What can I even say about the first week home with a newborn? It’s a time that’s equally magical, exciting, challenging and exhausting.
Full of highs and lows.
One minute you’re staring in awe at the precious life you created, and the next minute you’re crying along with them, desperate for some sleep.
This is my 4th baby, but 3rd time going through the newborn stage (twins plus 2) and I’ve always found it incredibly helpful to see how other moms cope; so my plan is to write weekly updates with our experience this time around.
*Post contains affiliate links.
**I am not a medical expert and can only speak from my experience. Please consult your pediatrician with any questions or concerns.
Newborn Baby One Week Update
How I’m Doing
Mentally, I’m doing much better than I anticipated.
I thought that bringing a baby home during a pandemic would be really hard, because we’d have no visitors, no family to help, nobody to come celebrate with us.
While I was definitely sad about that, there is one thing that majorly helped me.
That’s the fact that my husband gets F O U R weeks of paternity leave. FOUR. He’s never received paternity leave before, and has always had to save up his PTO to take a maximum of 2-weeks off.
Simply knowing that I have support, help, and quite frankly, just another adult to talk to for four weeks has made all the difference.
Having a newborn can be lonely and isolating. Having the support of my husband has really helped my postpartum journey and I realize fully what an immense privilege it is. I desperately wish that every single mother could experience that!
I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m several years older, and it’s my 2nd 9-pound baby. I feel as if my body’s recovering from carrying a 9-pound baby just as much as it’s recovering from giving birth.
My main aches and pains are muscular: my pelvic muscles, glutes, inner thighs, lower back, and abdomen muscles are sooo sore. Like ridiculously sore and it’s something that I didn’t experience with my previous pregnancies.
I did have a first degree tear, but it’s not bothering me nearly as much as the muscular pains.
I also am dealing with incredibly swollen feet that are not only really lovely to look at (*sarcasm*), but are definitely uncomfortable.
I could barely squeeze into shoes to bring Beckham to his pediatrician’s appointment! I’m trying to elevate them as much as possible and keep them up, as well as drink tons of water to help the swelling go down.
Beckham’s First Week
Theo, Josie, and Margo adjusted really well to having a new baby and I am so proud of them! We had a few moments where they each needed extra attention, but other than that, they’ve done so well.
I think that it really helps that Beckham sleeps in his crib. During the day when he is napping (which is a lot!), we are available for the big kids.
The main things I like to focus on during baby’s first week of life are eating and sleeping for baby, and resting and recovering for mommy.
We work on establishing good feeding techniques: whether it’s breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
Beckham latched on and started nursing pretty much as soon as he came out of the womb! I was relieved, as I wasn’t able to breastfeed my twins, and was really hoping that we would have an easy experience this time around.
Unfortunately, we did run into some issues the next day, and discovered that he has a tongue tie. Luckily, the lactation consultant showed me a few tips to help him get a good latch despite the tongue tie, so we are able to continue nursing and it isn’t painful for me.
However, it takes him a reaaaallllyyyy long time to nurse. Sometimes 30-45 minutes, but sometimes it takes him 60 minutes!
At this point, I’m not sure if it’s because of his tongue tie, or just because he is a sleepy newborn. We plan to get a referral from the pediatrician and hopefully corrected.
The main thing I am getting him used to is full feedings. I don’t want him to fall asleep, only to wake up 20-minutes later hungry again. That will just continue throughout the day, he will never get completely satisfied, and I will feel like an all you can eat buffet.
To keep him awake, I stroke his cheek and head, and take of his socks and gently scratch the bottoms of his feet.
If he is still asleep, I will undress him and change his diaper. Usually, Beckham falls sound asleep after nursing on one side, so I will burp him and change his diaper and he wakes up enough to nurse on the other side.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Hungry/Has Had a Full Feeding
Babies cry a lot, since it’s their only form of communication! They cry because they’re hungry, cold, need a diaper change, want to be held, and sometimes for absolutely no reason at all.
