I recently took baby academy‘s free first 6 weeks at home class. This will be an overview of what you can learn in the class and what it is like! We learned all about what happens to a newborn baby in the first 6 weeks and how to take best care of your loved one!
The class is run by a very nice registered nurse who is also a mom. She focuses on postpartum care so is a great teacher for this class. There are a lot of people in the class – we joined the east coast class so there were people all across the east coast. Due dates for participants ranged from September to April, but most were due in the next few months. We attended a bit early as our baby is due in January! Many first time moms! Postpartum care is about the first 6 weeks. It’s sponsored by zulily. Overall, seems like a useful class!
Baby’s First 6 Weeks
This section is talking about what is happening with the baby in the first few weeks.
Week 1 – adjustment to entering into the real world (outside the womb). Suckling, digesting, setting up immune and digestive systems.
Week 2 – first growth spurt. May lose weight temporarily. May be fussy, eat more, nap longer. Different for each baby!
Week 3 – Baby can start to lift their head a bit and follow you with their eyes a bit.
Week 4 – Can start to study human faces and listen to your voice. Can lift hands. You should start talking to your baby!
Week 5 – Baby is gaining more skills – they might start using actions like wriggling and crying to tell you what they want.
Week 6 – Baby may start to smile. Be ready to take a photo!
Newbody Baby Sleep
How much do newborns sleep? Usually around 16 hours, 8 hours during the day and 8-9 hours during the night. They eat very often and need their diaper cleaned.
After one month they will sleep 15-16 hours a day. They will sleep a bit less during the day, ex. 7 hours, but might be still the same during the night.
After 3 months, 15 hours a day with 4-5 hours during the day, but 9-10 hours during the night.
After 6 months, 14 hours of sleep a day with 4 hours during the day and 10 hours during the night.
As you can see, there is a pattern that over time the baby will sleep less during the day and more during the night as they grow older. Especially at the beginning in the first few months, babies do not sleep during your schedule! It will take time for the baby to get used to the day night schedule.
You want to make sure they have a good routine. Having a whitenoise machine might help with that.
Physical and Emotional Symptoms After Birth
How are you going to feel, both physically and emotionally, after you give birth? This section goes over the recovery period for the mom.
Some symptoms include:
Vaginal discharge or bleeding (lochia) – Your uterus takes time to contract, so there might be some bleeding.
Cramps – might happen during breastfeeding. Potentially caused by a hormone known as the love hormone (oxytocin). This hormone helps the body have contractions for giving birth and expelling the placenta as well as when breastfeeding, uterus contracting, etc.. These contractions might cause cramps afterwards.
Feeling down – sudden hormonal change. Feeling down a little bit is normal, but postpartum depression might be something different. Just know that everybody feels a bit down after being pregnant and it is totally normal!
Hair loss – should not be a lot, just a little here and there. If you have more, you should contact your doctor!
Feeling weak in your pelvic floor
Hot flashes and vaginal dryness
Breast changes – your body will be preparing for breast feeding your newborn baby!
Sore perineum – between the vagina and rectum. There might be swelling and tearing there (common during first time delivery). The hospital should give some resources of how to take care of this area. Primarily using a spray.
Bladder discomfort – Urine might get stuck in your recovering areas. So you want to use some tools to spray after you pee so that you can clean off the urine from recovering areas. Watch out for urinary tract infections (UTIs)!
Bowel discomfort – you may experience a slow down, so make sure to take fiber! You might also want stool softeners or other tools to handle constipation and hemorrhoids.
You need about 6-8 weeks to feel like your old self again, so take the time to heal!
What is normal during postpartum bleeding? It’s expected, so know what to watch out for that might be a more serious problem where you need to contact your doctor.
Week 1 – Heavy bright red flow, getting a bit weaker through the weak. Bleeding if heaviest during the morning and after breastfeeding. You might get a rush when you stand up. Make sure to pee often as it may help keep the blood flowing consistently. You might have small blood clots come out.
