1. Your Baby May Look a Little Funny
Here’s the truth: Your baby’s face may be smooshed from their journey through the birth canal, and they might be sporting a “bodysuit” of fine hair called lanugo. They could also be puffy-faced and their eyes may be shut (and a little gooey).
2. You’ll to Have to Wait for Smiles
Up until then, you’re working for a boss who is pretty demanding. To get through the exhaustion and emotional upheaval, keep this in mind: Your efforts in those early days aren’t lost on your baby.
4. You’ll Also Have to Wait for Bath Time
Until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, it’s sponge baths only for your baby. If the cord is kept dry, it falls off faster—usually within two weeks. If the umbilical cord does get wet, pat it dry.
5. The Soft Spot Is Nothing to Fear
“I was terrified of the soft spot,” admits April Hardwick, of New York City, referring to the opening in the skull, also called the fontanel, which allows a baby to maneuver out of the birth canal. “Gemma had a full head of hair at birth, and I was initially afraid to comb over the soft spot,” Hardwick says.
6. Your Baby Will Let You Know If They’re Eating Enough
Babies need to eat every two to three hours, but if you’re nursing, it’s tough to know how much milk your baby is actually getting. The good news is, there is a way to tell: “The baby’s weight is the best indicator in the early days,” says Dr. Tolcher.
Your pediatrician will check your baby‘s weight within a few days of discharge. A newborn loses 5% to 8% of their birthweight within the first week but should gain it back by the second.
7. How to Change a Diaper
There’s no doubt that babies poop—a lot! If you’re still getting the hang of diapering, learn how to change one at 6 weeks.
8. Dry Skin Is Normal for Newborns
Initially, your baby may have soft and silky skin, but that will soon change.
You don’t have to do anything about your baby’s dry skin (it typically peels and flakes off), but if you’re so inclined, reach for a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free baby lotion.
Little pink bumps, diaper rashes, and even baby acne may also make an appearance.
9. Newborns Cry—A Lot
Those piercing wails are how your baby communicates: They will let you know they’re hungry, cold, have a dirty diaper, or want to be held. These early “conversations” can be frustrating but rest assured, you’ll get a better handle on what your baby needs in time.
10. “Cat Naps” Are a Very Real Thing
Those first three months are a free-for-all. Your baby needs to eat every two to three hours, so you’re not getting much sleep either. “It does get better,” assures Dr. Altmann. “Most infants can sleep for six to eight hours by 3 months of age.”
In the meantime, try to get your baby on a day and night schedule. During the day, don’t let them snooze more than three hours without waking them to feed; at night, let your baby sleep as long as they want once they have regained the weight lost at birth.