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After months and months of a seemingly unending pregnancy, your delivery has been successful and your baby is finally here. Now there are additional responsibilities on you as a parent, since the external world is not as safe as your inner womb. All the new emotions and feelings that a baby experiences is going to be new for him as well as you. In a way, it’s a new life for both of you- a life filled with learning, love, and growing together.
1 Week Old Baby Development
If you’ve had a natural vaginal birth, the shape of your baby’s head might be slightly elongated. This is because his head ends up squeezing a bit as he passes down your birth canal. It is absolutely fine and his head will return back to its natural shape within a few days.
Along with the shape, there are primarily two soft areas situated on the head, one at the top and one behind. These are termed fontanelles. They do have a protective covering, however, these areas are where the skull starts growing and filling up over the next couple of years.
At times, in the initial week, his skin might have small red patches or rashes of sorts. This usually is due to the skin’s extreme sensitivity to the outside world and returns back to normal soon. The palms and soles might undergo some peeling of the skin at this time, too.
Having severed the umbilical cord during delivery, the doctors would have tied a knot, and all that’s remaining would be a small stump of it. It usually dries and falls off in a week or two. During that period, it is important to be gentle around the area and uses sponges to bathe the baby if necessary.
Certain parents worry a lot when they see their little one’s genitals to be swollen and even inflamed, at times. There’s no reason to worry since this is primarily the effect of the mother’s hormones being present with the baby.
Around this period, babies tend to breathe erratically, with some short breaths, or long breaths, and small periods when they don’t seem to be breathing. Your child might even make certain sounds while breathing, too. This is just them getting to terms with the new activity and it usually normalises in 4-6 weeks.
[Also Read: Newborn Baby Development]
One Week Old Baby Milestones
One of the major checks that a baby undergoes is the APGAR test. APGAR is an acronym formed by the initials of Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. These 5 parameters are checked immediately after the delivery of the baby. By understanding if the skin colour is fine, heart rate is normal, reflexes and muscle tone is good, and breathing is fine under normal circumstances, doctors can continue ahead with the process, or undertake medical intervention to help the baby.
Most babies stay curled up like they were inside the womb. Your child would not be able to see around much, glancing only for some seconds, and barely being able to see anything that’s beyond 15 cms or so. When you take your baby in your arms, he will feel your presence and on seeing your face will continue staring at it for a long time.
A cumulative sleep duration of about 15-19 hours is considered normal since all the tiny naps are broken by incessant hunger and the need to feed. Nearly once every couple of hours, your baby would want to eat, then sleep, and poop. The initial poop will be thick and green in colour. This is due to the presence of a substance in the baby’s intestine while he was a foetus, called as meconium. Over time, with feedings, the poop will become yellow.
On sensing your finger on his palm, he will grab it and not let go. If you touch his cheeks or lips, he will immediately turn in that direction and start making sucking movements with his mouth. This is an inherent reflex in all babies, called as rooting reflex, which helps them discover a breast and drink milk to sustain themselves.
[Also Read: Newborn Baby Milestones]
The little one will be hungry and will reflexively start sucking in any way possible to get whatever he can. He will look around for your breast, find the nipple, latch on successfully and drink milk till he’s full. At other times, it may not be as easy as it seems. If you are facing any breastmilk production issues, offering your breast to the baby and having the suckling sensation on the nipples can trigger the body to start producing milk as well.
If resorting to formula feeds, the quantity needs to be precise as recommended by the doctor and the formula should be prepared just as mentioned on the package. The baby’s age and weight play an important governing factor in deciding that.
A 1 week old baby’s sleep requirements are extremely high. The entire process of delivery is quite taxing and exhausting on the child as well, followed by coming to terms with a new world and all the sensations and emotions that haven’t been felt before.
In the initial week, let your baby sleep on his back since that’s the safest and most comfortable position for him. The temperature of the room should be appropriate and avoid any smoke or pollutants from entering the room. The tendency to sleep is extremely powerful and cannot be overcome by the little one. This may result in him falling asleep with your breast in his mouth, right in the middle of the feed. Feeding, too, is an energy-consuming activity for him and can get him tired and sleepy right away.
[Also Read: Newborn Baby Sleeping Basics]
Most of the babies around this time are usually quieter, compared to the ruckus they set up later in life. The only times your child will make a sound is when he cries for food or if he has peed. The rest of the time they are either sleeping or coming to terms with this brave new world around them. A 1 week old baby sleeping through the night is quite a rarity, since most of them are awake for a while, staring at their mothers or listening to voices, feeding and then dozing off.