Week 2 to 3: More of a medium pink flow. The bleeding should be slowing down a bit. Similar to week one, you might see more bleeding during activities like breastfeeding and exercise.
Week 4 to 6: Light brown flow and stopping.
A blood clot larger than a plum is NOT normal, so make sure to contact your doctor / health care provider if you see one!
You might not have a period for over 6 months after giving birth, especially if you are breastfeeding. You might still be ovulating though! It varies for every person so just be aware!
Mommy Recovery Tips
Resist the temptation to do too much activity! Take it easy to recover. Concentrate on eating healthy and good foods and drinking a lot of water and getting rest. Make sure you are hydrating a lot especially if you are breastfeeding – you need to drink for two!
As you recover more, you want to start doing some more activities to improve your mood which has been shown to improve recovery. You can take the baby for a quick stroll outside. Hence, you should try to spend your strength on activities that improve your mood, and see if other people can help with chores and things that are less enjoyable for you.
Avoid heavy lifting for the first 6 months
You should take prenatal supplements while nursing. The baby is still getting nutrition through you since they are getting their nutrition from breastfeeding. Make sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Eat regular meals and snack making sure to take fiber. You might need some extra energy to heal.
Q & A (FAQ)
The nurse now helps answer some questions from the audience. These seem like frequently asked questions, so I’ll go over some of the answers.
What lighting is best for a baby? Try to keep regular lighting that you are used to for the baby, that way they will start getting used to a regular schedule.
Prenatal vs Postnatal vitamins? They are basically the same, just take prenatal vitamins because postnatal vitamins might be a marketing scheme to make more money. However, prenatal vitamins are an ESSENTIAL part of recovery and being healthy after giving birth!
What to do about a large clot? It might not be an emergency but you should call your provider!
What should I include the baby’s sleep routine? Try to start having a bedtime routine that imitates the womb. Rocking the baby and having white noise. Then as they get older you can add some more things like bath time or reading a book, this will help them associate these events with bed time.
Belly belts – are they good for bleeding? Not that good for bleeding but have other uses
Should you keep the baby up later so they sleep later? This doesn’t really work – they have their own clock. They will wake every few hours regardless of what you do.
Should I wake my baby up to feed, or wait until they wake up to feed? – This is pretty complicated because every baby is different and their weight might be changing a lot. You should talk to your pediatrician about it since it depends on how they are doing. Primarily if they are not growing fast enough, you want to wake them up to feed so that their weight is improving. Once they are thriving then they can sleep more instead of being woken up to sleep.
Should we use tampons during post partum bleeding? NO! just pads!
What to do about vaginal dryness to feel more comfortable? Most people have no concerns if they are not having sex (which is not recommended during first 6 weeks). You can use lubrication though
If you want to get pregnant again and breastfeeding, what should you do? You should talk to your health provider because this can be complex depending on the woman and how the pregnancy went.
How do we properly use a noise machine? Should it only be used at night or during the day at well, and how does it impact the day-night adjustment? – Nurse suggests keeping it part of the night time routine so during the day is more about activity.
When are babies’ immune systems strong enough to go out side and meet people? You can go any time you feel comfortable, but just don’t let people get too close to the baby and are washing their hands, etc. Don’t feel bad to force people to be transparent about any symptoms they have and are clean before they can interact with your baby!
When do you start tummy time? Do tummy time right after birth! They put your baby on your chest right after you are born which is basically baby time! For the first few weeks do it on your stomach, but then later you can transition to other surfaces. You can aim to do tummy time every time you change their diaper. But it might just be a very quick tummy time, not a full session!
What is the baby doing when they are alert? A lot of it is feeding and diaper and tummy time. They only have very short spurts of alert time so it might just be a short time on the floor “playing”, or just sitting in their bassinet or you are holding them. Carriers are good for the baby to get some activity bonding with you. You can talk to them during this time so they can start making connections with your voice.
