They are called newborns for a reason. They are new, freshly born to be more specific, and anything that is new should be treated with caution and love. While babies are incredibly resilient, they are also incredibly fragile. They are experiencing everything adults take for granted for the very first time. They are experiencing sunlight for the first time and the feeling of wind on their face.
Newborns should be treated with care and love. Babies can be incredibly fragile in their first few months and should be taken care with caution on some things that we might think it’s not a big of a deal.
They have to be eased into this world and everything that is in it, so there are bound to be some things that they just don’t like. They will learn to love it all eventually, but not normally during the first month. The first three months after a woman gives birth is known as the “fourth trimester” and it is a period of learning.
It is the time mom really gets to know her new little baby, while she recovers from childbirth. It is also the time for the new baby to get to know the world around them. Chances are, they may not like a lot of it at first but that is just because it is new. All they have ever known is their mother’s womb, which was a dark and perfectly temperature environment. Now, they are in this world filled with sights, sounds and smells that are new and frightening.
There are 20 things that newborns will not generally like their first month at home with mom, but there are ways to help ease them into this new world.
20. THE BIG HAIRY FAMILY MEMBER
Millions of households around the world have pets. Cats and dogs being the most popular choice, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from also bringing a baby into their home. It can be tough and intimidating for a lot of parents who want to bring a baby home to their pet, because of the worry about how the meeting will go. Babies tend to not really care for the big family dog, and that is because they don’t understand what is happening.
It is also because dogs and cats are quite curious about this new human, and they don’t exactly understand boundaries when it comes to staying away from the baby. There is no need to fret though because the introduction can be done smoothly.
According to the AKC, some of the best things you can do is to make sure you don’t ignore your pet. Schedule in time to play with them. Also, it can help to bring something from the baby for the dog to smell and get to know.
19. ALL THOSE BRIGHT LIGHTS ARE FOR STARS ONLY
There will be a noticeable trend throughout this article and that will be the emphasis on the fact that a baby is new and should be treated as such. Every part of that little being is new and that includes their eyes. Have you ever spent some time in the dark, and then gone outside or into a bright room? If you have, you may be familiar with the effect it can have on your eyes. It takes a while to adjust and it can even be uncomfortable.
It works the same when it comes to newborns. Their eyes are brand new and have spent all their time in a dark or dimmed environment. So, coming into a bright hospital room or into the bright sun can make them a bit irritable. Keep the lights dimmed as much as you can and slowly introduce them to more and more light.
18. SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN
It is a common misconception that a mother’s womb is a quiet place. We can understand why people think this, but it is actually the exact opposite. A womb is a noisy place and there is always something to listen to. When babies develop ears in the womb, which is around 18 weeks gestation, they can start to hear the world around them. They will get to know mom’s voice, the sound of the barking dog and even an older sibling or two.
They also can hear all of mom’s body working away. They can hear mom’s constant heartbeat and even the liquid running through her veins. This means that when babies are born, they don’t tend to do well in silent environments. White noise machines are a great solution to this problem. Mom can even find YouTube videos on her phone that mimic womb noises which can help settle a baby down.
17. WAS THAT A GARBAGE TRUCK OR EARTHQUAKE?
We take so much of our world for granted. We hear cars drive by, we hear birds chirping and we hear the trash truck doing its weekly run and we think nothing of it. We understand that it is just how the world works and it causes very little disturbance into our day. A baby, however, has never experienced this and it can be quite frightening.
Mom is going to learn really quick that babies do not enjoy loud, sudden noises and it can cause quite a startle in them. Since they don’t bother us, we don’t tend to think about it. The best thing mom can do is try and muffle a lot of these noises. If she knows that it is trash day, she can make sure her windows are closed to try and block out some of the noise.
16. ‘WIDE OPEN SPACES’
This is another one that goes back to how the world is a lot different than the womb, and you may notice another recurring theme popping up. We want to mimic the womb as much as possible. This means we want to make our little one’s thing that they are still in the womb, where they felt nice and safe. This also means that anything that does not feel like the womb is bound to make them upset.
By the time the little one is born, they had pretty much run out of room in there, so it was pretty cramped. They didn’t have as much space to move around and stretch their limbs. While we may think that must have been pretty uncomfortable, they loved it. They felt safe and protected so when they are finally free from their womb prison, they can be bothered by all of this new space they suddenly have.
