Congratulations on your new arrival! You must be feeling a mix of emotions as you welcome your baby into the world. The first day of your baby’s life is full of wonder and excitement, but also some challenges and adjustments. You may have many questions about your baby’s development and how to care for them. In this article, we will cover some of the milestones and tips for your 1-day old baby, based on the latest research and expert advice.
How Your Baby Looks and Feels on Day One Your baby may look different from what you expected on their first day of life. They may have a cone-shaped head, swollen genitals, or reddish-purple skin. These are all normal variations that will resolve in a few days or weeks. Your baby’s skin color may also change over time, depending on their genetic makeup and exposure to sunlight. Your baby may also have some birthmarks, such as stork bites or mongolian spots, that are harmless and usually fade over time.
Your baby may feel cold, warm, or sweaty at different times of the day. This is because their body temperature regulation is still developing and they need your help to stay comfortable. You can check your baby’s temperature by feeling their chest or back, not their hands or feet. Dress your baby in one more layer than you would wear yourself, and adjust accordingly. You can also use a thermometer to measure your baby’s temperature if you are unsure. The normal range for a newborn is between 36.5°C and 37.5°C (97.7°F and 99.5°F).
How Your Baby Eats and Sleeps on Day One
Your baby’s main activities on their first day are eating, sleeping, and pooping. They may feed every one to three hours, depending on whether they are breastfed or formula-fed. Breastfed babies tend to feed more frequently and for shorter durations than formula-fed babies. Formula-fed babies may consume about 30 to 60 ml (1 to 2 ounces) per feeding. Your baby may also lose some weight in the first few days, which is normal and expected.
Your baby may sleep for about 16 to 18 hours in a 24-hour period, but not in long stretches. They may wake up every two to four hours for feeding, changing, or cuddling. Your baby may also have some periods of alertness, when they are more responsive to your voice and touch. You can use these opportunities to bond with your baby and stimulate their senses.
The best place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet that meets safety standards, with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Avoid using pillows, blankets, bumpers, or toys that could pose a suffocation or strangulation risk. You can also use a swaddle or a sleep sack to keep your baby warm and cozy. The safest position for your baby to sleep is on their back, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
How Your Baby Communicates and Learns on Day One
Your baby may not be able to talk yet, but they can communicate with you through their cries, coos, and facial expressions. They can also hear your voice and recognize it from the womb. Talking to your baby is one of the best ways to stimulate their brain development and language skills. You can also sing songs, read books, or tell stories to your baby.
Your baby can also see you, but not very clearly. They can focus on objects that are about 8 to 14 inches away from their face, which is the distance between your eyes and theirs during feeding or cuddling. They may also prefer high-contrast colors, such as black and white or red and green. You can use toys or books that have these colors to attract your baby’s attention and help them develop their vision.
Your baby also has some reflexes that help them survive and interact with the world.
Some of these reflexes are:
- Rooting reflex: When you stroke your baby’s cheek or mouth, they will turn their head toward the stimulus and open their mouth. This helps them find the nipple or bottle for feeding.
- Sucking reflex: When you put something in your baby’s mouth, they will suck on it automatically. This helps them get nourishment and comfort.
- Moro reflex: When your baby hears a loud noise or feels a sudden movement, they will throw their arms out and then bring them back in toward their chest. This is a sign of surprise or fear.
- Grasp reflex: When you touch your baby’s palm or foot, they will curl their fingers or toes around it. This shows their natural tendency to hold on to things.
- Tonic neck reflex: When you turn your baby’s head to one side while they are lying on their back, they will extend the arm and leg on that side and flex the opposite ones. This looks like a fencing position.
These reflexes will gradually disappear as your baby grows older and gains more control over their movements.
How to Care for Your Baby on Day One Your baby needs your love and care to thrive and grow. Here are some tips on how to care for your baby on their first day:
- Keep your baby close to you as much as possible. Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby regulate their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It also promotes bonding, breastfeeding, and immunity.
- Feed your baby on demand, not on a schedule. Watch for signs of hunger, such as rooting, sucking, or fussing. Offer your breast or bottle whenever your baby seems hungry, and let them decide how much and how long to feed. Burp your baby after each feeding to prevent gas and spit-up.
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently to prevent diaper rash and infection. Use a gentle wipe or a soft cloth with warm water to clean your baby’s bottom. Apply a thin layer of diaper cream or petroleum jelly to protect their skin. Avoid using talcum powder, as it can cause breathing problems.
- Bathe your baby once or twice a week, or as needed. Use a sponge or a washcloth with warm water and mild soap to gently clean your baby’s face, neck, ears, and genitals. Rinse well and pat dry. Avoid using cotton swabs or alcohol to clean your baby’s ears or umbilical cord stump.
- Check your baby’s umbilical cord stump daily for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, or foul odor. Keep the stump clean and dry by folding the diaper below it. The stump will fall off on its own in about one to two weeks.
- Trim your baby’s nails carefully with a baby nail clipper or file. Do this when your baby is asleep or calm, and use a soft light to see better. Hold your baby’s hand or foot firmly and gently cut or file along the curve of the nail. Be careful not to cut too close to the skin or cause bleeding.
- Monitor your baby’s health and development by checking their temperature, weight, length, and head circumference regularly. You can also use a growth chart to track their progress and compare it with other babies of the same age and sex. If you notice any signs of illness or abnormality, contact your doctor immediately.
Your 1-day old baby is an amazing little person who is learning and growing every minute. Enjoy this precious time with them and cherish every moment. Remember that you are doing a great job as a parent and that you have all the support you need from your family, friends, and health care providers.