When my first, Theo, was a newborn, anytime he cried, my go to was to nurse him. That usually worked to settle him down, but I later realized the importance if listening to his cries and recognizing his cues to see what he actually needed.
If he was crying because he had gas and my solution was to nurse him, it might settle him down for a few minutes, but make the problem worse in the long run.
How to Tell if Baby is Hungry
- Rooting/turning head side to side looking for food source
- Sucking on hands, fingers, etc
- Opening and closing of the mouth
- Smacking lips
If you pay close attention, you will start to notice the signs that your baby is hungry. If your baby typically eats every 3-hours, start to observe them before the 3-hour mark.
Beckham will start to make little grunts and coughs when he is hungry, along with rooting and turning his head side to side.
How to Tell If Baby is Full/Getting Enough Milk
Amount: If you are bottle-feeding, one indication is the amount of milk consumed. A one-week-old baby should take anywhere from 1-3 ounces per feeding and should be feeding about every 3-hours.
Disinterest in breast: If you are breastfeeding, baby will release and turn away. They will also relax and their fists will open up. Your breasts should have softened a bit, although, in the first week, this isn’t the best indicator as your body is still figuring out how much milk to produce. It’s possible that your milk hasn’t fully come in yet, or your breasts are engorged.
Swallowing: Another thing to look for is swallowing. You know that your baby is getting milk if you can see/hear them swallowing.
My milk came in on the 3rd day with Beckham, and I knew that he was drinking a lot because I could see and hear him swallowing.
Babies swallowing sounds like a soft clicking sound, and you will see their lower jaw move.
Diapers: If your baby is producing wet and dirty diapers, you know that they are eating enough. By 2 days old, your baby should have about 2 wet diapers, 3 by day 3, and so on for the first week.
If you have any questions or concerns that your baby is not getting enough milk, you should consult your pediatrician immediately.
During the first week of life, newborns are incredibly sleepy and Beckham is no exception.
All he wants to do is sleep, sleep, sleep!
Once he came home from the hospital, we put him in his crib to sleep right away. This is a personal preference for us. All of my babies sleep better in their cribs in their own rooms and we obviously monitor them with baby monitors.
During the first week, it can feel really weird to put your baby down while they’re sleeping. You just carried them in your womb for 9 straight months, and to have them not attached to you doesn’t feel natural.
I HIGHLY recommend putting them down for at least 1-2 naps during the day and trying to get some sleep (or a shower/food) yourself.
A benefit of having baby sleep in their own bed is that by the time they grow out of the sleepy newborn phase and want to be held all the time, they will be somewhat accustomed to sleeping on their own.
During the first week, Beckham had no problems at all sleeping in his own crib. He went straight down without crying or fussing.
We have followed the Babywise principles with all of our babies. If you’ve heard of Babywise and have heard negative things about it, you can read about why I followed Babywise despite the controversy in this post.
Basically, the Babywise principles are to follow an Eat, Wake, Sleep cycle.
So, I would feed Beckham, give him some “awake time” (during the first week, that’s really just a diaper change and then maybe 5-10 minutes) and then swaddle, rock him a little bit and put him down in his crib.
If you’re looking for some inside on how to establish a routine with your baby and understand better how to set them up for sleep success, I suggest you read the Babywise book.
Having a baby that goes right down in their crib is amazing.
It’s something I will never take for granted, as we had a really hard time getting Theo to sleep on his own.
Babies often have day/night confusion. For Beckham, this happened on the first night, while we were still in the hospital.
When we got home on Sunday, we worked really hard to teach him that it was day time!
Here is what we did to combat day/night confusion:
- Awake time: After each feeding, we kept him awake, even if just for 10-minutes
- Cap naps: We did not let him nap longer than 2/2.5 hours during the day
- Light and noise: We had plenty of bright light and noise during the day (easy with 3 other kids)
- Dark and quiet at night: Nighttime feedings we kept quiet and dark
By Sunday night, he seemed to have adjusted well!
