In my work as a postpartum doula I’ve had many parents who express surprise at some of the characteristics of their newborn baby. Here’s a list of a few of the most common traits of newborn babies. All are considered normal neonate or newborn behavior and are generally not a cause for concern.
1. He/ she does not know the difference between day and night. So be sure to sleep when your baby does, because it’s likely you can not count on a sleep routine just yet. * Yes, if you have read any of my other posts, you know, this is my mantra!
2. He/she is nocturnal until at least about four months of age when he/she develops the same circadian (day/night) rhythms as the rest of us.
3. He/she is a baby animal. (Yes, humans are animals!) with a strong instinct for survival and a number of behaviors designed to insure that survival. Sucking, crying when put down or left alone, crawling to the breast, preferring the arms of his/her mother, who she/he can identify by SCENT in the first week of life are all examples of this drive to survive.
4. His/her skin will peel profusely during the first month or so of life. Yours would too if you just spent the last nine months or so submerged in water. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. You do not need to apply lotions or potions.
5. Babies cry. He/she is not crying to manipulate you, but rather to communicate with you. Your baby does not have the thinking power yet to get his/her fist to her mouth. She/he is incapable of higher thought or reasoning. If your baby is crying, pick her up. She is calling you with the only means of communication she has right now and is trying to convey a need, perhaps for food, warmth, comfort or safety. Anyone who tells you otherwise it spreading mis-information.
Reach me at elaine@TenderTimesDoula.com or 973-291-8200.
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I invite you to please add the most surprising/fascinating fact about newborns you experienced as a new mom or dad in the comments, below.