Your newborn

1/1/hen the nurse put my baby boy in my arms for the first time, the \ v chaos of the delivery room disappeared. I was surprised at how natural it felt to hold this new little life. I looked over everything — his hands, his feet, his eyes ... and his incredible mass of curly black hair! It was such a relief to see for myself the beautiful child I had delivered.

— One mother's experience

The wait is over. In the last nine months, you've spent endless hours in preparation and anticipation of the day you'd look into your baby's face. And now that day is here.

Your labor and delivery — whether a marathon session or shockingly short — is behind you. Now is the time to hold, caress and enjoy that precious little person you've been waiting to meet.

Even though you're probably eager to go home and start your new life, take advantage of your time in the hospital or birthing center. Many mothers are surprised by how much privacy time they want after birth. Although your family and friends will want to hear about your labor and birth and how you and the baby are doing, you might feel that you'll need to limit calls and visits. It's OK to turn off the phone, and the nurses can help restrict visitors to ensure your privacy. Good friends — especially if they're parents themselves — will understand if you need time to focus on yourself and your baby.

Your body has been through a significant workout, and new babies are demanding. So sit back and let the hospital staff help take care of you and your baby. It's not a luxury you'll be afforded for long.

You'll likely have many questions, and — fortunately — answers are just down the hall. You can feel comfortable calling on your hospital staff anytime, day or night. Part of their job is to help you make the transition to parenthood, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Take advantage of their expertise.

In addition, many hospitals provide literature and videos about the care of newborns, ranging from feeding your baby to car seat safety. Your nurse can suggest which materials might be most helpful to you. If you have the opportunity, take some time to review this information. Once you get home, spare moments may be few and far between.

Many hospitals allow your baby to room in with you. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know and spend time with your newborn. Realize, though, that it's perfectly acceptable to request some quiet time away from your baby. Once you go home, you won't have much time to rest — or, as some moms will attest, possibly even brush your teeth. If you're tired or just need a break, trust that your nurses will take excellent care of your baby in the nursery.

Before you let anyone take your newborn from your room, however, be sure they have identified themselves and are wearing a hospital name tag. If you're uncomfortable with or unsure about someone who wants to handle your baby, alert the nurses' station immediately. Although infant abduction is extremely rare, hospitals have procedures to identify and protect your baby. This means that you or a family member shouldn't move your baby away from the mother-and-baby area of your hospital without notifying one of the nurses. When your baby is dismissed from the hospital, don't leave until the nurse signs you out.

In this chapter, you'll learn about your newborn's first days of life — what he or she may look like, and what exams and immunizations your baby may undergo. The chapter also includes common problems some newborns have.

My First Baby

My First Baby

Are You Prepared For Your First Baby? Endlessly Searching For Advice and Tips On What To Expect? Then You've Landed At The Right Place With All The Answers! Are you expecting? Is the time getting closer to giving birth to your first baby? So many mothers to be are completely unprepared for motherhood and the arrival of a little one, but stress not, we have all the answers you need!

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