Your baby is 3 weeks old
You are probably getting the hang of breastfeeding by now or are a dab hand at sterilising bottles and teats.
This week you may want to venture outside with your newborn and show her off to the world. Don’t forget, as long as your baby is nice and warm, you can take her for a walk as soon as you are discharged from hospital unless your midwife advises against it.
Most mums like to have one activity that they do a day – even if it’s going to buy fresh milk, just to get out of the house with your little one. Just remember to wrap your baby up if it is cold outside or take a sun shade or clip on parasol if it is hot. Newborn babies need extra protection from extreme weather. Have a look at our Sun Safety article.
Your baby this week
This week your baby may get excited when you or your partner come into sight, as she is recognising you as mum and dad. Remember she can only see 8-10 inches from her face so bring your face close to hers when you talk to her. Newborn babies are born with a grasping reflex that means if you put your finger in her fist she will grasp it. This is just a reflex though and she won’t be able to grasp an object until she is nearer two months old.
Make sure you are always supporting your baby’s head and neck, as newborns have virtually no head or neck control when they are born. You may notice your newborn settling into a routine of eating and sleeping but you are in early days yet, so don’t worry if this isn’t happening. Things will be haphazard till next month.
Your body this week
You are probably starting to feel incredibly tired as continuous nights of no sleep take their toll. Your partner may have gone back to work this week, leaving you alone with your baby. As daunting as this may seem, you will soon get the hang of coping on your own and will come to relish this time when you get endless hours to bond with your baby. Once you become aware of when your baby is likely to nap (between 9-10am for instance) you can start to plan things like your morning shower or bath around naps.
This week you may feel like venturing out with your baby, so make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for the weather, and keep her out of direct sunlight as her skin is too delicate to cope.
Although it is early days in terms of sleep and routines it might be a good idea to read up about encouraging good sleep habits for your baby so that when it’s time to crack down on sleep, you know what to do. Even at this early stage newborns still enjoy some sort of routine, even if it is a bath and baby massage each night before you put him down for his evening nap.
If you are still having problems breastfeeding consider talking to someone about it; breastfeeding councillors can advise you if you think you are not breastfeeding properly, if your baby is having lots of short feeds instead of long ones or if your breasts are painful. You should also familiarise yourself with the symptoms of mastitis and how to avoid it. Here are some useful numbers for breastfeeding support:
The breastfeeding network: 0870 900 8787 (9.30am-9.30pm)
La Leche League (UK): 0207 242 1278 (24 hours)
NCT Breastfeeding helpline: 0870 444 8708 (8am-10pm)