Many parents and relatives are eager to jump to conclusions about the baby’s personality and future based on their observations in the initial week. They might deem him to be a troublemaker or a calm person and so on. Most babies are quite satisfied if fed properly, cuddled in a skin-to-skin fashion, and allowed to have enough sleep throughout. They will simply keep looking around and listening to the new voices. If your child’s routine is disrupted and he doesn’t get what he wants, this could lead to a lot of crying and be exhausting for him, too.
1 Week Old Newborn Baby Care Tips
Here are some tips to take care of your newborn.
1. Time to Turn Nocturnal
The fear of staying up nights can make you worry a lot. There will be a time when your child will sleep through the night and you will, too. Until then, it is important to let your baby know the differences in time, by keeping the nights as quiet, calm, and dimly lit as possible.
2. Hydrated Baby Is a Must
Sometimes, your baby might not feed as much as needed. Other times, he might be ill and have a fever, end up vomiting or have constant diarrhoea. All of these leave your child dehydrated which can be quite harmful to him. Bring this to your doctor’s notice.
3. No Messing Around With the Umbilical Cord
Yes, it does not look pretty. But the stump needs its own time to dry and fall off by itself. Do not attempt to try and remove it yourself or even pick at its surface. Give it a couple of weeks and the stump will turn black in colour and then fall away.
4. Don’t Let the Green Scare You
First-time parents are always in for a shock when they see their baby’s poop in green. These are just the final after-effects of emerging out of the womb. Initial poops are mostly green, black, and sticky. Over time, it gets yellow.
5. Let the Feet Touch the Cot
While your baby sleeps on his back, position him in such a way that his tiny feet touch the base of the cot or the crib. This will ensure that there is no room for him to slide downwards and the blanket won’t end up covering his face.
6. Wrap Your Baby Up Comfortably
Using a light cloth to wrap the baby helps keep his limbs secure since he would usually be moving around a lot and could end up hitting himself in the face and disturbing his sleep. Swaddling also helps him feel safe and he can rest peacefully.
7. A Little Blood for a Test Is No Problem
Certain doctors might recommend conducting a few blood tests on the baby and will collect blood samples by gently pricking his heel. It could make your baby cry and that’s fine since only a few drops of blood are collected and there’s no harm as such.
[Also Read: Newborn Baby Care]
Tests And Vaccinations
Three major vaccines are administered within the first week of the delivery, one of them within 12 hours of birth itself. This vaccine is the hepatitis B vaccine, which is the first to be given to prevent any infection to the liver. The other vaccines are the polio OPV vaccine and the tuberculosis BCG vaccine.
Games and Activities
Your baby is extremely curious about this time. You can keep him engaged by using your fingers and making sounds and movements. If you have tiny finger socks, these can be used as puppets and shown to your baby, with different voices and movements. Slowly and steadily, he will begin to associate movement and sound together.
Another curious thing for your baby is your face. So make sure he sees a lot of it and in every form possible. Making a variety of expressions and going from a normal one to a happy one to a sad one to a funny one, will show him how the face works and how with different expressions, the person is still the same.
[Also Read: Newborn Baby Games and Activities]
When to Consult a Doctor
If you notice the following signs in the baby, it is advised to consult a doctor.
If your baby is not having as many bowel movements as he should have, or if the poop is dry and hard, these could be signs of constipation.
Hiccups are quite normal among babies. But if your child seems uncomfortable with them, or has unending hiccups, contact your doctor.
Spitting up a little food with a burp is normal. If that continues excessively, it could signify reflux.
4. Peeling Of Skin
This is normal and varies from baby to baby. If the peeling seems different or leaves marks on the skin, it could be a different skin condition altogether.
5. Cross Eyes
Babies struggle to focus and end up with their eyes looking cross. If this isn’t occasional and more of a default look for your kid, get your doctor’s advice.
Babies are adjusting to the new world. But if they are a lot fussier than usual throughout the day, they might be facing some problems.
Though eyes and skin might be yellow in the initial days, if they continue to be so and get stronger, let your doctor know.
8. Eye Roll
During sleep, babies do roll their eyes back in their drowsiness. If that stays even while awake, a doctor’s examination may be necessary.
9. Discharge In Eyes
Little sticky eyes are fine for the baby since tear ducts are yet to develop. But if the watery discharge is excessive and eyes look swollen, it could signify an infection.
Having the baby in your arms is a wonderful feeling that is completely incomparable. . By keeping yourself happy and positive, and taking the necessary precautions, the entire journey from raising a newborn to childhood will be wonderful.
Next Week: 2 Weeks Old Baby