At last, your new baby’s here and you’re starting to get to know the little person you’ve been carrying for 9 months. Here’s what to expect in the first 4 weeks of your newborn’s life.
Growing and developing
Your baby will be born with several reflexes: she’ll grip your finger if you put it inside her palm and throw out her arms and legs if she’s startled.
If you stroke her cheek, she’ll turn her head towards you and open her mouth. This is a useful thing to know if you’re trying to get her to latch on to your breast.
These reflexes will gradually disappear in the next few months.
Although your baby’s sense of smell is very good, her hearing and sight won’t be fully developed yet. She’ll be best able to see things that are very close to her – like your face, which she’ll love looking at.
Your baby might lose weight just after she’s born – up to 10% of her birth weight is normal – but she should be back to her birth weight within 10 to 14 days.
Newborns sleep a lot – up to 16 hours a day sometimes – but it won’t all be at night! It will take your baby some time to distinguish between night and day, but you can start to help her by keeping things quiet and calm at night.
At first, your baby may breastfeed every few hours – as much as 12 times a day. Let her feed whenever she wants, as this will help build up your milk supply. For more tips, see Breastfeeding basics
Caring for your newborn
She will still have the stump of her umbilical cord, but that will shrivel and fall off during her first few weeks. Make sure you keep it clean and dry. Once it’s dropped off, you can give your baby her first bath
Playing with your baby
Your baby will love being touched and rocked, but be careful to support her head. She won’t have the strength to do this yet. She might also enjoy a very gentle baby massage
You this month
Becoming a mum is a huge change, so give yourself time to get used to it. You might feel very tired and need to rest as much as you can.
Take the time to enjoy moments with your newborn. Holding her close to you, skin to skin, is a lovely way to bond with her.
Find out What to expect in month 2
Did you know..?
Babies are sometimes born with a covering of fine, downy hair. This is called lanugo and will disappear within the first few weeks.
How dads can help
When the baby doesn’t need to feed, you can help look after her so your partner can get some much-needed rest. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with the baby.