Everything you need to know on day 5 of the first week with your newborn baby.
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Practical information about your baby
Newborn babies want to be fed every two to three hours. Your gynecologist or midwife or nurse in the hospital have explained you how often you need to give her a bottle. The usual frequency is 6 to 8 feedings per 24 hours. It is not necessary to do this at fixed intervals. You increase the amount of feeding with 10 ml per day per feeding.
So on day 5 most babies drink 50 ml per feeding.
When your baby is small and/or less hungry she might drink 40 ml per feeding and when your baby is large and/or more hungry she might drink 60 ml per feeding. That is all okay.
If your baby stops drinking at the end of the quantity offered, then she shows you she is finished for now.
Note: Alternate between your right and left arm when feeding your baby or put her on your legs, straight in front of you to avoid her to develop a preference for one side of his head to sleep on. Babies always like to make contact, so if you alternate right and left he will have to change the position of his face to be able to look at you!
Bathing your baby
The reason I advice to bath the baby for the first time on day 5 has to do with the fact that all babies loose weight untill day 4. I find it more important that the baby uses her energy to drink and not loose to much weight until day 4.
When the baby starts to grow on day 5 the bathing ritual can start!
Most babies love being bathed. You can bathe your baby any time of day, preferably not immediately after a feeding to prevent your baby from spitting back a lot of the feeding.
Picking the best moment is entirely up to you.
Preparation starts with heating the metal hot-water bottle to heat the crib and the babies clothes. While bathing the baby, place the hot-water bottle (with the clothes wrapped around it) in the crib. Be careful! Metal poppers or buttons on clothes may heat up from being in contact with the hot-water bottle. You can also use a warm beanbag instead.
It is important to mix the water in the bath well so it is the same temperature everywhere in the bath. The temperature of the water should be around 38• C. If you use a bath thermometer, check the water temperature first with your elbow. Unfortunately, not all bath thermometers are reliable.
Wheater to use a bathoil or soapfree bathfoam is up to your own preference.
Fill your baby bath with buckets of water. Lifting a full bath is much too heavy for your back. A tummy tub needs much less water.
After undressing your baby on the changing table on the changing pad you can hold her in the bath. The warmth and the ease of movement she has in the water will remind your baby of the time she spent in your safe womb. Some babies may feel a bit unlimited by the amount of space they get in the bath. In that case you should hold the babies feet against the foot end of the bath, with her buttocks pressed to the bath floor and your free hand on her tummy. That will make your baby feel safe.
Most babies hate all the messing about that goes on when they are being prepared for bath and when they are being dressed or undressed. To work in a warm environment will help.
Be aware that it is not strictly necessary to bathe and wash your baby from head to toe every day. It will be enough to use a hydrophilic washcloth or clean cotton wool and clean the babies hands, mouth, neck (the place where the milk will stick), under the armpits, genitals and between the buttocks.
It is not necessary (and even better) to wash your baby's hair with shampoo until you notice that the hair starts to smell musty and cleaning it by sprinkling the bathwater over the head does not work sufficient anymore.
You can watch the video below on how to dry your baby after the bath.
Note: Nowadays most parents do not bathe their baby every day as that would dehydrate the skin.
How to prepare the baby for a bath
Giving the baby a bath
Care after the bath
After bath interacting and bonding time with daddy
Dressing the baby after the bath
The skin of a newborn baby is very fragile because the natural protective layer is not yet in place. In a sense, the skin is not yet completely finished. Do not forget how sensitive a babies skin is!
Ears and nose
Babies may have some earwax in their ears. It is harmless, you can ignore it. Never clean the ears with a cotton wool swab, as this may push the earwax further into the ear. Contact with the cotton swab will only encourage the ear to produce more wax. If you like, you may carefully clean the outer ear gently with a damp cloth but it is not really necessary. Similarly, only the outside of your babies nose needs to be cleaned.
Baby nails grow very quickly and babies may scratch their own face. What you can do is file the nails with a cardboard file. Often, the nails simply break off by themselves. In the beginning, it is best not to cut the nails: you could cut off too much or leave sharp edges with which the baby can scratch herself. Besides, there is the risk of cutting the finger, which may lead to an infection. After about two months, you can start using special nail scissors for babies. Cut them straight, to prevent ingrown nails.
Defecation with breastfeeding
Since the nutrition of the past 5 days has mixed with the rest of the meconium the defecation of your baby has become light brown or yellow already. The breastfeeding poo is as yellow as the picture shown.
It is good to know that your baby produces spray diapers most of the time. It sounds hard if they press out the poo, but in many cases the amount is little. Breastfeeding poo contains a lot of fluid and only some small waist-parts. This will be the case as long as your baby does not drink any other feeding. The frequence on defecation can change from (almost) every diaper to only one time in a whole week! This is due to the fact that the intestines develop and are able to hold the small amount of waist produced when only consuming breastfeeding. Most of the nutrition from breastfeeding can be absorped by the intestines.
