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A Day in the Life of a Newborn

Most parents think that newborn babies just sleep, eat, cry, and poo. But, as time passes, you and your newborn baby will get to know each other and bond in the early days together. This means that your day will also involve playtime and cuddling. We know that all babies are different. Their eating and sleeping routines often change and it can take you some time to make them have a routine. Many parents want to have a daily routine that is the same. This means they want their babies to sleep at the same time and to eat at the same time.

This is a very simple routine which helped a lot of parents to stay calm about their new lives. In this way, you and your baby will begin to settle into a daily pattern of sleeping, feeding, and playing. Your first days when you become a parent can be full of joy. But, they can be also full of diaper changes, naps, feedings, and questions about what is normal and what you should do. As time passes, you will learn your baby’s cues and the schedule which works best for him or her. But between the periods of sleeping to diapers to mealtime, there are a few basics you can expect from your newborn.

It is scary for many parents what to do with their babies, especially if they have their first baby. But, do not be worried. There are many people around you who can help you to feel better and get things right. Medical professionals are always there for you to give you answers to all your questions. You should expect that your newborn baby will spend his or her first week feeding, sleeping, and bonding with caregivers. You can bond with your newborn by smiling, talking, and cuddling. If you are concerned about your newborn, then speak with your doctor, pediatrician, or child and family nurse.

The first week of the newborn baby is adapting to the new environment. The outside world is very different from the womb, where the noise is muffled, the temperature is constant and it is dim. Your newborn baby will learn a lot as you spend time together every day. His or her brain is developing as they see, hear, smell and touch the world around them. Your newborn baby will close his or her hands involuntary in the grasp reflex and will start to startle at sudden loud noises. [1]

Also, they are likely to have sudden jerky movements will asleep. It is normal for your newborn baby to lose weight during the first five days after birth and this is happening as they lose excess fluid. But, their weight loss should not be more than 10% of their birth weight.


A day in the life of a newborn

In most cases, newborns want to eat every 1½  – 3½ hours. Usually, their feeding schedule depends on if you are breastfeeding or giving your baby formula. Generally, breastfed babies eat more often than those on formula, because their tummies digest breast milk faster. [2] There are many different ways babies can tell you that they are hungry. They can make sucking motions. They can put their hands or fingers in their mouths. You can notice that your baby turns his or her head toward you and opens his or her mouth if you gently stroke her cheek.

Babies cry when they want to eat, but usually, this is a late sign of hunger. You should try to get your baby to burp during and after his feedings. If he or she stops eating and falls asleep or turns his or her head away from the bottle, then those are signs he or she had enough milk. If your baby cries toward the end, then this means that your baby is hungry for more. You should keep the burp cloth handy because most newborns spit up after feedings every once in a while.


It is noticed that newborns have 6 or more wet diapers and 4 or more poopy ones each day. For the first week or so, your baby’s poop will look thick and dark green or black. This is known as meconium and it is the substance that filled his or her intestines before he or she was born. After this is out of his or her system, his or her poop will become soft and runny.

If your baby eats formula, then your baby’s poop will be firmer and tan or yellow in color. If you breastfeed your baby, then your baby will have light yellowish, seedy-looking poop. After few weeks, you will notice that pooping will slow down. Breastfeed babies can go with one just bowel movement per week, while formula-fed babies should poop at least once a day.


Crying is the main way for communicating with your newborn baby, especially in his first days. Their crying can be hard to decode, but you can think about your baby’s schedule or surrounding to figure out what is wrong. If two hours have passed since your baby last ate, then there is a good chance that he or she is hungry. If your baby has been up for an hour and a half, then your baby probably is crying for a nap. Also, babies can get overstimulated or bored. If it is not time to feed your baby and your baby has a dry diaper, then there are many other things that you can do to soothe your baby. [3]

You can rock, walk or bounce your baby. You should snuggle your baby to your chest and gently pat her on the back. You should tightly swaddle your baby in a large, think blanket, to mimic how your baby snuggled in the womb. You should move your baby to a quiet place, and turn on a calming sound, like a white noise machine or a fan. You can offer a pacifier or you can help your baby to find his finger or thumb to suck. Your baby can also cry when they feel too hot or too cold or they want you close for reassurance.

If your baby is crying a lot, you should remember that this is normal for your newborn. When you comfort your newborn, then this will help him or her to feel safe and secure. If your baby has a high–pitched cry (like a cat’s), then you can ask for medical help. If your baby seems to have a weak cry or is moaning, then ask for medical help to know the problem.


Newborn babies, especially in their first period of life, get tired of being awake for just an hour or two. In the first few weeks, your baby will snooze about sixteen hours per day, usually in two to four-hour stretches, any time of day or night. Many babies will fall asleep while they are eating or sucking and this is just fine. Eye rubbing, fussing, looking away, drooping eyelids, and yawning are all signs of a sleepy baby.

You should always put your baby on her back to sleep, on a firm sleep surface, with nothing else in the bassinet or crib, just a mattress with a tightly fitted sheet. By the end of the first month, your newborn baby will start to fit his or her sleep into longer periods. But, it will take a few months before your baby gets into a predictable sleeping pattern, for his or her morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon nap, and a longer stretch of sleep at night.


Newborns have short periods when they are awake and alert in between all eating, sleeping, and diaper changes. This is a great time to play with your baby. Your baby is learning your touch, the sight of your face, and the sound of your voice. Talk, read, sing, smile and sway with your baby to music. Make funny faces for your baby to imitate. Offer your baby interesting objects for him or her to feel and look at. At this period, your baby does not need toys. [1]

Your face and eyes, your baby’s hands and feet, and simple objects like a colorful scarf, shatterproof mirror, and a rattle will offer plenty of entertainment. Also, this is the period when you can introduce your baby to tummy time. A few minutes of playtime with your baby on his or her belly each day will help your baby to build stronger head and neck muscles and work on the coordination your baby needs to roll over and crawl, which are some of the next big milestones which your baby will reach. [4]

Routines which you can start with your newborn:

It will help you to remain flexible with your newborns. You may want to start doing simple things with your baby in similar order when it comes to sleeping, feeding, and playing. When your baby wakes up from asleep, then you should offer him or her a feed. In the middle of the feed or at the end of the feed, change your baby’s nappy.

You should have a cuddle, talk, and playtime with your baby. You should settle down your baby to sleep. At night, you may prefer to skip playtime and simply try to settle your baby back to sleep. You should always do what you feel is best for your baby and you, but if you are not sure what to do, then ask for medical advice. [5]


[1] Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. Newborns to three months should be stimulated to hold and reach for objects, study says. Science Daily. 2021. Retrieved from

[2] Martin CR, Ling PR, Blackburn GL. Review of infant feeding: Key features of breast milk and infant formula. Nutrients. 2016;8(5):279.

[3] Zeifman DM, St James-Roberts I. Parenting the crying infant. Current Opinion in Psychology. 2017;15:149–54.

[4] Muentener P, Herrig E, Schulz L. The efficiency of infants’ exploratory play is related to longer-term cognitive development. Frontiers in Psychology. 2018;9:635.

[5] Tham EKH, Schneider N, Broekman BFP. Infant sleep and its relation with cognition and growth: a narrative review. Nature and Science of Sleep. 2017;9:135–49.

Neem Mayur
Neem Mayur
Mayur Neem, a certified dietician having more than 5 years of experience in the field of diet practice. He is working as a diet expert and offering services to body builders, sports persons, celebrities, etc. He is lover of natural remedies and loves to spend most of his free time in his organic farm and offers expert advice on organic farming to local farmers. He is available through [email protected]


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