It’s a girl! It’s a boy! Yes, the day is finally here but no matter how excited you are about the birth of your baby, don’t be taken aback by your feelings of nervousness and self-doubt as the enormity of parenthood sets in. These feelings are completely normal; you are not going to know everything right away; it’ll come naturally and before you know it, you will have figured it all out.
Your baby’s development
Initially, your baby may not look like the baby model from the Good Start commercials given his pointy-head and somewhat puffy face. This is only temporary and is a result of the cramped quarters your baby occupied along with having to squeeze through the birth canal. This week will also see significant weight loss (between 5% and 10% of her birth weight) before the baby begins to gain the weight that she lost.
Don’t be alarmed if your baby seems sleepy all the time; you will surely want these days back when she will keep you up all through the night in the coming weeks! It is common for the baby to be awake for only 10% of the time. You will also see your baby experiencing a wide range of reflexes which are all aimed at getting used to the new world around her.
A newborn is often startled by even the slightest noises around her; a sneeze or the pressure cooker going off can have your baby jump out of her skin. This will change as the baby gets used to the ambient noise around her. Towards the end of the week you may even notice the baby focusing on your face. If you notice the baby concentrating on some distant point instead, just know that this development will come along the following week.
If your baby’s skin appears yellowish, a checkup with the pediatrician is recommended as your child may require treatment for jaundice. However this is common in newborns and the only caution is to bring it to the attention of your doctor.
Before leaving the hospital, your baby will receive BCG and OPV vaccines. The hepatitis B and HPV are optional.
You as a Mom
As a new mom, your primary goal is to get your breast-feeding going if that is the path that you have chosen. It can be frustrating for women who think that their milk supply has not kicked into full gear and are therefore not producing enough milk for the baby. Your frustration is understandable as no one wants to starve her newborn.
The truth is that for the first 3 to 4 days after birth, the mother produces colostrum and not milk. Colostrum is even more important than milk to a newborn baby; so if you don’t see white milk but more of a golden liquid coming out of your nipples, know that this is exactly what the baby needs at this time as colostrum is chockablock full of immune-boosting antibodies that enable your baby to fight off infections.
If you are recovering from a cesarean section or if you needed an episiotomy, you may experience extreme soreness. Take all the help you can get from the folks around you, just until your scars heal. In fact, staying as active as possible can only help the healing process.
Dad’s duties may not be as well-defined as mom’s, but other than breast-feeding, taking over most other jobs such as readying a milk bottle when necessary, changing diapers, and handing over the baby to mom when it is time for breast-feeding, can help mom recuperate much faster. If mom had a particularly difficult delivery, then all the more reason for dad to pitch in at every opportunity. After all, she deserves it!