Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy!!
We know that coming home with a new baby can be exciting, but stressful and a little overwhelming at first as well. We are here to help you navigate these first few weeks (as well as all the rest of the weeks!), and make this transition as smooth as possible.
The Kidology team will be seeing you in the office at least 3-4 times during the first month of your baby's life, so you will have plenty of opportunity to have your questions answered. So feel free to come with a list so we can be sure we address all of your concerns!
Here are a few hepful tips regarding your newborn:
Normal newborns should be fed every 1-3 hours, both daytime and nighttime. This can be latched at the breast, with pumped breast milk, or with infant formula. It is not safe to feed your infant any “home-made” formulas, toddler formulas, regular cows milk, or water. Always prepare the formula according to the instructions on the can, and never water it down.
Most babies will lose weight in the first few days, but then as they start tolerating larger amounts of nutrition, their weight will increase. Until a baby regains their birth weight, they need to feed at least every 3 hours around the clock. It is common in the first few days to need to wake your baby when it is time to feed (especially during the daytime when they like to sleep the most!).
Most newborns start with a very small volume for the first few days (5-15 mL), and gradually increase as time goes by. After the end of the first 7-10 days, most full term infants are taking 30-60 ml per feed (1-2 ounces). If you are breast feeding, it takes most new moms a few days to get their full milk production in. So, this volume increase will happen naturally as your body produces more milk for your baby. You will know your child is getting more milk if their number of wet diapers increases each day.
Babies will let you know if you are feeding them too much, or too quickly by spitting up! It is normal for the spit up to come out the mouth as well as the nose sometimes too. Newborns usually have lots of hiccups.
Chances are that you received multiple formula samples prior to your baby's delivery. Although they are likely all good products, it is easiest on your baby's tummy to pick one and stick with it. Some parents do all breast milk, some do all formula, and some do a combination of both. These are all safe options, and well tolerated by most infants. But sticking to just one brand and style of the formula can be easiest on your babies digestion while they are adjusting to life outside the womb.
Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes after a baby is born. Almost all babies have some jaundice, but some will have more than others. The amount of jaundice a baby has will increase from the time they are born until they are about 5-6 days old. Sometimes the doctor will need to check this level multiple times to see how quickly it is rising.
Most babies will clear their jaundice on their own, but some will need help by going under phototherapy lights in the hospital. There are a few risk factors that can cause your baby to have higher jaundice levels than other children. These include:
- Mom’s and baby’s blood type being different from one another
- Excessive bruising from delivery, especially on the face or head
- Exclusive breast feeding (although this is not a reason to avoid breast feeding!)
- Race: babies of Asian descent have a higher likelihood of increased jaundice
- Downs syndrome
- Having a sibling with elevated jaundice levels requiring phototherapy
The best way to help your baby with jaundice is to feed, feed, feed! Also, if your doctor directs you to, you can undress your infant down to their diaper and let them enjoy some sunshine through the window.
We expect a newborn baby to pass their first bowel movement within 24 hours of birth. This is called Meconium, and it is black, sticky and tar-like. Gradually, this will transition to normal stool of an infant, which is typically mustard yellow in color and seedy. Many infants will stool multiple times per day, but is is also OK if they go once a day or even a little less as long as it comes out soft. It is normal for them to get red in the face, grunt or seem like they are straining when trying to pass a bowel movement. They will often pass lots of gas as well.
It is normal for the stools to cause a diaper rash or irritation within the first 1-2 weeks old. You can protect the skin using a diaper cream or ointment when you start to see any evidence of a rash develop. Your provider can help you pick a cream if you are unsure of which to use.
Eyes, Nose, Mouth:
Newborns do a TON of sneezing and often sound very stuffy. This is not a sign that they are sick, just that they can only breathe out of their noses at this age. The congestion will likely be more noticeable after they have fed or when they are laying flat. The baby's tongue may develop a milk coating (white coloring on top of the tongue), but if it is seen elsewhere (gums, roof of mouth, or insides of the cheeks) it may be thrush and you should schedule an appointment. It is common for a newborns eyes to drain tears or a little mucous, even when they are not crying. This mucous will sometimes dry and create a little crust in their eye lashes. It should be mild and easy to wipe away with a warm cloth. If the "white part" of the eye looks red, call our office and we can take a look.
Newborns basically sleep whenever they are not awake to feed. It is very common for them to sleep better during the day than they do at night... mostly because they are held a lot during the day and they like that best! When a newborn is held, it replicates the womb, (they are warm, snuggled tight, have some gentle movement, and can hear your heartbeat). When we lay a newborn down for the night, all of those things they love are harder to achieve. Although they sleep better in your arms, it is very important that you put the baby down on a safe sleep surface anytime you plan to sleep or rest your eyes. They should be flat on their backs, on a firm surface without any blankets, pillows or loose items near them. It is OK if they cry a little while they are adjusting to being on their safe sleep surface. Be sure to be waking your newborn if they have been sleeping longer than 3 hours so they can feed.
Newborns do not need to take a bath everyday, and when they do need to be cleaned (usually about twice a week in the beginning), we just want to wipe them down with a clean cloth with mild baby soap. We want to avoid getting the cord area wet until it has completely dried out and fallen off. Basically, when it looks like a normal "belly button", that is when the baby is ready for a traditional bath. While the cord is coming off, sometimes there will be a little bleeding or oozing. it should resolve within a day or two, and should not have a foul odor. If it becomes stinky, give us a call and we can take a look.
Newborns clothing should be kept one layer warmer than you are comfortable. For example, if you are comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt, then baby should be in long sleeves/long pants. If you have long sleeves/pants on, then also wrap them in a swaddle blanket. They should not need hats inside the house. Mittens or hand coverings are a good idea because they like to scratch at their face!
A baby's skin is often very peely during the first few weeks, and sometimes can even crack or bleed in areas that bend frequently, like wrists or ankles. Just keep the area clean, and if it seems bothersome to the baby you can apply a little vasoline or Aquaphor a few times per day as needed.
Self Care for parents:
Remember this is a huge transition time for yourselves as well. Babies are far more resilient than we give them credit for, and you should give yourself some grace as you are learning the new skills of becoming a parent and living with a newborn. Ask for help! It is normal to feel like you need assistance from friends and family during this time. Taking turns to care for the infant, so each parent has some time to rest and relax can be very beneficial during the first few weeks. Remember that we are here to help guide you through this process, and can answer any questions you may have!
Here are a few additional links with great information:
Congratulations again on your new arrival!