How much do newborn babies eat? They eat 8 times in 24 hours. This will vary depending on how they are growing, but about an egg sized amount of milk each time. This is a complex question so spend some time with other classes and resources to go into this more – it varies depending on the growth of the baby and how they are feeling!
Normal Postpartum Experience
What is the normal experience for a mother postpartum? Most women will experience fatigue in the postpartum period. Almost all will experience postpartum exhaustion and most will also experience anemia (low levels of iron which helps with energy). Baby blues and postpartum depression can be serious and impact energy. You need to take care of your mental health, especially as you have these low energy issues!
To maximize your energy, make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast. Snack regularly throughout the day with fruits or nuts. Drink a LOT of water! Try not to have too much coffee or sugar – a little bit is OK though! Don’t rely too much on things like energy bars which will only work for the short term but may cause a crash later. Lie down for 15 minutes during the baby’s naptimes. Power naps can help with your energy!
Doing a even little bit of exercise will help encourage endorphin creation which will make you feel happier and less tired. Think about what you can do that’s different from your regular routine – ordering groceries online for example might save you a lot of time!
Spend 5 – 10 minutes to focus on deep relaxation.
If your fatigue is very high and you are experiencing heavy postpartum depression, do not be shy! Contact your health provider and doctor to get help!
Exercise After Having Your Newborn Baby
You want to avoid heavy exercise during recovery and take your time. You can start gentle exercise as soon as you want – walking or stretches. If you had a C-Section or Assisted Birth, you might need more time to recover.
After 6 weeks, you should have a postpartum follow-up with your provider. This is a good time to ask if you can start doing higher impact exercising, like cycling, running, etc. After this 6 weeks time period, you should NOT have any leaking when exercising. If you have this, you need to check with a physical therapist or your health provider in order to check your pelvic floor strength! You may need to do specific exercises to strengthen there.
If you feel very fit before 6 weeks, you can check with your health care provider. It might be fine to start exercising earlier, but just keep cautious!
Your strength in general may be a lot weaker than you used to be. Your proportional strength might be a lot different! In particular, your lower back and core abdominal muscles and joints and ligaments may have changed a lot during pregnancy.
Exercise 1 – Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise
Breathe all the way out. Then tighten up the muscles on your bottom and as if you are trying not to fart. Now you want to lift up a bit as if trying not to pee. Hold the squeeze for as long as you can, starting at about 5 seconds, but longer as you get stronger. Then relax for the same amount of time. Try to aim for 10 repetitions.
Remember to keep your breathing consistent. You should have a clear feeling of release during the relax periods. You may feel your lower stomach when doing this exercise. That is good because it means you are engaging your full body!
Exercise 2 – Quick Holds (for Pelvic Floor Muscle strength)
Breathe out, quickly pull up the front and back, then release. Do a few repetitions
Exercise 3 – Gentle Tummy Exercise (level 1)
Keep your lower back flat. Draw your belly button towards your spine. But do not flex your lower back or move it! Breathe in and out and hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times. Do it a few times a day. Combine them with the other exercises
Functioning as a Family
A baby will change the dynamic of your relationship with your partner and your life in general! How you spend time with your partner will change, so make sure to be open minded and be creative in finding ways to spend time with your partner. You might have to find new ways to spend time together!
Watching a baby is a 24/7 full time job. But you sometimes need some alone time or time with your partner. So reach out to your support group if you need it so they can help watch the baby and you can get some personal time. It takes a village!
Keep organized – share your important events and times with your partner so that you can both be organized on when you are free to watch the newborn baby or you need to find help.
Bonding With Your Baby
Bonding with your baby helps them feel safe and promotes their growth and learning. Bonding promotes development of the baby’s brain as early as possible. It can also help you start to understand your baby better – what are their hunger and comfort cues for example.
To bond with your baby, have a lot of skin to skin contact. It also helps with temperature regulation and sugar stability. You can also massage your baby.
