This post is all about the first weeks with a newborn.
The First Weeks With A Newborn
Tips, Insights & The Real Must-Haves
You must be so excited to meet your little precious one. If you’re a 1st-time mama-to-be you’re probably wondering what the first weeks with a newborn will be like. Seems like there are endless things to buy, prepare and learn. However, I highly encourage you to relax and take it all step by step.
Once you’re home with your sweet baby you will slowly get to know their needs and discover daily what makes your life as a mama easier. Just trust the process, no need to panic or overstock. You’ll do great! Every baby is different and you’ll know best how to take care of your little one soon enough.
What are some baby, postpartum, and breastfeeding essentials? What to do if your baby has hiccups? How to clean your baby’s eyes? Is it normal if your baby makes sounds while sleeping? …
To help you filter through all information and products that are out there I put together this post with all the things I actually used and all the answers to questions I did have in the first 4 weeks with my newborn.
I hope this post can help you with your preparation process and make you feel more relaxed about it.
General insights and tips
for the first weeks with a newborn
Unexpected: You might get more and/or better sleep than you’re expecting
It’s said that with a newborn you will get no sleep and even that you should get all the sleep you can in your 3rd trimester. As if you can deposit it and use it postpartum…
Well, yes, you will be waking up during the night to feed your baby and change diapers, yes days and nights will merge into one, but…
But, first of all, newborns sleep a lot, so even if it’s not 8 hours in a row, you can squeeze in some nice naps while the baby is sleeping.
Second of all, despite being sore and probably having night sweats you might feel way more comfortable sleeping now than you were in your 3rd trimester with a backache, having to pee every 30 minutes, having acid reflux, or just plain insomnia.
Tip: Rest when baby is sleeping
You’ve probably heard that one and I confirm- it’s best to get some extra rest while baby is sleeping.
If like me, you’ll feel more energetic after a few days you might want to do the laundry, get some work done, call friends and family and that’s ok. But please pace yourself, don’t overdo it. Otherwise, the tiredness will most likely catch up to you later on that day or at night time and real exhaustion will kick in. With your body healing and your hormones going wild you gotta make sure to take it slow, for both your physical and mental well-being.
x Be patient
Mama, please be patient and don’t beat yourself up.
Trust your instincts, forgive yourself for any shortcomings, and remember that just being there is the best thing you can offer your baby.
Be patient with your body, give it time to heal. Accept the changes, the hormones, the night sweats…
It took your body 9 months to grow a little human, how can you expect it to just suddenly “bounce back” within a few days or weeks?!
Embrace your new self, and trust your body, it got you that far! Your body handled pregnancy, it handled childbirth, it will handle the postpartum period as well. It will heal, you will get stronger, and feel like your new, best self soon enough!
Use affirmations to stay positive. Check out 60+ Affirmations For New Moms + Free Printable. Click here to read and print.
x Take pictures/videos
Be present and don’t obsess over having everything documented. However, I do encourage you to take pictures and videos of those irreplaceable, magical, super messy moments which are the first days and weeks with your newborn.
You might not look or feel your best, but those pictures will be the ones reminding you of the purest, most wonderful, tiring, and confusing moments with your tiny baby.
for the first weeks with a newborn
What you will need are mainly the most obvious things you can think of, no need for anything fancy in the beginning.
Besides a car seat, stroller, crib, and bathtub here are all the other highly recommended products for the first weeks with your baby (what I actually used):
#1 Muslin cloths
#2 Gauze diapers/ Burp cloths
It’s true what they’re saying – you can’t have enough of them, they’re super versatile and for sure a top must-have.
Useful during nursing, burping, diaper changing, body drying, to have your baby lay on a clean surface no matter where you are…you will use them non-stop, so don’t worry if you were gifted too many, there might not be a “too many”.
#3 Changing pads
Obviously, you need a diaper-changing spot. Whether you have a special changing table or not is up to you, I’d say it’s convenient but not necessary.
A changing pad might be enough. Depending on your house layout you might want to have a few changing pads in different spots of the house- especially in/close to your bedroom for nighttime changes and the bathroom for daytime/ bath time diaper changes.
#4 Water wipes
You need something to clean the baby during diaper changes, the choice of course is yours.
It might not always be possible to have a bowl with water at hand, so you might opt for baby wipes.
I do recommend the well-known “water wipes”. I’ve read somewhere that people say they’re too wet, but I don’t think that’s true. They’re super convenient, fragrance-free, and leave the baby’s body clean, soft, and healthy as it prevents rashes.
Water wipes ingredients:
” WaterWipes are the world’s purest baby wipes providing safe cleansing for the most delicate newborn skin.
WaterWipes provide safe cleansing for the most delicate newborn skin and are so gentle they can also be used on premature babies.
