1. They look a little funny
Just after you welcome them into the world, they will likely look different from the chubby and cute babies you see on magazine covers. They tend to come out red, wrinkly and their heads may be a little squashed from their arduous journey through the birth canal. They can also be puffy-faced and have eyes that are often shut (and a little gooey). After all, they just spent nine months in the womb. But very soon, they’ll resemble that beautiful baby you imagined!
2. First poo, green poo
During pregnancy, the insides of your baby’s little intestines consist of a sticky greenish and black substance which of course needs to come out. To clean it up, make sure to wipe your babies bottom with a soft cotton wool dipped in water and then coat your baby’s bottom in petroleum jelly so that it’s easier to remove next time.
3. They won’t poo everyday
It’s normal for new-borns to poo from as often as 7 times a day to as little as once every seven days. They will grunt and groan as they are doing a poo.
4. They won’t sleep much at first
Your new-born will sleep a lot but will also wake up a lot. They tend to wake up as much during the night as they do during the day for nutritional purposes. This is because they are used to having food ‘on tap’. Expect your baby to wake up every couple of hours at first to be fed.
5. They will be hungry
Your new-born will require food and drink to grow, develop and since their little baby stomach is very small, each round of feeding will be enough to see them through a couple of hours. Remember that starting new-borns on solids too soon can be very dangerous.
6. They don’t need to be bathed everyday
Your new-born won’t be doing much in their early days and baby skin is very delicate so you may not want to bathe them every day. A gentle clean is more than enough!
7. Always go fragrance-free!
When you decide to bathe your little one, remember to use baby products that are fragrance free. New-born baby skin isn’t used to being out in the world yet, and the last thing we want to do is irritate it.
8. They can’t see very far
For the first few weeks of their life, your new-born can only see between 20-30cm in front of their face.
9. Their skin might flake
After swimming around in a pool of fluid for 9 months, your baby’s exposure to dry air can irritate their sensitive skin. After their first few days out of the womb, you may notice their skin become flaky as it adjusts to life outside. This will balance itself out in no time.
10. They can have boobs
While slightly unsettling, swollen genitals and even the appearance of breasts is normal for new-borns. Those same hormones that plagued you throughout the pregnancy also have an effect on your baby. Don’t worry though, as these will disappear after a few weeks. You may also notice a pink discharge in your little girl’s nappy for the same reasons.
11. Leave that umbilical cord stump alone
We know you can’t wait for that slightly unpleasant looking umbilical cord stump to go away. The quickest way it will disappear is if you keep it dry and leave it alone!
12. Their eye colour may change
All babies are born with dark blue eyes and with time will change to their true colour. You will notice the biggest changes in eye colour between 6-9 months.
13. Babies cry. A lot. – That’s how they communicate!
For such a tiny thing, they can make a lot of noise. Beside the crying, they will be burping, grunting, snorting and much more. It’s their way of communicating at first.
14. You can’t spoil new-borns
Your new-born needs to feel loved and secure; their crying is not a way to be naughty or annoy you. Hold them often, cuddle and talk to them, read them books and feed them. You are not spoiling them, but in fact laying down foundations for a strong bond!
15. They must spend time on their bellies
Babies need to spend time on their tummies to help strengthen their backs. This needs to be done whilst they are awake however, as they should not sleep on their tummies.
While this may seem like the most difficult thing you’ve ever done in your life, you won’t have these first few moments with your baby ever again, so try your best to enjoy it – somehow.