Did you know that your baby already has a well-developed sense of taste and smell? Newborns prefer sweet to bitter tastes (it's no coincidence that breast milk is sweet ...) and can identify their mothers by smell! Two-week old babies will turn toward a breast pad soaked in their own mothers' milk, and turn away from the pad soaked with milk from other women. Talk about an instant connection. Amazing!
Don't worry if your baby seems exceptionally fussy—especially during the evening. A lot of babies develop fussy periods around two weeks of age. The crying doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong; some experts think early evening crying is a baby's way of releasing stress. As a mom, it's only natural to want to do everything you can to stop your baby's cries. Go through our checklist of things that baby could be needing (diaper change, sleep, food etc). And try swaddling your baby or bouncing him while you sway side-to-side. Don't get too concerned if he keeps fussing despite your efforts. But of course, trust your instincts about what seems normal, and what doesn't.
Most newborns also go through a growth spurt around two weeks, so expect your baby to feed more frequently now. Go ahead and breast or bottle-feed him whenever he's hungry. If you're nursing, frequent feedings are nature's way of increasing milk supply. The more baby nurses, the more milk your body produces. Pretty cool, right? After a few days of almost-constant nursing, your milk supply will have caught up to your baby's needs, and feedings will again decrease to a respectable eight to 12 times per day. Whew!
If you're experiencing any problems, doubts or concerns about latching, supply, or anything nursing-related—reach out to your friendly neighborhood lactation consultant. She will make you feel so much better (even if it's just telling you you're doing it all exactly right!) and can get you back on track with most issues. Most moms we know who went through nursing issues wish that they had reached out to a consultant sooner! Their services may even be covered by your health insurance.
Also, be sure to place your baby to sleep on her back at night and at naptime, and remove fluffy and loose bedding from her sleep area. These precautions will reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which strikes unexpectedly and without an obvious cause. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants under a year old and the back sleep position is the most significant preventative measure you can take.
You're probably dazed, confused and really, really tired. Taking care of a baby is hard work, and it's perfectly normal to occasionally feel upset, overwhelmed and incompetent. The "baby blues" are extremely common and affect 70 to 85 percent of all new moms. However, if you find yourself feeling extremely anxious, fearful or guilty, or have uncomfortable thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, call your healthcare provider immediately. You may have post-partum depression, a common and entirely treatable condition.
This week, if it hasn’t happened already, your partner may return to work and visitors may slow down. If the idea of managing baby all by yourself scares you, consider yourself an entirely normal mom who cares about her baby! Here’s your strategy: Don't do any more than absolutely necessary. We mean it. You don't need to cook dinner every night (hello, food delivery), write all your thank-you notes or even do the laundry. Your job this week is to take care of yourself and your baby. That's it. That's a lot! So sleep when your baby sleeps, eat healthy foods, and savor the moments. (Are you taking pictures a million times a day?) Also, say yes to help! Does your mom or his keep asking what they can do? Put them to work—tidying up, making dinner or doing the inevitable mounds of laundry that come with a new baby.
Physically, you're probably still going to be sore. Continue to take ibuprofen as needed, and keep your episiotomy and/or C-section incision clean and dry. If you notice any signs of infection (redness, swelling, odor or drainage, and/or have a fever), contact your healthcare provider immediately.