Made from 99.9% high purity water and a drop of Fruit Extract, WaterWipes have been specifically developed to be as mild and pure as cotton wool and water.” –www.waterwipes.com
Speaking of changing pads and wipes, of course, you’ll also need diapers. You can choose between cloth and disposable diapers.
My baby has been wearing bamboo diapers by “Bambo nature” and I’ve been happy with them so far.
They fit great, don’t leak, and most importantly don’t irritate the baby’s delicate skin.
My newborn was 3.2kg at birth and the size 1 diapers (2-4 kg) fit perfectly.
“Bambo Nature diapers follow our Nordic way of life, where function and form align with a natural respect for each other and the environment. Using only high-quality materials, the Danish brand Bambo Nature is skin- and eco-friendly with a perfect fit and high absorbency. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel and Asthma Allergy Nordic label are proof of our commitment to producing a diaper with no added parabens, perfume, color or other unsafe preservatives. Naturally for you and your baby.” – www. bambonature.com
#6 Diaper trash can
You don’t need a special fancy one, a small trash can, so you can empty it regularly, placed close to your changing station for easy access will be enough.
#7 Footed onesies with zipper and mitten cuffs + bodies
As far as baby clothes:
x Better too big than too small
x Don’t worry about everything matching and looking cute, you’ll change him/her many times, so a lot of outfits won’t even see the daylight or your camera lens
x Don’t get too many clothes as you’ll probably end up sticking to a few favorite ones anyway plus you don’t know how big your baby will be and how fast he/she will grow out of the newborn clothes
So what should you get?
Of course bodies. As for onesies- make your life easier and baby happier and get ones that are footed, have a zipper, and mitten cuffs. Then you don’t need extra mittens or socks, which fall off all the time anyway and the zipper will make diaper checks and changes way faster and easier.
#8 Wrap blanket
It’s safe for your baby to sleep in and it makes it so much easier to pick the baby up and carry around or up/down the stairs.
#9 Baby nest
To keep baby safe and cozy no matter where you put the nest: in baby’s crib, on the couch, the floor, a table, for morning chillings in your bed, etc.
#10 Soft blankets
#11 Soft light for nighttime feeding and diaper changes
#12 Bath towels with a hood
In the hospital we’ve been at they used burp/gauze cloths to pat our baby dry so that would also work; you don’t need 20 towels right away, but of course, you can get some nice soft baby towels in bigger sizes so you can still use them as your baby grows.
I recommend getting some with a hood as large amounts of heat are lost from the baby’s head and you want to keep your little one warm after the bath.
#13 Care Products
Whatever you choose to use, I suggest keeping it minimal and natural.
At first, you won’t need nail clippers, hairbrushes, and all sorts of other stuff like that (of course you might want to have it ready for when the time comes) but you won’t use it in the first weeks so don’t worry about it.
Recommended care products:
x Saline solution for cleaning baby’s eyes and nose + gauze or cotton pads
x Soap/ Shampoo
Recommendation: Shampoo Bath Derma Eco Baby
” Gentle organic 2-in-1 soap for babies
For daily care of sensitive skin and scalp
Contains Aloe Vera to moisturize skin
0% perfume, parabens and dyes
Organic, allergy and eco certified” – Natural-Products
x Bath oil
There’s no need to bathe your newborn daily, especially not using soap and shampoo.
When you do give your newborn a bath it’s nice to add bath oil to nourish their skin and protect it from drying out.
Recommendation: Mustela Avocado Oil
Mustela Cleansing Oil is specially formulated to clean, nourish, and protect babies and children from dry skin caused by bath time. Our formula envelops the skin and compensates for the drying effects of bathing by leaving skin supple and soft.
Composed of 98% plant-based ingredients and enriched with plant-based Glycerin, to moisturise the skin.
Avocado oil helps maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier, and Avocado Perseose, a patented natural ingredient to help protect baby’s delicate skin. Delicately scented with Mustela’s iconic fragrance.
- Organically farmed Avocado Oil
- 98% natural ingredients
- Paraben-free” – www.tellmebaby.com.au
x Lotion for dry skin
In the first weeks, your baby will most likely have very dry, peeling skin. This is perfectly normal and you don’t have to do anything about it, it will balance itself out quickly. Nonetheless, you might want to help the baby’s skin out a little by avoiding using soap too often and by putting some nourishing lotion on.
