What to expect when you are no longer expecting

What to expect when you are no longer expecting

First of all, congratulations, you have a baby!

When that baby gets here, it can be quite an experience. Besides the delivery, having a new baby can be overwhelming at times, and we want you to know that’s a normal feeling. First baby, third baby, fifth baby – every single one is different, and it’s hard to compare your child versus another or a sibling. So, throw out those kinds of expectations, and let’s start fresh.

  1. Feeding

During the first 24 hours after being born, babies don’t want to do much of anything except for sleep or cry or just be cute. Usually after around 24 hours, the baby will wake up with a chip on its shoulder and want to feed more aggressively, and that’s good. So, for that first 24 hours, don’t be surprised if breastfeeding isn’t going as easily as you thought it would. As long as you are trying to feed baby every couple hours, that’s fine.

Every day, it gets better and better. For you to be discharged home from the hospital, the baby should be feeding pretty well. This usually happens around day 2 or 3. Because the baby struggles to feed in the beginning and because mom’s milk isn’t in, babies lose weight. This is normal. All babies do this. Usually, it is about 2-3 percent of their body weight per day. Day 4 rolls around, and they are normally at their lowest weight. Then they should start to gain about a ½ ounce to an ounce per day.

As long as they are feeding well, that is what we are looking for. After you get home from the hospital, you will see your pediatrician in a few days, and they will be checking to see that baby regains that weight.

Give your baby breastmilk or formula. They don’t need anything else. They don’t need water. They don’t need juice or Diet Coke or whatever else you might be drinking.

  1. Dealing with #2

Babies poop. In the beginning, it’s gross. It’s this thick, black, tarry stuff called meconium. As the baby starts to take more in, it can look more mustard seedy. It can look brown; it can be all kinds of different colors.

Grandma will worry about the poop. She’ll say it’s too hard or too wet or something. Only worry in two circumstances: if it is hard like pebbles, that is concerning. Two, if it’s bloody. Everything else is pretty normal.

Baby poops once a day; it’s okay. Baby poops 20 times a day; it’s okay. It can be all kinds of different things, most of which you don’t need to be concerned about. If you are seeing pebbles or blood or baby is not gaining weight, then contact the physician office.

  1. Jaundice

Jaundice is a complicated thing, but basically, it’s the yellowing of the skin. All babies are jaundiced to some degree. We are checking every day in the hospital to make sure baby’s levels don’t get too high, as it can affect the brain.

If the level does get too high, we will talk about putting them under those blue lights to drive the levels back down. If that happens, make sure you get a picture for the baby book. Babies do great with this type of treatment.

Remember: No two babies are alike. No two moms or dad are alike. If you have any questions, feel free to call your pediatrician.

Dr. Aaron Traeger is a pediatrician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Medical Group. His philosophy of care focuses on providing an outstanding medical home that not only focuses on illness but also on child development and family interactions. To make an appointment with Dr. Traeger, click here

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About the Author

Dr. Aaron Traeger
Dr. Aaron Traeger

Dr. Aaron Traeger is a pediatrician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Medical Group. His philosophy of care focuses on providing an outstanding medical home that not only focuses on illness but also on child development and family interactions.