Keira is 15 days old today. It still amazes me that I was running with her in my womb just over two weeks ago. Her arrival has completely changed Ray and my lives in the most wonderful way. I’m am grateful that she is healthy and strong, first and foremost. I’m also grateful that she has been been a really “easy” baby, as of now at least–she sleeps most of the time, complains only when she’s hungry or needs her diaper changed, and is a joy to talk to and play with for those few hours when she is awake.
With the amount of time and energy I dedicated to reading about labor and delivery to attain my ideal birth experience (and you can read my birth story here), it’s comical that I never considered doing research on how to actually take care of a newborn baby! And I know I’m not the only mother who’s overlooked this important aspect of having a baby either. I’ve captured a few of Keira’s first moments since she arrived below as well as a few links to topics Ray and I have already Googled to make sure that some of these moments were nothing to be alarmed about!
Day 3. Keira finally arrived home with us! She also lifted her head off Ray’s chest while they were making skin-to-skin contact.
Day 4. First visit to the pediatrician, and first walk outside, 0.6 miles roundtrip. Keira weighed 6 lbs. 14.5 oz., having lost 4.5 oz. since birth, and had developed a bit of jaundice, which develops in 60% of newborns 2-3 days after birth, and is especially common for Asian babies. Keira’s doctor informed me that more frequent breastfeeding, specifically feeding Keira at least every two hours, as well as daily phototherapy would treat the jaundice. Random fun fact: We were the only non-Hasidic Jewish family at the pediatrician. Apparently, the pediatrician rarely has non-Jewish families at her practice, and seemed bewildered at how we found her!
Day 5. First bath, a sponge bath! She didn’t cry or get startled, and seemed to enjoy the bath!
Day 6. Follow up visit to the pediatrician. Keira surpassed her birth weight already, weighing in at 7 lbs. 4.5 oz, though newborns are expected to reach their birth weight 10 to 14 days after birth. Her jaundice also diminished! Keira’s doctor told us we were doing a great job, and that I should continue to do whatever I was doing with respect to the feedings. Her remark was exactly what caused my confusion and exhaustion, unfortunately, as I took it literally–I continued to set my alarm every two hours to nurse Keira, as I had been doing since her birth.
Day 7. Ray and I panicked for a moment when Keira’s umbilical cord fell off, as we didn’t expect it to so soon. After some Googling, we realized it was perfectly okay, as long as there weren’t any signs of infection.
Day 10. First tummy time! Keira has strong neck and back muscles, and was able to start moving around on her tummy quickly and without cries.
Day 11. First smiles! Granted, these are reflex smiles, I read, but it was exciting to witness them, nonetheless.
Day 12. First feedings based on hunger, not on my alarm! I received a phone call from a lactation consultant at the hospital where I had delivered Keira who informed me that, since Keira had reached her birth weight and was moving her bowels regularly, I should be feeding her based on demand, not on a schedule! She noted that the rule of thumb for newborns is that they nurse at least eight to 12 times per day. I was confused, as this information was completely different from what Keira’s pediatrician had shared with me. Thankfully, I found KellyMom, which offers evidence-based breastfeeding and parenting insight, and an amazing La Leche League Facebook group, both of which confirmed the lactation consultant’s advice.
Day 13. First visit with her only cousin on my side of the family, Sophia, who drove up to New York City from Northern Virginia with my sister Catherine and her husband Mark.
Day 14. First day outside, aside from our short walks! We visited Brooklyn Bridge Park and Jane’s Carousel, and dined at Olea with my parents, sisters, brother-in-law, cousins, and niece. Aside from waking once to nurse and have her diaper changed, Keira slept the entire time.
In addition to sharing a few first moments, I also wanted to provide links to insight online resources for moms that have helped me so far:
- KellyMom. Truly offers everything you’ll need to know regarding breastfeeding, and plenty of other non-breastfeeding related information too!
- La Leche League. Look up your local LLL for meetings with other moms that are breastfeeding or check Facebook for their online groups, if you don’t feel comfortable bring your newborn to meetings, and I don’t yet.
- The Alpha Parent. Look up the insightful timelines this blog provides to get a better sense of what to expect from your baby during different stages of life.
- What to Expect the First Year. Not an online resource, but I’d recommend buying this book for all their “how tos”–from changing diapers to bathing to feedings!