Life With a Newborn: What to Expect in the First Weeks


Congratulations, new mama, you did it! After months of growing, waiting, and wondering (not to mention those fraught hours of labour in the hospital), your little babe is finally earth side.


But…what now? How do you navigate your newborn’s first weeks? 


Whether you’re feeling on top of the world or overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, know that you’re not alone – and that with some guidance, we know you can ace your first weeks as a new parent.


We’ve curated our favourite tried-and-true tips (things we’ve actually used during our own babies’ first weeks) to help you navigate your new norm.


What’s inside?

  • Adjusting to life with a newborn
  • Quick tips for establishing routines and finding balance
  • Newborn feeding patterns in the first week
  • Newborn sleeping patterns in the first week
  • Understanding newborn crying: What does it mean?
  • Bonding and connecting with your newborn
  • Settling into your new norm at home
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself
  • Resources to help you navigate newborn life

Adjusting to Life with a Newborn

A mother putting her newborn in a bassinet

Your newborn’s first week at home can be full of excitement – but also full of unknowns. In these early days, it's essential to give yourself grace as you adjust to your new role as a parent. 


Remember that it’s 100% normal to experience a whirlwind of emotions, especially as your hormones change and settle. From overwhelming joy to moments of doubt and worry, every feeling is valid and part of the journey. 


Before we continue: If you feel anxious or depressed, or anything that just doesn’t feel right, we recommend seeking professional help. This can be from your GP, midwife, or nurse. 


To arm yourself with knowledge first and help ease some fears, PANDA has excellent supportive resources – they’ve helped us, and we’re sure they’ll help you, too.


Quick Tips for Establishing Routines and Finding Balance

While routines may seem like a distant dream in the whirlwind of newborn life, establishing some semblance of structure can help bring a sense of calm and normalcy to your days. 


    • Prioritise the essentials: Structure your days around your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and bonding time. Use these three points as pillars to help manage the rest of your day.
  • Feed, nappy, play, sleep: Generally, this newborn essentials routine can work well. Feed your baby, check for a nappy change, engage in some gentle playtime, then put your babe down for a nap. Rinse and repeat!
    • Set realistic expectations: Know that in the first few weeks, your routine might shift and change in line with your baby’s feeding needs. Allow yourself time to adjust and don’t set your expectations too high, too soon.
    • Ask for help: Remember that you’re not in this alone. Even if you’re a single parent, there are people here to help. From your GP or midwife to the professionals at PANDA, you are always allowed to seek help whenever you need it. 

    Newborn Feeding Patterns in the First Week

    The bread and butter of adjusting to your little babe’s arrival, newborn feeding can leave so many mamas feeling confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed. This is why it’s so helpful to understand typical newborn feeding patterns.


    • In the first week, newborns typically feed every 2-3 hours, although this can vary from baby to baby. 
    • Look for signs of hunger, such as rooting, sucking on fists, or turning towards the breast or bottle. 
    • Watch for cues that indicate your baby is full, such as turning away or falling asleep mid-feed. 

    Whether you're breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or a combination of both, it's essential to understand your baby's feeding cues and respond to their needs accordingly. 


    But don't panic if you don't get it right away – everything is a learning curve, so be kind to yourself and trust in your new maternal instincts.


    Related: Struggling with breastfeeding? Find practical, step-by-step tips in our breastfeeding guide.


    Newborn Sleeping Patterns in the First Week

    Sleeping baby holding a teddy bear

    Ah, sleep – every new parent's favourite topic! While it’s true that newborns have erratic sleep patterns in those first weeks, understanding what to expect can help ease some of the uncertainty. 


    Newborns will sleep around 12–16 hours in a 24-hour period. They also tend to sleep in short cycles, usually lasting 20–50 minutes, and may wake frequently for feeding. 


    To help foster sleep, create a soothing sleep environment for your baby. This can include dim lighting and white noise to mimic the womb environment. 


    Keep an eye out for signs of tiredness, such as rubbing eyes or yawning, and encourage naps in a quiet, peaceful space.


    But there’s so much conflicting advice

    If you’re anything like us at Coco & Bundle, you’ve likely read a bunch of different opinions on a newborn’s sleep habits. It’s great to research, but not so great when there’s conflicting advice everywhere.


    Professor Harriet Hiscock spoke with Medibank about how new parents should navigate their baby’s sleep: 


    “There is no magic number – that’s the bottom line,” says Professor Hiscock. “In those first few months, a baby might be sleeping over a 24-hour period – they might be sleeping 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 hours – and that might be okay if the baby is growing well and happy.”


    In our experience, every baby will sleep differently. Know that you’re a little at the mercy of your babe’s internal sleep clock, and trust that they’ll get the rest they need to thrive. 


    Once you’ve accepted that, you might notice some fears or stresses start to alleviate.


    Understanding Newborn Crying: What Does it Mean?

    We all know our baby is going to cry, but until it happens, we don't understand the mama heartbreak it induces! Our advice for dealing with newborn crying is to look at things strategically.


    Crying is your newborn's way of communicating their needs and feelings, especially in the first weeks of life. Here's what to expect and how to respond:


    Reasons for crying

    • Reassurance: Newborns often cry because they seek comfort and closeness. Sometimes, a cuddle and rock will do the trick.
    • Hunger or fatigue: Crying can signal hunger or tiredness, so always give feeding a go, followed by putting your bub down for a nap.
    • Nappy change: A wet or soiled nappy is not comfortable! Check if your baby needs a change.
    • Temperature discomfort: Your baby may cry if they feel too hot or too cold, so try adjusting the room temperature or their clothing.

