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Having a baby brings with it plenty of questions. Probably too many to count. What will they look like? How will they change and how fast? What do they need?

We’ve rounded up some important things to know about caring for your newborn baby and some facts about their development in those first weeks and months so you can focus on bonding with them and taking care of yourself with a bit less stress:

  1. Bathing: A simple sponge bath is all baby needs until their umbilical cord stump falls off on its own. It can be alarming when it does, but your baby is OK. Just don’t pick at it.
  1. Weight: It’s common for a newborn to lose weight in its first week, typically between 5 and 8 percent of their birth weight. So don’t panic.
  1. Diapers: A newborn’s diaper should be changed every two to three hours. If they poop or get messy, go right ahead and change them, but if they fall asleep and are just wet, let them snooze — you’ll be glad you did! The color and consistency of the poop will change over the first week and will be different depending on whether you bottle feed or breastfeed.
  1. Head: Your baby will have a fontanel, or “soft spot,” on its head which is an opening of the skull that will close with time. While you should always be gentle with your newborn, it’s nothing to be scared of.
  1. Skin: The skin of a newborn baby is very sensitive and dry patches, eczema and baby acne are all common skin conditions. Do your best to keep their skin clean and dry. And consider using the hypoallergenic fabric bamboo in clothes and towels, as it will not irritate your baby’s skin.
  1. Feeding: Your baby will need to eat every two to three hours, whether you decided to breastfeed or use formula. Follow your doctor’s suggestions for feeding based on their weight, but don’t force them to finish a certain amount if they don’t want it.
  1. Sleeping: The early days of your baby’s life will include lots of little naps as opposed to long stretches of sleep (sorry) but developing a routine as best you can will help them adjust as they get older and sleep for more consecutive hours.
  1. Hearing: Newborns can recognize certain sounds they heard in the womb, especially your voice. So keep on singin’ to them — it’s how they get to know you and once they’re born, keep the talking going to help build up their vocabulary and communication skills.
  1. Bedtime: A newborn should always sleep on their back in a crib or bassinet free of any pillows, blankets or toys for safety. The exception to this is swaddling, which for a newborn can simulate the feeling of being in the womb and can help them to settle.
  1. Holding: It’s crucial to support their heads because they’re quite literally top heavy in the beginning. Always support their head for proper breathing as well as feeding.
  1. Crying: They will cry. And cry. And cry. It can be one of the most frustrating aspects of those early days, but you’ll learn how to “communicate” with each other soon enough.
  1. Hair and Eyes: The hair they’re born with may change color or texture over time and even fall out in the weeks immediately following their birth. Their eye color may also change. It may be a blueish/grayish color at birth and will adjust as they continue to develop.

All of the physical changes mentioned above are perfectly normal, so don’t let any of them send you into a panic. Those early days are a major transition for your entire family and you don’t want to miss out on the magic of this time as well. When it comes to milestones, don’t get hung up on what timelines your friends and family may mention. Comparing your child to anyone else is an unhealthy habit — just be in communication with your child’s doctor and they can help you determine what course of action to take to help your little one along.

We hope these facts help you feel a little more prepared for the arrival of your baby, but please remember, in the end, no one will know or understand your baby like you do.

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