What To Know About Newborns

Wash Your Hands Before Touching A Baby

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Hand hygiene is very important when handling your baby, especially during the first two months. During this time, your baby hasnt been vaccinated against diseases that can be spread through germs on unwashed hands.

Newborns have weak immune systems it takes time for them to build strength against germs that likely would have no effect on you or your loved ones. So, be extra diligent about keeping your hands clean, and dont feel bad asking visitors to do the same.

Take Care Of Yourself

Learning how to be a parent is a big adjustment and takes time. Its important to try and be kind to yourself, particularly in the early weeks and months after your baby is born.

Its normal to sometimes feel overwhelmed, that youre not doing a good job or that its hard to be with your baby all the time.

Pay attention to your own needs as well as your babys needs. This can include trying to:

  • rethink priorities, this could mean less time on housework and putting some tasks on hold
  • get outside, even for a short walk
  • rest when you can
  • get help with practical tasks like groceries and laundry
  • try to have time where you can relax, like having a bath
  • ask friends and family for help to give you some time to look after yourself

After the first few months, life with your baby will settle down. Youll get into a routine and begin to feel more confident.

If They Have A Fever Over 100 Take Them To The Doctor

When our baby was about 3 months old he had a particularly fussy day. We couldnt figure out what was wrong and continually monitored his temperature. Once it reached 100° F, we decided to take him into the clinic.

The doctor immediately knew that it was an infection. So to narrow it down he checked our babys lungs, ears, and his fontanelle to rule out a lung infection, ear infection, or blood infection. Really the only thing left to check was his urine to see if it was a UTI and bingo!

We learned a few things from the experience first of all that anytime your baby has a temperature over 100° and is fussy, it means infection. And second, that babies under 3 months require antibiotics to be administered intravenously .

So even though a UTI in an adult can be easily and quickly treated, a small baby requires a 7-10 day stay in the hospital to receive antibiotics while being monitored.

And no, UTIs are not particularly common in babies and no, we still dont know what caused it.

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Give Baby Sponge Baths Until The Umbilical Cord Falls Off

If its kept dry, it falls off faster usually within two weeks. Besides, newborns dont get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the cord falls off, thats okay, too, as Alyson Bracken, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, learned. It scared me at first, she says, but then she found out that, as with a scab, mild bleeding was normal.

How To Change Babys Diaper

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To change your newborns diaper, make sure you have all supplies on hand. Then, follow these steps:

  • Lay baby down on a changing table or flat surface. Use safety straps if its a high surface.
  • Remove your babys clothing. Untape the soiled diaper but dont remove it. Instead, fold the front of the diaper down so you can access babys diaper area.
  • Clean the diaper area with a wet wipe or damp wash cloth, wiping front to back and in skin folds.
  • Gently lift up babys legs, slide out the soiled diaper, and replace with a clean one. The tape side will be underneath.
  • Apply diaper cream or lotion if needed.
  • Dispose of the old diaper, get baby dressed, and wash your hands.
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    Feeding And Sleeping In The First Week Of Life

    Your newborn will sleep most of the time, waking up every few hours to feed. Newborns cant sleep through the night. They have tiny tummies, so they need to wake and feed often.

    Most newborns feed every 2-4 hours, and they have around 8-12 feeds every 24 hours. Sometimes feeds might last up to an hour, especially if your newborn is breastfeeding.

    Newborns usually wake for feeds. But some might need to be woken for feeding for example, newborns who have lost a lot of weight, are very small, or are jaundiced.

    Its likely to be a while before you see a pattern or routine of feeding and sleeping.

    In the first few weeks, looking after yourself is important. This means eating well and doing some physical activity, and also resting when your baby sleeps, which will help you catch up on sleep. Getting help from family and friends can make a big difference too.

    Getting To Know Your Little One

    The first days and weeks of a newborn’s life are a time of great wonder and delight for most new parents. However, being responsible for this tiny creature can be scary, particularly if you’re not familiar with how a newborn looks and behaves.

    If you feel anxious or uncertain about any part of caring for your baby, don’t hesitate to call your doctor, other health care professionals, or family or friends who have had experience caring for a newborn.

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    Shell Let You Know If Shes Getting Enough Food

    Baby needs to eat every two to three hours but if youre nursing, its tough to know how much milk shes getting. The babys weight is the best indicator in the early days, says Dr. Tolcher. Your pediatrician will check it within a few days of discharge. A newborn loses 5 to 8 percent of her birthweight within the first week but should gain it back by the second. Diaper-counting can also act as a gauge: her schedule those first five days is haphazard, but after that, youll see five to six wet diapers a day, and at least one or two stools.

