“Having kids feels like that first seventh-grade crush that overwhelms every molecule in your body, but it’s permanent.”Kristen Bell
The first weeks with your newborn might feel like a haze of happiness, love, exhaustion, frustration…and every other feeling in between. You’re feeding your tiny baby, trying to get them to sleep, and figuring out everyday newborn care. If the amount of information and details you’re trying to keep track of is making you feel nuts…we get it! That’s why we wanted to offer a quick, simple reference guide for week two with your baby. It’s meant to serve as a “to know” guide (not a to-do list!) and can be referred to throughout the first month of baby’s life.
Common Feeding Issues
Keeping up with around-the-clock feedings is already exhausting—so, when a feeding complication gets thrown into the mix, it can make breastfeeding feel that much more daunting. Issues and setbacks are common, especially at first, but quickly troubleshooting can help you get back on track.
Baby spitting up during/after feedings: Yes, baby pukes happen. Some amount of spitting up is normal in babies, and if your newborn is happy and not crying or disturbed by the spitting up, it is likely nothing serious. You can find more details about what to look for with spitting up here.
Baby only nursing on one side: While it is recommended to empty both breasts when feeding your baby, sometimes your baby will not take more after feeding on one side, or will nurse fine on one side and then fuss on the other breast. You can try changing your position, feeding quickly on the preferred side then switching, or doing self breast compressions on the side the baby is fussing at. More tips for dealing with this situation can be found here.
Your WellNested IBCLC can also help with this, as sometimes it’s an anatomical or positioning issue.
Cluster feeding: Cluster feeding can be an aspect of breastfeeding that is most surprising to new moms—and toughest to deal with. Cluster feeding is when the baby wants to nurse very frequently, almost consistently, for a window of time. For example, if your baby is normally nursing every three hours but then wants to nurse every 30-45 minutes for three hours, that is a cluster feed. This is typically related to a growth spurt, and, while tiring, it can help increase your milk supply! More details and how to cope can be found here.
Don’t forget! You can always reach out to your WellNested IBCLC via text or phone with any questions or to get additional support if you’re struggling with nursing.
Safe Sleep Questions
With so many mixed messages about safe sleep and co-sleeping it can be tough to figure out the best option for nighttime with your newborn. Here are the main things you need to know:
What is Back to Sleep? The American Academy of Pediatrics defines safe sleep for infants as being put to sleep on their back on a flat, firm surface with no blankets of pillows.
What Should Baby Wear to Sleep?: We do recommend swaddling your newborn for sleep, but there’s no need to overdress the baby when putting him or her down for the night. One underlayer, such as onesie or kimono with a footed pajama over, is sufficient.
What is Room Sharing vs Co-Sleeping? AAP also recommends babies stay in their parents’ room for at least six months, ideally for one year. Bed sharing is not recommended for infants due to risks of SIDS. However, if you’re interested in co-sleeping or room sharing, here are some guidelines you can follow when deciding what works best for you and your family.
Allowing Your Body to Heal
Many new moms say they were not fully prepared to take care of their body after birth. Despite what many pop culture images want us to believe, having a baby is a really big deal. (Have you ever seen a movie or TV show where a new mom is carrying their baby home from the hospital in a car seat wearing a fashionable outfit? Ridiculous!) At your six week check up, your OB or midwife will let you know that you are ready for exercise—but, for now, rest is critical. You grew and birthed a human, and now your body needs to recover. That means stretchy maternity pants, mesh underwear, pads, and rest are your norm, at least for a little while.
How do you know if you’re doing too much? If you see an increase in bleeding, are feeling big dips in your mood, or have a lot of cramping or other pain in your abdomen or pelvic floor, it’s your body’s way of saying slow down. There will be plenty of time for working out down the road. Now is a time for rest. (Plus, the more you rest now, the quicker you will heal!)
If you can, try to avoid bending down or lifting anything heavier than the baby (please do not lift the car seat with the baby in it!), and avoid stairs and long walks whenever possible. Some things you can expect from your body during the next few weeks include:
- Intense hunger and thirst from labor, giving birth, and making milk.
- A swollen and soft belly.
- Shedding lochia (uterine lining) more heavily in the first 1-6 days after birth and slowing down 5-10 days after birth.
- If you had stitches from tearing or an episiotomy during vaginal birth, those may feel sore or itchy.
- If you had Cesarean Section (C-Section) you will have an incision to care for. (Most doctors recommend keeping the wound clean and undisturbed, but be sure to follow directions from your healthcare provider.)
If you’re struggling with caring for yourself or your baby, consider contacting WellNested’s Help at Home team for an extra pair of hands that can support you.
Infographic: What Safe Sleep Looks Like
- Back is Best – ALWAYS put your baby to sleep on their back – for nighttime sleep or naps – on a firm surface free from loose bedding, pillows or soft objects.
- Room-Sharing – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you share a room with your baby, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface for at least 6 months, but ideally 1 year.
- Offer a pacifier – Consider offering a pacifier once breastfeeding has been established. Studies have shown a protective effect of pacifiers on the incidence of SIDS, even if the pacifier falls out of the infant’s mouth.
- Avoid over-heating – In general, infants should be dressed in no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment. Also, avoid head coverings or hats for sleep.