Your first month with a newborn
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: your baby is FINALLY here. But with no instruction manual, it can feel a little overwhelming knowing how to keep your baby happy and content. Here’s what to expect in your first month with a newborn and how to make life as easy as possible for you both.
No matter if you’re a first-time parent or have previously had kids, there’s a LOT to get to grips with in those first 4 weeks. Probably no surprise then that, ‘How to survive the first month with a newborn’ is a surprisingly common question searched by new parents. Factor in a whole new tiny person to care for, along with limited sleep and endless nappy changes and you can see why.
So knowing what’s coming up for you and your baby, including what you need to do and how much sleep you’ll really get, can be helpful. We’ve rounded up the top tips we were given, along with the advice we wished we’d had.
1. Your baby will sleep a lot
You might find your newborn is asleep more than they are awake, and that’s totally normal. In fact, they could well be napping for anything from 8 to 18 hours a day.
Every baby is different, so how they sleep will vary too. They might sleep in long stretches or only for shorter periods of time. In those first 4 weeks you’ll get to know your baby’s sleep pattern. Although be warned, it could change!
2. You will NOT sleep a lot
Life with a new baby is a whirl of new routines, lots of cuddles … and not much sleep.
In those first 4 weeks, your baby won’t know the difference between night and day. You can help set their body clock by getting them changed for bed in the evenings, making your room dark at bedtime and keeping noise low. Here’s all you need to know about your baby’s sleep cycle .
3. You’ll get through a lot of nappies
Bought nappies before your baby arrived? You’re going to need waaaaay more.
Newborn babies need between 10-12 nappy changes a day, which can be quite a shock for new parents. Luckily there’s a simple way to save money and keep your baby happy and dry.
Aldi Mamia Newborn Premiums Dry Fast nappies are super absorbent and amazing value for money too, at just 85p for a 24-pack.
They’re hypoallergenic – a must for your newborn’s delicate skin – and have a clever wetness indicator which lets you know when it’s time to change your baby. No wonder they are Netmums Recommended!
You can even get a pack for free. Yes, really!
Just sign up and you’ll get a voucher for a free, full-sized pack of newborn nappies, to use at Aldi.
4. You’ll get a red book
Usually just after your baby is born you'll be given a red book by your health provider (although sometimes you might get it before they arrive).
This red book is your baby’s personal child health record, and you’ll need to take it to every GP or health visitor appointment. It’s where your baby’s vaccinations, weight and health are recorded. This helps you see where they are on the centile charts (you’ll be hearing a lot about these!) – basically the average weight and height for babies depending on their age. It's also a place to ensure they have their vaccinations before starting nursery or school, where you can write down important milestones or events like when they caught chicken pox and otherwise keep tabs on their health, all in one handy place.
5. Your baby will have a few tests
When your baby is between 5 to 8 days old, they’ll have a heel prick test to screen for rare diseases. This is usually done by a midwife. They’ll also have a newborn hearing test (while you’re still in hospital or at our local health centre) and a newborn physical examination.
It’s easy to lose track of dates and times, so pop them all in your calendar and set up alerts so you don’t forget.
6. You’ll see a health visitor
Your baby will have a new baby review, usually in the first couple of weeks after they’re born. A health visitor will either come to your house, or you’ll go to a clinic or your GP surgery.
Some parents find this appointment a bit nerve-wracking but remember: the health visitor is there to help you and isn’t looking to catch you out or judge you . Not showered or have baby sick in your hair? They honestly won’t care.
Instead, try and use the appointment to get any advice you want. From feeding to nappies, and everything in between, they can help. Jot down your questions before they arrive so you don't forget anything.
7. Family and friends will drop by
… often unannounced and usually when you’re in the middle of a feed or particularly explosive nappy change.
While it’s lovely so many people want to meet your new baby, it can feel quite overwhelming, especially if they end up staying for a while and still expect a cup of tea.
