What to expect during the first 10 days with a newborn

Just had a baby or about to have one? Here’s what you can expect from your new baby during the first 10 days.

Internationally certified childbirth educator and Huggies expert, Lynne Bluff explains…

Babies are aware and are taking everything in

Many parents are surprised to see how alert a newborn is. Right after birth, a newborn’s eyes are open and babies spend a lot of time studying faces – especially their parents’. Your baby may turn or react to the sound of your voices. In fact, babies are able to “mirror” you – give it a try and watch carefully as you interact and connect with your new baby.

During this time, your baby is using all her senses, including smell and touch. This allows her to identify you and differentiate you from other people.

You may feel tired and emotional, so make sure you sleep or rest when your baby rests. Keep visitors to a minimum to allow you, your partner and your baby to connect as a new family.

ALSO SEE: Your ultimate newborn guide with advice from real moms and parenting experts

Skin-to-skin contact

After birth, skin-to-skin contact with your baby is important. Place your baby on your chest immediately after birth and allow her to go through the nine instinctive stages – finding the breast, latching on to the nipple and breastfeeding by herself.

ALSO SEE: 4 benefits of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth

Some babies are sleepy during the first 24 hours and may not want many feeds, while others are more awake and will want to feed more frequently. Try to offer your baby a feed every two hours or so to help get breastfeeding well established and your milk flowing. Each baby is different, and you will soon get a sense of what your baby needs and wants.


Correct positioning, attachment and latching while breastfeeding is essential. Check the shape of your nipples each time your baby comes off the breast – they should look round, not squashed, pinched, flattened, ridged or distorted in shape. If this does occur, ask for assistance with your next feed or contact a lactation consultant.

You can find a lactation consultant in your area on www.expectantmothersguide.co.za.

Once latched, breastfeeding should not hurt. If it is sore while your baby is latching, something is wrong. Take your baby off the breast and re-latch her. Remember that although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is a learned skill and you and your baby are learning together.

ALSO SEE: How to get a good breastfeeding latch

How to hold a newborn

There are a variety of correct ways to hold your baby, from the snuggle hold to the face-to-face hold, depending on how you want to interact with your baby. Remember your new baby is not a fragile China doll – hold her firmly and confidently and she will feel secure in your arms.

Bath time

It is important not to bath your little one for the first few days to allow the good bacteria on your baby’s skin keep her skin healthy. Use natural baby products that look after your baby’s microbiome. Newborn babies don’t need a bath every day. In fact, a lot of babies get rashes and dry skin from too many baths. Your little one only needs a bath once or twice a week. After a few months, daily baths are fine, but it is important to use a moisturiser after bathing.

ALSO SEE: How to bath a newborn

Nappy changes

Your newborn baby will poo several times a day and urinate every one to three hours. Wetness doesn’t bother most babies, so don’t expect her to cry or show discomfort every time she needs a nappy change. Check baby’s nappy regularly.

ALSO SEE: Caring for your babys umbilical cord

“The first few days with your new baby can be a very emotional time for you and your partner. There’s a lot to learn and do as new parents. Remember that everyone is different and every experience is different. So, take it easy on yourself and be patient. Becoming a mom is a journey and you and your little one will learn together,” says Lynne.

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