Now What?

Bringing baby home for the first time can be a little scary and overwhelming. We break down what the first few days home from the hospital with your newborn can be like.

Baby boy sleeping

Baby may sleep a lot

A newborn sleeps about 16 hours per day (sometimes more) and usually in three- to four-hour increments. In between spurts of sleep, he will need to be fed and changed. Note that his sleeping patterns may not mirror your own — he may have his days and nights mixed up. After a few long nights for you, baby's internal clock will set itself straight so he'll be sleeping longer intervals at night and be more alert during the day.

You don't need to fuss over baby... too much

Newborns do not need a bath every day as their sensitive skin can easily dry out. Clean the area around baby's umbilical cord as your pediatrician instructed and clean his bottom after a diaper change. Other than that, baby only needs a gentle sponge bath every three or four days.

You'll be sore...

Whether you gave birth vaginally or via c-section, your body will be sore and you'll need to take special care of yourself. Before leaving the hospital, listen closely to your doctor's instructions on how to help speed up your recovery time by taking it slow, caring for your incisions as instructed, getting plenty of rest and following any other directions he provided.

... and emotional

Though the birth of your baby is a monumentally exciting time, it can also be overwhelming, confusing and stressful. If you find yourself feeling weepy or sad, remember that a change in hormones is to blame. Your emotions should level out in a few days. However, if you feel extremely sad, depressed or distant from your new baby, talk to your doctor right away.

You'll take baby to his first well-check

Taking baby out for the first time can be slightly daunting (and also exciting if you've been cooped up in the house for a few days!). Before heading to his first after-hospital doctor's appointment, which should be scheduled for within a few days of his birth, pack a diaper bag with the essentials — diapers, wipes, change of clothes, blanket, bottle, pacifier and nursing cover.

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the doctor's office and maneuver getting the car seat/stroller in and out of your car. If your partner, mom or close friend is available to accompany you, I highly recommend asking them to come along not only for physical help but also for moral support.

More on new motherhood and your newborn

Tips for keeping your newborn clean
How to get help with your newborn
My newborn won't nap!

Tags: newborn care

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