Our pediatrician recommended: La Roche IPIKAR Baume AP+M
“LIPIKAR Baume AP+M rebalances skin microbiome. It soothes skin immediately and reduces scratching. With its anti-relapse efficacy, it spaces out flare-ups. It nourishes skin, and restores the skin barrier. Formulated for babies, children, adults with very dry, eczema-prone or allergy-prone skin.” – La Roche
x Diaper ointment
You might not need to use it right away, but I’m sure it’s good to have since day one, just in case…
Ointment Derma Eco Baby
“A water-repellent ointment for dry and sensitive baby skin
Creates a perfect barrier for skin exposed to moisture such as skin around the mouth
Ideal to protect/prevent red bottoms
Leaves skin soft and smooth
0% perfume, parabens and dyes
Organic, allergy and eco certified” – Natural Products
As well as the classic nappy care ointment by Bepanthen
“Bepanthen has created a tailored formula that can help to protect the vulnerable skin of young babies from irritants and other causes of nappy rash.” – www.bepanthen.co.uk
#14 Baby Laundry Detergent
You should get a baby-safe laundry detergent before the baby is even there so you can already wash his/her clothes. Of course, that’s also something you’ll use during the first weeks with your newborn. Yes, there’s gonna be lots of baby laundry…
Recommended: a no-touch, forehead digital thermometer to check baby’s body temperature if needed + baby bath thermometer.
Postpartum products, tips & insights
(after vaginal delivery)
#1 Bed Pads
Even if you don’t bleed much, I recommend putting a bed pad on your bed just so you feel more comfortable moving around at night.
Next to just pat drying any wounds/stitches you might want to try using a blowdryer to keep the area dry and avoid any unnecessary rubbing with a towel.
#3 Peri bottle or an alternative
Try out different things and see what works best for you. I recommend just using a regular small water bottle and pouring the water from the top, then gently pat drying or gently blowdrying.
#4 Cotton underwear and mash underwear
In the first days you might want to, or should I say need to wear mesh underwear, but when it’s time to switch to regular underwear, make sure to use some breathable cotton ones.
#5 Prenatal vitamins
Make sure you keep taking your prenatal vitamins during the postpartum period and even beyond that. Your body has been through a lot and can benefit greatly from some extra nutrients, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
#6 Pain killers
Whether it’s pain after birth or later on caused for instance by a clogged milk duct, you want to have some pain killers at home, trust me… (choose ones that are safe for breastfeeding mamas, if that applies to you).
The obvious. Whether it’s a lot or not, for long or not, you will bleed after vaginal delivery.
I recommend getting pads of various absorption levels so you’re prepared for all the stages, as well as panty liners as they might be enough after a few days.
#8 Loose pants and shirts or dresses
You will be sore plus you will still have quite a big belly, so you will want to keep it loose and comfortable.
#9 Natural, unscented soap/body lotion, etc.
General Insights & Tips
for the first weeks with a newborn
Make sure to stay hydrated.
Keep a water bottle on your nightstand.
#2 Nighttime Snacks
You will most likely be hungry at night time due to the frequent diaper changes/feeding sessions. I found it super convenient to have some snacks (for instance a granola bar and some fruit) ready by the bed so I don’t need to make an extra trip to the kitchen in the middle of the night.
#3 Night sweats
I honestly did not expect this, but postpartum night sweats are a thing. Your hormones are rebalancing and that’s one of the “side effects” you might experience.
You can expect a few days of cramps after the birth as your uterus shrinks to its pre-pregnancy size plus more discomfort and pains in the following weeks…like I’ve said many times before, you’re body has been through a lot, be patient, give it time and take care of yourself.
#5 The dreaded first pee and poop post-delivery
I wanna tell you that it doesn’t have to hurt at all! Yes, everyone’s different, so you might experience pain, but maybe you won’t. I had no issues with that at all and like with giving birth and breastfeeding and so many other things it’s frustrating to me how there’s so much fear and negativity and horror stories going around making women expect the worst.
#1 Nursing bra or sports bra
Make sure to get a size or few sizes up, don’t buy too many before your milk supply regulates, cause you might end up with a bunch of bras that don’t fit. I recommend soft bras, with no underwire or going braless at least for a portion of the day to make sure there is no extra pressure on your breast, which might help to avoid clogged milk ducts.
#2 Nursing gown or button up top for easy access at night
#4 Reusable bamboo/ cotton pads
#5 Manual breast pump
Whether you choose to pump or not, I do recommend having a manual breast pump for the first few weeks. It’s light, easy to use, and can be very helpful while dealing with engorged breasts or clogged milk ducts.
#6 Breast milk collector – Haakaa pump or an alternative
Great for collecting letdown, but can also be a lifesaver if you’re dealing with a clogged milk duct.
#7 Nursing pillow or well, just pillows
It’s good to have different options to try out in order to find the most comfortable position to breastfeed. A nursing pillow can be very helpful. That’s especially true for the first few days and weeks before you get a hang of it all and you will be more confident and comfortable breastfeeding anytime, anywhere.
#8 Nipple cream
Might not be necessary, besides you can just use breastmilk to heal sore nipples!
If you do wanna purchase a nipple cream tho, here’s a vegan one I’d recommend: nipple cream by Mustela.