Defecation with formula feeding
With formula feeding your baby produces turds. This is because less of the nutrition from the formula feeding can be absorped by the intestines of your baby and more waist is left over.
Taking out the hot-water bottle during day time
In summer you obviously do not need a hot-water bottle at all when your baby keeps her temperature between 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) and 37.5 ‘C (100.5 ‘F) day and night.
If you start not using the hot-water bottle anymore during daytime, you check your babies temperature when you take her out of her bed before you start the feeding.
If the temperature is between 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) and 37.5 ‘C (100.5 ‘F) then your baby is okay without a hot-water bottle.
Here is what you can do if her temperature is lower than 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F):
Note: In general your baby will be able to hold her temperature without a hot-water bottle by now. Best is to not use it and instead put an extra blanket on her bed and put her hat on for a few more days, especially in winter.
The baby's position in the cradle or cot
The recommended position for the baby is on her back in a cradle or cot halfway, with her head turned on one cheek. The baby should not sleep on her stomach. It is better not to let your baby sleep in the playpen if the floor of the playpen is too hard, which most of the time is the case, although nowadays it is also possible to buy thick matrasses with the exact size of the playpen. Having your baby sleep on the couch or on the dressing table is dangerous because there is the danger of rolling off.
Skin to skin contact
In general a good time to have skin to skin contact is in the morning hours after you have been taking care of the first morning feeding and of yourself! You are probably tired again of taking a shower, having breakfast etc. and it is to early to go to sleep again. But resting and have this quality time with your baby is wonderful. Just leave the outside world outside and enjoy and recover at the same time!
The fifth night might be a bit of a busy night again. Your baby will in this case help you through the last part of the engorgement period by drinking all the available milk from the breast!
It is heavy on you as parents, but the baby knows exactly what she wants and when, so don't worry!
When you give your baby formula the advice is to increase the amount already during the last feeding of the day (usually between 22.00-23.00 hours). So around the mentioned time of the evening you offer your baby 60 ml and you will keep on doing that during the whole night and next day.
By now the breast will be more soft again if the engorgement started on day 3. Adding warmth and palpate the breast before latching your baby on will most probably still be necessary. You might still feel some hard spots in your breasts (especially underneath the armpits). These hard spots will also dissapear in one or two more days.
Engorgement while giving formula
Today it will still be necessary to wear a tight bra day and night. Even while taking a shower still leave your bra on. Don’t put the water jet directly on the breasts, because that way you get more stimulation. Quickly change your wet bra for a dry one after you have dried your body.
While changing the bra give your breasts a quick look to check for any red spots that might indicate a breast infection. The chance of a breast infection is not great, but if you see a red spot on one of your breasts which feels warm and painful if you touch it, contact your midwife or home doctor (GP).
Perineum and stitches
To remove the waste products from the traumatized tissue more quickly, you can take Arnica D-6 drops 3 times a day, 10 drops with some water.
It is important to keep the traumatized and stitched tissue clean by flushing with water after you have urinated. Most practical is to use a sports-bottle with a pull cap to squeese the luke warm water in the right direction. Cleaning this area using the shower head twice a day is also recommended. Further it helps the recovery of this area to lie down without your underwear on a cellulose pad once or twice daily for about 1 to 2 hours to allow the stitches to heal in the air.
Stool urge will generally start up again a couple of days after delivery. Your stool may be a bit harder. It helps if you drink a lot and eat fibre-rich food.
If you have problems with your stool you can ask for some support on this at the drugstore.
Eat and drink well
Because you most probably are getting more out of bed and walk around in your own kitchen again it can make it more easy to choose for some foods you can actually see there are in your own home!
As mentioned before it is important for new mothers, to eat and drink well. If you are in your bedroom most of the time, do not hesitate to ask your partner to provide you with food several times a day. You might have your appetite back by now which makes it more easy to eat properly. Still it is good to make sure you have things in the fridge you like to eat or even long for since you where not allowed to eat all foods during pregnancy.
And very important as well: drink a lot; preferably water and/or tea.
Try to get sufficient rest. This remains one of the most important things!
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Switch off your doorbell when you sleep, turn off your phone and ignore the social media. Do not underestimate the amount of rest you will need for some time!
My advice is to sleep every afternoon as long as you give night-feedings.
You cannot force sleep, but you can rest; at least 1 1/2 hour low-stimulus time to recover and to be able to emotional processing everything you experience.
Another tip is to (also) go to bed early and already have 1 or 2 hours sleep before the last feeding of the day which usually takes place between 22.00-23.00 hours.
Loss of (blood) clots
By now the blood loss will have reduced a lot. The color has changed from bright red to dark red or even brown (older blood). It is still possible to lose one or two larger blood clots, or some small ones.