15. THEY DON’T ENJOY DAD
Sorry to all the dads out there, but generally babies want nothing to do with you in the beginning. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you, and they will one day be crawling all over you, but for right now it is all about mom. Mom is all the baby has known, and they know her well. They know what her heart sounds like from the inside and they spent a lot of time listening to her voice.
This is perfectly normal, and the day will come when the baby is all about you, but now is not that time. The best thing you can do now is to spend the time making sure mom is okay. If she is breastfeeding, make sure she has everything she needs and get her some water or a snack if she is trapped on the couch caring for your baby.
14. THE BABY TOYS WERE A WASTE
Chances are, if you had a baby then you had a baby shower and you were showered with beautiful gifts from all of your friends and family members. Chances are also that a lot of those gifts were colorful toys and rattles. You were excited to hand them to your baby and watch their eyes light up as they explored and played with their new toys. Chances are, in that first month home, babies are not going to really like or care for those toys.
Newborns have limited sight and they are not really interested in shiny things that make noise. Remember, we talked about how new sounds can unsettle a newborn with fresh ears. It is best to keep these items off the registry and instead put practical items a newborn would need.
13. BUT THEY DO GET BORED
While they may have no interest in baby toys, they may still get bored. Newborns can get bored and they can become irritable. Some find it hard to believe that newborns could be bored because all they seemingly do all day is eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. While that does describe most of a newborn day, they do have some wakeful times in there.
They spend some time awake and during that time, they would like to be stimulated much like everyone else. The best thing mom can do is talk and sing to them while they are awake. The sound of your voice may be enough to keep them engaged. Due to their vision still developing, you can also show them some black and white images because they see the contrast better this way.
12. TUMMY TIME IS NOT THEIR THING
It is practically shoved down every new mom’s throat in the early days; tummy time is so important. Tummy time is important for them to develop and strengthen their neck muscles. It is also the one activity that will one day have them rolling and crawling all over the place, so it is always a good idea to get a head start on it.
However, just because they have to do something doesn’t mean they are going to like it. Newborns do not generally like tummy time. They don’t like being on their stomach so they may not want to do it very often. In the early days, it is always a good idea to have them do it while laying on mom’s stomach and chest. This protects the umbilical cord and it can be more comforting to the new little baby.
11. TOO MUCH FOOD
Everything about newborns is small and that is not even exaggerating. They have tiny little fingers, toes, and noses and they also have teeny tiny little tummies. A newborn’s stomach is very small and therefore they don’t need very much food to fill them up. Feeding them too much can cause reflux and a lot of uncomfortableness that the little one will not like.
Now, this applies much more to formula-fed babies. It is almost impossible for a breastfed baby to overeat. They take what they need and then they move on with their day. A formula-fed baby can over-eat, so it is important that mom watches out for the signs of when her baby has had enough.
10. THEY NEVER ENJOY BEING WET
This may be the only one that does not apply to almost every newborn, but it applies to a lot of them. Babies don’t generally enjoy having a wet diaper and they will need it to be changed often. Diaper companies now make their diapers with wetness indicators so there is no guesswork involved on whether your little one actually went to the bathroom or not.
Some babies, like mine, don’t seem to mind wet diapers and would happily sit in them all day if they needed to (they never have — just need to add that in there). However, this is the exception and not the rule, and it is important to change their diaper often to avoid rashes and a cranky baby.
9. WE’RE SURE THEY WILL LOVE THEIR SIBLINGS ONE DAY
This one will only apply to you if your baby is not the first one. First babies don’t have to worry about older siblings, they have the house (and mom and dad) all to themselves. However, if mom and dad have older siblings at home, they may run into a small problem. This is especially true if any of their older children are toddlers.
Toddlers are much like pets when it comes to a new baby, they are curious. They want to explore their new baby and don’t yet understand how to be gentle and how to handle a baby which is not a great combination. It is best that all interactions be supervised and watched over by an adult and make sure to give that older sibling all the love, too.