#1 Be patient
Be patient with yourself and with your baby and trust your body. Don’t be so hard on yourself, give it time, it will work out. You’ll find the best positions, your milk supply will regulate, your nipples will adapt, you’re baby will adjust and learn as well.
#2 Ask questions
Ask your midwife, your lactation consultant, your mom, or your friends’ questions if you have any. Don’t feel like you’re supposed to have all the answers right away and have it all figured out. If you’re not sure if something’s normal, whether it’s the sounds that baby makes while nursing or the way your breasts feel- ask!
#3 No schedule
Your baby most likely won’t feed on schedule in the first few weeks, but rather on-demand, so don’t stress about it. It’s advised to breastfeed at least every 3 hours, in the beginning, to establish/increase your milk supply as well as to make sure your baby gains its birth weight back.
Once again, just be patient with yourself and with your baby.
#4 Engorged breasts
You don’t need to pump right away if your baby misses a meal and your breasts get engorged. If you can wait till the next feeding it will regulate itself, but do hand express or use a manual pump if it feels too uncomfortable, especially to avoid a clogged milk duct.
#5 Clogged milk duct relief/home remedy
What you will need:
– Haakaa pump
– Epsom salt
– Warm water
Add around 1tbsp of Epsom salt to your Haakaa pump and fill it up with warm water. Attach the pump to the affected breast. Keep it for 10-20minutes. I’ve read that one time should be enough and I did feel some relief after a single session, but that was by far not enough. I used it at least 3-4 times in two days before noticing a big improvement.
12 questions you’ll ask yourself during the first weeks with a newborn
* Please make sure to consult any concerns or questions with your midwife or pediatrician! This post is solely based on my experience as well as answers I got from my healthcare providers.
Is it normal for my baby to have hiccups?
Yes, no worries. It’s absolutely normal for babies to get hiccups.
Is there anything I can do to make it stop?
Holding your baby in a more upright position may bring some relief and feeding might stop the hiccups.
Why is my baby sneezing, is he/she sick or too cold?
If there are no other symptoms of your baby being sick like a fever, fussiness, refusing to eat, etc. then you have nothing to worry about as sneezing is perfectly normal in newborns.
Is spitting up common in newborns?
Yes, spitting up is common in newborns and once again, if there are no other signs of your baby being uncomfortable and he/she is gaining weight then there’s no reason for concern and your baby is probably eating enough despite spitting up.
Make sure to keep your baby upright for at least 5-15 minutes after feeding to help the milk stay down…
Should my baby be burped after every feeding?
Yes, it’s best to burp your baby after every feeding as well as in between while changing breasts.
Making sounds while sleeping
My baby is making sounds while sleeping, is that normal?
Yes, it’s normal that your baby is making sounds while sleeping. My midwife says they might sound like a dolphin sometimes and indeed, sometimes they really do. So don’t be concerned about those cute, random noises your little one is making.
When will my baby’s eye color develop?
The eye color can change around 6 months, but it may take at least 9-12 months for your baby’s eye color to fully develop.
Sleeping with a hat on / regulating temperature
Should baby sleep with a hat on?
It’s best to put your baby to sleep without a hat on. First of all, it’s safer, but what is more, it can prevent your baby from overheating as most heat is lost through your baby’s head.
How much weight should my baby gain in the first few weeks?
Your baby should gain their birth weight back after 2 weeks and then follow their “own, steady weight gain curve”.
When can I take my baby outdoors for the first time?
Whenever you’re ready. It’s not so much about the baby as it is about your health and energy levels. As long as you dress your baby accordingly he/she’s ready to go outside anytime, but it’s you you should look after in those first days and weeks postpartum. Don’t do too much, too fast.
Is it normal for my baby’s skin to be so dry?
Absolutely! Most babies have very dry skin or patches of dry skin after birth. This changes quickly and you don’t even have to do anything about it. However, you might want to put lotion on your baby’s skin and make sure to use bath oil while bathing your little one. And of course, pat their skin dry gently after bathing, don’t rub with a towel.
Is baby acne normal and is there anything I should do about it?
As with most things that you will notice about your baby and maybe be a little bit concerned about, baby acne is normal as well and nothing to be worried about. It will clear out by itself pretty quickly.
Don’t do anything about it, definitely don’t scratch, squeeze, pinch or scrub the acne.
Keep your baby’s face clean, don’t use extra oils on their skin. What you can do is apply some breastmilk to the affected area, it’s great for their sensitive skin and its antimicrobial properties may help to clear out the acne.
How can I clean my newborn’s eyes?
To clean your baby’s eyes use saline solution with a sterile gauze or a cotton pad. Make sure to wipe their eyes from the outside corner to the inside to prevent spreading any bacteria across the eyes. Use a new clean gauze/cotton pad for each eye.
Mama, enjoy these magical first weeks with your newborn
and take care of yourself!
This post was all about the first weeks with a newborn.