    The Soft Spot Of Newborns Takes A Long Time To Mature

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    One of the sensitive areas on your newborn is located on the head. This soft spot requires a great deal of time to harden. So, you better be careful when handling your baby.

    Frankly, the soft spot is one of the few reasons why first-time parents will hire nannies to tend to their newborns as they will rather prevent a mishap. On the average, the soft spot hardens in 32 weeks except that the variation depends on the newborn.

    When tending to your newborn massaging, bathing, or combing always watch out for this spot.

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    They Can Scare Themselves

    It doesnât take much to startle a newborn: a loud noise, strong scent, bright light, sudden motion, even their own cries. You’ll know it’s happened when they fling their arms out to the sides, hands open, then quickly closes up and tucks back in toward their body. This Moro reflex might have developed as a warning signal that a young monkey was off-balance, so mom could prevent a fall.

    Things To Know About Newborns: Basics

    1) Wash your hands or use a sanitizer before handling your newborn. Knowing that they have a sensitive immune system and are at high risk of contracting an infection, you surely dont want to hold your baby with unclean hands.

    2) Dont forget to support your babys neck. Like a pillow, hold your babys neck upright while carrying them or while laying down.

    3) Your baby is not ready for smiles coos and rough plays like jiggling or throwing in the air.

    4) Dont shake your baby, as it can cause internal bleeding and even be deadly. Remember to tickle lightly on the feet if its urgent enough to wake them up.

    5) Your baby will feel hungry every 2-3 hours. Make sure you dont start to give them solid food right away, as it can be very harmful. Mothers milk is the best for a newborn baby.

    6) Your baby cant see very far in the first few weeks of life. They can focus on objects 20-30 cms in front of them.

    7) Its okay not to bathe them every day. Give a quick wipe down with a sponge or damp cotton wool in the essential places like the face, bum area, arms, and folds of the skin.

    8) Use fragrance-free products. Always choose fragrance-free baby products a newborns skin is brand new and just out in the world, you surely dont want to irritate it.

    9) They wont be passing stool every day at first. As long as theyre eating well and passing urine, its completely okay.

    11) Keep in mind, your baby can identify you by your smell, as this is the most vital sense in their body.

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    Mistakes In Mixing Formula Or Breastfeeding

    Making a mistake measuring formula and water happens often enough in her practice, said Altmann, that she makes it a practice to quiz parents on how they prepare babys meals. She asks the same of breastfeeding moms, too.

    Usually, its too dilute, said Altmann. Then the baby isnt getting enough nutrition and thats when they fail to thrive. You always want to be sure youre reading and following the directions on the formula properly.

    And some moms may not have the baby fully latched onto the breast, so while the baby looks like its nursing, he or she isnt actually swallowing and feeding, said Altmann.

    Its a good idea for breastfeeding moms to check in with a lactation consultant if they have any concerns or pain during feedings, said Altmann. Then check in with your pediatrician regularly to make sure your baby is gaining weight appropriately.

    Youll Need To Give Them Vitamin D For A Year

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    While breastmilk is a great source of nutrients for your baby, it probably wont provide them with enough vitamin D. And since sun exposure isnt recommended for babies, they are at risk of rickets a softening/weakening of bones.

    You can get vitamin D in a liquid form and just add a drop to their bottle every day. Or if you dont give bottles, just express some breastmilk into a spoon with a drop of vitamin D and feed it that way. You can put a drop directly into your babys mouth but it doesnt taste very good.

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    Medical Emergencies In Newborns

    You may want to enroll in an infant CPR and basic first aid class before your baby is born. Consider reenrolling in a class even if you took one before the birth of a previous child.

    Look for a class at a community center or hospital near you. You can also ask your OB-GYN for recommendations.

    In the class, youll learn to identify signs of an emergency. Its important to watch out for the following and seek emergency medical help right away if you notice them:

    • Your baby is having difficulty breathing. Signs that baby is having trouble breathing may include:
    • rapid or irregular breathing
    • turning blue in the face
    • seeming to have difficulty taking air in
    • making grunting noises while trying to take a breath
  • Your baby has blood in their vomit or stool.
  • Your baby is having a seizure.
  • Your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Common Health Concerns In The First Week Of Life

    Weight loss Its normal for newborns to lose weight during the first five days after birth. This happens as they lose excess fluid. This weight loss shouldnt be more than 10% of their birth weight. Most newborns regain their birth weight after 1-2 weeks. If your newborn has lost too much weight, they might have to be readmitted to hospital until theyre feeding well and gaining weight each day.

