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Your Baby Week One

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Updated July 16, 2014

1 of 10

First Day's in the Nursery
Sleeping Baby with Hat and Pacifier
Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
How you experience your baby's first days depend on a lot of factors. Chief among these is if you have a full-term baby without any medical problems who can room with you or stay in the well-baby nursery and whether you had a vaginal delivery or c-section. Keep in mind that babies who are born premature or with medical problems may have to go straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit instead.

The other big thing that can influence your experiences with your new baby is whether or not this is your first baby.

With your first baby, everything that happens from her first cries to her first diaper change can be new, unexpected, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming.

Why are diaper changes overwhelming, for example? Because many new parents aren't ready for the large, black, tarry meconium stools that newborn babies have for their first few days.

What You Need To Know

  • Plan to breastfeed your baby within one hour of her birth and then 8 to 12 times a day.

  • Don't be surprised if your baby loses weight before she leaves the hospital. It is normal for babies to lose 5% to 8% of their birth weight during their first week.

  • Your baby will likely have a hearing test, newborn screening test, and will be screened for jaundice before she goes home.

  • Early discharge (less than 48 hours) is reserved for babies who are full-term, feeding well, and have no medical problems or risk factors (large baby, small baby, fever, etc.).

  • Remember that the Apgar score, with which your baby may be assigned when she is born, is not a good predictor of a baby's long-term health. According to the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, "The Apgar score was not designed to predict neurologic outcome. Indeed, the score is normal in most patients in whom cerebral palsy subsequently develops."
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