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As the bond between you and your baby continues to grow, you will start to feel more intuitive about his needs.

Your baby today

Some “tummy time” is good for infants as long as they are awake and being observed. But don’t lie your baby down on her stomach for bed—it’s dangerous and can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Crying is the only way your baby can get your attention. Parents-to-be often worry about how they’ll know what their baby wants. Although his cries may seem indistinguishable at first, you’ll soon start to interpret them (see Your baby’s cries).

Ideally, you’ll have continued Kegel exercises in this first week. It’s important to continue doing these since they strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, helping to prevent stress incontinence. They also help promote healing and ease discomfort if you’ve had stitches since they increase the blood flow to your perineum.

Your baby’s cries

Follow the checklist below to help you identify the cause of your baby’s cries. If your baby cries for three hours or more a day, consult your doctor.

You will soon start to recognize your baby’s cries and will feel increasingly confident about how to tend to his needs.

  • Hunger is the main reason for crying; he will stop once he is offered the breast, a bottle, a finger, or a pacifier.

  • A cry of pain is easy to interpret since your baby may be inconsolable, draw up his legs in pain, or arch his back. If you’re unsure how to remedy the pain, consult your doctor.

  • A wet or dirty diaper can be uncomfortable and cause crying.

  • Your baby may want to be held if you can see no other reason for his crying. Babies can’t be spoiled by too much cuddling. Carrying him in a sling while you do chores may comfort him.

  • Your baby may be overstimulated. If nothing else works, put him down in a quiet room; in our anxiety as new parents, it can be easy to forget that babies need quiet time.

Swaddling

Swaddling: If your newborn cries a lot, is fussy, or has trouble sleeping, try swaddling her. Being wrapped tightly in blankets, with the arms bound, makes babies feel the way they did in when they were in the uterus, and it calms them. In fact, some babies sleep an extra hour or two when swaddled and may even need to be unswaddled to wake up for their feedings. Be sure that any blankets you use for swaddling are tightly wrapped around the baby, because loose blankets can cover a baby’s face and so become a factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). You may have learned how to swaddle your baby in the hospital. If not, your pediatrician should know how to do it. There are also simple swaddling products on the market that use Velcro tabs for a snug fit, thus eliminating the need to learn how to properly swaddle. These products can be found online or in stores.

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