Smile and laughing, talking and singing, making faces, etc. with your baby is a good way to bond. They don’t need to understand you to start bonding! Look in the mirror with them will help them bond too!
Sometimes you don’t feel the bond right away. This is totally normal and don’t worry about it. It does not mean you are a bad parent, it just takes time for relationships to grow, and everybody and every baby is different! For some people it can take months to bond with their baby, so keep open minded!
There are a lot of questions you will have when you are a newborn parent. There will be questions about the baby, about yourself, about what is normal and about your specific situation. The class does not answer all of these questions, so it provides a resource for 24/7 healthcare professional chat support. The cost is $99 for 24/7 support from the baby academy’s support chat for 6 months. But with the class you can get $50 off, so it is only half price. I would guess this is available at every class, so you can wait until a class if available before using that code. The code I got is chatsupport50 which they say expires that night, but seems pretty generic so likely you can use every Saturday, or just get the class on and you can see what code they give that week.
The class provides a copy and extra resources, so even if you think this summary was enough, you can still sign up to get more resources and a copy of the recording!
Now we have more frequently asked questions from the audience!
What are tips for walking with a newborn during the winter? Make sure to have a lot of layers and a good stroller. You need to be constantly monitoring their temperature. Keep them bundled with a blanket and good jacket. Every baby is different, so some might enjoy it a lot and some might not as much.
Is it safe to travel with the baby internationally after 2 months? You should talk to your pediatrician about that. Also, for the mother, make sure you are moving around a lot to prevent blood clots. You can wear compression socks to help with this as well.
When do you feed the baby solid foods? Usually starting around 6 months.
If I am having leakage problems during pregnancy, what should I do? It doesn’t hurt to see a physical therapist as early as possible. You should be in contact with your provider!
When should you start applying an oil to the perineum to prevent potential tear during labor? Your provider or midwife can give more details. But yes, putting oil and stretches on the perineum can help prevent tear, and doing it as early as possible should not hurt.
What do you do if the baby is not developing mentally as fast as expected? Talk to your pediatrician. You should have regular appointments with them and they will give you specific milestones that are expected. They will be watching very closely for the correct behaviors like smiling or turning their head.
When is it safe to return to a keto diet? Talk to your obstetrician, but would not be too worried if you were on the diet beforehand.
Tips for a baby with a dog? Bring the smell of the baby back to the home (even before you go home) so that the dog can get used to the smell. Do not have the baby alone with the dog.
Do you recommend hand expression before birth? Check out https://firstdroplets.com/. Hand expression is a whole topic and something that can be very worth learning! There are separate classes for breastfeeding classes.
Is postpartum bleeding the same if you have vaginal or c-section birth? It always comes from the uterus, but there are some small differences. So C-section there might be a bit less bleeding (but your recovery might be slower!)
Can a baby sleep in a different room? It is recommended for a baby to sleep in the same room as you for the first 6 months (but not in your bed).
How many times should you be feeding the new baby daily? 8 – 10 times a day. To keep track of they are getting enough, keep track of their pees and poops and look at their weight growth.
Who should be required to have the TDAP vaccine? The pregnant mom, the partner, and anybody who is going to be very close to the baby for long periods of time. Pertussis (out of tetanus diphtheria pertussis), is of a major concern (whooping cough) so just keep an eye out for that.
How to handle sleep regression? Know that it is normal for a baby to sometimes take a step back. They might be doing well but then get worse. Learning is not always a straight line. It’s pretty common during the 1 month time period when they are learning other skills and they are thrown off from the sleeping skill. The best is just to try to reinforce it as much as possible and play it as it comes with your partner.
The class was pretty useful for a new parent. It covers a lot of details across many areas of being a new parent for a newborn baby. The teacher was well educated and gave a lot of small tips throughout the class which you might not get from other classes or just reading a book.
If you are looking for more information, check out my other articles below, or check out some of the products mentioned in this post!