In those first few weeks, don’t be afraid to limit the number of visitors you have. It’s also okay to let people know that if they do come, it will only be a short visit. We also like having a signal we can give a partner or other family when we're tired, so they can politely bring the visit to an end.
Ask them to wash their hands when they arrive and if they have a cold to stay away until they’re better. Remember: this is your family, so you set the rules.
8. You’ll start a diary
Some parents like to keep a log of how often their baby eats and how often they have wet and dirty nappies. This is especially helpful, especially when you’re sleep-deprived, as it helps you spot patterns.
Newborns feed at least 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period for the first few weeks. Keeping a log will reassure you that they are feeding enough. Plus, if you have more children in the future, it’s a very handy record of what feeding schedule to expect.
Meanwhile your baby should have around 6 wet nappies a day
9. There will be LOTS of cuddles
When they’re first born, your baby can only see about 8 to 10 inches away. Which is just the right distance to see the face of the person holding them.
Cuddling your baby is a simple, and lovely, way for you both to bond. So spend those first weeks (and beyond) having lovely hugs. Awww.
10. You’ll read about poo
Baby poo to be precise. In the first days and weeks after your baby’s arrival, their poo will be a variety of different colours and textures.
From black meconium when they’re first born through to yellow or green, here’s your complete guide to baby poo .
According to the NHS, your newborn will poo about 4 times a day (another reason for stocking up on Aldi Mamia Newborn Premium Dry Fast nappies !).
11. You’ll register your baby’s birth
This has to be done within 42 days of your baby being born, so you’ve got a little longer than the first 4 weeks. And if you haven’t already decided, it gives you a bit more time to choose your baby’s name.
Psst: Our baby name hub has all the inspiration you need, from baby name's that can't be shortened to the most popular names beginning with certain letters.
12. You might feel overwhelmed
That's totally normal. Adjusting to life with a new baby can be a challenge, and that’s okay. Lack of sleep and not really knowing what you’re doing is tough to cope with, but you’re not alone. Many other parents feel the same, and there is help out there if you need extra support.
Contact your health visitor or GP or talk to family and friends if you’re struggling to cope. They are there to help you.
13. You’ll get to grips with feeding
How you feed your baby – breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a combo of both – is entirely up to you. In that first month you’ll work out what works for you and your baby.
Your newborn has got a tiny tummy so will start with small amounts of milk which will gradually increase day by day. If you’re formula feeding, offer around 7ml per feed, every 2 to 3 hours on day one. By day 3 you could offer 38ml per feed every few hours. After the first week, your baby will need around 150 to 200ml per kilo of their weight each day. In other words, if they are 3kg, they’ll need between 450 to 600ml formula a day, spread over several feeds. If you’re unsure, talk to your GP or health visitor.
And remember, every baby is different, so keep an eye out for signs that your baby is having enough, including around 6 wet nappies a day from a few days after they are born).
Keep an eye on Aldi’s Special Buys , as you’ll often find everything from feeding bottles to electric sterilisers.
14. You’ll venture out with your baby
Going outside for the first time with your new baby is quite a moment. Get prepared by packing your changing bag with spare nappies, a change of clothes and Mamia Extra Sensitive Baby Wipes .
They’re Netmums Recommended and are 99.4% water so as close to cotton wool and water as a wipe can get.
15. You’ll get lots of pressies
Okay, so you won’t but your baby will. From teddies to special mementoes, family and friends will pop round with lovey gifts. (See next tip!)
Don’t worry about thank you cards yet. No one will expect a card straight away (you have just had a baby after all!). For quick and easy cards, search online for easy photo postcards.
16. You’ll start playing with your baby
From counting their tiny fingers and toes to singing to them, you’ll start finding ways to interact with your baby. You can read to your baby from the moment they are born too, and they’ll love the sound of your voice.
Your baby is born with a grabbing reflex so they’ll be able to grasp your finger with their hand or toes. So cute.
Want more new parent tips? Check out our top tips and money-saving advice, below.