What to expect on a newborn baby

What to Expect on a Newborn Baby?

Newborn babies require constant care, love and attention from you as their parent(s). Smiling at them and speaking softly helps create an environment in which they feel secure. Smiling can make all the difference for a newborn’s wellbeing and bonding with parents.

Your newborn will undergo several evaluations within hours after birth, including an Apgar test, blood tests, eye drops and hearing exams.


As soon as a baby is born, they will likely be covered in amniotic fluid, blood and vernix (a cheesy white substance that protects skin during gestation). Breathing on its own could take several minutes before it takes over completely; meconium (black and sticky faeces produced at birth) will most likely pass within 24 hours after birth.

Newborns spend much of their first day sleeping – up to half, according to some estimates – and need to feed at regular intervals, even in the night. When hungry, newborns will wake up, showing cues such as opening their eyes widely or sucking on their lips or shifting their mouth.

Doctors will thoroughly assess a newborn’s vital signs, such as heart and lung functions, listen for any heart murmurs, examine genitals and give them a hearing test before discharge from hospital – this typically involves touching their ear using a small stethoscope.

The first few days

Parents-to-be typically spend their first weeks as parents diapering, feeding and comforting their new little one. While a newborn may seem effortless at first glance, this period can be daunting and draining.

Newborn skin may take on a yellow tint from excess bilirubin levels; this is entirely normal and providers will monitor it over the first few days after birth.

Newborns can communicate their hunger with loud cries or more subtle cues like sucking on hands, licking lips or rooting (when they bend toward breast or bottle). It is essential that parents recognize these signals so they can feed their newborn when necessary.

Newborns are evaluated using an Apgar score, which measures vital signs, activity level and reflex response. A score between seven to nine indicates a healthy newborn while anything lower could indicate additional care such as suctioning, oxygen or closer monitoring in a nursery or NICU setting.

The first week

Newborns sleep a lot during their first week – but they still require feedings! Newborns typically wake every two to four hours for feedings during both the day and night. Breastfeeding mothers will want to consider feeding at least once every hour so their milk gets in.

Vision may be blurry but they can focus on an object approximately 30 centimetres away – the ‘cuddle distance’. Rashes, blotches and spots may appear, which should go away over time. They should pass urine and meconium at least once each, with their stool changing color or consistency during this initial phase.

Your baby’s umbilical stump might fall off during this period; it should heal on its own; for optimal care, sponge baths should help keep the area clean. If there are any concerns regarding its healing process or jaundice symptoms – which is common among newborns but usually resolves itself within days – please speak to a midwife or GP immediately as this issue could persist for some time after birth.

The first month

Within their first month of birth, newborns may lose up to 10 percent of their original birthweight due to expulsion of amniotic fluid that had accumulated inside. This process is entirely natural.

Newborns’ skin is extremely delicate, so bathing should only occur once or twice every week to keep them looking their best. Most pediatricians advise against bathing the umbilical cord stump prior to its eventual cutting off for its own safety.

Lanugo is the fine, downy hair that covers newborns and should naturally fall out within a few weeks, leaving only temporary rash or blotches behind.

Early on, newborns tend to focus their attention on faces and voices of people around them, along with brightly-colored toys and mobiles. By three months old, most can turn their head and kick their legs, as well as make eye contact and smile at someone.

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