It's a scary world
Your womb was a warm and cozy environment, and it'll take time for your baby to adjust to the various sights, sounds, and sensations of life outside your body. You may not be able to detect much of a personality just yet, as your baby spends his time moving in and out of several different states of sleepiness, quiet alertness, and active alertness.
The only way your baby knows to communicate is by crying, but you can communicate with him through your voice and your touch. (Your baby can now recognize your voice and pick it out among others.)
Your baby probably loves to be held, caressed, kissed, stroked, massaged, and carried. He may even make an "ah" sound when he hears your voice or sees your face, and he'll be eager to find you in a crowd.
If your baby cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks, and there's no medical explanation for his distress, chances are he's colicky — a term used to describe uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby.
A colicky baby may act truly uncomfortable — alternately extending or pulling up his legs and passing gas. His crying and discomfort can happen at any time of day, but it's usually most intense between 6 p.m. and midnight.
Thankfully, colic doesn't last forever. Sixty percent of babies will be through the worst of it by 3 months, and 90 percent are better by 4 months of age.
Innie or outtie?
After your baby was born, your doctor (or your partner) painlessly cut his umbilical cord, leaving an umbilical stump. You'll notice during your baby's first couple of weeks that the remaining piece of cord tissue will begin to fall off.
During this time, give your baby sponge baths instead of tub baths to keep the area dry. When the cord has totally separated and fallen off, what remains is your baby's cute belly button.
Take it slow
You may notice your baby becoming irritable or fussy at the end of the day. This is normal. It could be that your baby is just overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds. (There's a lot to take in even if your home is relatively calm.)
A baby's heart rate and sucking patterns actually change when he encounters a new sound. When you see your baby getting agitated, arrange for some quiet time — a massage, snuggle, or rocking — to help soothe him.
The baby blues
As a new parent, it's normal to feel some degree of emotional vulnerability. At least 60 to 80 percent of new mothers experience the "baby blues," a mild form of depression that causes weepiness, anxiousness, sleeping problems, irritability, and moodiness.
If your blues last more than two or three weeks, you may have postpartum depression (PPD), a serious condition that affects up to 20 percent of new moms. If you're feeling any of the symptoms — insomnia, weepiness or sadness that persists all day, diminished interest in almost all activities, difficulty concentrating, change in appetite, anxiety, excessive guilt, panic attacks (symptoms include a racing heart, dizziness, confusion, feelings of impending doom), or suicidal thoughts — contact your healthcare provider right away. Not only will you get the help you need, your baby will benefit from your healthier mindset.