    Sticky eye Its common for newborns to develop sticky or discharging eyes during the first few weeks of life. The most common cause is blocked tear ducts. This issue usually gets better by itself, but gentle eye cleansing and massage will also help. Its best to have your GP or child and family health nurse check your newborns eyes if theyre red and sticky.

    Rashes Newborns can develop all sorts of rashes, which usually arent serious. But if your newborn has a rash, its best to have your GP or child and family health nurse check it out. Common rashes include cradle cap, nappy rash, heat rash , eczema, milia and dry skin.

    When to seek medical help If something doesnt seem right and youre worried about your newborn, seek medical help. Contact the midwives at the unit where your baby was born, your GP or your child and family health nurse.

    Seek medical help as soon as possible if your newborn:

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    I Fed Him When He Wanted To Eat

    I remember crying, he cant be hungry, I just fed him! so I would try everything to get him to stop only to find out he did want to eat. He would promptly spit it all up but he was happy and therefore I was happy. My motto was Pick him up. Fill his mouth. Change his bum. If that didnt work, Id hand him to his father, say I cant take it anymore then cry in the bathroom. It worked for us.

    Whether Youre Breastfeeding Or Using Formula Feed Your Baby Frequently

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    If a mom is breastfeeding the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing so for at least six months her body will usually start producing breast milk within three days of birth. Before that, her breasts will produce a thick, yellow nutrient-filled liquid called colostrum.

    At first, a nursing mother might have to work to ensure that her baby correctly latches, or fastens onto her breast, in order to eat. If youre having trouble establishing a good latch or getting your baby to eat, talk to a certified lactation consultant most hospitals and birthing centers have at least one on staff. You can also find a private lactation consultant via the United States Lactation Consultant Association.

    No matter whether youre breastfeeding or formula feeding, newborns should be fed every one to three hours, so that they eat eight to 12 times in 24 hours. Frequent meals help newborns regain weight that they may have lost after birth. As your baby grows, she will gradually be able to eat more at each feeding and eat fewer times each day and night.

    Dont fret if your baby doesnt burp after a feeding. Babies will burp if and when they need to, said Dr. Diane Cicatello, M.D., a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and vice chair of pediatrics at CareMount Medical in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

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    Don’t Worry Too Much About The Soft Spot On Their Head

    Some parents get so scared of the soft spot on their newborn’s head, called the fontanel. But it’s really okay to touch it or if you’re washing your baby, you can use a soft sponge on that area.

    Of course, you still need to be careful with your baby, but there’s no need to avoid touching their soft spot.

    Newborn Crying And How To Respond

    Sometimes youll know why your baby is crying. When you respond to crying for example, by feeding your baby if theyre hungry your baby feels more comfortable and safe.

    Sometimes you might not know why your baby is crying, but its still important to comfort them. You cant spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them, or talking to them in a soothing voice.

    But a lot of crying might make you feel frustrated, upset or overwhelmed. Its OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Put your baby in a safe place like a cot, or ask someone else to hold your baby for a while. Try going to another room to breathe deeply or call a family member or friend to talk things through.

    Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage.

    Its OK to ask for help. If youre feeling overwhelmed by the demands of caring for your baby, call your local Parentline. You might also like to try our ideas for dealing with anger, anxiety and stress.

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    Newborn Babies Arent Manipulating You

    After youve tried, unsuccessfully, to settle your little one back in their crib, you may think that they are being tricky and are using this tactic to be carried around a bit longer. But babies dont learn to manipulate you until later . Plus its impossible to spoil a new baby they really do need all of your love and attention.

    During the first few months of a babys life, you have to work to establish trust. And when they cry, its not just for attention, they genuinely need you. So give that new baby all the snuggles and cuddles that they need and dont worry that youre setting up bad habits for the future youre not!

    Be Especially Careful With Your Babys Head

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    The babys head has some soft areas called fontanelles. The skull is not completely closed because it needs the flexibility to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.

    Keep this in mind while picking up your child, dressing them, bathing them, or anything else.

    You can comb their hair and caress their head, but keep in mind that this area is very delicate. In the first two years of life, it will become stronger and less fragile, and your baby will have a normal skull.

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