8. THEY DON’T ENJOY CLOTHES (DOES ANYONE REALLY?)
This one may not be just limited to babies, it is possibly true for everyone. Babies don’t tend to like wearing a lot of clothes. They just spent nine months in a womb that was the perfect temperature and they (obviously) did not wear any clothes at all. The feeling of fabric on their skin can be irritating because they are just getting used to this sensation.
It is important that a new mom makes sure she washes the baby’s clothes in proper detergent that is aimed at being gentle on their skin. Also, if mom can keep the house at a comfortable temperature, she won’t need to put so many layers on the baby.
7. LAYING FLAT ON THEIR BACK
Don’t let this picture fool you, most babies do not like to be laid down flat on their back. They weren’t in this position in the womb. They stayed all curled up and had amniotic fluid to float around in. This was a lot more comfortable than just laying on their back. The problem is that babies need to be placed flat on their back to sleep.
Unfortunately, this may be something that the baby just needs to get used to. Mom can hold them as much as she wants, but when she wants to put them down, they need to go on their back to sleep. Most babies will adjust and to make it easier, our next few points are going to talk about swaddling.
6. GETTING SWADDLED
Swaddling is important but a lot of mom’s miss the opportunity to swaddle because their baby fights it and they assume that their baby must dislike it because why else would they be screaming so much? The truth is, a lot of babies’ fight being swaddled and that is because of a lot of reasons.
The first reason directly relates to what we just spoke about, in order to swaddle a baby, mom must lay them flat on their back to do it properly. Babies don’t generally like that. They also don’t like the way mom has to hold their arms down to swaddle them properly. These things can all cause some irritability in babies, but it is important for mom to follow through.
5. BUT STILL, SWADDLE THEM
The reason it is important to still swaddle your baby is because that is one of the best ways to calm down your little one when it seems like nothing else will work. Swaddling helps them feel like they are still in the womb because it keeps them all nice and cozy. It also helps to prevent the Moro-reflex from jolting them awake when they are (finally) sleeping.
Even though the baby may fuss when they are getting swaddled, mom will probably notice them calm down once they are swaddled and being held by mom. New moms who have a hard time trying to get their little one to sleep sometimes only need to swaddle them to see a huge improvement in sleep.
4. DON’T PLAY PASS THE BABY
There is a new trend out there called a “meet and greet.” Some people do this for second or third children instead of a traditional baby shower. This is a get together after the baby has come with all the close friends and family. It is a chance for everyone to come together to meet the baby and bring gifts and love.
This may not be a good idea for anyone. The baby may not like being passed around so much so soon after being born because they are most comfortable with mom and that’s who they should be bonding with. Also, it can be a hard ordeal for mom as well who is trying to recover from giving birth as well as adjust to her new and very important role.
3. STAYING AWAKE
There may be nothing worse in the world than a baby who is overtired. A newborn is not going to like being awake for too long and it is super important that mom makes sure the baby is getting all the rest they need. A baby who is overtired will have a harder time falling asleep, will not sleep for long, and will wake up incredibly upset.
You can’t spoil a newborn either, so mom needs to do whatever she can to make sure that her baby gets some rest. That means it is okay if mom needs to hold them for a nap or two or needs to take a walk or drive to make sure her little one gets the rest they need.
2. NEW AIR IS WEIRD AIR
We breathe air in every day, we breathe in and out and we don’t even think about. It is something that we take for granted every day. Babies breathe, too, but they are not as accustomed to the air as we are. That means that any irritant in the air may be enough to bother them. What are irritants in the air? Well, it can be anything from smoke, dust, air fresheners, pet hair, and cooking smells.
All of these things can be a lot for a new set of lungs to take so it is important to make sure you are aware of what is in the air around you. It is always a good idea to invest in a good air purifier to be in the room where your baby spends the most amount of time.
1. BEING PUT DOWN
Here is one that can be very frustrating for a new mom, and that is that newborns do not generally like to be put down. They want to be held the whole day and do not like not being in someone’s arms. This can be hard for a new mom who is adjusting to this new phase because while she loves holding her little baby, she still feels the pressure of everyday life, and knows everything that needs to get down.
She knows that laundry needs washing, the kitchen is a mess and she can’t remember the last time she had a shower. It is important to push through this stress and now may be your time to call in reinforcements to help you out.