Below is our schedule for the first week.
We were actually able to stick to it pretty much to a T because Beckham hardly ever woke up to eat on his own and so we’d wake him right at the 3-hour mark.
During the first week, your newborn will most likely want to eat every 2 or 3 hours. Do not let them go longer than 3-hours during the day.
Related Posts on Baby Sleep
One Week Old Baby Sample Schedule
- 7:00 Eat, wake time*
- 7:50/8:00 Sleep**
- 10:00 Eat, wake time
- 10:50/11 Sleep
- 1:00 Eat, wake time
- 1:50/2:00 Sleep
- 4:00 Eat, wake time
- 4:50/5:00 Sleep
- 7:00 Eat and bedtime routine
- 10:00 Dream feed
- Usually one middle of the night feed (between 12-2) and one early morning feed (between 4-6).
*Wake baby up at the same time every morning, regardless of what time they were last up in the middle of the night.
**Aim for at least one nap to be in baby’s bed.
There were a few nights during the first week that Beckham was up every 2-2.5 hours at night, but there was also one night where he only woke up once!
Products We Used and Recommend During the First Week
All babies and parents are different, so what is essential for one family, another family might not use at all.
So here are things that WE found essential for the baby during the first week. I plan to do separate posts on postpartum essentials for mama, as well as essentials for breastfeeding.
Flannel Receiving Blankets
You will need about one million burp clothes per day during the first few weeks, as newborns spit up frequently.
I tend to have an oversupply of milk in the beginning and find that using a flannel receiving blankets as a burp cloth works the best, as it is can act as a breastfeeding cover, cover my lap in case of spills or leakage, and can also act as a burp cloth.
Sound machines are an essential, and this is the one that we currently have. It works really well and has a variety of volume settings and is a really affordable price.
This is the first baby I’ve used the Owlet Smart Sock with, and I really like the peace of mind it gives me. It is pricey but well worth it in my opinion!
During the first week, we used the swaddle blanket from Lou Lou and Co. We purchased the essential newborn bundle that came with swaddle blanket, hat, and baby gloves.
The swaddle is absolutely gorgeous, and a really nice stretchy material that swaddles really nicely.
Both of these swaddles work well after babies are strong enough to break out of the swaddle blanket, and are much easier to use, as they basically function as a mini sleeping bag that you simply zip up.
There’s no wrapping or folding required and I love both of them SOOO much, especially when I’m sleep deprived in the middle of the night!
Babies have such frequent wet and dirty diapers that I like to apply diaper rash cream frequently during the newborn phase. I have been using this organic diaper cream and it works incredibly well.
If I’m being completely honest, I thought that these little spatula-like tools for applying diaper rash ointment was completely pointless with my previous babies and I’m not sure what prompted me to try it out this time around, haha!
But I did, and I have to say, I am a convert. It is really nice to not get your fingers sticky, not to mention that it applies the cream really evenly.
This touch control night light is great for middle of the night feedings when you need a little bit of light to see but don’t want to turn on a lamp that will light up the entire room.
It has 2 different settings for the amount of light it sets off. It is also has a charging base you plug it into to charge, therefor you can easily transport it around the room when it’s charged (or keep it plugged in!)
I have this diaper caddy in our living room and it is the perfect amount of storage space to hold diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, pacifiers, and burp clothes.
Not only is it practical, but it looks nice hanging out in my living room!
If you plan to breastfeed, the Haakaa is amazing. It is a suction pump that attaches to the breast you aren’t nursing off of and collects excess milk.
It made a huge difference for me when my milk came in at full force and I was really engorged! I didn’t want to use my electric pump and tell my body to produce even more milk, but I was so uncomfortable and it was enough of a release.
I’ve continued to use it a few times a day to build up a freezer supply.
I hope you find this post helpful, and as always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions!