Congratulations on the birth of your child! What a wonderful journey you are embarking on! While it is amazingly rewarding, it can be very confusing and stressful too. We are here to help you navigate that stress and answer questions you have about your newborn. Obviously your schedule will become a bit unpredictable, so the golden rule as a new parent is to take care of yourself as well as your baby. If you haven’t already heard this advice, please take it to heart… Sleep when your baby sleeps, eat healthy and nutritious meals and ask for help whenever you can. Both you and your baby have been through an intense physical journey, so take time getting your footing and getting used to all the changes.
Your Baby and Feeding: If you have chosen to breastfeed, your child will probably be expecting to be fed every two to three hours or up to 10 times in a 24-hour period. Your child will generally dictate how much he wants to be fed in that time. Don’t forget to switch breasts halfway through each feeding to avoid engorgement and discomfort for you. If you have chosen to formula feed, carefully mix the formula according to the directions. While each child is different, most babies consume about two to three ounces every three to four hours. If at any time with either breast or bottle-feeding you feel your child is showing discomfort or crying excessively after feedings, call us to discuss. We may need to make changes to either your diet or your formula choice to ease the baby’s discomfort.
Your Baby and Bowel Movements: Expect your child to have a bowel movement after each feeding so keep a good supply of diapers handy! As he gets older, he will have fewer stools. The odor will vary too, depending on the diet you are following or the formula you will be supplying. The color of the stools will vary and this is normal. Red stools are cause for concern, so please call us if that occurs. As long as your baby’s stools are soft, do not worry if he strains and cries with a movement. However, if the stool results in small, hard pellets, your baby may be constipated and we can help you manage that issue. Five to seven wet diapers per day is a norm but it could be as many as 10 per day.
Your Baby’s Motor Skills: At the beginning, babies take in their surroundings and notice bright colors, but they actually will prefer black and white at this stage. If your child’s eyes cross at times do not be alarmed. He is learning to focus and at this early stage, he can focus on objects 8-12 inches away. For that reason, hold your baby in front of you and talk to him closely. He will not be able to hold his head up very long but that will change quickly.
Your Baby’s Communication Skills: As you will find out quickly, crying is the primary mode of communication for your newborn. At first it may seem like all cries sound the same but as time goes on, you will learn to interpret whether your baby is crying due to hunger, pain, dirty diaper, too hot, too cold or just plain bored. Again, if your baby seems to be showing signs of excessive crying, he may be exhibiting what is known as colic symptoms. While it is a brief condition that usually diminishes around three months, we can help you manage the condition.
Your Baby and Safety: Keep these guidelines at the top of your mind.
- Put your baby to sleep on his back in a crib with a firm mattress. Do not put the baby in the crib with soft toys or blankets. A good suggestion is to dress your baby warmly in a onesie for bedtime.
- In the car, always use a rear-facing car seat and place in the back seat of the car.
- Never shake your baby. While you may be exhausted and frustrated at times, make sure your baby is in a safe place, well fed with a clean diaper and then take a break for a minute by leaving the room. This is a common feeling but make sure your child is not unattended. If you feel unable to control the frustration or anger, call someone for help.
- Do not allow your baby to be near smoke. Second-hand smoke has been proven to be dangerous and can lead to childhood illnesses such as asthma, colds, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Make sure when you wash your baby that the water is not too hot.
- While it is uncommon for a newborn to have a fever, check your baby’s temperature rectally if he feels warm and call us immediately if the temperature reads 100.4 degrees or higher.
Your Baby At Play: At this age, your baby is enthralled by you in every way. Talk to him, cuddle him and hold him as much as possible. You won’t spoil your child by holding him or responding to each cry he makes. Building a strong attachment is a crucial foundation for your baby’s healthy development. Play some soft music or sing to him. Place an unbreakable mirror in the crib so he can keep himself entertained. Soft and brightly colored toys and mobiles and toys that make sounds are excellent choices.
Your next visit is at two months of age. Until then, enjoy getting to know your baby and take good care of yourself!