    Comforting techniques

    • Skin-to-skin contact: Hold your baby against your bare chest to provide warmth, security, and reassurance.
    • Cuddling or rocking: Gently rock or cuddle your baby to soothe them with rhythmic movements.
    • Soothing sounds: Speak or sing softly to your baby, creating a calming atmosphere.
    • Warm bath: A warm bath can relax your baby and provide relief from discomfort.

    Related: Check out raisingchildren.net.au’s guide in pictures to soothing a crying baby.


    When to seek help

    While some crying is normal, excessive or unusual crying may warrant medical attention. Look out for signs like:


    • High-pitched crying: If your baby's cry resembles a cat's meow, it may indicate discomfort or pain.
    • Weak crying or moaning: Unusual crying patterns like moaning or grunting could signal underlying issues.
    • Persistent crying: If your baby cries for extended periods and just can’t be comforted, consult your GP or child and family health nurse.

    Related: Everything you need to know about colic in newborn babies.


    Bonding and Connecting with Your Newborn

    Bonding with your baby is a beautiful, ongoing process that begins from the moment they enter the world – but sometimes, it can be harder than many mums expect.


    You’ve been waiting months to meet your little babe, imagining all the gorgeous moments you’ll share when they arrive. But when this tiny little creature gets here, you might be left thinking…how do I actually bond with my baby?


    Our favourite recommendation is, of course, newborn playtime.


    Newborn Playtime

    A mother playing with her newborn’s feet

    Despite their limited awareness at the very beginning, babies crave human attention and interaction, especially from their favourite person in the world – you! 


    Newborn playtime is a wonderful way to bond and connect with your new bub. Some of our favourite easy playtime activities include:


    • Face time: Before they advance to tummy time, babies will love a bit of face-to-face interaction with you. Make some silly faces, talk to them, or sing songs.
    • Skin-to-skin: Hold your baby skin-to-skin and you’ll both experience a rush of love and connection. Your little babe’s heart rate will regulate, and hormones will be released that make your baby feel more relaxed and comforted.
    • Stretching and pedalling: Lay your bub on a blanket and gently stretch and move their little limbs. Pedal those chubby legs for a bit more entertainment, which can also help release some gas!
    • Baby massage: Gentle baby massage can boost bonding, calm your baby, and help to promote sleep. Simply place your bub on their back and slowly rub each body part in soft circular motions.
    • Dancing and singing: Need a break from rocking? Put on your favourite tunes and have a boogie with your babe.
    • Read aloud: A classic, but a great standby. It’s never too early to start reading to your little ones!

    Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

    A mother drinking nursing tea

    In the midst of caring for your newborn, it's crucial not to neglect your own well-being. It might seem impossible at first – and we know first-hand how easy it is to let your self-care slide when you've got a brand new tiny human to look after 24/7 – but trust us, it is possible!


    • Get help and support from your partner, family members, or friends to share the load and tackle household tasks. 
    • Schedule your self-care into your daily routine, even if it's just a few moments of quiet time to recharge. 
    • Take time to rest when you can – as the old rule says, when baby sleeps, mama sleeps.
    • Nourish your body with healthy food, and supplement your breastfeeding with hydration support drinks like the Mini + Me Hydramama electrolyte-filled hydration sachets.

    Remember, you're doing an incredible job, and your well-being matters just as much as your baby’s. You've brought them into the world, safe and happy – you deserve some TLC, too.


    Resources to Help You Navigate Newborn Life

    It takes a village to help navigate a newborn's first weeks – luckily, you've found yours right here at Coco & Bundle. 


    Here are some of our most-used resources that have helped us during our newborns’ first weeks at home:

    Coco & Bundle

    Coco & Bundle have curated a collection of products that will satisfy the needs of families who seek simple, neutral, and minimalistic designs in infant, child and mama items. We have carefully selected a range of products and brands that we believe will support you or your loved ones through the journey of pregnancy, postpartum and raising your little babes.

    The Little Babe Edit

    ZIGGY LOU

    Bodysuit | Coconut

    Regular
    $49.00
    On Sale
    $49.00
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 

    BIBS

    Dummy | Ivory 2PK

    Regular
    $19.99
    On Sale
    $19.99
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 
    SALE
    Coming Soon
    Smoothie Cup | BisqueROMMERDinnerware

    ROMMER

    Smoothie Cup | Bisque

    Regular
    $22.00
    On Sale
    $22.00
    Regular
    $34.95
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 
    SALE

    MILLIE & ROSE

    Large Daisy Cushion | Mushroom

    Regular
    $39.99
    On Sale
    $39.99
    Regular
    $49.99
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 
    SALE

    MILLIE & ROSE

    Medium Daisy Cushion | Mushroom

    Regular
    $22.99
    On Sale
    $22.99
    Regular
    $29.99
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 

    WARREN HILL

    Linen Play Mat | Oat

    Regular
    $159.95
    On Sale
    $159.95
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 
    Coming Soon
    Linen Play Mat | NaturalWARREN HILLPlay mat

    WARREN HILL

    Linen Play Mat | Natural

    Regular
    $159.95
    On Sale
    $159.95
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 

    MALO

    Nappy Rash Spray

    Regular
    $29.95
    On Sale
    $29.95
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 

    BIBS

    Dummy | Vanilla 2PK

    Regular
    $19.99
    On Sale
    $19.99
    Regular
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 
    SALE
    Coming Soon
    Cutlery Set | OysterROMMERDinnerware

    ROMMER

    Cutlery Set | Oyster

    Regular
    $14.00
    On Sale
    $14.00
    Regular
    $27.95
    Coming Soon
    Unit Price
    per 

    0 comments

    Leave a comment

    All blog comments are checked prior to publishing