Have things settled just a little bit? Are you feeling you’re making headway with some routines around each day or is it all still just a blur?
These are still such early days. Don’t fret about what you should be doing or that you need to set yourself up for long-term habits with your baby. It’s still far too early to expect predictable behaviour from your baby or even yourself.
Here’s a practical guide to the second week with your newborn …
Remember what’s important
The focus now needs to be on you and your little one – you’re still getting to know each other. This can take weeks and for some parents, even months.
If your baby was premature, sick or needed special care, the adjustment phase can take even longer.
Focus on what’s truly important. For you this will be food, sleep, rest and hygiene. For your baby it will be feeds, sleep and gentle interaction. Honestly, everything else is a bonus.
What can I expect in week two?
Your bleeding should be settling a bit this week, but still expect to need pads. Avoid using tampons because of the risk of infection. A heavy blood loss in the first week does not necessarily mean a lighter flow in the weeks to follow.
Are you feeling peckish? If you’re at the fridge all day, just put this down to needing extra kilojoules for lactation. Most women crave sweet food when they are breastfeeding. Try to avoid fat and sugar-laden treats and instead opt for (healthy) yoghurt, fruit and good-quality cereals.
Your body will still be recovering from labour and delivery. So if you’re tired, give in and have a rest. If you don’t feel particularly energetic, put this down to the marathon your body has been through. Time, rest, patience and kindness all make a difference right now.
Week two tips for me
The emotions of having a newborn can vary between feeling almost ambivalent to pure elation. Depending on the hour of the day you could be on cloud nine or feeling very weepy. This is completely normal in week two with a newborn.
There is no one consistent way that all mothers ‘should’ feel in week two.
Here are some tips for getting through it …
- Go with the flow and follow your baby’s lead.
- Prioritise your own needs. If you’re struggling to find time to shower and change each day, ask your partner to mind the baby.
- Avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise until around week six if you had a caesarean.
- If you had an episiotomy or stitches, then you may feel some pulling as you heal.
- Avoid expecting predictable and unchanging routines each day.
- Eat when you can. Prepare snack foods and make sandwiches which can be easily eaten. Bananas and fruit are a great source of nutrition and can be eaten one handed.
- Drink plenty of water. This will help your milk production and avoid constipation.
- Avoid going out too much. Aim to stay at home and have a quiet life for a few weeks.
- If people want to see you then get them to come to your house.
- But don’t be reluctant to place some boundaries around visiting times.
Week two tips for my baby
- The umbilical cord should be close to separating now. Don’t be alarmed if you find a dried up piece of cord stump sticking to their nappy.
- Your baby may look a bit yellow and jaundiced. This is very normal. Lots of feeds will help to rid their body of bile (the reason why their skin is tainted yellow).
- Plenty of feeds are normal at this age and stage. If you’re breastfeeding your baby may be satisfied with one breast, but offer the second if you’re full and they’re still hungry.
- By around week two, most babies are close to regaining their birth weight. But this depends on the type of birth and how they are feeding.
- Use disposable nappies. Even if you’re a conscientious objector to these, put your philosophies on hold for a month or two. Cloth nappies are labour intensive and you can spend your time more productively just now.
- Is your baby a noisy sleeper? You may find them grunting and groaning, stretching and squeaking even though they’re still asleep. Make sure your baby is really awake before picking them up.
- Position your baby’s bassinet or cot beside your bed. This is the safest place for your baby to sleep.
What makes things easier in week two?
- A daytime rest. Quarantine a couple of hours after lunch to rest and sleep if you can. Even lying down can make a huge difference to energy levels into the evening.
- Spend some time with your older children if you can. The last couple of weeks have understandably been about the new baby but try to make some special time for the older ones too.
- Avoid preparing long and involved family meals. Keep things really simple but nutritious. This isn’t the time to be making gourmet dinners.
- Don’t aim too high in terms of what you can achieve in a day. Outsource jobs, leave until later or just don’t bother when it comes to the ‘too hard’ category of jobs to do.
- Decide what’s really important to you in terms of housework. This may be a clean kitchen/bathroom, laundry up-to-date or swept floors. Whichever it is, aim for this and see everything else as a bonus.
- Keep visitors to a minimum in the first few days and weeks if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This is best for the wellbeing of you and the baby.
More week two tips
- Don’t isolate yourself too much. Friends and family will want to know that you’re OK. Brief texts or calls will help to maintain your links.
- If you haven’t already, make sure your baby’s car seat is correctly fitted and secure. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, always.
- Make an appointment for a massage. Self-care is vital.