During the first week postpartum, you and your partner will experience many emotional changes. These can range from elation to feelings of inadequacy to frustration. It is too bad that this new little person doesn't come with an instruction booklet! Never hesitate to call your doctor or pediatrician with concerns.
You have a number of resources available, from experienced family and friends, to books and health care providers. It's a good idea to attend newborn baby classes before delivery. Some classes are offered after delivery, but it is good if you can do this before in case you are too tired to attend after delivery or if you want to spend the time bonding with your new family. Topics usually covered include:
Car seat safety is also discussed.
During this exciting and demanding week, you and your newborn baby will be learning a lot about each other. With practice your skills at dressing, feeding, or diapering the baby, will improve as will your confidence. Expect to feel like a novice at first.
However you feed your baby -- bottle or breast -- it will take time and effort. This wonderfully challenging week will be filled with feedings, burping, diaper changes, sleep and then more of the same. By the end of the first week, most new parents, while still feeling overwhelmed at times, have developed a workable routine.
Keep in mind that your baby is a newborn for only a few short weeks. Set aside everything else: thank-you notes for baby presents, housework, cooking, laundry other than essentials. Instead and focus on the basics: eat, sleep, and feed your baby. Ask for help from others to deal with other household issues. Sleep whenever your baby closes her eyes, because you can assume that she will be wide awake and ready to play come nightfall. Everything else can wait!
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.