for the first time is a wonderful experience, but it can also be a little scary for first-time parents. To help you calm any nerves about looking after a newborn, we’ve put together this guide with tips and advice for your first week at home.

What to expect with a newborn in their first week at home?

Newborn babies are known for three main activities: feeding, crying, and pooping. While advice on how to remove poop stains from clothes may be something you’ll need to look up later, for now we’ve focused on guiding you through difficult feeds and sleepless nights.

How often do newborns feed? And how much?

When it comes to how to look after a newborn, it’s a good idea to learn all about feeding. With such little stomachs, you’ll need to feed your baby small amounts at frequent intervals; usually 1-3 ounces every 2-3 hours.

Of course, some babies will be hungrier than others – but how can you tell? The following signs are all examples of what to expect with a newborn when they’re hungry:

  • Strong, loud crying
  • Sucking on fingers, hands or anything you put near their mouth
  • Smacking their lips
  • Pursing their lips and turning towards the breast or bottle

How often do newborns cry? And what does their crying mean?

When talking about how to take care of newborn baby problems, crying is often top of the list. All babies are going to cry but how much is normal? And what do their cries mean?

For the first couple of days, you might be surprised that your baby doesn’t cry as much as you expected – but that’s normal.. After that, they may cry for around 2 hours or day although all babies are different. The main reasons they’ll cry is to let you know they:

  • Need feeding
  • Need changing
  • Are tired
  • Are hurt or unwell

If there isn’t a clear reason (i.e. they refuse food and have a clean nappy) then try gently cradling them to soothe them. If you’re concerned that you baby is not settling you can seek advice from your doctor or midwife to put your mind at rest.

How much do newborns sleep?

If you’re wondering what to expect with a newborn in terms of sleep, most babies will doze for a few hours at a time before waking up to feed. In total they might get around 16 -18 hours sleep each day and this is the perfect time for you to grab a nap too!

If you need help getting your baby to sleep, you may find they sleep better when swaddled or in a car seat rather than in a cot as the closeness and security reminds them of the womb.

How to prepare for looking after a newborn?

It pays to be prepared for the arrival of your little one. From learning what you need for a newborn baby to stocking up on food, there’s plenty you can do to get organised and reduce your stress in those first weeks.

  • Wash baby’s clothes with a gentle detergent like Persil Non-Bio and fabric conditioner like Comfort Pure
  • Practice fitting and using your car seat, pram, and any other baby accessories
  • Select hospital “coming home” outfits for you and your new arrival
  • Make sure you have everything you need for changing, feedback, and sleeping!

Top Tip

Wash some baby clothes with Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure before you bring your little one home. Make sure you have enough outfits to cover multiple changes in the first week so that you have one less job to worry about when meeting your first dirty nappy!