Breastfeeding takes practice
Your baby will need to learn how to breastfeed, just like you do. Unfortunately the first few weeks can be difficult and painful whilst you both get used to it, but it does get easier. Be prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there’s plenty available.
Sometimes new babies lose weight – it’s normal
If your baby starts to lose a little of their birthweight don’t panic; it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not getting enough milk. During the first few days of life, it’s normal for your baby to lose between 5% and 10% of their body weight. Although most babies get back to their birth weight by the time they’re about two weeks old, do check with your doctor if your baby continues to lose weight or you’re particularly worried. You can also call NHS 111.
Babies are able to swim from birth
It’s a little known fact that babies are born with a reflex that makes them naturally hold their breath underwater. They can even splash about with their arms and legs which looks like swimming. Pop along to a swimming class or spend a Saturday morning in a public pool with them and you’ll see what we mean!
Talking starts in the womb
Babies in the womb can actually hear their mother’s voice from about 23 weeks of pregnancy. So although your baby won’t start talking until around one year old, language is forming long before birth. Help your little one listen to your voice as much as possible with lots of talking and singing. It’s never too early to start.
New babies are short-sighted
Newborn babies can only see about 20cm to 30cm (8in to 12in) in front of them clearly. Everything else is rather blurry although they can make out movement. By one to two months old, your baby will be able to focus on an object in front of them. By four months their vision should be just about perfect.
Babies have more bones than adults
At birth, your baby has about 300 bones, even though a fully grown adult only has around 206. Over time, some will fuse together and they’ll grow harder and stronger. You can see this in the skull which is made up of three pieces so your baby’s head can fit through the birth canal. As your baby grows, these skull bones fuse to become one solid bone.
When it comes to baby sleep, anything goes
Newborns need a huge amount of sleep. During the first few weeks, it won’t be unusual to see your baby sleeping up to 18 hours a day. Sleep generally consists of a series of naps at random times throughout the day and night. Eventually they’ll begin to sleep more when it’s dark and quiet. Although your baby is unlikely to be in a regular feeding and sleeping pattern until around three months old, it’s worth learning the sleepy cues and putting your little one down to sleep before overtiredness sets in.
Having a baby is a big learning curve for both you and your partner and there are sure to be plenty of surprises along the way! Don’t forget to speak to your doctor or midwife if you need any help; chances are many new mums have had the same worries many times before.