Thursday, October 22, 2020

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First weeks with baby

The return home

The first few days after returning home with baby are often a time of turmoil and turmoil. Even if you feel like you've been preparing for it for a while, you'll soon find that your knowledge and skills will be put to the test.

The first few weeks of life with baby will be a time of mixed and intense emotions. In just a few days, you'll go from being a childless woman to a mom discovering a wonderful little person! Although he'll probably be very calm during the first few days, you'll feel internally overwhelmed by all the effort involved in this new learning experience.

And even if you take into account the superhuman effort required to give birth, you will understand that baby is going through one of the greatest traumas of his life. Don't be too hard on yourself and give yourself time to adjust. Your new situation as expectant parents is in full bloom!

If this is your first child, you have everything to learn: how to feed him, how to hold him in your arms so that he is comfortable, how to groom him, how to understand his crying, etc.

His height and weight

If the baby is born at term, between the 37th and 42nd week of pregnancy, he will measure an average of 45 to 55 cm (18 to 21 inches) and his weight could vary between 2,500 gr and 4,300 gr (5 to 9 lbs).

Babies can lose weight during the first few days of life, which is completely normal. Generally, they lose 5 to 10% of their initial weight. Considered normal, the loss is caused by the shock of birth and the small amounts of milk absorbed. Don't worry, they will regain the weight they had at birth between the 8th and 15th day.

Her skin

At birth, baby may have pink and even a little purplish or even dark skin depending on his origins. Often paler, his hands and feet may even remain bluish for up to 48 hours after birth. It is important to give your baby's body time to regulate its temperature. However, if his skin has a more mottled tint, this should disappear when his internal thermostat has regained its balance.

You'll soon find that your baby's skin is incredibly soft. It's smooth and sometimes transparent in places, and even shows its network of blood vessels. In other areas, it's more wrinkled and even wrinkled and may start to peel.

At the time of birth, baby's skin is covered with the same whitish coating that protected him inside his mother's womb. This substance will be absorbed into the skin over the next few hours and days.

Some infants are also born with a light down covering their skin (lanugo) which will disappear during the first weeks of life.


Jaundice usually develops in a full-term baby. Appearing 2 to 3 days after birth, baby's skin will turn yellow and the color will become more and more pronounced as the hours go by. Commonly known as neonatal jaundice (or neonatal jaundice), it affects about 60% of healthy, full-term babies and 80% of premature babies. It reaches its maximum intensity after 3 or 4 days and disappears after a week. However, it can last up to a week in premature infants.

Jaundice is caused by a large accumulation in the blood of orange pigments called bilirubins. These pigments are the normal result of the destruction of old red blood cells that are poorly eliminated by the liver, which is unable to do its full work because of its immaturity. These same pigments can also be removed in the baby's stool.

Jaundice occurs most often before discharge from hospital and can be detected by a blood test that will assess the degree of jaundice. If you notice that your child's skin is yellow when you return home, consult your doctor or go to the CLSC. More severe jaundice is found in a child who drinks little and whose intestines do not function as well.

Normally, jaundice does not require any specific treatment. However, in some cases, the doctor may ask for phototherapy treatment, which consists of putting the baby to sleep under lamps.

The return to the Foetal position

During these first weeks of life, you'll see that baby will return to the fetal position he had in your womb during his sleep. His natural instincts will bring him back to this reassuring position. Many children maintain this habit for a while, especially when huddled with their beloved mommy!

Umbilical cord

An umbilical cord is the tube that nourishes and connects the baby's navel to the placenta. When it is cut at birth, it is white. It dries out and blackens as the days go by. The nurse attaches it with a large plastic pin to create clotting. With time, it will dry and heal and finally fall off on its own after 7 to 20 days or even 1 month.

The shape of the head

Baby's head will seem bigger and heavier than the rest of his body. If this is only an illusion, the head must be handled with great delicacy and supported at all times. Make sure baby can move it easily from left to right. Stay alert and alternate sides of his head regularly while he sleeps, as he could suffer from a stiff neck!

Some labor and delivery maneuvers can temporarily deform his head. Don't worry, it will return to its rounded shape after a few weeks. 

At birth, the bones of his skull are not yet fused and are therefore very flexible. At the top of baby's skull there is a membrane drawn in the shape of a diamond. Called the large fontanelle, it can be recognized by the small hollow that forms when baby sits down. Small flexible zone, it is definitively welded around the age of 10 to 18 months.

His eyes 

Most newborns are born with blue-gray eyes. Their color will change during the first year to a definitive color. As for the infant's tears, they only appear around the 3rd or 4th week. Don't worry if you don't see them right away, you'll have enough to dry them out over the course of his life!


If your little boy is born at term, the testicles are normally already descended into the scrotum and have a purplish color, a confirmation that the pediatrician will give you as soon as he has examined Junior.

You will find that the foreskin (the excess skin covering the tip of the penis) is attached to the glans (the swollen part at the end of the penis). Do not move this skin or force it to come off. It is not necessary to push the dilation, as it could be painful and could hurt your child. In more than 90% of cases, boys will be naturally dilated by the age of three.

Circumcision is not recommended, unless your religious beliefs dictate it or because of extreme hygiene concerns. The circumcision is very painful for your small baby because it consists in cutting a part or the totality of the foreskin.


In the case of a baby girl, the labia minora may remain swollen for 2 to 3 days after birth. She may also have discharge in the form of a whitish deposit (vernix caseosa) inside the lips and vulva. Wipe off the excess gently, but do not remove it completely, as it serves as antibacterial protection. You may be very surprised, as your baby may have a form of mini-menstruation caused by the extra hormones transferred from her mother before delivery. This is just a few drops of blood during the first week. This is a normal phenomenon and will occur only once.

Sneezing and hiccups

At the very beginning of his young life, baby often sneezes. It takes time to adapt to its new environment and the hairs that protect the inside of its nose are not yet developed. Therefore, he may sneeze up to 10 or 12 times a day to free his nose from secretions that disturb his breathing.

Hiccups often occur after drinking. Not painful for baby, it is reabsorbed after a few minutes.

Not too hot

A newborn needs to be warm, but not too warm. You'll quickly get to know his or her desires. Normally, his room temperature should be between 20 and 24°C (68-75 F). As for the rest of the house, rely on how you feel. If you feel good, it will be good too. For a safe night's sleep, sleepers are the most suitable products.


Periods of wakefulness and sleep

You'll feel like your baby is sleeping all the time from the moment he's born. In fact, he may sleep 12 to 16 hours a day because his need for sleep is so great. But you'll see that as your baby grows older, his sleep will decrease and change over time. The periods of wakefulness will become longer and the sleep will become shorter. If hunger can wake him up 6 to 8 times in a 24-hour period, he will quickly fall back asleep as soon as his feeding is over. As you grow older, the desire to see and feel you at night may replace hunger. If this is the case, it may be time to move on to the next stage with your little one.

For babies who are underweight or premature, you may need to wake them up if the spaces between feeds are too long.

Make your nights

It's every parent's dream... But the reality is quite different! It's up to you to adapt and not to baby. In fact, making a night for a baby means sleeping for five hours straight between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in the morning. This only happens when baby has a more stable schedule, between 3 and 4 months. Others will delay until 8 to 10 months of age.


All sorts of theories about how to put baby to bed have emerged over the years. Today, however, pediatricians agree that, from birth, babies should lie on their backs on a firm mattress. The supine position is recommended because the risk of choking is less than on the stomach and on the side. Do not leave any object in his bed. Soft bedding items, such as pillows, comforters, comforters, quilts or protective borders, may pose a safety hazard.


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