Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 Things for Parents of Newborns to Expect

The arrival of your newborn is a truly life-changing experience.  It can also be overwhelming, so it is important to understand what to expect when the newest member of the family arrives.  There are many small things which can come as a surprise to couples who are having their first child, so preparation is the key to maintaining a harmonious household.  Here are 5 things to expect as the parents of a newborn child.

Coming Home

Bringing your newborn home is an exciting step towards your life as a new family, but they can easily be overwhelmed by their new surroundings.  It will take a little while for them to settle into the home environment, so make sure you provide plenty of close contact to reassure them.  Your baby’s line of sight is restricted to about 20-40cm from their face, so keep this in mind when comforting them.

Holding Your New Baby

Suddenly you will feel like your newborn is the most precious and fragile thing in the world.  Holding them in your arms is a natural and comforting action for both of you, however it can be a little intimidating at first.  Remember to always have clean hands when holding your baby, as their immune systems are still developing, and can be prone to infection.  Cradle their head and support the neck at all times, and make all of your movements slow and deliberate.


You will notice that your life and routine becomes centred on your newborn’s needs, and sleep is definitely a big one!  Your baby should sleep for approximately 16 hours for day, broken down into 3-4 hour naps each time.  Try to use this time to sleep yourself, or maybe spend some time relaxing with your partner.  Lack of sleep is the leading reason why new parents start to feel tired, cranky, and even depressed.  Resting as much as possible is not only essential for your baby, but for you and your partner as well!

Music and Sounds

Your baby will respond to the sound of your voice, so try and make sure you are very vocal around them.  Singing, talking, reading aloud and humming are all ways that your newborn will get accustomed to your voice, and they will find this very reassuring.  Music is also a very important tool for soothing your child, and can also have developmental benefits.


You can expect your newborn to need almost as much food as they do sleep!  The most popular rule with feeding is to do so ‘on demand’.  Let your baby feed when they are hungry, rather than trying to adhere to set times.  Your newborn will be more relaxed and happy knowing that they are always fed when hungry, usually at intervals of about 2-3 hours.

Time flies when you are watching your baby grow, and before you know it you’ll be organising your kids birthday invites and planning their very first party.  It’s important to sit back and appreciate the time you are spending with your newborn, as it is a stage which will quickly lead into the next step of their development.  Your new baby is the centre of your world, and understanding what to expect from your newborn is an essential part of keeping your new family healthy, happy and content.

Written by Emma Jane

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